She went to bed in March and woke up in April. It was exhausting, how a new month would start before she’d grown used to the old. This month, in particular, began with all things called into question. The first of April, a day for scrutinizing. She resigned herself to read the newspaper carefully over her breakfast. To take nothing at face value. Everything with grains of salt. But what did the date matter, really? What we believe is truth can always be someone else’s idea of a joke.
Scrutinize was the first thing she scrutinized. She did it without meaning to. It was such a very odd word. Those opening consonants, how they forced the lips to purse. Scrutinize. She said it aloud and her husband muttered back in his sleep. He did not yet know what the day was. Lucky man. Or did he? She remembered to doubt.
So today she would try hard to second guess. Most days, this was not the case. Most days, she tried not to peel back the layers of reality and peer beneath. But this day was different. She’d read once—and where had she read it?—of a woman who’d become convinced that her husband was not her husband. He was instead, she’d said, a skillful impostor. How did she even think to think that? In any case, the not-husband knew her husband’s walk and the length of his showers and the way he chewed his food. He mimicked it all, the not-wife said. Imagine that, she thought now and she imagined it. She looked at her husband and found it quite easy to imagine it, actually.
What she could not believe was the ending of that story. What the not-wife had done about the impostor. She had done nothing. She hadn’t looked for her real husband or kicked the impostor out of her home. She’d lived with the not-husband for over a decade. She said she’d grown used to him. They’d grown used to each other. Eventually, she said, they had fallen in love.