From series, That Dystopia You Won’t Shut Up About.
Published in Watershed Review.
Your wife will call and give you an ultimatum. The melodrama will revolve around “why.” Of course, your answers “It’s for you” and “It’s for us” aren’t good enough, because then there’s “how.” No, it’s time to quit. Time to move on. Time to live together again. She’ll give you three days to come to her in the city. But then, ultimatum unfulfilled, she will leave you (hasn’t she already left?). You will miss that arm at night which feels like your seat belt. You’ll miss the sticky notes on the mirror that say things like, “This does not reflect your worth or who you are,” and you know there’s more to miss but it’s hard to think of because what’s missing the most is something intangible and unnamable by you. You won’t, however, miss her name, because it will be on your lips always. It’ll hurt to say, but you’ll be addicted to it. You’ll say it in the mirror at your face which grows uglier by the day. You’ll say it in the middle of a bowl of cereal and let it cut through the room like a shout through a crowd—your thoughts. You can’t know if she will do this too.
What you’re doing is working to keep your home. You don’t see this as a choice. You’re staying in your neighborhood despite evacuation after condemnation by the New Socialist Order (new legislation has reigned in the sprawling cities and evacuated the suburbs). You’ve never been more alone.