I had just finished reading The First Bad Man by Miranda July when my husband walked through the door.
The first thing he asked me is why I'd cut my hair like Geraldine Ferraro. Then he wanted to know why I was carrying a baby and why I had a black eye.
I couldn't possibly explain to him what had gone on in the hours that he'd left me at home, alone, with that book. How July's profound and peculiar brand of loneliness felt like she'd stuck her hand into my stomach and waved it around in there in case I'd forgotten my own. Or how her pathetically hopeful, ethereal imagination forced me back to my 18-month-old self, a time when I knew myself so well I walked around in a constant state of embarrassment for having crapped my diaper for the 850th time. She not only forced me to go there, she slapped me across the face the whole way there and back, with some ill-mannered, gargantuan girl's foul-smelling flip flop. I had to cut my hair off, how else could I get the smell out? The perm was an afterthought. As the day went on she forced me to look at a vagina really close up. The vagina had a baby in it. A screaming baby with a talking soul, whose name escapes me, but it sounds like something you might find at IKEA - something like Kubelko Bondy.
And there were snails everywhere. And brown shoes.
How could I explain the revolting but thankfully hurried sex she made me have with a very old man and something pink that I can't remember? Oh right, his penis. What explanation could I possibly come up with to explain why the whole house reeked of a sweaty sleeping bag doused in suntan lotion?
"She did this to me," I said, on my knees. "This is what she did to me, while you were at work. And the thing is she did it so well. She's a writer. So much a writer... 'That for a moment I wasn't sure what I was.'"