This gin tastes like medicine and finally I’m drinking it with you in the mood I have needed all along and just sit here with you in the living room watching the show. Turn the volume up real high, you say, and I do that so we both really feel like we’re there in the audience. I hold your hand and say, you’d be so good on this, I think you should get yourself on this show, I really do. You say, That’s something to think about, and pour us another drink.
I’m in the crook of your arm and you let me do that and you say that right here, right here, we fit. And the furniture is falling apart and our families are falling apart and you never carried me over the threshold because there was no threshold, because we spent our honeymoon in tears because I had not been drinking with you like I’m drinking with you tonight, like I should have been doing when that would have been the key to starting things off right with us.
The ceiling is caving over there, I say, pointing to the corner of the room, to the moldy spot on the water-damaged plaster, these things that pop into my head and worry me. Cracks in the ceiling in the corner of my vision, my stupid vision. But you don’t really hear me, you are smiling at Alex Trebek, at the game-show look on his serious, approving face, a look you understand. You say it every time. You say, I would never be able to answer those answers on the spot. All that pressure. You answer them on the living room sofa, but not if you sat there with Alex Trebek.
And maybe it’s because I talked about the ceiling, you suddenly seem upset about all of the things you know we aren’t going to be able to fix, and you turn off the TV and say, I need to go for a run. You’ve been drinking, I say. You kiss me on the lips, it’s the consolation prize, you linger on my lips like a bee looking for pollen before buzzing into your running shoes, before saying, Later, before I can feel like you are leaving for real this time, taking everything in me on your shoelace clip.
Meg Pokrass is the author of nine fiction collections and her work has appeared in hundreds of publications including three Norton Anthologies of the flash fiction form. She is the Founding Editor of Best Microfiction. Meg lives in Inverness, Scotland.