I've decided that you shouldn't care about my personal history or who I am. I want you to look at everyone, besides me, and think about saying yes to all of them. Yes.
The other day I had to get drunk to save my marriage. My wife forced me. We went to the store and we were ready to fight. She told me to pick a beer. She said she had to clean us out a little.
I was being difficult. I wanted to play basketball at the park. We took the 12-pack out of the car and placed it courtside. She accused me of being unfeeling as I shot 3-pointers. I wasn't doing very well. I always wanted to impress people with my athletic ability. When I was young I used to play basketball until I couldn't see. Until I was lost in the dark.
"Are you afraid of losing control, or are you afraid of having too much control?" I think she asked me. I was confused by her question. It felt like a trick. My wife's issues were solely about our future. About turning into my parents. My parents barely speak.
I drank many beers while I played. I know it wasn't right. I admit I was wrong.
I have this thing I do when I'm lying. I laugh. People can stand there and tell me about my untruths and I just laugh and laugh and laugh. It's an easy thing to do. Blowing these hard nervous sounds out of my mouth while my heart or whatever it is breaks inside me. I'll blow out every fucking candle in the house with it, with these sounds, with my mouth.
The dog's leash wasn't long enough. And it was stupid, the dog was. I had to take him for a walk and it was always roping around me. For my dignity, I didn't spin with the rope. I just dropped it and let it circle around me until it unwrapped from me.
We had to do this many times, the dog and I.
The neighbor girl was out in her yard. She saw the dog doing this to me. The dog, a galloping kind of Lab, didn't know anything yet. It wasn't trained. The girl watered her flowers in the heat. Her body, her house, the low sun, all of it quivered and warped like an old film. You can imagine what I did to the dog. You can imagine that the girl ran inside her house and wanted no part of me. Knowing what you know, you can guess that I wasn't laughing.
Kevin Sampsell's writing and criticism have been published in The
Stranger, McSweeney's, SOMA, 2 girls review, Brevity, Plazm, and 5_Trope. He
works at the country's largest bookstore, Powell's City of Books, in Portland, Oregon.