I don’t like it when my wife writes about other guys.
I don’t even care if they’re fictional.
I don’t like it when she makes them say things in her stories,
makes their legs brush up against hers.
I don’t like it when her female characters
fall in love with her male ones.
I don’t like it when she writes about ex-boyfriends
or ex-lovers or crushes she once had.
I don’t like that she even thinks of them to write anything at all.
I don’t like how she thinks if she changes their names I won’t notice.
I don’t like how she stole the argument that it’s just “fiction”
from me in the first place and now I have to be the hypocrite.
I don’t like how she actually calls me that.
The only thing I don’t like more is when she writes about me.
I never knew I’d feel this way living with another writer.
I never knew after years of doing it to other people
I wouldn’t like it when someone does it to me.
Like what gives her the right?
As you can imagine, my wife doesn’t like this at all.
She gets really angry at me.
Calls me a son of bitch (even though she loves my mom).
Says that I’m a worthless phony.
Then she’ll storm off into the bedroom
and slam the door.
I’ll sit in the living room wondering
what she’s doing in there,
just to find her lying across the bed, you guessed it,
writing about me.
I don’t like this.
I don’t like that there’s no way to win this situation.
I don’t like that if I get mad at her for writing about me,
she goes into the bedroom and writes about me.
I don’t like this at all.
In retaliation, sometimes, I’ll go to my desk and write about her too –
like I’m doing right now. Except she’s not home.
She’s at work revising a story about some other guy
that she just asked me to edit.
I don’t like that she thinks it’s okay to have me edit
stories about other guys.
This, of course, leads to an argument in which she texts me
Liar. Hypocrite. You think it’s all about you.
You’re off my list. Fuck You.
The maddest she ever got was when
I called her ignorant after getting jealous over a story
I’d written about a girl I knew long before her.
I tried to explain I just make shit up sometimes
and it had no bearing on reality –
which was a lie, of course, and completely hypocritical.
That’s what my last text message just said.
My wife hasn’t replied yet.
She’s too busy revising the story about that other guy
and now I’m too busy writing about her.
I guess that’s the way it goes when two writers live in the same apartment.
I hope someday we’ll quit this nonsense
and get back to writing about the stuff that really matters,
from The Early Death of Men, NYQ Books, 2012