How do I fix this? Again, over dinner. W…

How do I fix this?

Again, over dinner. We just finished eating the sweetbreads. I hated the taste of animal thymus. For now, I resented Carly for making it, so I procrastinated with my answer.

Did you take the box to the incinerator?

I pointed to the place on the table where I’d left it that morning. In its place, there was now an empty dish.

You’re not answering my question, Carly said. She never wavered.

Carly also never let anything go. I took our plates to the sink and let the juices down the garbage disposal. I leaned against the sink and watched as she tried to put things away, but her hands were shaking.

It’s been three months, she said. And I can’t get over it.

Fix what? I asked.

Carly walked over to me and placed her hand in mine. She’s short and likes sweaters that cling to her thinness. Exposure without exposing.

Feel it, she said. Redundant. I couldn’t feel anything else.

Should I call the doctor?

Don’t bother him now, she said. It’s been twice this week.

You got rid of the clothes, I said. I rubbed my thumb over imaginary terry cloth and imagined it seared by fire.

I suggested we go outside and set up the telescope. Friday nights we always stargaze, and it was such a beautiful night out. Clear, too, no smog.

I can’t, she said. No more closeups.

Her lips started to tremble. Finally I walked over to her and put my hand on her waist and led her away from the kitchen and where the box had been on the table. The food rankled in my stomach, but I helped her sit down and let her watch the blank screen while I fell asleep on her shoulder.

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