Of Two Sisters One Is the Watcher, One the Dancer

Are you trying to make a statement by doing that, going out like that?

Would you prefer me to be lonely, stay in on Friday and Saturday nights with oh-so-serious-you?

Wipe that smirk off your face. You’re sly. You’re very, very sly? You’re a fox. You’re a red fox. And you’re going on a hunt. Are you going on a hunt femme fatale?

I’m what?

You’re something else. Come here. I want to remind you that you’re a married woman. You do not have options. I am your husband and you have to obey me.

Oh. Now I see the choices that I have.

And? Dance. I want you to dance. Spin around. Put some fresh lipstick on and then kiss me.

No. You’re talking crazy. Why don’t you get up from that sofa lazybones and make me. Why not dance with me?

Why don’t you join me on the sofa?

I’m not in the mood. I’m starting to hate you. I’m a lover not a hater. Oh, he gets a smile for that one. I wonder what my reward will be.

I’m starving. I’m going to make a sandwich. Put on some music for us and I’ll get a bottle of red.

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

No, no and no.

I just want cake.

You have to start watching what you’re eating some time so why not now?

A tiny piece of gorgeous cake made by my gorgeous wife then I’ll keep the peace.

You promise?

Don’t I always keep my promises?

Depends.

Depends on what?

I guess the planets mostly. The price of a loaf of bread. America. Conspiracy theorists.

Come here.

No.

Look at me.

No.

Come here. Just turn your head. You can still see me.

Why can’t you just say what you want to say to me? I can hear you from where I’m standing.

Real people do not talk like that. Do newlyweds talk like that? Do people who have stayed married for thirteen years talk like that? I know that in Terms of Endearment they did not talk like that. Nor in August: Osage County. Someone died in each of those movies. Someone loved. Someone special and funny. Someone who had a unique spirit. I know that real people don’t talk like that but sometimes I imagine that they do when I feel as if I have a peculiar spirit or nature. Lie. Lie. Lie. Liar. What I meant to say was when I feel sad, gripped by it, carried to its threshold, when it speaks to me, when my head is wrapped tightly around it, can’t get loosened from it. In my head I would make up the conversations we would have over a period of nearly thirteen years of married life. Are vows terms, conditions? Will we go to church or lie in on Sunday jubilant magazine mornings with our cold toast complete with gloop of shining marmalade with its pretty sun face, lukewarm milky tea and the newspapers reading our favourites. You will tuck a stray brown curl of hair behind the lobe of my ear, kiss it. Say, ‘You’re really sweet. You smell lovely. All perfumery.’ Later on you will go and make us coffee (my pretend husband will go and make me coffee and yes only in my dreams) before we go out for a walk on the beach. We will hold hands. You will put your arm around my waist. We will look into each other’s eyes, talk about our week at work, about our friends at work. Someone will say something funny. We will both guffaw like crazy. We don’t have children. We have accepted that we can’t have any. It isn’t anybody’s fault really (this really means it’s my fault. It’s impossible for me, for my genes). We have a dog called Misty Upham after this beautiful Native American girl who played the role of a beautiful Native American nurse and cook in the film August: Osage County. You (my husband) have a dog. I have a cat. Kitty. Cat for short. In real life my cat is dead. Tender is the day, the salt on the breeze catching my hair, the nape of my neck, and the backs of our legs. You’re laughing and complaining at the same time, that I decided we come out today of all days. We’ve both rolled up our pants. We’re eating vanilla ice cream with a chocolate flake inside of it. You’ve picked me up. I’m screaming. Screaming with joy and terror. It’s cold. The sea has always freaked me out. I can swim. I just prefer to swim in a heated pool, preferably indoor. I hate the smell of chlorine, the sight of skinny people, so wrapped up in the joy of their thinness and revealing it to the world at large. There’s something beloved about my local swimming pool. I’ve been swimming there since I’ve been a child with my mother and father, my two younger siblings.

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