Psychopomp Magazine Fall 2016 - Page 37

working on. Sometimes, interspersed between all the scientific jargon were cartoon drawings of dogs, lines of prose.

We made dinner. We went on long weekends. We lived.

I can't say there was a turning point where we started fighting and it all went awry―it never did.

We were together long enough that blockheaded people would occasionally ask if we were going to get engaged. We were both the sort of people who hated the forced model of being on some conveyer belt of inevitability. But there was one time when one of our friends, drunk, recently dumped and slightly belligerent, asked us this question. I expected Esme to respond with some quip, but instead she blushed, glanced at me, and then looked away.

Later that night, when we were alone, she was quieter than usual. Seemingly waking from a dream, she out of nowhere asked me, “Do you even believe in marriage?”

I was taken aback. She never referred to a future with me. I hadn't really imagined myself in general twenty years out―I'm not very imaginative. I was happy with her, but it was a day-to-day sort of happiness, something that had neither the highs nor lows I had come to expect out of relationships. I was content―wasn't that how it was supposed to be?

Then thoughts began to plague me. Sometimes it wasn't clear how she felt about me. Sometimes I would catch her looking at me, unsmiling. The silent way she received praise from me, but was infrequent to give it. On occasion, I would come up to the attic, calling her name, to find her curled up in her bean bag chair, a pen lax in her hand, staring into space, her brain tuned to another planet's frequency. I usually had to call her name several times to get her back on earth.

There wasn't anything overtly wrong with our relationship, but it didn't have the intensity to it that I thought should have been there if she wanted

Vera Kurian | 37