By Kat Read

May 4, 2020


I think the apartment is horrible––the bathroom sink is in the bedroom, the blind in the shower falls down every other day, the sliding closet door skitters out of its track. Everything feels rickety and as though it is about to topple, especially the life that I am living inside it.

The only thing I like about the apartment is the fireplace. Every night, I build a fire. Every night: even when it is hot, even when I come home late. I go to the grocery store two, three times a week, and buy an armful of wood.

I am living here alone while I am trying to make my marriage work, but of course I am not trying to make my marriage work. I am in love with someone else, luxuriating in my own misery, sitting alone and burning and burning and burning.

One day, I get home from work, and find that my husband has let himself into the apartment. I know this because there is a cord of wood stacked neatly around the periphery of the living room.

It is the most loving and selfless thing he has done for me in our five years together, but I know that I will eventually leave.

I do, after the last log is burned to ash.


Kat Read is a graduate of GrubStreet’s Essay Incubator program. Her essay "The Whale" was a finalist in Hippocampus Magazine's 2019 contest, and her work has appeared in The Manifest-Station, GRLSQUASH, and The Sun – Readers Write, among others. She is on Twitter at @KatARead.


Photo courtesy of Hayden Scott on Unsplash

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