My wife left me after the hole kept growing on my stomach, just to the right of my belly button. People ask me where she is, what happened when they see her photos on Facebook disappear from my profile. “Everyone comes out for a funeral,” I say. I always walk away after I say it, even as a hand reaches for one of my shoulders or to tug on my t-shirt to get me to turn around.
When I’m alone, I scream into her closet. I scream at what clothes she couldn’t or didn’t want to take in my closet. I think this kind of grief makes me a good husband. I start sounding like that time a palmetto bug landed on my chest while I was sleeping and I had laryngitis. It would have been easier if she died in childbirth, baby included.
I look at the hole expanding on my stomach. I squeeze it to drain more of the pus out, put a gauze bandage on it when I’m done. I think it’s in the same place my true love was shot in 9th grade. I wish I would have been the one to find her body. She never knew how I practiced my grief in the mirror before it happened. My true love’s boyfriend wouldn’t let me show her. His body next to her proved his grief would always be better than mine.
I find a wedding photo face down. I wake it up, plug the bride’s ears. I tell the young me how love is a slow suicide. I lift my shirt up, peel back the gauze, and point.