The Neighbors

On a cold, dead street in the suburbs of Detroit, with your kids at their mother’s, in the house you can’t sell, between Christmas and New Years, with your business out of season and anyway, crumbling, you insisted on taking mushrooms, like for old times’ sake, like when we were in high school, and now it’s “let’s go wake the neighbors and tell them we love them.”
God, I feel tired.
“We should be embracing one another. We should be making love in the street. Why do people shut themselves up in tiny boxes?” you beg me to tell you.
I’ve been where you are and I know where it ends, and it’s here, and I don’t want to talk about it.
“I just see love everywhere,” you say. “In you, in me, everyone. I should call Michelle.”
“Don’t call your ex wife,” I say. It’s cold and it’s late. I don’t think it’s ever been this late.
In the morning you’ll feel differently. I promise you that. Icicles are not chandeliers, my friend. Tomorrow your tongue will feel dipped in lint, your truck will be stuck in the snow, and your neighbors will be too shy to help you, even if they wanted to.
I have to hold you back by the sleeve, so complete are your childish notions of love, and just as I think you’ll break away, the front door bursts open and a woman spills in to the living room with wild eyes and pursed lips to tell us how much she loves us, but especially you. She loves sports and under- stands exactly that thing you said about love.
Yeah right. You wish that happened.
Don’t ask me to drive you anywhere because there’s nowhere to go.

Molly Laich lives in Missoula, where she’s completing an MFA in Fiction at the University of Montana. Her work has or will appear in How Journal, The Meridian, Timber, Monkeybicycle, The Metro Times, among others. She blogs about writing at Thumbnail Magazine. You can visit her at