Cover Photo: Blue surgical mask on a grey cover, with either ear loop stretched out.
Photograph by Kai Pilger/Unsplash

Moving Past Silence as One Relationship Ends and Another Begins

For a decade I’d tricked myself into believing I was happily married, never thinking there could come a time when the trick no longer worked.

Let’s go!

“One day,” I tell him, “we won’t have to wear a mask anymore.”

“I want to wear my mask,” he says cheerfully. And then: “We going to Papa’s house.”

“Why it’s dark outside?” N calls from the back seat.

“Because in winter it gets dark early.”

“No!” he says. “Because the Earth turns!”

“Yes,” I tell N in the car, “the Earth turns, and now we’re facing away from the sun.”

“It’s morning time?”

“It’s nighttime. But it will be morning time tomorrow.”

Shubha Sunder's prose has appeared or is forthcoming in SLICE, The Common, Crazyhorse, Narrative Magazine, and elsewhere. Two of her stories were named as notable in The Best American Short Stories 2016 anthology. She was a City of Boston Artist Fellow for the year 2020. Other distinctions include a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship, the Crazyhorse Fiction Prize, Narrative “30 Below,” and awards from the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, and from The Corporation of Yaddo.