The Practical Life

Sophie Friis
I married my wife because she was practical and Benny, the Accountant made her impractical. They used to date. High school sweethearts, I’m guessing, though wife's never been too clear. He left her after graduation and learned accounting at accounting school and returned to Tulsa as Benny, the Accountant. They reconnected on LinkedIn.

We would go out for drinks sometimes. My wife, Benny, the Accountant and I. I’d watch whatever was on TV and my wife and Benny would discuss his marital problems, our finances, the finances of their old classmates. Sometimes my wife and Benny went to pilates classes together. They discussed those too, the precision of movement and finding your true center.

We stopped going out for drinks because Benny almost died. His wife left him and shortly after the divorce, he had a bout of alcohol-related pancreatitis and was in the hospital for a few weeks. We didn’t hear from him for a while, but I think my wife went to visit him because one day she said she wanted to go to Belize. On a pilates retreat. And she wanted him to go with us. To cheer him up. I couldn’t see the practicality in that, but I wasn’t going to let her go alone. So I found myself on a plane, sitting in between Benny, the Recovering Alcoholic and my wife, on our way to Belize.

I wandered the islands, connected by long wood slat bridges out into the middle of the ocean, sometimes not knowing where I would end up. My wife got up at four in the morning and went to sleep after the dinner at six. She briefly told me about her yoga and meditation classes. Benny discovered he was gay. My wife discovered she had a Higher Purpose and was Destined to Bring Pilates to the Women of Tulsa. I had married this woman because I wanted a normal, simple life. Now she talked about turning our sun porch into a pilates studio, healing our inner beings and cultivating foresight through her third eye.

I only saw her at night then. She wore different pajamas, maybe because of the warm weather. Her new arm muscles flexed as she dressed herself, slipped silk over her tanned and toned legs. She was taller maybe, like she’d grown an inch or two. She’d grown somewhat serious as well. She knew that Benny’s pancreatitis would come back—she had foreseen it—and once he was gone, where was the paradise? It was like she’d reached somewhere deep inside her and pulled out this new self. Some person who thought things could be different once we returned home, that our sun porch could be turned into a small paradise, that we needed a paradise at all.

Sophie Friis lives and works in Greenville, South Carolina. Her work is forthcoming in Litmus.

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