Astronomy 101

Once, on a beach during college, the man who became her husband promised her the moon. She reminds him years later at breakfast as she butters toast for their child. He can’t believe he’d ever say that.

“But you did,” she says. “We were crazy in love. It made us inarticulate.”

“Offering the moon isn’t inarticulate. It’s a cliché.”

“Clichés are inarticulate. They stop meaning anything.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

Another child appears in the kitchen, with sweetly arched eyebrows and big problems (a missing assignment, a shoe grown too small). Then, smaller but just as insistent, his brother appears. She straps them into their backpacks and follows them to their school along a sidewalk stamped by cat paws and sneakers. Walking back home she thinks, everything is so ugly here.

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