Spoon Position by Trisha Wheeldon
Two Nights Ago
Spoon position happens when a couple lies together nested, like two stacked spoons on their sides. I am the little spoon. Keith is the big spoon lying behind me. His right arm is under my head with his fingers cuffing my arm. His left arm is around my waist. His legs are on either side of my feet. I think about my position. One knee up, the other leg down. As if I had fallen onto the bed mid leap. If I jumped right now, I think, I would fly up only to be pulled back like a tetherball on the string of this man. I allow myself to consider what I didn’t let myself think during the first thousand days of marriage: I consider all I’ve given up to be wound up in another person.
I wonder if my mother left my father for my friend’s dad because she wanted freedom. No, it was the opposite. She wanted security. She didn’t find it.
The Day Before Yesterday
My husband says that he loves me again and I don’t want to be annoyed by that. I remember how I was perfectly still the first time Keith said, “I love you,” because being still is my only kind of speechlessness.
Now, I say, “Tell me something else.”
“Why?” He’s frustrated with me because he can tell I’m frustrated with him.
“You always say that.”
“So, because I say that I love you a lot, it doesn’t mean anything?”
“Just say it in a different way.”
He says nothing.
My friend, Liz, and I are on the phone. Her brother is in a messed up relationship and I know why. “It is because his girlfriend wants to possess him whole,” I say. “Then when she owns him, she doesn’t respect him.” It’s true, but I don’t care about her brother. I’m saying this because Liz has the same problem as the other girl. She wants a man because she thinks she can’t have him. So when she has him, she thinks less of him—as if he has lowered his standards to be with her. She’s always looking for someone better to be hooked to. This is why her husband is in Scotland and why she’s living with a homeless guy she found on Craigslist.
We are watching anime. I ask Keith which character I would be if we happened to be cartoon Japanese ninjas. He tells me he doesn’t know. This is unacceptable. He can know if he wants to. I’m not asking a random fact like how many feet are in a mile or how to make queso seco or why his dad cheated on his mom. The answer to what cartoon character I would be is somewhere in his brain because it is a decision. It’s like choosing a favorite color.
We are spooning with my left leg propped onto Keith’s stacked legs. I decide to wake him up.
“Are you comfortable like this? With my leg on you? With all my weight leaning back on you?”
“Is it the most comfortable position you could be in?”
“No. But it’s fine.”
“If it isn’t the best, most comfortable position, why do you stay like that?”
“Do you want me to move you just to make myself more comfortable even though it’s fine?”
Keith laughs. So do I.
I ask, “Would I be the queen of spades, hearts, clubs, or diamonds?”
“The queen of hearts.”
Multiple choice is always easier, I think. He chose the most obvious answer, but he answered. I flip over, lie my head on his chest, and fall asleep.
Trisha Wheeldon is currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Brigham Young University-Idaho.