The man said he was sorry. Not for anything he did, but because each time the woman cried, a faraway star would die, and the man had always been fond of stars. At one point he had also been fond of the woman, but that was a long time ago—her hair the color of dawn.
The woman said it was alright. Not that it was, but someone had to make dinner, and it sure as hell wasn’t going to be the man. She remembered how the man was once a very good cook. She remembered how this was perhaps his best quality. She remembered how he once had dreams of opening his own restaurant.
“We’ll call it Oscars,” he said. “Kind of rolls off the tongue don’t it?”
“Yeah,” she said. In truth, it reminded her of that creature on Sesame Street, the one who hated everyone. Would it have killed the producers to let him out of the garbage every now and then? Was it a punishment? Was it a choice?
To raise money, the man and woman had a garage sale. They sold many beautiful things at large discounted prices. They sold many ugly things for even less. While negotiating the price of an old trumpet that had belonged to the man’s father, their kid ran into the street. There was a crunching sound. After that, they didn’t talk about the restaurant.
After dinner, they cleaned the kitchen and went upstairs. There they tried things the woman read in an issue of Cosmopolitan.
“You’re not doing it right,” she said.
“I know,” he said.
Her suspicion that the man had never used the yoga mat she bought him for his birthday was confirmed. This was an idea she found in an issue of Cosmopolitan. The article promised that a simple yoga mat had the power to turn a man “into a sensitive yogi with the power to fulfill every sexual desire.” The article mentioned nothing about what to do if said man never used the mat. Hopefully this would be addressed in next month’s issue.
So that he could finish, the man was busy pretending that the woman was anyone but his wife. He never meant for things to be this way, they just happened— that was all. Tonight’s replacement was Carmen Electra circa 1999. His back began to hurt. Maybe in the morning he’d try to find that yoga mat.
“You never look at me when we’re making love,” she said. The woman had been warned of this in an issue of Cosmopolitan. Outside, the stars were falling one by one—the moon darkly rising.