When her book was published, she did a cute little tap dance and we both laughed so loud people tried not to stare. It took five years and seven months to write the thing, and often she was in tears, and I had to hold her and tell her it was going to be ok. Was it her faith in me or herself that kept her going? Possibly both. We celebrated for an entire week and when copies of her book arrived, we sent them to family and friends. Who noticed it first, me or her, that no one said a thing? We thought perhaps they didn’t have time to read and was saving it for the holidays. She went back to work but I could see she worried her lip. One day she announced she wasn’t going to start her next novel, she needed a break, and I said, why don’t we take a trip down to Mexico, but she said she was busy with work.
I felt a vague sense of unease, a disquiet that glowed brighter over dinners at home, and flashed like a supernova when we were with friends. Eventually she exploded and hurled at me the kitschy dragon statue we bought in Cambodia. We broke up a month later. I can still remember when she did her cute little tap dance.
A year later, I was browsing in a bookstore when I saw copies of her book sitting in a pile that came free for every purchase of three or more books. I found out from common friends that her novel didn’t sell. Only one paper agreed to review it and then gave it a one out of five. The publisher wasn’t interested in her second. She never told me. I wondered why that was, until I realised that I must be partly to blame. Didn’t I think it was a shit piece of writing?