How Did Gauguin Do It? 

She woke in the night and sensed her unhappiness standing in the corner of the room like an intruder watching in the dark. She wanted to say something brave to make it go away, but instead, lay completely still with heavy limbs.  Her discontent washed over her body like a wave washes over a lone rock in the middle of the ocean. Her misfortunes mocked her, telling her that everything she had gotten had been well overdue and deserved.  The body laying next to her made things even worse. When had they stopped loving each other? Or had they ever started… Suddenly a wish of being in bed alone made her feel the urge to get up, take her keys to the ignition, turn, and drive. Never comin’ back bitches. She was done. But she blinked in her bed and hugged the blankets hoping they kept her secrets safe from the rest of the world.

When did this happen? She wondered… The first child? Na, maybe the first slice of wedding cake when the love of her life had made a joke with the best man which was inappropriate just like the rest of his jokes and she found herself thinking for the first time as he brought a spoonful of wedding cake to her lips, I am swallowing the rest of my life. FuckThings weren’t so bad afterward. Kids came along and really made her work. Grey hairs increase as did her salon treatments. He found new hobbies to keep him the hell out of her hair. She praised the Gods for Golf and work conferences. From a distance she was happy. Under a microscope, she could have a made an onion cry.

But she had her own hobbies. Not like his. Her hobby was her imagination.

Walking away with one suitcase and not even a kiss goodbye. She had read about people who had beautiful lives and disappeared out of nowhere. It was hard for her to believe that these average Joes and Sheilas were kidnapped or killed and left in a ditch. But no body was ever found… No way. Those people weren’t dead, they were the brave ones who walked away. She could imagine thousands of the lost ones roaming the beaches of Bali, running their fingertip across the Colosseum, living lives that they had first dreamt and then followed.

How did these dreams even come to us?

Tahiti. It sounded so elegant and exotic when she let it roll off her tongue. That was always the destination in her fantasies. No one would find me there. She tried to calculate how long it would take her until she got bored. One year? Maybe two… She would be tan and feel free in her skin. Shed the pounds of childbirth. Beautiful with the sea wind in her hair, sunshine holding her tighter than a husband ever could. Every morning she would dip into the blue lagoons and flirt with the locals until one of them gave in. No more housewife ash and frizz. Her children had stolen her shine. Her husband had taken away the only fire that had once attracted him. Not anymore, suckers. Tahiti would make her beautiful again. Goodbye older, saner, plainer self. She envisioned the sun on a bright red horizon burning her soul like embers in the fire.

How did Gauguin do it? 

She blinked again in the night, remembering that she had to wake up early to iron her husband’s shirt, feed the kids, feed the pets, feed herself, and feed her brain bullshit that tomorrow she was going to get on the flight to the South Pacific Islands and disappear to join the brave ones.


Lindsay Reva


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