I missed Gray. I missed his shoe collection in the closet. I missed watching him brush his hair, as if I was seeing something I shouldn’t. He said he felt effeminate styling his hair in front of me, pulling it back into a slick ponytail. I missed his body in the bed, the way he slept with one arm tossed across my back.
But when I lay in bed at night I saw the deep abscesses on the chests of sheep, dragging themselves to food and water across a rock-strewn lawn. The scared eyes of the feral cats underneath the sofa. I felt the warm bodies of the retrievers next to me, the kind of limitless love other people dreamed of and I had — all to myself.
— Megan Mayhew Bergman, “Every Vein a Tooth,” Birds of a Lesser Paradise (177)
In Paris, our love was respected. These were the Clinton years, and two young, leftist Americans in love, ambling along the Seine, were a sight to behold. We took in the knowing nods and warm smiles of the French, we acknowledged the silent accord we had with them—they would continue to provide us a place of rest and higher culture, and we would continue to come there and spend our money; we would beam all of the American earnestness and heartfelt wonder that we could muster and they could feel superior to our lack of urbanity and sophistication.
-Dean Bakopoulos, My American Unhappiness (94)