Even when you won't think about it, the part of you that's in pieces knows it is in pieces. For a long time (how many vicious silent years do you have available?) it will want to smash all the things it doesn't have.

If you are lucky, you grow up at least this little bit and agree to allow others their public happiness. This does not mean you are not bitter enough to poison anybody right to death, one taste.

It sounds like an accomplishment but really it is a lot more like giving up. It's easier this way, less energy spent on hating Valentine's Day and cursing anyone holding hands. What you had not expected was the opposite of scowling, which is the goddamn yearning all the time.

You can still spend the night at a friend's house after she gets married. But you know there is eventually going to be the bedroom door that shuts. You can say, yeah this blanket is enough, don't worry, I'm fine. I'm just gonna watch tv for a while, you guys go on to bed, I'm fine.

You can say it, and you can even mean it. But everybody knows every time you say I'm Fine you chop it in half. Until the piece of you that is fine is like a little sharp shard stuck in the center of a body that is very weak and very tired, gouging at you all the time from the inside.

You can sit on that couch with some syndicated garbage and a cat who isn't yours and won't come to your lap. You can sit there until you think maybe you can sleep, but as soon as you stand up you know that's a lie. But you get into a bed anyway, a Guest Bed, and you curse at the stuck window and finally wrestle it open with a squeak and a thud and you freeze, hoping you have not woken up the marriage. Hoping the marriage is safe and sound in its warmer bed in its better place down the hall behind a firmly shut door.

You lie there on your stomach, smoking through the window, looking out on the night-blue lawn. Nice out, you think. Rain-cool. Branches bending. Frogs and bugs giving it a little hum. You want to say, Honey, come listen to these frogs, but then you remember you do not even have that reflex.