“Put down the knife, Celia,” is what I’m trying to say.
Instead though, because my mouth is full of blood and Celia’s Sixlet candies and pieces of my molars, it sounds a lot more like, “Podow—tha—” as the rest mutely bubbles up and out and gets lost in a frothy human sangria that spills from my lips. Clarity though, seems—now more than ever—of the utmost importance, so I motion with my hand, the one that isn’t cradling my face, hoping she gets the message. It makes me look like a DJ dropping the beat and Celia doesn’t move.
“Yooou’re an asshole.”
Celia’s accent causes her to draw out her vowel sounds, her “ooohs” and “aahs,” so that when she talks she comes off like a crowd at a fireworks display. Usually I love this, but presently it makes her sound like a Bond villain. The fan is on because we don’t have air-conditioning and it’s blowing on Celia making her snake-pit of black hair, roughly thirty-five percent of why I married her, dance in loops and swirls against her face. She looks like a pot-bellied Medusa.
“Asshole.” She repeats it, but this time it's slower and she rolls the words around in her mouth like a peppermint.
I can tell she's thinking, so I take a step back toward the kitchen counter and I nod. I nod because it’s true, I am an asshole, but also I nod because Celia, my beautiful Frenchy seven-months pregnant Celia is calling the shots right now with crazy ape-like pregnancy strength. Little five-foot ballet dancing Celia, fiery light of my life who normally needs me to open her grape soda cans because the tab is too hard…she's just blindsided me in the face with a pizza stone hard enough to Picasso everything below my nose. Now she very well may tumble out my innards, all over some fucking candy. So I nod. I nod like a fucking bobblehead.
The gambler in me, he's saying run, but even a pregnant Celia’s fast, real fast. Chances are she'd catch me in the dark, especially since I only have one good foot after I drank her strawberry milk last night and she broke a glass on my toes. Celia’s looking down at our kitchen floor, at the three bright Sixlets—two orange and one green—that lay, still whole, in the mess of mouth and pain that came out when I talked. I can tell she’s getting mad again, thinking about me eating her chocolate, and I feel guilty as I look down too. Celia’s making little stabbing motions forward with the knife. I’m running out of time. My mouth taste like salty pennies, I’m gonna have to say something and it’s gonna have to be perfect.
“Want me to order tacos and make hot cocoa?”
There’s this moment, when I think I might still get stabbed, where my heart feels like a piston smashing out my chest. The last time it felt this way, maybe the only other time, was when I asked Celia to marry me. I’m tonguing the places where my teeth were and trying not to think about my face or our unborn child or her peanut butter M&M’s in the freezer. Love, real love, real stabbing punching love is a funny thing. Right when I think I'm ready for the plunge, Celia smiles and I smile toothless and bloody. She drops the knife.
“I’m goooing to take a bath. My cocoa gets whipped cream.”
Illustrations By Meghan Murphy