All you need is a split second.

A breath.

A glance.

A simple impulse.

To change everything.

And I look up to the dark and cold lead screed, tiny cracks through its obscure material as peep-holes for other beings- God(s) to take a glimpse at us and laugh a little bit.

Don’t you think it’s funny?

He did not respond.

It is, though.

It was such an opportunity for us, to get out of the city chaos, see what nature was all about. Forget the cloudy memories. I wanted to go to some sun-flooded location but he claimed the mountain would be better for his asthma. So I listened, you know. Asthma won and five months later, mid-April, we set our boots in the eternal snow of some random cabin in the French Alpes. Not a soul nearby, only nature. “I’ll protect you from bears or mean French hunters. You’ll be safe, my love!” He said. The keeper gave us the keys. To him, his asthma, and I. He had not smiled like this in a long time. He brought some wood from outside and lit the fireplace. “Look at me! A man made for wilderness.” We both knew he was half-serious. At some point, I think he did believe himself to be a true alpha man or whatever. Pretty rich coming from a suburban Tampa guy.

On the first night, he tried to lure me into some bestial bedtime session, to which I was utterly not receptive. He could parade all he wanted: after five years sleeping next to him, I knew what a spineless being he truly is, deep down. Call me an asshole all you want. It does not matter now. Nothing matters now.

On the second day, we went down to the valley to buy some food. We were actually surprised that the nearest town was quite accessible. The hardest part was to go from the cabin to the car, a few hundred feet down, but the rest of the road was completely free of the snow. “Those people really know how to live there!” he said. I did not respond. We bought some chicken, onions, salt and black pepper, noodles, broth. Bread and Camembert. An old man with a cane was selling living hens. “We should adopt one of them! We could collect eggs, become self-sufficient, and everything!” I answered, without looking at him, that the hen would probably die in the plane and we could not even eat it afterward because of the radiation from the suitcase’s X-rays at the border checks. He believed me. He always fucking does when it comes to stupid shit like that.

We went back into the car as it snowed heavily on the valley, so much that we had to switch the headlights on- at 11 am in the Spring. “I wonder what we would do if we got stuck on the road, like right here” he said. Heavy pines were hovering over us. He looked at me with his bubbly, Disney eyes. “We would probably have to call the rescue team. Like the French rangers or something?” I did not answer. He continued. “No you’re right, that is a huge concern. I mean, it was us who saved their asses in ‘44! US boys, born and raised. I doubt they have bettered since. I doubt their rangers would be up to the task. That is, indeed, a huge concern.” I usually let him ramble in his never-ending, paranoïa-crippled monologues. Whatever I respond will reinforce his belief in the opposite direction. Like a penny in a fucking jukebox.

We parked the car and clumsily carried the groceries up to the cabin. We knocked our shoes against the steps and swiftly closed the door, our last rampart against the outside’s havoc. As I was removing my coat, he started laughing. “What?” I asked. He smiled and approached me before wiping my eyebrows from the snow that had covered them. As he used to do. A lifetime ago. And for the first time for a fuck while, I felt safe. And loved. Both during a split-second gesture.

We left the groceries where we had sex- on the counter. I’m talking good, youthful fucking sex that regenerates you from head to toe. “Perhaps the mountain’s air is a good thing”, I wondered. Afterward, we started cooking, naked in our cabin, alone in an Alpine French snowstorm. He cut down the chicken, I took care of the onion.

“Not like that!” He yelled. “Take this knife instead, it’s better for things like onions.” I frowned. “But I like this one better.” He grabbed it from my hand and threw it in the sink. “Yeah, but it’s not right for onions. This one, this one is the right one. Use it.” And there it was, the real him. The orgasm chills had not even finished leaving my body that he was already back. Cynic, empty, impulsive, and detail-centered in all the wrong ways. That is the man I married.

The soup was already bubbling as we dressed back up before sitting down on the sofa. After a few minutes, he sighed and I could see his eyes watering on the side.

“What’s wrong?” I mumbled.

A pause.

“A character in my book died.”

I paused.

“Are you okay?”

He nodded yes.

“What was their name?”


The smell of broth came to my nostrils. It smelled different than what we used to cook in the States. More… tasteful? I would not know how to put it. Different, perhaps. That’s probably what you come up with when you don’t use helpers. We decided to try the Camembert first, toasted on the bread. Now it was a pretty naïve move since its strong taste would completely cannibalize the broth’s taste. But fuck yeah it was good. He turned to me. “You know, in a few years, Camembert might disappear completely.” “Why is that?” “Something to do with the bacteriae (gross) that are used to make its crust not reproducing anymore. They might lose it this way”. Yes, he did use the word bacteriae in a spoken sentence.

