A Memoirish Thing

On Being a Real Writer
September 16, 2015
Letter to the Universe
March 28, 2017

So, my husband goes, “What are you writing?”
And I go, “A memoirish thing.”
I don’t want to admit it. He reads non-fiction all the time—about somebody who went to the moon or who survived Everest or who invented an airline. Famous people who DID something with their lives. What have you done, he’ll ask me. I know it. But he doesn’t.
“What do you have so far?” he says.
I say, “You want to read it? Really?”
Then I think, he’s your husband, you dope. Of course he wants to read it. It’s about you and he loves you. Yeah, but will he love you after he reads it?
He puts on his little reading glasses. He buys them in a six-pack at BJ’s. He buys his underwear there too. They come in six-packs also. Yesterday, we were in BJ’s wheeling around with our enormous cart, and I go, “You want to buy some more underwear?”
“No,” he says. “I have plenty.”
I can’t help giving him grief about it. Every single time we go to BJ’s, I say, “Let’s check out the underwear.” It’s a wonder he puts up with me.
He’s Polish. He’s got the cheekbones, the wide warm face. He used to have eyebrows when he was younger, but he doesn’t anymore. That’s a funny thing. Sometimes, one stray hair will pop out of his forehead and start growing like a weed. He doesn’t notice it, and I’ll have to tell him, “You have a…thing.” I’ll point to his head. He doesn’t see it because he needs glasses for close up.
I don’t know why his eyebrows disappeared on him. “How did that happen to you?” I ask. He doesn’t know.
I met him six years ago through a matchmaking service after I’d finally decided after thirty-something years of dating, that I was no good at choosing men. The matchmaker interviewed me for four hours. It was a whole battery of psychological tests and questions (basically about why I was go good at choosing men).
At the end of the tests, she says, “That will be twelve thousand dollars.”
“What?” I say. “I can’t afford that!” I get up to leave.
The woman says, “Wait,” and goes out of the room to consult with someone. She comes back a minute later. “We can offer you an eight thousand dollar package,” she says.
I feel like I’m in a used car showroom. I start to cry.
She sighs heavily. “Hold on,” she says and leaves again. A minute later, she comes back with a single-mom rate of three thousand dollars.
I continue to cry.
Out she goes.
After a long while, she comes back. “I’m not supposed to do this, but I’ll give you the student rate,” she says.
I’m fifty-two years old.
“Sold,” I manage to say.
My husband is the first man they match me up with. The only man. Right after that, they go out of business.
Now, my husband flips one page after another of my memoirish thing. “Hmmmm,” he says every once in a while. At the end, he takes off his glasses. “Very nice,” he tells me.
“Is that a good nice?” I ask.
“Interesting,” he says. Then he goes out and starts building something in the garage.
Nothing about me fazes him. Not all the stories of bad boyfriends–the one who threw me against the wall or the one who drove backwards ninety miles an hour so that I would “shut up” or the one who told me, “I love you, Cheryl.” Etcetera. Not the years of eating disorders and depression. Not even my mother.
Nothing can make him unlove me.
So I keep writing.

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