Electric Literature has published “Online,” a story from Joanna Walsh’s forthcoming collection Vertigo. You can buy Vertigo now from the indie imprint Dorothy (I ordered Vertigo along with Marianne Fritz’s The Weight of Things), the publisher who brought us Nell Zink’s The Wallcreeper.
The first few paragraphs of Walsh’s “Online”:
My husband met some women online and I found out.
His women were young, witty, and charming, and they had good jobs—at least I ignored the women he had met online who were not young, witty, and charming, and who did not have good jobs—and so I fell more in love with my husband, reflected as he was, in the words of these universally young, witty, and charming women.
I had neglected my husband.
Now I wanted him back.
So I tried to be as witty and charming as the women my husband had met online.
I tried to take an interest.
At breakfast, I said to him, “How is your breakfast?”
He said to me, “Fine, thanks.”
I said to him, “What do you like for breakfast?”
(Having lived with him for a number of years, I already know what my husband likes for breakfast, and this is where the women online have the advantage of me: they do not yet know what my husband likes for breakfast and so they can ask him what he likes for breakfast and, in that way, begin a conversation.)
He did not answer my question.