Just smile all the time

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Wilco – How To Fight Loneliness

Madeleine idly stared out the window of the oversized speedboat that acted as the ferry between Langkawi and Penang, old reclining airplane seats eight across the belly of the hull. Her husband, Jay, slept, mouth open, on her olive-toned shoulder.

They weren’t in love. She knew that.

They’d been married a year. Two years ago, at a New Year’s Eve party, she’d surprised herself by leaning up to kiss him on the mouth at midnight. When their drunken lips parted she said, “Oh,” and he said, “Well then.”

After a year of dating, when he couldn’t think of any substantial reason to dump her and saw no other recourse but to propose, she said yes because it had always been her secret dream to not have to work. She quit her job as a temp secretary and spent the days at the gym and picked up hobbies weekly and generally was content. He worked in insurance or something. She wasn’t quite sure in what capacity but the checks never bounced and her car had leather seats so she didn’t much care.

He snorted and shifted slightly in his sleep, and she felt the cool on her side where his heat had so recently been.

When, after a day laying out on the sugar-white sand, she rubbed aloe into his pink skin, giggling at his ginger misfortune, were her hands any less tender than those of any other wife?

Sometimes, like on this vacation to Langkawi, she saw single people, chirpy and chatty in new red bathing suits. Maybe there really were happy, going back to hostels to fuck each other and reveling in each independent decision. Maybe she was projecting how lonely and downright bored she’d felt while single. Either way, she didn’t envy them.

Madeleine and Jay’s relationship was comfortable, two worlds intersected by shared space and experience but without much regard or emotion toward the other, like siblings. Siblings who fucked sporadically; their marriage was loveless, not sexless.

She ran a finger down his freckled bicep, feeling the sun’s trapped heat emanate off his usually pale skin. With the corner of her mouth, she kissed the top of his head and she felt nothing. [Summerteeth.]

One Response to “Just smile all the time”

  1. Required Name says:

    This seems like the type of marriage that usually lasts.

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