You said you dreamed about us every night. We were bank robbers terrorizing the country, hijacking trains, shooting our guns in the air to celebrate our love. We were on an African safari, riding leopards around the Serengeti for weeks, killing everything we came across and saving the skins and antlers, souvenirs for our son. I liked the idea of you with a gun, the idea of having a son.
After a while of you talking and moving your hands, me eating and listening and nodding, I started to think about cutting a certain spot on your body, one that would let all the things I don’t like about you escape into the air around your body, leaving you as I have always wanted you to be. I don’t mean this to sound violent. There wouldn’t be any blood. It wouldn’t even hurt. I wondered where on your body this spot would be, then figured it would probably be behind your ear, a place nobody ever really thinks about. I started pointing out things in the restaurant for you to look at, to get you to turn your head. When that didn’t work I started dropping silverware, my napkin, pretending to tie my shoes. I knew it wouldn’t look any different than the rest of you, but I was still convinced I’d recognize it if I saw it.
We went on walks in the evening, around our neighborhood. One time there were rabbits everywhere. At first we were pointing them out to each other and smiling, but after a while there were so many that we stopped being excited and started getting annoyed. We wanted a little variety, maybe some squirrels or birds. We made up a story together about how there was probably only one rabbit who was magic, and how it kept reappearing in different places along our walk trying to get us to follow it. We started talking to every rabbit we saw. “Nice try,” I said. “We’re on to you,” she said. After that stopped being funny we didn’t really have anything to talk about.
Matthew Mahaney was born in one place, grew up in another, and has since lived in several more. He currently lives in Tuscaloosa, where he is an MFA candidate at the University of Alabama. Other work appears or is forthcoming in Blue Mesa Review, Caketrain, Everyday Genius, Jellyfish, PANK, and Sentence, among others.