Brenna Twohy – “The Fisherman Takes the Fish Home & Tells Her He Loves Her”


One. A magician talks about the record
for holding one’s breath as his assistant lowers herself
into a tank of water. And he calls it 22 minutes,
but I promise you it’s longer. I promise you it’s years. Two. This is how I remember it. On our first date,
he ran his fingertips across my skin like he was reading my palm. When I would fall asleep
with my glasses on, he slid them off and he cleaned them and then placed them on my nightstand, every single time. Once, I took a sip of wine and I shrugged, and I set the glass down on the counter
and he poured it down the sink. And then the entire bottle. He said, “Life is too short for bad wine.” He said, “You deserve better.” Three. I love doing magic tricks. I love the way I know the lie
from the beginning. I love the way I can see the turn coming. Four. This is the hardest part. That boy is not made of fists. That boy learned how to braid my hair. And these things do not untruth themselves
when the first door slams. And I did not stop loving him
all the months I was holding my breath. And this is the hardest part. The way a fish is still a fish, even after she’s been gutted, even after her lip’s split clean in half from the hook, and the hook, and the hook. And do you think the fish blamed herself, and her own stupid open mouth? Do you think the fisherman apologized? Said all he wanted was to hold her. Said, “I have touched that hook for years,
and it never once pierced me. Darling, how could I have known?” And do you think the fish forgave him? Said, “I’m sorry, too. I promise I will try harder
to breathe outside the water.” (applause)

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