ricky shore CC
You Didn’t Think Happiness Would Hurt This Much
You believe the deep aching itch in your crotch is sexual desire and when you finally realize it’s a yeast infection, it’s too late to go back.
So you let him rub you raw in the front seat of his Crown Victoria in the park overlooking the Grand River in the moonlight while your mother is home with the kids.
You tell yourself you’re not cheating because you didn’t have sex with the new guy until after you moved out. This guy is a rip off the bandage and get it done way to leave your husband.
This guy is just a means to an end.
You have exactly two thousand dollars in the bank that your sister lent you but most of it will be gone when the cheque clears for your first and last month’s rent. You’ve moved to a red brick Victorian row house, which sounds enchanting, but the wall going up the stairs has peeling orange floral wallpaper dotted with black mould.
You scrub the wall with full strength bleach so your daughters won’t breathe in spores. Your five-year old and your seven-year old share a bedroom and your toddler sleeps in a crib slipped under the eaves in the small open space at the top of the stairs. You sleep on the couch until your mother buys you a double bed for the other bedroom.
It’s good enough for now.
Christmas is coming but you’re only working part-time at Food Basics, so you sell your original painting of the beaver by George McLean to your brother for $500. You use this money to buy the girls gifts from Santa, plastic shit that will break in a week but will make them happy for a little while.
You take them for supper at Burger King on Christmas Eve because the owner is a friend of your husband and gives you free food. You are the only customers in the place at 6 pm and holiday music echoes through the dining room from the small TV on the corner shelf near the ceiling. A teenaged girl with an elf ears headband stretched under her uniform visor listlessly wipes your table when your oldest daughter spills her carton of 2% milk across half-chewed chicken tenders smothered in ketchup.
But you don’t even watch your girls rip open their gifts on Christmas morning because you’re upstairs having sex. You do it to keep the guy happy. Because he says that you were born to fuck him, and you should be happy that someone wants you. You stay with him even though he grabbed you so hard a few weeks ago that a black handprint inked your arm.
After pancakes with fake maple syrup, you pack a change of clothes for each of the girls in their new Toy Story backpacks and smile and wave as they drive away with their father to spend the rest of Christmas with his family.
And you feel an ache again. Higher this time, in the middle of your chest.
You didn’t think happiness would hurt this much.
Leanne Beattie is a writer and artist who lives in the beach town of Port Stanley, Ontario. For Leanne, poetry is life distilled down to its deepest emotions. Her career began as a freelance journalist and she later became a marketing specialist for several high-tech companies. She is the author of the YA novel Cage of Bone (2011) and is currently working on a mystery novel. You can find her on Twitter @JoyMagnet and on Instagram @leannebeattie_creative.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.