Marriage is, of course, an edifice composed of grand gestures, a monumental architecture. It is not a shanty or hovel, but the pyramids at Giza, the Temple in Jerusalem. Yet its mortar is a multitude of minute gestures. A thousand quotidian thrusts and parries on a minor scale, like the background music in some public space: the pulse beat of bursting, teeming life. When a wife brushes her teeth and where she places her toothbrush. Where the husband discards his shoes when he tramps in from the rain. The scattered detritus of domestic life, embodied in hundreds of sundry articles. To invite another into the closed circle is to not only to misshapen the form of the circle, but run the risk of breaking its uninterrupted radius.
Our apartment does not have an elevator, so I tramped up the stairs, shoes drowning in melted snow, with the dry cotton of sleep still in my eyes and the vicious dreams of the previous night still looped in my mind, a projector with stripped sprockets. My mouth was as dry as the sand in an hourglass, sluicing down the narrow channel of connecting glass between the twin bulbs.
In front of the door, I searched for my keys in every pocket. Had I lost them? It was as if some evil spirit was toying with me, preventing me from reclaiming my matrimonial space. I found the key, inexplicably, in my breast pocket, among a midden of lint
When I entered, all was quiet. Our small living room was in more than its accustomed disarray. Two empty bottles of schnapps listed on the table, leaning together, auspiciously preventing each other from falling. One shot glass was full, and the other half-empty, or for those on the other side of the ontological divide, half-full.
There was a trail of clothes on the floor leading to the bedroom, the cast off shmatta of an old man’s wardrobe. The bedroom door was ajar. Goldfarb and Sharon were in bed, the covers up to their respective noses. Goldfarb snored at half-strength, somewhere between a wheeze and a whistle. I gently pulled back the covers. Sharon was fully clothed in yesterday’s work gear. Goldfarb sported a thin sleeveless tee shirt and boxer shorts which skimmed the top of his bony knees. Sharon’s eyes opened. I gazed down at a pool of undiluted green.
“Nate,” she said softly. “What a night I had.”