Before and After

Published 2019
Sunspot Literary Journal
Finalist, Inception Contest

Sunspot Literary Journal | J Brooke

If I did in fact utter those words she swears I did, it would have occurred just after my father died, just after I ended that dreadful relationship I never mention, just after she told me she was divorcing the depressed man who no longer slept in her bed. This was before we travelled to Paris and never left the hotel room. It was before we gave a real estate broker fake names to disguise our identities. It was before the wedding in another country. It was before some of the children fell apart and before we glued them back together. It was before we made a lot of money and spent a lot of money. It was before her middle daughter stopped speaking to us. It was before we wrote checks to 12 therapists and 5 lawyers. It was before the “Happy Hanukkahs” and the strained Thanksgivings. It was before I started getting published. It was before we started fighting and before we stopped fighting. It was before 3 kids went to six boarding schools. It was before we were interviewed sometimes and misquoted always. It was before we started using moisturizer on our necks. It was before I stopped and started and stopped and started and stopped and started drinking. It was before we installed the alarm system. It was before we went to the Bronx zoo — just last Summer — and saw the gorillas in their habitat napping tenderly endlessly effortlessly intertwined…and I burst into tears.