Never have. Each one has a different way of showing it. Happened again today. An email from someone named Rachel. Like on Friends. It’s a birthday invitation for her husband. My writer friend’s ‘50th birthday bash’ — Who talks that way?
I’ve never met Rachel. Why would I? Writers don’t bring spouses to conferences. Unless they have that transparency thing going on. Once this male writer whispered what it meant cause I didn’t get it. He said it happens after you’ve admitted an affair, or you’ve been caught. You promise transparency in all things. Now I can spot those wives and believe me, they are the worst. Their dagger eyes follow my every move. Doesn’t matter if I’m up on stage reading. Or down in my uncomfortable folding chair listening. They won’t quit. So at the meet & greet, I make a beeline for the nearest transparent husband. Drape an arm around his shoulder, beam my bustiest smile, then brush something that’s not there off his chest. In 20 seconds the wife is steaming, tugging at his arm.
Rachel, a name which grates on me, ever since Friends, if you’re reading this, you should know I’m in love with my husband, and after a zillion years just one look from him makes my knees buckle. Your husband? Not so much. Except this one time, when everyone else stampeded to the bar, and you were at a museum meeting and my husband wasn’t there since he thinks most writers are smug bastards, and both our readings got raves, and we’d sold a bunch of books. Behind us the sun is setting over the redwoods, like it’s hungover and dragging itself to the same damn job it does every day, the one it knows so well because it’s been doing it for 2 millennia of recorded time. I almost said yes to the question your husband asks every damn time. But instead I point to the window. And he says the sun looks like it’s dressed in the torn ribbons of the cloak of time, and we laugh cause it’s a line from the last poet, who was terrible, to be honest. And Rachel, if you’re still reading, this part’s for you: a line from a bad poet isn’t enough to build a life on. But maybe it’s enough for a writing workshop. The one I’m in right now with your transparent husband.