Mars and Venus: A Dialogue
Man sets his phone down next to him, too tired to throw it. When he
was Young Man, it would have taken three days to find all the pieces.
But he’s not. Young. The message was from her dad, Wife’s dad,
wondering why his little girl was crying. Why Man called her a bitch.
Man would roll his eyes, but even that’s too tiring. Man sighs.
There had been a fight, not more than an hour before, the origin lost.
Something about clothes being folded. Or not folded. Or folded
wrong. You never help around the house, Wife said. Man couldn’t
believe it, started going through the list of all he had done: washed
clothes, unloaded the dishwasher, mowed the lawn, fed the dogs, folded
clothes wrong. I didn’t mean never, Wife said. Yeah, Man said, you
meant never enough. Don’t be an asshole, Wife said. I’m sorry, Man
said, not yelling, it seems bitchy to leave things undone as a test.
Don’t call me a bitch, Wife said. I didn’t call you a bitch, Man said,
I said it seems bitchy. Same thing, Wife said. Man couldn’t believe
it, and minutes before he ignored his father-in-law’s incoming call, he
thought about pointing out she had just called him an asshole. But
Wife was gone by then and besides, it would’ve been too late the moment
he gripped his head with both hands and yelled, This is fucking
insane. Don’t swear at me, Wife said, starting to cry. I didn’t swear
at you, Man said. I swore near you, around you, in your general
vicinity, but I didn’t swear at you. Same thing, Wife said, and Man
couldn’t believe it, slammed his fist on the table, rattling the
centerpiece of Oriental teacups on their ceramic tray, teacups he
wasn’t sure were Oriental or Asian, and watched as Wife jumped back
like he slapped her. I’m leaving, Wife said. I hit the table, not you,
Man said. You have issues, she said, and Man watched as she snatched
her keys from the counter and went to the car crying. Now man sits on
his couch, sets his phone down. He can’t believe it. He picks up the
remote and leans back in the leather recliner. Man sighs.
Jared Ward has had work accepted at West Wind Review, Evansville Review, New Delta Review, Concho River Review, Barrelhouse, Hobart, and others. He just finished his 16 year undergrad plan, and will attend the University of Arkansas MFA Creative Writing Program in the Fall.