I like him better when we’re on vacation and I don’t think he’d disagree. I’d never ask, I don’t suppose; we don’t talk like that. I don’t know what we talk about. He was sweet, though—playful, boyish and attentive, with his sunscreened nose and his silly sunglasses, and I thought: If he could be like this at home, I might stay. Our first night back he found clothes in his suitcase, clearly not his—not his style, not his colors—because they had color and style. I braced myself for what might follow and left the room to listen from a distance. I made cocoa and drank it and petted the dog a little too hard and waited for something like thunder. Instead he came down dressed like somebody else and filled the blender with fruit and ice, a splash of rum, pineapple juice, another splash of rum or two, and flicked the switch, whistling all the while. He caught my eye as he brought down the holiday glasses: Whatcha drinkin’, girlie? he asked me, quoting someone, and poured the drinks. I don’t know who he thought he was. I didn’t care to know. He surprised me while my head was tilted back, draining the last of my glass, and knocked the stool down scooping me up, and somehow managed to get my pants off by the time he laid me down. And did everything I asked him. I woke up muddled in the morning light, but gathered my focus to watch and wave as he left for work dressed like a tourist in the islands, whistling. I spent the day unpacking, remembering one sun-blinded, glorious day for each garment I folded and put away and wondering who will come home tonight and who he’ll be dressed as.

Copyright © July 15, 2007 David Hodges