“Her Secondhand Smoke” by Holly Combs from Glitterwolf Magazine: Issue four, August 2013. Edited by Matt Cresswell.
The grandmother of this story’s unnamed, newlywed protagonist did her a great disservice when she advised that “a sigh is the sound a soul makes when a little piece of it dies” and that she would inevitably come to despise her wife, Jess.
I get that the grandmother means to undermine her happiness. What I’m not certain of is whether she did it simply because she herself is unhappy, and misery loves company, or if her treachery also contains an insidious, homophobic element.
Regardless, the seeds of doubt and paranoia get planted and, weeds that they are, grow heartily, until they choke out all the good things in the relationship. The protagonist and her wife are being slowly driven apart. The grandmother’s “prediction” is coming true.
They say attitude is everything. I have a magnet on my refrigerator printed with the poem “Thinking” by Walter D. Whintle. You’ve probably read it. In part, it says,
You’ve got to think high to rise, You’ve got to be sure of yourself before You can ever win a prize.
That’s easier to do if people aren’t actively sabotaging you. When we got married, some friends of ours said this to us, warmly: “Welcome to the Club”. That was all. Welcome to the Club. They didn’t follow it up by smirking, or rolling their eyes, or making furtive anti-marriage comments.
So, to all of you who are just being allowed in, let me say it to you: Welcome to the Club.
Tell the haters to go to Hell.