Fiction

Anniversary Eleven Years

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 FICTION









Anniversary — Eleven Years by Victor LaValle  


His face was bad awful but I loved him because he loved my eggs. I promise. He would say it sometimes, same as last night, when we got down for sleep.


    

—I love your eggs. You are not barren.


    

This morning, very early as always, he woke, showered and tried to put a pick through his hair, but the naps had all set in. Real hard. I told him not to get them out, that they were beautiful like the tangled nets when fish are caught — they’re full of life. I meant it, I don’t lie to my man any more than the minimum — which is thirty percent. You really think he wants to know I’ve had bigger? Truth is, he fits fine enough so that’s what I call him, Fine. He takes it complimentary since he thinks I’m talking about his face; you get to have your little jokes when you’re married.


    

Our home is small, but the bedroom’s big. We bought it for that; with both of us working as we do he’d said —We’ll be sleeping or out so let’s forget a den and all that.


    

We have enough space in here for two beds, cots too. When relatives visit it becomes like a monastery — we all say our prayers and are otherwise chaste. But as we were alone this morning he hopped about — even in front of the window — and as he stood in the sunlight the blemishes up and across his back came out sure and proud. It looked like he’d been ticked by wasps all over but there was none of that. This silly man had such skin from driving a bus all times and in the heat he would sweat but not move and it ruined his flesh so I can barely rub his shoulders. What a mess.


    

So he was flipping about like we were young and I pulled the covers over my head, called out —You are a fat fool! To which he answered by perching at the side of the bed where I turn my head when sleeping and slapped a salute against his rump loud enough to sound like light bulbs being smashed in the next room. When I pulled down my covers he was laughing hard enough for two. Then he said —It’s Sunday, better dress for church.


    

He walked off, his cheeks a bit red from his foolishness, to the closet where he’d prepared a suit and my dress on hangers the night before. But I sat up and let the sheets fall, told him to return to bed presently, that we would be lax this morning and bear the scrutiny of our neighbors and friends next week. I peered to the wall where he’d hung our marriage certificate, all framed as he’d prepared it six years ago, as a gift. Today, if I may say so, I didn’t want to share him, even with God.



For more Victor LaValle, read:

Anniversary — Eleven Years
Our Secret
Big Time





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