Drumsticks
David Erlewine
Break
His wife's tiny legs cannot keep up. "Slow down" her little mouth says.
John makes a big show of stopping. A runt of a boy runs into his legs. John looks at his wife. "See what you did?"
As they walk together, he scans the mall for other similarly shaped couples, mirror images. He has been doing more and more of this lately.
Later, a lanky man strolls by holding the hand of a woman that could be his daughter. Her head ends at least three inches below the cut of his shoulder. No heels on her feet either.
His wife worms his hand open with hers and locks them together. When they met, he kind of liked their disparity. He had always hated his chicken legs. She had always hated her drumsticks.
A few minutes later two boys pass by him and his wife, shooting each other glances as if to say what the fuck.
He tickles her hand but she doesn't let go. He glances back, halfway expecting the boys to be pointing at them and laughing.
Her little hand sweats inside his grip. He is not sure which is sadder: the sizes of their hands, or the time he spends thinking about them
Later that night, he cannot sleep. He is tired of punishing himself. Eighteen months is quite enough to deal with their eighteen-inch difference. They are not old people. He will find someone his size; she will do likewise.
He shakes her awake. "I never should have settled."
She turns over. "What?"
"You heard me. I never should have settled."
"Not now."
He shakes her again. "This time I'm serious." He rubs her shoulder. "It's all I think about. We're too far apart."
She sits up, puts on her glasses, opens a book.
At breakfast, he looks over her head. "I'll be moved out by this weekend. I need a bigger place anyway."
"Drink your juice."
He shrugs and does.
David Erlewine's stories appear (or soon will) in Word Riot, Hobart, Insolent Rudder, Pedestal Magazine, Keyhole Magazine, elimae, and a number of other journals. He is a fiction editor at Dogzplot.