So this is one of those things about the age difference: it seems like a given that the older one will die first. That’s the logical order of things. But death is no place for logic. The husband’s parents both died young, at thirty-five and fifty-one, the wife’s mom died at sixty-three. The couple knew that either one of them could go first. In the beginning, she hoped that he’d go first, not because she wanted that, but because she didn’t want him to have any more loss in his life. (Plus she sort of thought she’d do better on her own, or that he might choose a horrible person, quickly, like her stepdad did. Her stepdad’s brand-new and horrible girlfriend moved into her mom’s house four months after she died. Oh yeah, they all said, that’s a real thing. It happened to my ______ [fill in relative here].) She made the punk friends promise that if she went first, they wouldn’t let him have a horrible girlfriend; she hoped he would have one, but only if she were awesome and great. She had not thought about the need for horrible-girlfriend prevention under any other circumstances.

Every two weeks, the wife makes the commute home for couples therapy (round two, post-game). Today they’re sitting on a small grassy hill in the parking lot, talking about the tornado that touched down in their city in May, the day before he moved out. I knew when the tornado hit, he says. The client’s car was crushed under a tree. The client wasn’t in it at the time, but the husband admitted that he was hit hard to think of what might have happened to her.

What about what might have happened to me, she says. I was alone in the basement with the dog.

He makes a facial version of a shrug.

Is this the moment to call it and walk away? It’s already been called anyway. They’ve been making bits of progress in terms of trying to understand one another. At least he’s being honest?

This is really terrible, he says, but I’ve thought about you being dead. She takes this in for about a second, isn’t in the mood to take the attendant feelings all the way.

Well, that is normal, I’ve thought about that too. Fuck you.

You have? He brightens up and then she’s sorry she said it, like she’s let him off the hook, or at least is trying to indicate it’s not the end of the world, when she also means to hurt him a little bit.

Don’t you remember This Is 40? They talk about their fantasies about murdering the other person.

That wasn’t a very good movie though.

Whatever. It was there because it’s common.

What she doesn’t tell him: how many times she wished he’d die first so there was no chance they’d ever get divorced. How many times she constructed a fantasy about someone else that began with her being a widow, because she didn’t want to imagine them divorced. Constructing a fantasy about someone else never includes the option of an open marriage. Her best sexual fantasies always involve romance and intimacy, and she knows she can’t compartmentalize that. Monogamy, even in her fantasy life.

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