That quote from Rebecca Rosenblum is about Emily’s debut novel, The Weather Inside.
Here’s an excerpt…
Henry and I’ve been married one year, but we’ve been in love for at least 6000—back when dinosaurs and man roamed the earth together. When I’m trying to be romantic, I rest my chin on Henry’s collarbone and whisper our origin story. “Remember? When that pterodactyl stole your hat? When I chased him through the lava field, hiked up the plates of that stegosaurus…”
A one-year anniversary is extra special, so we’re trying to do it in the shower. We tried other places first. On the wingback chair, my horrible rug, the Ikea Bjorkudden table. Never the bed, though; Henry knows not to bother with the bed anymore. So three minutes ago, he picked me up like a sack of rocks, twisting a knot into his back, and plopped me down in the shower. It’s not going well. I’ve been standing in the same spot for too long. The water is pelting the back of my neck and hurting me like I didn’t know water could. I complain, so Henry toggles the head to massage. The water still stings, only now at a predictable pulse. I know when the pang is coming, and where it will hit, and I brace for it. I can’t focus. I can’t relax. And because of his knotted back, Henry is having trouble holding me up against the black-and-white checkered tile wall, which is what he needs to do. If this is going to work, Henry’s going to have to be the strong one.
That checkered tile wall is posing another problem. It’s incomplete, a failure at everything a wall is supposed to be. Separate, define, delineate, conceal. This wall does none of that because of a maddening half-inch gap between it and the ceiling that the landlord refuses to fix. Something about failing lath bases and key strength? It would cost him thousands, he says, which we are not worth. I tried to repair it when I first moved in. Bought caulking at Home Depot, loaded the gun, cut the tip off the tube and pulled the trigger. A pleasing flow of wet, messy silicone snaked out. When the length of the gap was filled, I licked my thumb and dragged it along. The seal was perfect, so I left to let it dry. I felt like what a man must feel most days—making a mess then smoothing it over and walking away. By the next morning, though, the caulking had separated from the ceiling and dripped down the wall. Our neighbour—Canadian Idol champ Billy Pfeiffer—must have showered, the chemical runoff of his Axe body wash turning the unset silicon into a leaking paste. I should have said something to him, warned him. Maybe I will today; put a stop to the war of our shampoos when they meet in the crack: the tarry punch of my medicinal scalp treatment vs. Billy Pfeiffer’s Old Spice musk. Or maybe I’ll give up and accept that some holes are just impossible to fill.
Sounds pass through the crack too, the noises of our most private moments. Like right now. When I moan that this shower sex isn’t working. When Henry says “maybe it would if you took off your bra and underwear and hiking sandals.” When I sob against the tile. When Henry crashes out and slams the door. When I leap from the shower to try and lock the door even though there’s only living room light and Henry’s tense bum shining through the hole where the lock used to be. Henry took a screwdriver to the lock when I moved in. Said it was broken, used to trap him inside without warning, so he pried it out. For my safety. I still reach for a lock, though; it’s instinctual. A little button I can press or a dial I can turn, clicking me inside and out of reach.
Henry took the only clean towel so the tracks I make to him are slippery. He’s slouched on the futon and drying the crevices behind his ears with intention, as if crevices matter. I join him, sit close to him, closer, snuggle on his lap, graft my limbs onto his like a new kind of tree. He’s warm from the shower and the anger and now me. I am three quarters naked, more naked than Henry has ever seen me in the daylight, but he looks me in the eye.
“Happy anniversary,” he says. And I smile and nod.
We’ve been lying to each other for 6000 years.