fifteen >

I am not leaving my wife. I made it as far as the Waffle House before turning back. I ate nine plates of bacon, two chocolate pies, and washed it all down with four glasses of milk. I put in two dollars at the jukebox. It was on my last song when I puked twice in the bathroom. I forgot to lock the door. In between heaves a man walked in.

"Hello," I said.
"Oh God," he said.
He walked out.

I washed my hands and was freaked out by the sign next to the soap dispenser. It said EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS but it didn't say whose.

I wondered whose hands my waitress had washed. I wondered where she may have gotten them. I needed to talk with someone about this.

I looked for the man who had walked in on me earlier. He wasn't there. I started hearing music coming from my pants. I took out my cell phone and flipped it open.

"Yes," I said.
It was my wife.

She asked if I wanted my old baseball glove. She was falling apart without me. I had never played baseball. Or even had a glove.

"Whose hands did you have to wash," I said.
"Is that a bible reference."
"When you worked at the coffee place."
"That was before we were married. You know that."

I was distracted. I was thinking how strange it was to be talking on a phone. To have another human's voice going through my ear into my brain. I wasn't sure my wife had ever had a body. I wasn't sure this was my wife. I was afraid my brain would forget how to process the words coming from another voice and I would be unable to keep talking on the phone.

This was embarrassing. Four-year-olds are capable of talking on the phone. I needed to lie down. I needed to hear her voice come from a body I could touch.

"I'm coming home," I said.
"I know."

She paused. I realized these weren't nighttime or weekend minutes. I hoped neither of us would regret that later. And maybe this was proof of how recklessly we loved each other. I started sweating.

"I'll put your glove on the bottom of the stairs," she said. "It still looks good. Like it's nice and worn in."
"It's made to look that way. My hand bleeds every time I put it on."

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