by Matt Brousseau
“I love you,” she says. “Let me count the ways..."
“Seven,” I laugh.
She gives me her dirtiest look, the one that poisoned the fish. Or maybe it just broke the filter. Either way, super dirty.
I ask, “Six?” She moves to high-five my face.
I duck and pick up our cat. He’s been coughing all day. Our eyes meet. He gives me a look that says, “Meow.”
Shuffling around the carpet I find my shoes. The cat’s hair stands on end. I open the bedroom door and rush out, both of us receiving a static shock from the doorknob. The cat meows and jumps to the floor, coughing four times, then following my electric wake.
I exit through a front door, forgetting to open the screen door. An important lesson about screens is learned. Blood rushes to fill the newly formed gaps in my skin.
Three seconds later she arrives with a two-handed shove. My body exits the house without opening the door. My mind, confused, stays inside to wait it out.
“Are we out of cereal?” It asks.
My feet answer by running to the car, the soft grass unnoticed until my toes hit the gravel driveway. Blood teams with rock dust to fill the newly formed cracks in my feet.
I open the driver-side door with my hand and open my head with the driver-side door frame. My mind returns as blood leaves my temple. “We’re out of cereal,” it says.
The cat jumps into the passenger side window. The soft thud reminds me to roll the windows down. They squeak as they fall. The cat meows as he lands, this time inside the car, this time with a look that says, “Meow?” I win our staring contest when he coughs.
My shopping list lays on my dash. I look at it as I turn the key in the ignition. “Buy Gas.” The engine starts. Then it purrs. Then it coughs and dies. I look at the cat. He smiles. Then he coughs.
I move to exit the car as she arrives. “And one more thing,” she says, her fist aimed at my head. I turn and my chin cushions the blow.
Abandoning the car, my face cushions the gravel driveway for my skull.
Somewhere a cat coughs.
My mind mumbles, "Blastoff," and exits.