“It was a wedding gift from my parents, so technically the bed set is mine,” my wife says, assured I didn’t see the condom wrapper beneath the box spring.
I fix a vodka-tonic in the one glass that isn’t wrapped in newspaper and packed in a cardboard box: a Montana mug with a cartoon cowboy riding a bronco, one arm waving in the air. I bought the glass in motel gift shop on our honeymoon, long before the ugliness unpacked.
“But you slept with another man in that bed. Do you see what I’m saying?”
She stares at the glass like she is staring into a cave, a deep and baffling darkness. “I see,” she says.
Sunlight floods the kitchen. Outside, a U-Haul is parked in the driveway. “I’ll take the frame, and you can have the mattress and box spring,” I say.
“I’ll take the frame, and you can have the mattress and box spring.”
“Why would I want to sleep on some other man’s semen stains?”
“You make it sound like I did it all the time.”
“Once was enough.” I’ve lost my driver’s license for the second time, my second DUI, but I have no choice but to drive the U-Haul that a friend rented for me. In a few weeks, I’ll try to quit drinking, I’ll go to meetings, but it won’t stick.
Buzzed by the vodka in my blood, I rinse out the glass and wrap it in the obituary page—Leonard Boyle, dead at 63, left behind his wife Helen. “You can have the bed set.”
“Where are you going to sleep?”
“On the couch that I’m taking instead.”
Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is the author of three collections of poetry and a collection of short stories, He has an MFA in fiction writing from The University of New Hampshire and teaches high school. A memoir titled Hangover Breakfasts will be published by Bottle of Smoke Press this summer. For more information, visit his website at www.nathangraziano.com.
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