He looked at her in the rear-view mirror. When she laughed she was the ugliest thing he’d ever seen.

He’d met his wife in tenth grade. He was the spelling bee champion. She was brilliant at math. He impressed her with ten-cent words – “When you oscitate I think you’re gorgeous,” sometthing-something-thesaurus-something-something – and she calculated their chances of marital success. By the time they had the baby she wasn’t like he remembered. They lost their synchronicity.

Their lives used to be orchestrated. Now when they made love he was smooth jazz and she was Cannibal Corpse. Then the baby would cry and he’d lose her again.

“You married me,” he said. “That baby’s like a goddamn disease sometimes. A miasma.”

“What’s that mean,” she said.

Something-something-thesaurus-something.

“It’s just a baby,” she said.

She told him it wasn’t working, he wasn’t the same, asked what was wrong. He couldn’t explain. He left, drove the Honda until the trees became fields. The moon got fatter. In the backseat the baby giggled. It made him scream, punch the wheel until he bled.

He left the car in a ditch. The baby’s laughter turned to curdling cries. He just kept walking.

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