marriage

Room Service

Whenever Joanna heard the drone of the phone hanging up, she regretted not hanging up first. Yet, every time, she stayed on the line, just in case he had one more thing to say.

Secondhand Bursts

We’d arrived at the age of irrelevance, the lot of us – except for Daphne, who was not yet 30 – so it was important to acknowledge we were still alive, among the living.

Team

Jerry wasn’t the type for small talk, but it was so quiet, you could hear our silverware echo off the tiled floor and backsplash.

What I Still Owe You

Our running joke: anniversary cards that said, Congrats on being halfway through our marriage! Does it mean something good or bad that neither of us pointed out by how many years, with that last card, we’d overshot?

Bride

I am not a bad person. I told my mom and sister I needed some air. Mom was ironing the folds on the full skirt of my wedding gown. The smell of bacon wafted through the cramped house as I walked downstairs into the kitchen, where Gwen and my brother-in-law were arguing. I sighed and pulled my coat off the back of the kitchen chair. When Gwen noticed me she stopped talking and set the spatula down. Snow fluttered to the ground outside the kitchen window. The trees and telephone wires were coated in white. Everyone said a winter wedding would be cheaper...

The Countries of New York

There's a section of New York State, on the eastern border of Lake Ontario, where the town names make you feel like you've gone around the world. I read the names out loud to my two-year-old daughter—Mexico, Syracuse, Rome, Poland—as I watch the snow swirl around the dark streets outside the bus windows. We are traveling from Gouverneur, New York to Everett, Massachusetts. It is my daughter's first Greyhound bus ride, and it is my first time returning home after running away from my abusive ex-husband.

The Ugly Marriage Counselor

Gerald used a razor to sever the cellophane wrapping around Megan’s body. He rolled her out of the box, then plucked the instructional manual from between her rubber lips. He stuffed the papers into his pocket, dragged her by the ankles to the living room, and deposited her on the floor.