“(Baby, Let Us)”
by Catherine Lacey

“Let Me All Day Dazzle You,” he said, cock flopping while he mopped.

It was my birthday and so he wanted to do something good to distract me from the bad of this, the years ticked, that sick ritual.

The sugar stunk of chalk, so making cake was out. Also, he found two dried mice drowned in the grains, fished them out with fork tines.

The question was: How had they squirmed in to begin with? The lidded glass canister of sugar was never left open. We didn’t almost ever touch it. We were no longer sweets people. Don’t even know why we had sugar to begin with. His idea, I bet; he still had hope for something.

But I knew, by heart, all the vast adjectives that had expired: sweet, obviously, but also slick and smooth, succulent, delighting and tender, also compact, taut, immaculate, ample and others, too, all the young stuff overlooked until missed.

Now we lived in the other’s crumple.

Well, until this new now: until he promised all this dazzle.

He had cleaners and cleansers, scrubs, squeegees and sponges; He was shining, spritzing, scouring and waxing, wiping, windexing, bleaching, blotting and such. He did this with his beige slouching body I’d rarely gotten to watch from this distance.

His all-day dazzle was thorough, though, and it did something to us like he’d done to the carpets with that racket: years of what had been dragged across us were smacked out.

 

Catherine Lacey is a writer and co-founder of a B&B. She has published fiction & nonfiction with The Believer, 52 Stories & other places.