You know her, you’ve seen her in movies and you’ve read about her in novels that have paintings of oceans on the covers: Dead Wife.
Dead Wife lives in the abstract. She exists only in flashbacks, one of which you (the viewer) gets to see after every major plot point, or perhaps when the main character falls asleep. She’s usually laughing, with some kind of beach towel or white veil covering her as she playfully runs toward you on the sand.
In these memories, these little representations that somehow are supposed to represent an actual, three-dimensional person, she’s silently singing along to a royalty-free pop song in the passenger seat of the car. Or maybe you get a glimpse of her lighting the candles on somebody else’s birthday cake, which is her favorite thing to do. Sometimes, you can see her bring her hand up, about to lovingly caress your face, before she disappears again and you snap out of it. Every now and then, you’ll get a shot of Dead Wife about to tell you something really important, just before the main character shoots awake covered in sweat.
That’s what I am now, to this paper. A flash of myself that only exists in articles I’ve written during the last four years.
When I think of my time on this paper, I think of pacing in my freshman dorm to think of something funny to write, having to explain why I was printing out a photo of Mark Ruffalo in public to bring to initiation, and all the times I have knee-slapped at other writers’ pitches that were unfortunately just too viscerally funny, too revealing of the true human condition, and too absurd to ever actually be published. Sorry, general readership. Those die with me, Dead Wife.
Cheers to the Sacred Mug and Rag, from beyond the grave.