All the Things We Have in Common

 Melissa Reddish

  1. We are both standing on paddleboards.
  2. We don’t feel stupid AT ALL.
  3. Not in the least.
  4. The wind in your hair is the same wind in my hair, if I understand meteorology correctly, and I think I do because I watch the weather channel religiously just waiting for THE STORM OF THE CENTURY so all those canned goods and that hatchet you bought on eBay won’t be a total waste of time and a night of drunken mistakes.
  5. Like how you touched your friend Marc’s arm, soft and shy like a teenager again, and there was a beat where you both looked at each other and laughed and said, “No homo” at the same time.
  6. We’ve never said anything at the same time.
  7. Also, we’re both wearing hats.
  8. We bought them in the Honolulu airport.
  9. You told me that I didn’t want a raccoon eye suntan. That’s another thing we have in common: you talk and I listen.
  10. Except on the matter of where to go for our big vacation because there is only one place I want to go and that is HAWAII, which I now pronounce Huh-VIE-ee so everyone will know I am worldly and pay attention to local customs.
  11. We both think our guide is a little too perky for 8:00 a.m.
  12. We both went to Penn State, though you were a business major and I was a communications major. Once we were married, I majored in dinner parties and entertaining your business partners and then, when your business went belly-up, in cheap meals and real estate listings.
  13. Thank God Marc was there to bail you out and let you join his business.
  14. Did you know that the more natural way of ‘doing our business’ is squatting? It is what our ancestors did, and for good reason. It helps with digestion, constipation, and even hemorrhoids.
  15. We both now squat to do our business.
  16. We also explored other natural lifestyles, like the paleo diet (which you hated) and wheat-free, gluten-free meals. I had a tough time giving up bagels and cream cheese, let me tell you, but my waistline was much happier. Now here I am, in HAWAII, in a bikini without one of those flowy wraps to cover my stomach pooch. I can tell that our instructor has noticed, and if I’m being honest, I kind of like it.
  17. A lot, actually.
  18. This is also partly because of the yoga.
  19. At first I just watched videos all scrunched up in the corner of the computer room, my neck twisted from trying to look up at the TV. But then you said we had the money for yoga lessons and it would be good for me to get out of the house.
  20. So I guess that’s another thing we have in common: we both exercise—you at the Powerhouse gym and me at my yoga studio.
  21. We won’t have any photos of us on this vacation.
  22. You said that vacation photos are a desperate attempt to make other people jealous and you wouldn’t be a part of that. Anyway, we both know I don’t photograph well.
  23. Well, except for my wheat-free, gluten-free diet and the fact that I now have ABS!
  24. Even with the ABS, I still don’t photograph well. I don’t smile right. You said I look like my mother after she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Confused and a little in pain.
  25. We both agree that after this vacation, we are going to have to be more frugal. Our next vacation will probably have to be in-state. Maybe we’ll have to skip a year.
  26. I will have to make some of those cheap meals I made back when you lost your job.
  27. I mean, were DOWNSIZED.
  28. I mean, when the business went belly-up, though the business is still there and you are not, so I guess you are the one that went belly-up.
  29. Sometimes it’s hard to keep these things straight.
  30. We both know a passable amount of conversational Spanish.
  31. We both practice it with Marc when he comes over for dinner.
  32. He says we are both getting pretty decent, though I am a faster study.
  33. I don’t really like his compliments. They feel like something soft and skittery on back of my neck.
  34. We both think these dinners need to decrease, or maybe stop completely, since we’re trying to become more frugal.
  35. We both think we need to decrease many of our social activities. We need to learn to do more things at home.
  36. Sometimes when it’s dark and quiet and one of us is asleep, we cry for no reason. Don’t we?
  37. We do.
  38. We forget about it in the morning.
  39. We are both ready for this paddleboarding lesson to be over.
  40. We have both learned everything we possibly can about paddleboarding.
  41. We are ready for the rest of our day.
  42. We are ready for the cool sheets of our hotel bed. We are ready to slip into those sheets and everything that might follow.
  43. We know that marriages take work—they are not all fun and games and falling into bed together. Sometimes we may make eyes at other people, but at the end of the day, we are committed to each other, and our vows, and making more memories, like these in HAWAII. We will not give up like certain friends who call us up crying because they are so so so lonely. Not us. Not ever us. We’re the lucky ones. Through all of the waves that might hit our paddleboards and knock us into the water, we will persevere, we will hold on tight, we will together, both of us, make it work.



Melissa-Reddish-author-photoMelissa Reddish graduated in 2008 with an MFA from American University. She has a chapbook of flash fiction entitled The Distance Between Us (Red Bird Chapbooks, 2013) and a book of short stories entitled My Father is an Angry Storm Cloud: Collected Stories (Tailwinds Press, July 2015). A hybrid novella entitled Girl & Flame is forthcoming from Conium Press in 2016. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Web. In 2013, she received a Soaring Gardens Artist Residency. She teaches English and direct the Honors Program at Wor-Wic Community College.



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