The Boiler

Nicole Homer

ME, 2009, 121 LBS IN JEANS AND A T-SHIRT;
ME 2015, 128 lbs, IN A BATHING SUIT, SMILING

There are two pictures in my wallet: not my dead father, not my dead grandmother, not even my wedding. Instead, two photographs of you. Standing alone, each deliberate line of your body an invitation. I am not supposed to miss you. My mother never liked angles of face. Never sat quietly by while your cheekbones swallowed me whole. She reminds me, over cake and soda, of your wrists: how untrustworthy each countable bone was. Her twenty-eight teeth look at me and say, “Eat. Let the sleeping and bony dogs of your past lay still.”  I lick my index finger and the slick of spit is  glue;  I press it into the lace of the tablecloth and swallow each errant crumb. When the man I love is fucking me, I am thinking of you. He can tell. It is in how my eyes searchlight the ceiling over his left shoulder. How I draw the blinds. Will only let him slip his tongue inside my shadow. I turn the heat down, use the Jersey winter as excuse to hide under at least two covers. I have to imagine that he is fucking you just so I can climax. When are you coming back? I still have all your things hanging in my closet: the old skin of failure. Ranging in size from 2 to 20. Every morning, I try on something else of yours that does not fit. I am not supposed to miss you like this. The feminists will say I have watched too much television, eaten too many glossy-faced magazines. But I am afraid I am going to crush my lover. Shame him in front of the collarbones of his co-workers. How do I come with that thought heavy in my belly? My mother will say she warned me about tricks the body will play on a woman; she will say this from within the frame diabetes has carved down to an eight. My husband will say he loves me just the way I am. Then he will give up red meat and alert me every time he goes to the gym so that I might join him. My wedding ring has begun biting into my finger. It is trying to escape. Because I do not deserve this – this man, his pelvis and well-polished shoes – but you do. I allow myself one pair of jeans. Will not buy more. Not when there is a closet full of your clothes and I should fit them. I do not deserve better or more or comfortable. But you do.

Oh I imagine how it will be when you finally get home: I will watch you try on all of my pants at least once. You will measure how far away from the concave of you we can pull the waistband and we will laugh and laugh. And laugh. When you get home, we will eat nothing but organic spinach and compliments. And I will be so small, so small. Like a tunnel shrinking behind you on the horizon. So small. Something you had to get through to get back home where you were missed.

__________________________

Nicole Homer is (a): Writer. Teacher. Nerd. Mother. Backyard deer watcher. Stovetop popcorn popper. Treehugger. Gardener. Curmudgeon. Part Roseanne Conner, part Sarah Connor. #Sockcurator of an immaculate collection. Collector of #cheesyworkoutshirts. She lives online at http://nicolehomer.com/