Her latest flash fiction collection is The Dog Seated Next to Me.
Glamping in the Mist
Billy was very white and blushed easily – shiny as wax one day but ruddy faced and whipped up into a froth the next. “Burn it,” he liked to say in bed. “We are jetsexuals,” he told me the day he proposed and I agreed to marry him. This was true. We jetted all over the place, were always on the go. My life had been improved, upgraded, remodeled.
“Billy, I hate labels, “I said.
“Yeah, but this one suits you,” he said.
Sometimes—more and more often, my mind would wander loose. I thought about how dogs were so much better than people. Geniuses at being comfortable with anything.
I lived for silent lessons, and now my days were filled with them. I did needle work and sat in ergonomically perfect chairs developing crushes on daytime television actors. Their faces like aisles of unlived memory.
At my feet—the King Charles Spaniels I asked Billy for (and received) on my birthday, from the best spaniel breeder on the planet.
Billy would be out with his business partners all day, planning their next movie-investment or corporate buyout. They were “on location” or “off location” but planning to go “back on location” to scope out locations. I’d have long, soulful talks with the sweet, cat-sized dogs.
We went glamping in Montana, our tent filled with feather beds and chocolate truffles.
Billy hired a “glamping butler”. The glamping butler looked thoughtful, and I tried not to notice. His name was Eric. But Eric had a poor man’s belly, couldn’t work-out three hours a day like Billy and me. He stared at Billy with a folded grin.
In the next tent, I imagined the other couple laughing about being so absurdly pampered in the wilderness. Bonding over the silliness of it. Saying, “Glamping— the great unknown”. Billy just couldn’t laugh about luxuries.
Sometimes I imagined life with a man whose calves weren’t sculpted.
In the middle of the night I cuddled and kissed my pillow, pretended it was a baby. Not Billy’s baby. Eric’s. A baby with a belly.
On our first anniversary, Billy made reservations at his favorite restaurant, Laundry Bag. Since I spent the day alone waiting for dinner, I had my first cigarette in a year. The tip of my nose tingled from the smoke. So did my cheeks, which were rosy from special mineral-rich blush powder (the kind they use glow worms to make, the kind that soaks into your skin). The saleswoman at the makeup counter told me she was turning forty in July. She said, “Nobody can afford to lose their light”.
At the restaurant, Billy did the ordering. Our first appetizer— snails with organic truffle hats. Billy kept glancing at the tan waitresses. I smiled at the beautiful snail shells, ornamentally perched on our plates.
I eyed other tables. All of the other couples looked as if they had been on some cosmic journey together and survived. They appeared to have found each other in the mist—were devouring their bounty with the world’s most unguilty smiles.