What was I to do with a boyfriend as preter-fucking-naturally nice as you?
You were so nice. So normal. Your family a happy, well, family.
Unbroken. A Mom, Dad and three older brothers, all dark hair and eyes
where you were light. You led me into your world of flannel shirts.
And your fondness for music by whiny, white male singers of
yesterday. It just made you all the more annoyingly endearing.
Everyone said what a great guy you were. And you were. A great guy.
When you brought me to your family’s house, up in Beckett, over Christmas
I didn’t fret to find the right answers to your mother’s questions
about my ambitions for college. I just pressed my thigh against yours
while we shared the back seat of the Volvo. That night we went to town
and the main street was flocked with snow, bright lights shone
in every window. The sweet scene, punctuated with gumdrop
garland on a tree, was Rockwellian. Recognition of the print
framed in your den back home. Your life was that ideal to me.
I felt we could not work. It was fixed. Like fate, the stars, the fact that
our town would never have a movie theater but always too many
hair salons and pizzerias, forever the tacky stepsister to the town
next door. Sure your father liked me. You said he found me spunky.
But your mother didn’t like the way we lay on the couch watching TV.
Being older, and not Catholic, and from one of the few
broken families in town, I already had three strikes against me.
There were moments, when we walked across that frozen lake,
and it was like we were the only two in the world that morning.
I could almost forget about it all and just be happy
to have your mittened hand holding mine. But something
had to happen. My foot slipped through a recent fishing hole,
and I was chastened, my jeans frozen up to my thigh.