Thirty-Four Years or So, Give or Take a Shoe
by KJ Hannah Greenberg




My dear, darling dude doesn’t snore. He takes out the trash most nights. Plus, when he gets “a certain look” in his eyes, our time together becomes sweaty, and, in other respects, blissfully eventful. The problem amid us is shoes. More exactly, I’m wearied by my partner’s unwillingness to ascribe my loss of appendages’ coverings to certain make-believe fiends.


If we had dogs, he’d hold them responsible for enjoying the irresistible quality of my footwear’s cowhide. If our children were still small, he’d charge those boys and girls with repurposing my pumps as dress-up gear and my lace-ups as boats. Likewise, if he were into fetishes, then he would deny or otherwise allude to his part in the disappearance of some of my rights and lefts.


In spite of those suppositions, we have no pets, except for the random geckos that slide between our screened porch and our stairwell. No young children scamper around our spaces, either, except when our grandkids visit. Further, while my husband is possessed of ocular glimmers, he assigns no mystical qualities to my articles of dress, discounting those occasions when the dryer’s gone bust and he’s tasked to hang up, outdoors, all of our goods (at such times, he claims that my stockings breed and that my T-shirts multiply.) However, never will that sweet lover declare that mystical wee creatures regularly cause my apparel to go astray.


My man insists that he’s bereft of knowledge of the invisible hedgehogs, gelatinous wildebeests, and pretend Komodo dragons, which I, contrariwise, recognize as rocking and roaring through our living room in search of comestibles. In his esteem, there are no indoor fauna that: eat up the leftover roast (he credits our not-yet-married, twenty-something son for such deeds), play havoc with our trash (Hubby says the neighborhood dumpster cats are culpable for flinging the rubbish through our parking lot), or appropriate items from my wardrobe (my husband smugly point outs that belonging to a writer of speculative fiction, mine’s a turbulent imagination).


He’s wrong! It’s not so much my sightings of sauntering, outlandish menageries that powers my allegations (mull over that I’ve correspondingly spoken with those “hard-to-notice” beasts) as it is the certainty with which I place my clothes in drawers and on hangers many evening only to find a glove here, and a sweater there, missing many mornings. Since I’m neither presently senile (I checked with my doc since I concede that I fabricate worlds) nor any more absentminded than I was in my twenties, I’m convinced that the discourteous critters, the ones which ordinarily stay hidden in my stories’ pages, are to blame.


My mate’s and my respective rhetorical prowesses notwithstanding, our conflict, over aimlessly wandering loafers and hair scrunchies seeking shelter in adjacent universes, continues on unresolved. We just can’t get the other one to budge from his or her perspective.


For instance, on our most recent anniversary, our thirty-fourth, Hubby bought me a rose and took me out to dinner. I, on the other hand, bought him a spy glass capable of viewing additional dimensions and a surveillance camera capable of astounding magnification. I also screened an old video of Harvey, for us, back home, after we wined and dined.


His anniversary efforts at romance produced no result; I was too engrossed in trying to prove certain bugs’ existence to heed his “come hither” glances. My efforts, too, completely failed. My man, a technical genius, by day, could not figure out how to make his gift gizmos operable and concurrently refused to allow the possibility of marauding monsters.


Even so, all things being discrete, I like to roll and roll with my other half. Additionally, I’m glad we raised a family together. I just wish he’d stop thinking of me as this side of daft and would acknowledge that small, sometimes frightening beings, which go burp in the middle of the night, thieve footwear, scarves, and earrings from me.


I would feel more cherished by him if he acted in that way. I’d also feel more validated about today’s search for my missing slipper and my absentee blazer.


See, little green men are not blameworthy. Rather, something furry is askew in my closet. My chief devotee, the one with whom I’ve had the good fortune to spend decades, could be upgraded to hero status if only he’d admit that it was diamond-encrusted Jupiter lobsters that took my clothing and that those same aliens ate the leftover chicken he couldn’t find for his lunch.



a line


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