portion of the artwork for Kim Magowan's stories

Kim Magowan

When my husband moved out, he claimed he was trying to get clarity, and in order to do that, he needed “radio silence.” Cliff wouldn’t communicate with me, but he also promised not to communicate with his lover, Dolores.

Alone in the study we used to share (our desks arranged back-to-back, though mine in the better spot, by the window), I checked his email. It was so Cliff, to not realize I knew his password. I admit I played up my Luddite-ness—what was the point of being married to a tech geek, if he wasn’t going to be my IT support? Still, the way Cliff underestimated me blew my mind.

The second day of supposed Operation Incommunicado, there was a flurry of illicit emails between him and Dolores. He’d ordered a care package of cheese from France to send to her office. He wanted her to know she was in his thoughts.

Merci! They smell like feet,” she emailed him.

They’d first hooked up on a business trip to Paris, where their separate firms had sent them, lucky dogs, to do document review. On that trip he took Dolores to the fromagerie on Rue du Bac we’d found on our honeymoon. It sells cheese so runny you have to eat it with a spoon. Cliff had relished, so I gathered, being an expert on Paris.

Je t’aime,” Dolores emailed.

Reading their emails made me consider how all romance sounds ridiculous from the outside. Next time you’re near lovers in a café, write down what they say: you’ll see what I mean. Soon enough, you’ll want silence.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 54 | Fall/Winter 2019