My First Marriage

In January, he makes her round. She smiles and rubs her belly. He looks at her and says that she looks like a snowflake. She makes snow angels in the back of the store. Maybe I am a real angel, she thinks. Real angels have wings, she thinks. She goes inside and makes wings out of cardboard boxes. He decides not to move to the other county.

He is not as strong as she thinks he is. He weeps in the forest and makes little cuts in his arm. The winter makes the world look like it is covered in a white cloak. They cannot see me under the cloak, he thinks. She does look like a snowflake, he thinks. He continues to weep in the forest.

When it is spring, he buys her. She costs $5.75 and weighs more than he thinks she should weigh. It is difficult for him to carry her home. He tells her that she is like a log that is made of lead. The log would sink in the pond, he thinks.

“You should lose weight.” He says.
“I am round.” She says.
“When will you not be round?” He asks.
“When the baby is born.” She says.
“When is the baby born?” He asks.

In May, he stops listening to her. He starts to think about the men in the alley. The men that look like dogs. At least they don’t tell me they weigh less than mules, he thinks. It is more often, then, that he gets drunk and starts to make zig-zags in his hair. He does not go into the forest to cry anymore. The men pat him on the back and tell him he should learn how to swim.

In the summer, she is left in a cage for most of the time. The cage has thin bars but she cannot fit through them. She does not like sitting in the cage. When he comes home, he is drunk and he smells like he has made babies with barmaids and women who think that the in and out is a game that is like hide and seek.

“Why else would the women undress in the men’s room?”
“I don’t know.” She says.
“Because they think it makes them invisible.” He says.
“Oh.” She says.

She does not understand because she is round like a watermelon. Actually, she looks more like a balloon. Her face is puffy and it looks like she is sick. The one window in the house has been closed and it is hot in the house. Her cage is in the middle of the house. It is hot in the cage. She is hot.

“That way we cannot see them.” He continues, after he has taken off his shoes. He does not look at her. I paid too much for her, he thinks. “And that is not making babies if the women think we cannot see them. Also, the women think it is not cheating on their husbands if they do not have clothes on.” He adds.

“Oh.” She says. “Can I come out of the cage?” She asks him.
“I am tired.” He says and lies on the mattress in the other room.


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