because I'm sure that's what she calls me – on the phone with her best friend or mother or therapist, her voice brittle with loathing and the pain of pretending she doesn't know. I can see the way she strains herself, trying to construct my face from hang-up calls and the perfume on his shirts. Her mouth trembles when she speaks of me.

It will continue this way until she breaks. I will be the cause of Thanksgiving's burnt dinner, of the fight that spoils Sunday evening for all of them. But she will keep herself from recognizing me; she will send me Christmas cards where they are smiling, leave me voicemails asking me to call her soon. She will invite me to dinner.

I will decline.


A/N: This is a short story/narrative I'm working on for Creative Writing. Originally, it was from the point of view of the wife.. but I kind of like this better. Most or all of it should be up by Wednesday. It's going to be in short sections, sorry.