Three-quarters through a handle of Early Times, my wife and I celebrate the memory of noted American author Raymond Carver. I call nine-year-old Eric, “her mouthy teenage son.” She heaves my shoes across the yard. An ashtray sails through the stormdoor of the rental house. She makes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches instead of ham. I throw them on the kitchen floor. She kicks the dog and sulks against the chimney, staining a blouse.
We search all the winter coats for loose change. Drop Eric at her mother’s. Sneak a pint of Teacher’s into Jim’s Bar to keep things going through Happy Hour. A couple joins us in a booth. Another. Everyone talks about love. Consumed with envy, we rush home to fuck. Instead, I drink the champagne she’s been saving for New Year’s Eve, claiming imminent refrigerator failure. She chops up my art supplies with a wood maul, tells me she’s been fucking her supervisor. I punch her face till bones snap, feed the last of her vitamins to a guinea pig I insist is actually a Vietnam veteran who keeps saying, “pussy.” She suggests I move out. I tell her to cheer up. “Tomorrow it’s Cheever.”