by Adina Sara
Jake is getting married again. Valerie this time. Before her was Terilyn but I don’t dare write about her for fear my pen will explode into sharp metal blasts, turning these words into a heap of bloody shards.
No, this Valerie seems nice enough. Motherly even. She told me she’d take good care of him, as if I gave a damn.
We were young, that’s the line we used to explain everything away, and it was true enough. Sitting in the library, pretending to study Chaucer and the Protestant Reformation, it was our summer tans that attracted us. We lifted up our t-shirts, exposing beach-bronzed midriffs. His was a shade or two darker than mine, so I conceded our first contest. Frat parties followed, weekend beer fests then shy explorations of body parts. We held up mirrors to each other and liked what we saw.
And then came the sex--inevitable, irreversible, unleashed and out of control. Who would have me now? came the voice of my dead grandmothers and besides, we had adopted a stray dog. Our fate was all but sealed.
Our wedding photo is still attached to my bathroom mirror (you’d think I would have shredded it by now), but it has stuck itself to the surface and like the rest of my life, I have become resigned to it. I can make out thin traces of fear in his eyes. He looked too young to marry. He looked too young to shave. And what was I thinking, in that silly knee-length dress (my mother said I wasn’t old enough for floor length and she was right). I could barely stand in those 3-inch heels and the lacey underskirts itched my thighs. The hairdresser’s attempt to make me look like a bride resulted in a thicket of pins twisting my hair into a bird’s nest of idiotic fashion. I was out of place in my own skin, but wasn’t that the way this was supposed to feel?
Next to it is the photo of the four us, our two perfect sons, conceived effortlessly, Martin the image of Jake and poor Mason, hidden under too many blankets, a sleepy version of me. It was taken back when we lived in that cute little house with burgundy trim, too small in some ways but nobody seemed to notice.
It’s an old story, and no one cares anymore. While I was busy picking up tinker toys, milk stains decorating my clothes, (no more sexy tan marks to expose), he was busy fucking Terilyn. I’ll admit, I must have been dull and dry as toast in those baby days, but I still wonder what mirrors she held up to him to make him sputter around like some crazy wind-up toy, crashing our life into smithereens.
Our unraveling was swift and clean—broken bits of mirrored glass swept away, leaving no opportunity for reflection.
I hope he gets it right this time. I only wish him well.
published 1 June 2016