We promised that we would be honest, that the passion would last forever, the heat sticky between us. Our families would not enter our intimate space with their withholding and berating and strangely pleasing manipulations. We would always share the lucky end of the wishbone. We would keep the lines neat and tidy and the bed linens mussed with our musky scents.

We promised to keep the nastiest bits hidden away in the dark cavernous spaces of our private minds. We were not so naïve as to promise perfection, but secretly we allowed as to how we could make it so, each holding a different idea of perfection as we saw the other conceiving it.

We broke wineglasses and destroyed life. We ignored the cat until he had to be put down, all skin and bones. We let one man smoke in his bedroom cave until the walls were dark with ash, the cigarette butts an inch deep on the floor. We watched the amputation of a sibling from the family, our mouths gagged with fear. When the other could no longer speak, his sentences a mishmash of nonsense and memory, we talked to him anyway, to give him voice, to hear him struggle. Our motivations were unclear, unclean, unknown.

We were confused. Why did I insist upon misrepresenting a sliver of our lives, filtered darkly, in the manner of a fiction piece read by an actor on This American Life? You poured the wine, one glass for you, one for me, and we returned to talk of politics, the dark days of an ominous empire in front of us, while upstairs the boy read The Hunger Games for a third time.


From the prompt “rash promises.”

Image from here.


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