The Quotable

Growing Out

Lynn’s job was to tell me what I thought. Mine was to deny his accuracy.

He once spent three months building a boat. Said there was no better feeling than creating something that did some work for you. He always liked saying, “Why do you think we have cars and religion?”

When the boat was finished he decided to heat our house with bits of stern and bow.

We had been married long enough. You could tell by the amount of time we spent driving somewhere else. Most days were burned in bookstores where we sat on opposite sides of the room, yelling passages back and forth. He sat in the kids section, reciting his favorite Dr. Seuss; I put my back to a wall he couldn’t see and told him I loved him.

One evening we decided to take a walk down Michigan Ave. We carried a bottle of water, a step counter and a bag of Lays potato chips. We walked past joggers, ran past men in motorized wheel chairs (are you Christian, I wanted to ask), and fake-threw sticks at dogs on leashes.

At the end of the street there was a stoplight that stayed yellow longer than it should have. I noticed his shadow. The ground was hard. There were college kids everywhere in the winter months. During the summer they go home to family and free cable. Every year new ones crop up, still walking close enough to friends to bump shoulders.

Lynn scratched his.

“On three,” he said. “We’ll race across, get a sub with extra tomatoes or pepper, a large drink, maybe. Small if they have free refills. We’ll eat on the curb if you want. And I love you, too.”

That night we fucked and stayed home. The cigarettes we had were broken and tarry. They were years old and cheap. We got them as a gift one Christmas from a cousin who urged us to quit. They were covered in dust and guilt and smelled like skunks. We smoked them anyway.

Sitting on the bed that night I noticed how big Lynn’s belly had gotten, and I loved it. We played scrabble until morning with a board that was missing all the vowels and tore pages from the most expensive dictionary we had.


E. Jones is disappointed in Anthony Sullivan.

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