art by Shot Hot Design
Heart on Green Paper
by Grá Linnaea
He loved her like she was food after he was lost at sea, like she was air run through a mountain forest. He said it was for forever and thought it was true.
She wanted to stay casual and open. She wanted to travel and build adventure.
He mentioned kids on their first date. He wanted to build her a house with two floors and a view of mountains and arid land.
She wanted to be a runner or a cellist or a cop. When he showed her the ring, hidden in a twenty-dollar box of chocolates, she said, "Maybe."
They never married but stayed together till he grew tired and grey and bored. She packed their house onto a truck and left him sleeping underneath a cactus. She told everyone he died. But really she just left for wetter land.
She insisted she never missed him, but constructed a double of her husband in origami. She wrote his heart into a haiku on green paper. She pulped his old love letters with her tears and ironed in pressed flowers from their fallow garden. She made kneecaps and joints, hinged ligaments, and a flaccid cock. For his black eyes she used alcohol to squeeze ink from musical scores he'd composed for her.
Over the new husband's paper body, she folded a black paper suit, like he was perpetually attending a funeral. She fitted him with shoes and a folded fedora. When he opened his eyes, she clapped her hands and they danced to the sound of the rain on their roof. They joked that he looked like a blues musician who had sold his soul to the devil. He lay on top of the covers and they held hands while she slept.
Everything was as it should be and they lived happily ever after.
Until his edges began to wilt and curl in humid days. Until his colors began to fade in the sun.
Her paper husband lost common words like cherry, observe, and probably. He obsessed and stuck on little chores like doing dishes, cleaning sinks, and plumbing. His glue softened and his folds became loose.