That's the thing isn't it? Just the thing. Anytime, anywhere, any small biting coincidence. Or just some conclusion after a long series of mistakes, and words you shouldn't have said. And I get to think about that through the incessant buzz of everything in every corner of this goddamn place while Mary turns on taps and turns off taps and pitter-patters around the wet floor square we call a bathroom. And I bite down on my tongue so I don't snap at her.
I love her, sure. But god, god, sometimes. Sometimes I hate her.
She doesn't answer, she's turning on taps. She's picking things up and putting them down and focusing very hard on the mirror.
I close my eyes and grit my teeth. She walks by me, past the bed, and I watch her while she peers through the blinds. There are flies. Fly paper strips doing nothing to stop them. Traps never seem to work. I've never seen a mouse in a mouse trap other than on the TV. I've seen mice walk right round it and back into its hole, giving me the look as it goes. Fucking Jerry.
But people lay traps anyway. In all honesty it's easier to trap a human than any other animal. Curiosity made us the dominant race but kills us just as often. Our making and downfall.
The lights are flickering. Mary's strutting around in her little pyjama shorts and a vest. She's sweating as much as I am. The slowly rotating fan in the corner is buzzing buzzing away, pushing the hot air around the room. Its slow movement is infuriating next to Mary's jittery ones.
She struts back past me to the bathroom and pulls the curtain shut. There's no door. No privacy in this damn room.
I should go out. Pull on some clothes and leave. Go sit at a bus stop for a few hours and pretend I'm going somewhere. Better than sitting here naked, plastered to the bed.
Mary closes the cabinet loudly. She's mad because her cat died. Not like I killed it. Curiosity did. What's on the other side of the road? Should've worried about what's driving down it. And how fast. Whatever Jerry was on the other side, doubt it was worth Tom's death.
She's mad just because. She's mad because of me, because I do nothing. Nothing different, but nothing enough to make her happy. There's no new happiness. It's a tired happiness, the kind we've known for so long that it's dull.
We're so bored. Frustrated with our flat happiness. We're flat Cola.
Mary comes back in. She walks around the room, roots through her bag, looks at things on the table, picks them up, feels them, slams them back down. Never uses them, she's just distracting herself, always moving. Like those people who can't stand silence, they talk for the sake of it. She doesn't have anything important to say. Nothing important to do. She just struts around, her blonde hair stuck to the back of her neck.
My eyes itch.
She doesn't look at me. She sits on the bed and opens a book.
She throws the book across the room and gets up. She grabs her shoes and the keys and walks out the door, slamming it behind her, briefly covering the dingy room with bright light. A minute later I see her shadow through the blind as she walks by, her shoes on, those ratty green converse. I bet she can feel the hot pavement through the soles, worn thin. She'll bake. She'll come back more tanned, more burnt, covered in more sweat. She'll taste like salt and she'll say its sweat, but there's tears mixed in. Or is she too angry to cry. Either way. Buckets and buckets of salt.
I lie until it gets dark, the flies buzzing, and the fan breaks. The flowers I got for her are by the window in a cup. They're brown now but they were yellow once.
She isn't back hours later, and I wonder if she'll come back at all. But she will. She always comes back. We hate each other but we love each other. Or, at least, we've forgotten how to be apart from each other. It'd be uncomfortable, and take too long to get used to. And she can't bear that. Like losing a hand. You could manage, but it would be uncomfortable.
Later she wakes me up as she walks back in. It feels cooler now. I feign sleep.
"Dan. Dan. Dan."
I feign sleep.
In a smaller voice now.
I roll over and put my arm around her, and she sleeps in her clothes and her worn out shoes.
I can smell the salt.