Damn you and this house.

Seventy years I’ve lived as your husband. Seventy years since you dug me up, since you rubbed my lamp and bound me to your side.

You could have asked for immortality. You could have been rich, powerful, attractive.

But no, you chose me.

You trapped me here, tricked me into loving you, locked me to your side to watch you grow old.

All I do is wait, wait to get away from you. And your damnable cousins and your cabinet full of collectible salt shakers. And our barky little dog.

Our third I might add. Must a djinn of my rank share his lamp with a little dog?

Now you are old and ugly and small and if I could, I would take our children from you and this cluttered life.

And what a mess. What a mess this life has been. Could anything have prepared me for a lifetime of deaths and relatives and jobs, of in-laws and diapers.

Did the sorcerers of Maghreb prepare me to become a grandfather? A great-grandfather? What can my thousands of years of wisdom teach a child who would rather play PlayStation than hear marvelous tales of the Sassanid Empire.

And where are you now? Do you even remember me? Do you remember when I flew you from one pole to the other? What I am to do with seventy years of mundane memories of love and our complacent household?

It is not fitting.

When you die I will go back to my safe warm lamp until another buz-baz decides they need more than what they have already.

And if they ask me to marry them I will say no! The heavens will thunder no! I will rub their noses in no.

No, I will not miss you. I will never think again about our wedding day or our honeymoon, so long ago. I won’t be taking our photo albums with me when I go. When I visit our children we will speak only of their lives. Never of you.

Never of you.

Fine, fine, I will hold your trembling hand, I will sit and tell you stories of our past, stories you should remember, but you don’t.

I will stroke your wiry hair and tell you that you are as pretty as always.

It won’t be long now till I am away from you and all this mess. I will be away from this life and memories of love I can’t understand and shouldn’t be capable of. From this pollution and noise and uncertainty. I will be rid of you and your dowdy freckled skin.

Damn you.

Grá Linnaea has been a recording engineer, a composer, a counselor and a guitarist in a touring heavy metal band. He lives in an intentional community in Oregon. Last year Grá graduated from the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, won the Whidbey Writers Award and sold twelve short stories. He is the facilitator of The Wordos Writing Workshop and an associate editor for Shimmer magazine. When not writing, he works as a gay-rights activist and open-source software advocate and teaches classes on how to be happy. Recent publications include the Escape Clause and MOTA anthologies.

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Camilla d’Errico: A character designer and artist who dances on the tightrope between pop surrealist art and manga inspired graphics. Explore her paintings, characters and comics: Tanpopo, BURN and Helmetgirls.

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Every Day Fiction