This originally appeared in issue 2 of ZineOS.
One hundred or so years from now, when I die, my descendants come across this rich text file while going through the drawers and the suitcases in my husband and I’s house under the pretense of cleaning. They will try to understand who we were and if we ever were more than just parents. They will have problems with technology yet to be invented; they will have kids and lovers I will never meet.
My husband will die twenty or so years before me. He will fall asleep at Sam’s Club and refuse to wake up. A badly-shaken mid-level Sam’s Club franchise manager with kind eyes and a polo T-shirt and exactly one earring will knock on my door and deliver the news. I will feel weak and, 18 hours later, I will cry.
I want you to know how ordinary I was. I wanted to be one person and then I ended up being someone else. Cumulatively I thought I had serious fantasies about marrying three different people and, after college, I ended up marrying the second. I was part of a dozen thousand who fled to Canada during the dark years. My grocer patiently taught me how to say 100 words in a French-Canadian accent and gave me the courage to eat ugly vegetables. I could have traveled more and been happy. I could have not traveled more and been happy.
The worst part about traveling is all the advertisements for foreign brands. Walking home at night under the spotlights of billboards with which you cannot empathize is a piercing kind of loneliness. The best part about traveling is meeting all the other expats in your city, who each is tacitly a member of a busy and tired club.
My parents were Armenian mathematicians. They left their country, which gave me the courage to leave mine. They were constantly worried about me and, to distract themselves, they bought and flipped real estate. The first time you buy a house it seems impossible that each room will fill with the right furniture and the each wall will have the right artwork. The second time is twice as easy; and the third is twice that. They met one hundred or so different people that way, which I think somehow made my relationship with them better or at least easier. Toward the end they will play gin with their neighbors in the morning and watch Armenian television in the afternoon, on a small satellite modem that only Armenians know where to buy. They forgot English first, then walking, then breathing. Acting on this information, I will try to die much faster.
The early 2010s will be remembered fondly as a simpler time, and additionally I want to add they were my favorite years. The late 2040s were good too, as were the 2060s. It will become difficult to separate the objective quality of a time period from how much of a burden my body becomes. Every year I will buy clothes that looked like all the clothes I owned fifteen years ago until, one day, I throw everything out that isn’t white and blue. I will die in a white blouse and blue shorts. In death I will stop looking cute and start looking serene.
Though I know some facts about the future I have a great deal of questions. What are the food trends now? Are there any new bands that sound like the old bands I liked? Do radiators still break during the coldest week?
My husband and I ran into each other in three different cities. The first two times we recognized in each other an understanding that the timing was off. The third time we fucked in a friend’s closet, groping each other like we were younger, beneath layers of woolen duvets that we by accident pulled down. It seemed tawdry and sticky at the time and now it’s just a sentence.
Into our lives we carved out space for each other. We put up load-bearing beams. We added good thick curtains and a little OLED display that read the amount of humidity in the air. We agreed to never make the other person sleep on the couch, as we wanted ours to be filled with the flatulence of our friends. We threw the best parties. We were an unstoppable hosting machine. We figured out that a party becomes the memory of a party. It happens one or two days after the party, when the conversation and the discoveries curdle into something distant and bittersweet.
The city will build a subway station near us in 2031 after years of private funding into subterranean infrastructure. The money will come from tech moguls looking to survive zombies and/or climate change, but a subway station is a subway station. One late night, as we step off the train on our way home, we will walk past a woman wearing a bright striped parka. I will turn my head to get a second look and she will not be there. I will crook my head to see behind the poles until my neck hurts, and still I will see no one. I will turn to my husband, who sees my face, and we will walk home with his head lying on my shoulder and his hand lying on my chest so that my inexplicably racing heartbeat will bang and shudder against his hand like a hurricane’s wind against the shutters of a house where nobody has ever lived.