Another Friday, another night spent admiring thousand dollar quilts made by friends at the art gallery. I have absolutely no idea how they were made, unlike my big heavy book. They are truly shocking when thinking about quilt expectations. Take what you think about a quilt and turn it inside out. You don’t sleep under them—they are more vertical.
Coincidentally, I am dressed in exactly the same clothes as the gallery owner (jeans, light blue button down, shoes) and a customer asks me to tell the artist’s life story. I say, she must have grown up in a very cold household to be so inspired. Then he opened a wallet full of cash.
On the drive home, there was nothing said about the quilts because they were so fine and unobjectionable, not because we weren’t artsy. Instead, Grace and I returned to the movie we watched the night before. In it, the psychiatrist on the spaceship deems the whole crew unfit for duty, including himself. It’s year five of a ten year mission. Then the Earth blows up because of some vague, bad, scientific reason. Point being, the astronauts are all crazy, but now without any context. We agreed the rest of the movie was trash, but, damn, if the beginning didn’t give us something to think about.
For instance, our young neighbors have just erected a small, white picket fence in their front yard. That way, their toddler and their dog can play. But, the rumor in town is that they are headed for divorce. You can watch their cars and tell. They also always miss trash day. It’s like everyone knows but them.
So one of the first things I look at in the mornings is the “Love and Sex” page on The Guardian website to make sure Grace hasn’t written a letter to their advice column. They are anonymous, but I’d recognize her diction and syntax. There’s this one: “I love my husband— but his sexual limitations are blighting our marriage.” Probably not Grace. The em dash seems off and I never heard her use any version of the word “blight.” Then there’s this sad sap: “I am not attractive to others. Would life be better if I made more effort?” That wasn’t me–I wear cologne.
My “limitations” sexually? I am left-handed. I am incredibly near-sighted, so much so, that an ophthalmologist once marvelled that I must possess something equivalent to tunnel vision. I once tore my achilles tendon coaching Gabe’s soccer team, which still aches when it rains. Other than that, I think of myself as open to suggestions and willing to improve. No, no, it’s not just “lights-out-missionary” in that department. We are, Grace and I, I’d say, robust, if somewhat infrequent.
Sean Ennis is the author of CHASE US: Stories (Little A) and his flash fiction has recently appeared in New World Writing, Diagram, HAD, (mac)ro(mic) and No Contact. More of his work can be found at seanennis.net and @Seanennis110.