1 prose piece
by jessica hite
jessica hite is a twenty-nine year old poet living in the united states. her work focuses on identity and self-discovery as a black woman navigating the current social landscapes, as well as the impact of black women in the world of art and poetry.
it’s fall. the romance of your marriage is wilting.
you wake up and the bed is already cold on his side. you remember mornings when you couldn’t tell which pair of legs were your own, so tightly were you pressed against each other. now the space is hollow, and you roll out of bed thinking about phantom limbs and the indescribable loss of intimacy.
the coldness of the tile floor seeps into your feet as you brush your teeth. you’ve got a lot of limbs missing at the moment. there is no fullness in your morning anymore. no sleepy shuffling around each other. no shoulder kisses or the tickling of fresh stubble. just the sound of water running and your face in the mirror.
you pull your curls back because he hasn’t swept them from your neck and told you he loves your hair down in a long time. only a strong breeze does that now, and you don’t need a reminder of places his hands have lost.
coffee while you fix your lunch. at least this is something the two of you still share; coffee from the same pot. your mornings are here, mingled in the dark liquid as you remember hurried kisses and laughter because you kept pulling him back for one more. you remember little arms reaching before an equally small body was scooped up with a shrill of giggles—but there is no laughter this morning.
he sits in the back seat and you think he has your husband’s frown when you tell him that his father won’t be at the game tonight. this breaks your heart the most because you cannot tend to that sadness—an abundance from you will not erase the lack from him.
work is a blur. you lose yourself in the routine. it’s all muscle memory now: nurse. mother. wife—you can do them with your eyes closed because no one is really paying attention.
you leave early and run home for a change of clothes. then you try to remember that you are not a single mother, and that your husband is just busy as you get looks and questions—whispers eating at your ears.
that night, as you watch him shuffle in, you wonder how you got there. you wonder what he’s looking at when he kisses your cheek and heats up the leftovers you put out. you wonder if it’s all muscle memory for him too. you wonder that when he rolls over onto his side instead of onto you. the silk negligee almost burns against your skin when you hear his soft snore. a few seconds later it’s in the trash and you’re in the same old, ratty t-shirt and shorts.
it’s fall and the romance of your marriage is dead.