The Chase

Emily Anderson

The couple chases their perfect marriage across the velvety grass. The perfect marriage is a wet pink bubble. It’s bigger than a house, and it bounces away over the gently rolling meadow. Its woozy shimmer trembles in the breeze. The couple hurries after it. The ground is slick where their perfect marriage has been. The marriage speeds up. The couple breaks into sprints. The husband huffs and puffs in his dark suit, but the wife was a track star in college. She quickly exceeds him. He admires her familiar grace as he stops to spit onto the soaked grass. She runs with her arms outstretched to seize their perfect marriage.

He starts a steady, slow jog. He’s waiting until she and the marriage get tired out and lie down, so he can corner them. He will conserve his energy and when he gets there he will be in a perfect position to enjoy them both. But when he reaches the spot where their perfect marriage hovered like a watery Harvest moon, he finds only his wife, doing hamstring stretches. He squints at the horizon and sees their perfect marriage in the distance, the size of a whoopee cushion.

His wife looks at the sweat that shines on his face and neck. She listens to him trying to catch his breath. She thinks, he’s not going to be around forever. No matter how much bran cereal I buy, one day, I’ll be waiting for someone to come out and tell me how the angioplasty went. That will be me. I’ll be the wife. Still, she moans,“Oh, stretching feels so good.” She touches her toes. He’s still panting. “God I love stre-e-etch-ing,” she says, bracing her palms against the marriage-slickened grass and rising to her tiptoes. She looks up at him through her legs.

“Yeah, I’m not doing that,” he says.

“Come on,” she says.

“I don’t like it. It doesn’t feel good to me.”

“You should just try.”

“I try all the time.”

“Then stop trying. Do.” She stands up and lifts her left ankle to her left ear and slowly bends her right knee. Squelches the sodden turf with her one legged squat.

“I’m going after it,” he says, even though he can’t see it anymore, even though the sun is setting, even though the dew will soon overwhelm their perfect marriage’s moist trail. He runs until he gasps and walks. When his breathing slows he listens for his wife’s quick, even footsteps, but hears only the squish of wet grass beneath her strengthening.

Emily Anderson’s writing has appeared in a variety of publications including McSweeney’s, Caketrain, DIAGRAM and, mostly recently, Bateau. She is a first-year student in the doctoral program in English at the University at Buffalo.