Year One: Blind Date
At Beanvenidos, the waiter, Juan, seats us on the deck. He brings us chips and salsa, without being asked. We’re surrounded by happy people. After the first round of drinks we believe we might be happy, too. We drink so many margs on the rocks that we forget to eat dinner, and we make love―with half our clothes still on―inside the half-built car wash next door, and one of my boat shoes gets stuck in the conveyor belt.
Year Two: Newlyweds
Newlyweds, we laugh and drunkenly bury my singleton shoe in our back yard for luck.
Year Three: In Sickness
Out of the blue sky, you descend into a sickness so bleak it eclipses everything but the marriage. You cannot carry our child to term, and to you this is all that matters.
I want you to live, and hope that is enough.
Year Four: Greek Yogurt Tragedy
At Beanvenidos, you order ice (for the Franzia you now take everywhere). It’s 4:30 on a Tuesday and you are more than drunk. I’ve ballooned with shame but you won’t eat. Our dog, Cherry the Chow―named for the daughter we couldn’t have―has gone missing.
We don’t know this, but a few days later, your mother, down for a visit, will find Cherry and sell her to a puppy mill.
But before that, at dinner, after removing your empty boxes of cardboardeaux, our favorite waiter, Juan, will confide to us that his name is Jason and sigh.
Year Five: Chickenshit
In my wallet, I keep the numbers for three different divorce attorneys.
Year Six: Alone/Together
I leave. Then come back.
Year Seven: Happy Hour
At Beanvenidos, we meet at exactly 4:59, in time to see Jason-Juan (now the manager-waiter) flip on the sign.
Outside on the deck, we’re alone. We don’t drink. We barely look at one another. I haven’t touched you in over a year.
We no longer retell the story of when we first met here. The car wash next door has shuttered, after a man from Wisconsin got stuck inside a vacuum turbine. I don’t know why things end badly, but it seems they always do. After dinner I return to the empty house.
I dig up the goddamn shoe.