Our extract this week is a chapter from the book The Push by Ashley Audrain which is out now…
I remember exactly what life was like in the time that followed.[restrict]
The year before our own Violet came. We ate dinner, late, on the couch, while we watched current affairs shows. Every night, Anderson Cooper. With spicy take-out on that black marble coffee table with the vicious corners. We drank glasses of fizzy wine at two o’clock on weekend afternoons and then we napped until someone was roused, hours later by the sound of people walking out- side to the bar. Sex happened. Haircuts happened.
I read the travel section of the newspaper and felt it was research, real- istic research, for the place we’d go next. I browsed expensive stores with a hot, foamy beverage in my hands. I wore expensive Italian leather gloves in the winter. You golfed with friends. I cared about politics! We cuddled on the lounge chair and thought it was nice to be together, touching. Movies were a thing I could watch,
something that could take my mind away from the place where I sat. Life was less visceral. Ideas were brighter.
Words came easier! My period was light. You played music throughout the house, new stuff, artists someone had mentioned to you over a beer at an establishment filled with adults. The laundry soap wasn’t organic and our clothes smelled artificially mountain fresh. We went to the mountains. You asked about my writing. I never looked at another man and wondered what he’d be like to fuck instead. You drove a very impractical car every day until the fourth or fifth snowfall of the year. You wanted a dog. We noticed dogs, on the street; we stopped to scratch their necks.
The park was not my only reprieve from housework. The books we read had no pictures. We did not think about the impact of television screens on brains. We did not understand that children liked things best if they were manufactured for the purpose of an adult’s use. We thought we knew each other. And we thought we knew ourselves.
The Push by Ashley Audrain
is published by Michael
Joseph and is available now.