I married during a sweaty fever of happiness and had been considering distaste for some years when it started. My face and chest began to feel too warm, as if I had run too far. On the morning following our third anniversary I awoke blearily, and padded to the bathroom where I found my mirrored self an impressionist caricature of what I expected. My skin had become my enemy; my self incarcerated within a prison that displayed my unhappiness publicly. I pulled at my features, pressed hard on my cheeks to bring a brief semblance of my previous normality to my face, but the details were all gone. I had to blur my eyes to see my past.
I left our house, and moved like a ghost through the streets, unhappily aware of the sharp three-dimensionality of my surroundings, the microscopic actuality of other people. I took short breaths, the air entering shallowly through my misty nostrils. It was like inhaling through cloth. I needed solitude, and walked quickly to the edge of the town. I passed along deserted roads, scuffing dust, keeping by the high walls in the shadows where I belonged.
It got late, and I worried that the dusk would assimilate me, that I would disperse like blood in the ocean. Reluctantly I returned home. My wife greeted me, and asked after my day. She talked for a while, but I didn't really hear what she said. I sat, morosely prodding at my face, unwilling to look at her eyes. I knew she would be squinting, making small head movements in an effort to force me into focus.
We divorced quite soon after. For a long time I thought that I understood why, but when I asked her one afternoon when we met in a cafe, she said I had got it wrong. It wasn't that, she said. It wasn't that at all.