“Sometimes, as he’s turning off his bedside lamp, he says, ‘Good night.’ He says, ‘I love you.’
“And it sparks something in my chest, a fire that could be love or could be anger—heat that reverberates to my spine, lighting it with a desire I cannot identify: a need to take my husband’s hand, maybe, or to elbow him in the face.
“I love you.
“I always close my eyes when he says it, exhale heavily, as if I have already been lost to sleep.”
—Jess Rafalko, “In the Neighborhood”