Listen to your family when they tell you it’s time to find someone. Contemplate buying a dog; feel the tumbleweeds inside your chest grow weary.
Walk into a dive bar and float around the edges. Introduce yourself as a downward spiral. Wait for someone to respond that they are a helium balloon — let them take you home
Go to their home. Make yourself at home. Make a home inside their rib cage and lie across their heart like it’s a queen-sized mattress. Turn on the TV and press fast forward.
Exchange numbers, playlists, memories, wedding bands. Exchange words of love until you run out of things to say. Start filling your home with the sound of two television shows playing simultaneously.
Order eight pounds and two ounces of cement to patch the holes in your relationship — wait 9 months for it arrive. Learn how to argue behind closed doors after 7 p.m.
Notice a familiar ring abandoned behind scented bottles on the dresser. Become accustomed to the taste of microwavable lo mein and loneliness.
Admire the juxtaposition of a child’s growth against your wilting vows. Tell your child that Mommy and Daddy are only playing the Quiet Game because they need a nap.
Tell your spouse you want a dog to match their bitch.
Suggest talking, suggest counseling, suggest a vacation, suggest a break. Hold your kindergartner in your arms as you brace for the suggestion. Wait three days. Sign the papers.
Tear photographs in half and take the pieces that mean something. Carry your child’s clothes in a duffel bag.
Take your child to a new apartment. Adopt a dog and name it Freedom. Feel the dust start to settle. Tell your family they were right all along.
Sarah Stock is a student at Carroll University in Wisconsin.