“I won’t tell you what it is,” he kept insisting, “you have to come to the show.”
Lord, she thought, this better not be embarrassing. Her boss would be there. Her colleagues. It would be the first time they see her husband, who was new. She told him to wear the asymmetrical shirt. The jacket with three different materials of the same color. The shoes without laces.
It was his first art show. His excitement was hard to watch. They got there early, and she recognized his piece right away. It was the biggest thing there. Three enormous orbs bunched together on the wall with two long stretches of satin about a foot wide draping down from them and onto the floor. She looked at it for a long time, and he looked at her.
“This is it?” She said.
“This is what you’ve been working on for six months?”
“This is where the grant money went?”
“Yes!” He enclosed her with impunity and rested his chin on her shoulder. “Do ya like it?”
She took a long breath into her stomach. “I do. And I don’t know why.” It was the truth. It was like hearing a riff over and over in your head without knowing where it came from, but feeling so connected to it that it seems to personify itself into memory.
Her boss arrived. She introduced the husband, gratified at the sight of his socialized posture and glinting lapel buttons. They would see that for all they had called her a prude and a bore, she had married an artist.
Towards the end of the night, when the gallery really started to fill up, it got hot. She was sweating. She straightened her clothes, shifted her hair, and somewhere along the way, while she was trying to pass someone in a tight space, she passed her hand down her neck and rested it on her chest.
The husband hoped to get in trouble. It took longer than he expected. When he saw her pausing with a hand on her chest he crossed his arms and waited. She waited, too. She waited until the gallery was emptier and darker. She pointed at the thing on the wall.
“That,” she said, “is the charm on my favorite bra!”
He grinned. “Magnified eleven hundred times."
She threw up her arms. “How could you—why would you—“
“I’m obsessed with you.”
“I despise you,” she said with as little affection as she could muster.
He was unaffected. “It’s called scaling.”
“Go easy on me,” He rocked on the ball of his foot, appeasing. “I just wanted to show you off.”