- Open Marriage
We are having a heated debate about whether or not yogurt can expire when my husband suggests we stay together but see other people. He says open marriage intrigues him, that he couldn't be happier but that he read this article online. I tell him yogurt cannot expire because it is filled with bacteria. I do not know if this is true but I have seen commercials about yogurt that mention things like bacteria and the word probiotic, so I feel I have a sufficient command of the topic. I give him a look. I say he's welcome to try and find other women to sleep with but that I'm fine and his face falls because he thinks I am playing a trick on him. I'm not. He has no game, none at all. If I hadn't taken matters in hand, we would still be sitting on his couch in his bachelor apartment, his arm stretching around my shoulders after every yawn. I'm not worried. He's the kind of man who gets ideas but is largely unable to follow through on those ideas. He shoves his hands in his jeans. This is something he does often, so often there are shiny silver marks on the upper thighs of his jeans where his fingers can reach from inside his pockets. He leans against the kitchen counter. He says he wants cultivating an open marriage to be something we do together. I politely decline once more. I say I'm not inclined to open my half of the marriage, which only confuses him further because I'm quick tempered and what he calls feisty, which only means I talk back to him and give him road head once in a while, and I'm the first woman who has ever done that in his limited experience, so it is still something of a novelty, still something that requires terminology. I take a bite of the yogurt that started our scientific debate. It expired more than two months ago but appears edible. When I dip my spoon into the plastic container, the yogurt gives way easily. It tastes sour. My husband's face is red, and sweat beads on his upper lip. He asks if I would seriously be fine with him having no-strings-attached sex with another woman, and I say, yes, baby, of course. He tells me I'm amazing in bed, that it's not about being unsatisfied, and I say, yes, baby, of course. I rock his world on the regular, and we both know it. He can barely string three words together after we make love. He just lies there, trying to catch his breath, muttering goddamn over and over. I say good luck and be safe [End Page 48] and don't you break my heart, baby, don't you break my heart. His eyes widen. I eat the entire container of yogurt, even going so far as to scrape the sides of the container until it is clean. I vocalize my appreciation for the expired yogurt and do a lot of elaborate spoon licking. I hold my husband's gaze the entire time. He was a virgin when we married. He looks away first. [End Page 49]
Roxane Gay's writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Best American Short Stories 2012, Salon, The Rumpus, Brevity, American Short Fiction, NOON, and others. She coedits PANK and does lots of other things. She lives in the Midwest.