One night, as my husband and I were lying in bed reading different novels:
“God, you’re lazy,” he suddenly said.
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“You’ve done nothing but slack off these last four years.” We’d gotten married five years earlier. “Why don’t you do something worthwhile for a change?”
“What the hell brought this on?” I asked, feeling like a no-good punk kid.
“Reading this book. The author wrote it when she was twenty-eight and won a Pulitzer. She also wrote the movie version and won an Oscar for best adapted screenplay.”
“Which proves that people love pseudo-literary shit.”
My husband and I used to write pseudo-literary shit. He worked at a mortgage company; I blogged for whatever progressive website I could.
“Oh, please don’t use your so-called discriminating taste to justify your laziness,” he spat at me.
“Let me guess. You got turned down for a raise again.”
“How much money do you earn?”
“Enough not to be an ass-kisser.”
He grabbed my novel out of my hands and tossed it at the wall facing us, narrowly missing the framed chinoiserie print we’d bought at the antique store.
“Happy reading!” he shouted before storming out of the bedroom and sleeping on the futon.
Later, after the divorce, I would write a somewhat-pervy story starring a thinly-disguised version of him. I sold the story to my old literary magazine. We haven’t spoken since our marriage ended, so I don’t know if he read the tale, nor do I care, though I should have told him that pseudo-literary was better than non-literary—you know, more accessible for most people, easier for them to handle, like watering down their liquor.
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August 20, 2015 (revised August 21, 2015)
Copyright © 2015 by David V. Matthews