Ed’s wife changes colour depending on her emotions. He’s learned to vary his behaviour accordingly. In bed however, these changes are becoming problematic. All Ed has to go on is the sound of her breath.
At parties - which she does not enjoy, being a private person – her neck becomes mottled, like the egg of a wild bird. Then, Ed crosses the room,
“Suze? Get you something?”
She always says no.
She’s recently started shedding her skin, and Ed finds them draped over the bed, papery, delicate as aphid’s wings. He folds them, keeps them in a drawer. But they never quite fold neatly, and try to escape, like shadows.
One, the thinnest, he has torn inadvertently. He hasn’t told her. The thought is ever-present: What if she needs it later?