My husband and I disagree about many things over meals, yet our plates have most of the same food. Our inside jokes are decades old, and they’re still hilarious. I don’t understand how we work so well overall, but we do. This story is as close as I will ever get to figuring that out.
Erin Fitzgerald’s work appeared in fine publications such as FRiGG, The Rumpus, Used Furniture Review, and Dark Sky. Her chapbook “This Morning Will Be Different” appears in the anthology Shut Up/Look Pretty (Tiny Hardcore Press). She lives, works, and plays video games in Connecticut, and is lead editor of The Northville Review. You can also find her at rarelylikable.com.
In the mornings we drink cold water with chunks of lemon floating in it. We take our pills. I drop one in my mouth, sip water, look at the trees, decide on the name of their color, look at the sky, and swallow. I listen as he reads our horoscopes. I tell the cat no, I tell the cat no again. I take the other pill. I pick up my glass of cold water again.
Afternoons we look at lists and pictures of physicians. Some seem concerned, some are cheerful. Most have the wrong ideas, or are focused on health issues we have the luxury of ignoring. We pedal and sit up and push up until we breathe through our mouths, and we can feel a muscle of which we had never previously been aware.
When the stove burners have cooled at night, we read books about eating. Their covers are never glossy, but they're always cheerful. We leave the books on the kitchen table, with magazine subscription offer cards between the pages each of us thinks require emphasis. We read about sweeteners, natural and artificial. We read about stevia, zylitol, aspartame and fructose, all performing multiple tasks with different disguises.
“Don't piss me off,” he says, aiming a half-empty bottle of agave nectar at my head.
by Erin Fitzgerald