She said she had seen a ghost, or a blurry vision, as she called it, behind our bedroom mirror. I reluctantly climbed the stairs to investigate (I had never considered myself brave, but a husband’s duty is at times to falsify himself in the eyes of his wife).

When I reached the top, I armed myself with the lamp from the hall table, and stood stock-still, listening. I heard nothing. Except for my wife’s uneven breathing below, and her voice, filled with impatience as of late, asking, “Do you see anything?”

“Not yet.”

We had moved into this house in lieu of separating. Nothing could erase my affair but still she hoped the new surroundings would. Despite that I was against the relocation, I went along with it to make her feel settled again.

I advanced, stopping in the doorway to our bedroom, where these days she slept alone, where the mirror leaned in the corner. I saw it too, then, the ghost or blurry vision slipping out from behind the polished glass. She drew toward me (I could tell it was a woman now by the deceptiveness of her approach, the calculated wiggle of her hips). I raised the lamp, feeling oblique desire. It was her, I realized, lowering the lamp, the essence of the woman for whom I had for two weeks left my wife and weighed doing so permanently, the young lover who thought me courageous, temporary, and unnecessary. I deemed her vital, however. Though, admittedly, what I held vital in those days shifted by the moment.

We kissed. The longing went away, unsatisfied.

I felt confused. Weak.

“What are you doing?” I heard my wife’s voice saying behind me.

The blurry vision vanished.

“There’s nothing up here.”

“What were you making those kissy sounds for?”

With my lover’s taste faint yet strong on my lips, I faced her.

“Do you have to make such a big deal out of everything?”
 
 Photo by lorentey

Jesper Andreasson

JESPER ANDREASSON was born in Stockholm. Nominated for the James Kirkwood Literary Prize, he received his MFA at the Bennington Writing Seminars and lives in Los Angeles. www.jesperandreasson.com

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