by Alexandra Watson
He grows exhausted of her: the way she squeezes toothpaste from the top instead of rolling up the bottom, how she references literature in their fights to remind him of her education, the slight click in her jaw when she chews, the rusty taste of her mouth. Before they were minor things, now they are all she is.
They’d met in the teacher break room at the high school where he’d subbed for years; she’d taken a spot in the English department a little under a year ago. He didn’t get called in today, so he sits watching the Twilight Zone marathon and drinking ice cold beer, occasionally lighting the same joint he rolled right after she left that morning.
She gets home early that afternoon and finds him in the kitchen, sliding the last empty beer bottle into the twelve-pack box. She looks weary in a way he recognizes; a tiredness from too much noise and too much fighting, not enough windows and not enough textbooks. When she sees him, she grabs the back of his neck to pull him towards her mouth. He recoils, as if the kiss has sent a static shock through him.
Sam doesn’t want to ask, but he does, in a voice that speaks miles of flat terrain, “How was your day?”
She replies, “You make me feel Lilliputian.”