A silence.

Chewing noises.

Crumbs falling onto the vintage tiled floor.

“We should try again.”

Bits of bread and Camembert came out of his mouth as he spoke.

“This is a fucking vacation.”

“Exactly! The perfect place to conceive a little us…”

“We tried. Did not work. Let’s move on.”

His lips on my neck, whispering.

“Come on… Let’s try again…”

His hands grabbed my thighs- perhaps a little too firmly.

“Let me please be the man of the family, a father. I have so much to give…”

His fingers running up and down my neck.

“We had sex already. And the broth is almost done. Let’s eat.”

“Give me a baby, mama…”

“The doctors said-”

“Fuck the doctors. Give me a kid, woman.”

He kissed and grabbed me, threw me on his lap. But the broth was about to overflow the pot and the chicken might come out wrong, and I did not use helpers, and the steam might turn on the fire alarm, the storm is raging outside there is the wind and there is the snow and it’s almost dark, what if the blizzard never stops and the sun never rose again, and his hands, his demanding eyes, and all the hopes crushed one by one by the years that we shared like two inmates in a cell, the past has become long mute film and the future has never been so dull, so despicable…

“I want a divorce, Adam.”

A breath.

A glance.

A single truth.

“No you don’t.”

I thought he was going to burst out of emotions, but he sat there, completely still.

“That’s what I want.”

“No it’s not.”

As I pulled myself from his lap, I felt pressure on my hips.

“You will not divorce me. We are a fucking family!”

“This is not your choice to make.”

“I am your husband! You do not disrespect me.”

I looked at him dead in his bubbly Disney eyes.

“You do not deserve my respect.”

He grabbed my wrists and dragged me on the cold tiled floor.

“I’m gonna show you respect, woman!”

I threw my legs in the air and tried to let go of his grip, but just as our marriage, he just would not let go. I could even feel his ring against my bones. And without warning, he opened the door to the blizzard and stepped outside.

It was dark all around us. My feet traced long furrows in the snow. I shouted and shouted but he would not listen, pulling me like a fucking sled until we reach the border of the property.

“Listen, woman!” He yelled over the storm. “We will have a fucking family!”

“What is wrong with you, asshole?”

The wind was biting my bare arms and legs. I had never felt so cold- inside and out.

“You are nothing of a man and even less of a husband! I want out, I want fucking out!”

I had never seen a pair of eyes looking so furiously at me. That was the point I think, where I thought: “My husband might just kill me.”

A pause.

A breeze.

He jumped.

I landed my head on the grass and snow in my mouth and in my eyes. I tried to get out once again but he was over me, grabbing, pulling, punching. I tried to breathe. He was fucking heavy. One my my ribs broke. I felt it crack. That’s when I decided to actually save my life. I threw punches, and punches, and punches in the dark, I unlocked my right leg and blindly kicked right in front of me- a silence.

I could breathe again. The mountain air. That’s the best breath I ever took. Hands down.

After a few seconds (minutes?) I sat up (head span). Where was he? I looked left, looked right, nothing. Some traces started to be erased by the falling flakes. I dragged myself along them, leaving pearling red drops after me.

There he was. He fell and appeared to have struck his head on the rocks down below.

“Please…” He muttered, his hand on his chest. He was breathing like a bull. “Please… Bring me my Ventolin.”

And I stood there, in the snow.

“Please… I… Can’t breathe…”

The storm started to calm down, slowly. A red puddle was dribbling down the rock.

“My Ventolin…”

I sat next to him for what could have been hours. Just looking at him, breathing, begging, collapsing his miserable life away.

Once the storm was no more I got up, tore a page of his book- the one where Anne died, and wrote this letter, that I left in his right-side pocket. To whoever might find him: a neighbor, bystander, hell even a French ranger. It’s always the wife anyway, right?

And I look up, to the dark and cold lead screed, tiny cracks through its obscure material as peep-holes for other beings- God(s) to take a glimpse at us and laugh a little bit. A blizzard, mid-April.

Don’t you think it’s funny?

I grabbed a bag in which I stuffed the chicken broth and some water.

No kids, no husband, no living relatives.

Find me, find me not- Who cares?

I am finally free.

— Sarah