The woman in front of me has an emerald green pea coat, so naturally I am back in
Ireland. He said driving on the wrong side of the road was no big deal, so long as it
wasn’t a narrow country road with a wide tractor puffing past. But we smoothed
everything over with thick beer, national radio stories about “those bad boys from Cork,”
and merry music at the pub that played all night.
It’s so humid and uncomfortable down here, and now I’m back in Costa Rica and our
jungle-side room with the light dusting of mold on the walls. “The parrots! The monkeys!
The green sideways-running lizards!” I told him on the plane, just before I napped on his
arm and he played with my hair. I know I dreamed of adventures in wait.
We bought a well-appointed condo on the east side the year before we were married.
We were smug young professionals, him at a powerhouse real estate agency, me at a
slick marketing company, and boy did we enjoy opening new bottles of wine on our
twinkly rooftop garden. “This one came from that Napa tour,” he said, pouring it into
oversized glasses with owls etched on the side. I could hear people below, leaving the
office, going to dinner, waiting to meet a stranger, but we’d created such an enchanting
world that my own community grew dimmer and dimmer as I lay in his light.
A man leaves the line, his phone dancing in his palm, and we all shift forward in a slow
tango. Heat, bad air, anger, low lights: how does anyone work down here? What’s this
I never had less than the best; than every upgrade, juiciest cut, thickest threads,
sleekest car, cutlery that would never, could never, tarnish or bend. We were twenty-five
year-old dream-stealers. But when we lost the baby at twenty-five weeks, then I knew.
At some point the nurse put ink on the baby’s feet and captured two black smudges for
the baby book. I wasn’t really aware of this, or his whereabouts, or anything except the
sudden absence inside me. The rest of the baby book pages remained blank. I finally
used it all as kindling last night. The glossy pages made the fire blue.
By twenty-eight, I knew we were very different; he was the manager, and I stayed the
same. He was away on indulgent trips by himself, luring more clients and cash, and I
stayed behind. He confidently took the road we’d paved together, while I turned off and
walked the city fields alone.
I hung on until thirty-three, today, my birthday. Last night my friend and I sat on my bed
together while he was downstairs filing acquisition paperwork. He was floors away, but
we whispered, because he didn’t know.
“Well,” she said, staring blankly at our comforter, “Most historians think Jesus died at
thirty-three. So really, you have a whole second life ahead of you. You’re just going to
start right over. You made it further than He did.”
It’s my turn in the basement. “Yes?” says the man in white behind the counter.
“I’m here to file divorce papers,” I tell him, sliding a stack under the glass.
“Sounds good,” he says, smacking the top layer with an inky date stamper.
This story reveals one couple’s outcome after experiencing the highs of early life success.