Sometimes I get up and I split in two. One of me runs to the toilet and pees a long, thick stream, and the other stays under the duvet but drags it from the bed, walks around from room to room. We were chefs then, in that city. A golden light hit us in the nose every afternoon. We promised not to fill our heads with too many bubbles. Belle was a stranger in those days. She pretended not to hear us when we argued in the hallway over whose turn it was to pick up the beer. Gladys was a friend. Of yours I mean. Wednesday nights were for poker, Thursday for movies on Ben’s couch. Fridays we ordered in pizza from Jupiter’s, with the endlessly stretchy cheese. I couldn’t believe my wrath sometimes. It seemed to leak out the edges of the apartment, down into the walls below. Many nights were sleepless with rage. You slept like a baby, or so I thought. You later told me you couldn’t sleep either. Somehow we were both able to keep silent, like two dead bodies in the bed. Mitchell became my friend. You said I vanished into thin air when his name was brought up. I still don’t know what this means. The one thing I enjoyed was the microwave. It was the beginning of my obsession with kitchen appliances. One evening you came home and there were two toasters. ‘One for me and one for you?’ you asked. ‘Both for me,’ I said. If we had room in that shoe box, I would have bought a display case. I allowed you to use them but made you keep them pristine. I bought a polishing cloth. The shininess made my eyes water, my mouth water—every part of me was bursting with liquid pride. Then I left you in the bed one night, you thought, to see Mitchell. You went back to sleep. In the morning there was a blender. Tall like a trophy, with a chrome base. Over twenty settings. The toasters flanked it on either side.
Listen to Hannah Amante read ‘Microwave’