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
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.