Arts » Arts Etc.

Half

My best friend had a trampoline. Wintertime, we wrapped our feet in pairs of thick socks and jumped until numb. Then we came inside to thaw. There was a bar in the corner, fully stocked. We liked to play honky-tonk. She was a cowboy named Jared and I was a cowgirl named Jolene. Sometimes I was Crystal. My eyes were sometimes emerald green, sometimes violet. We sniffed the aromatic bitters. There was a special brand made in Trinidad, smelling of Christmas. I don’t know her now. My husband is not a cowboy, and he doesn’t know those songs about cheating and sawdust floors, and babies, and wilting hearts. I still have my half of a broken heart bought in a shop in Galveston. Mine says “best” with her name on the back.

There were monkey bars behind that trampoline, and we leapt from the bars, hitting hard and soaring over the roof, high above the swimming pool. The pool was clean blue when we were small, and then, years later, filled with leaves,
tennis balls, dead toads.

My husband took his ring off. Then he put it back on, and then he said he lost it, and we went to the mall to buy another. The sales clerk measured his finger and took his hand in hers. Our wedding rings were white gold, but the sales clerk told him gold went better with his warm skin tones. Please, I said, and we had sex during our son’s nap, and then he said he didn’t believe it.

I don’t see how you can’t believe sex, I said. I mean, I can see how you can say it is bad or good or desperate or fun or slow and intense or soulless but how can you say you don’t believe it?

Would you stop talking. Stop talking, he said.

I have a tarnished locket my mother-in-law gave to me. I cut some of his black hair and put it inside. I wore the locket at all times, even when I took a shower. I thought about the thin layer of gold between his lock and the flesh on my collarbone. I cried in spurts, as I washed dishes, and when I brushed my teeth. We don’t have a dishwasher, so my hands were chapped. I don’t take it off, I said to him later, not even for washing dishes.

I take our son on drives at night to get him to sleep, listening to country-western songs, and he asks me questions. I read the billboards to him and try to explain. Finger lickin’ good means so good, that even when you have finished the chicken, you lick the juice off your fingers because you can’t help yourself. It’s that good.

It’s that good, Mom. He is smiling in the backseat; I can hear it in his voice.

It’s that good.

He asks me if there is ice on the moon.

No, I say.

There is Mom. You can scrape it. You can scrape it off with a scraper.

Oh, okay, I say. We sing a song called Galveston, and then some songs about the moon.


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