Six places I am disintegrated
by Tara Isabel Zambrano
1. When I come home from work early. The door to my husband’s office is ajar. Jaan, he’s saying into the phone, a word I thought was reserved for me. His voice spread between his lips and the stiffness between his legs, the color of his skin like the insides of a peach, his ears salmon red after pressed against the handset for too long.
2. When I stand in the kitchen, next to the stove, a place that’s accustomed to my weight but feels like quicksand. The tea kettle whistles until it no longer can.
3. When I rage through the grocery store, gather a few bags of chips and cookies just before checkout, ignoring the nutrition labels as if screaming, I don’t care! Outside I sit in my car for a long time, drive around in circles and back to the parking lot while the milk curdles in the trunk, the produce wilts in excessive Texas heat.
4. While sitting in the living room with a splitting headache, pretending to smile when our guests arrive. My husband hands me wine, I notice the wrinkle around his wrists, his double chin, part rapture part shame in his eyes. I wonder if his semen from two nights ago is still inside me.
5. When I see my reflection in the mirror: a woman abundant in love handles and crow’s feet, a billowing heart between them. Two miscarriages and no kids. My husband has all my love that was reserved for a family. I thought with age I’d find meaning, yet what I experience is ruin. The horror of life is to suffer, to live through the ending of love.
6. When my husband comes to bed, holds my hand and cries. I am no longer a tight ball of hatred. Anger is swapped with disappointment. No words. My flesh coils, uncoils inside me. A white patch of sheet extends between us. Outside, the sky empties itself into stars; light from a street lamp falls in our backyard, a faint substitution of moonlight.
Tara Isabel Zambrano works as a semiconductor chip designer in a startup. Her work has been published in Tin House Online, The Cincinnati Review, Slice, Bat City Review, Yemassee, The Minnesota Review and others. She is Assistant Flash Fiction Editor at Newfound.org and reads prose for The Common.Tara moved from India to the United States two decades ago and holds an instrument rating for single engine aircraft. She lives in Texas.