On Tender Hooks

Published at The Massachusetts Review

Seattle. 1931.

You tell them no one listens to new wives.

Ironically, you say it expecting them to listen.

You say it to Lou, who says he didn’t marry you for conversation, then dodges your fists. You say it to Mardi, who shrugs and says it’s not just new wives, but all wives that get the short shrift. You say it within earshot of, but not directly to, your Dad, who’s distracted as usual, but not the way he’s always been. When he came home, he brought with him an entire set of new distractions. But now you’re distracted too. Distracted by a new name, by a new house, by a duty to make babies.

What does that even mean? Duty. It means at least as much as mother, a thing you know nothing about, not having one yourself. Of course you had one—everybody has one. But yours only held on long enough to let go.

(Read the rest at The Massachusetts Review)