Pashmina Exile
Megan Martin

Pashmina! Pashmina! It was what everyone at the wedding was talking about.

I thought pashmina was a bird, or a new form of polka. I had worn a paper doily spoked with crows' feathers in my hair, thinking it would make me act like a person I would rather be. But girls from high school complimented its "originality." I proffered select tidbits of celebrity gossip I had invented, and which these girls tittered about, and then mid-tidbit I ran out of juice.

I stood alone in a line of husbands in gunshot-wound boutonnieres while they stared at asses on their telephones. All of the husbands were doctors, somehow. All of the husbands were idiots. I was worse, like Odysseus: I could not get drunk enough and danced nastily with a younger brother because I wanted so badly for this gesture to cause my exile home.

Somewhere, I knew, Boyfriend was burning meat or watching a vulgar sport, which made me glad for and disappointed in his happiness. I had not made an announcement. I did not call him husband. Boyfriend, boyfriend, boyfriend I kept saying as I told the crowd how he'd lost half his face climbing a mountain he hadn't climbed.

The truth was, the one I loved would fit in here just fine. Later I'd stumble down pitch black hallways in search of our bed. I wouldn't feel the papercut, even as my ear gushed blood.

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