“With Small Love” by Christopher D. DiCicco

April 12, 2016

We embrace becoming one, shrinking down to something smaller—like newlyweds learning love, we marry ourselves to the idea—a tiny house and each other.

We want one. A marriage. A tiny house. A relationship planted in the cracks between Montana and the Canadian wilderness where we dissolve into our simplest form.

In the middle of the night, we pack. I put my shirts in a suitcase and Lynsey puts a single pair of flats in her backpack. She stares from the dozen shirts to me until I reach in and take ten out.

Where we’re going, she tells me, you won’t need even two.

I throw another away and it falls to the kitchen floor. Beside the stove our bed. Next to our bed the toilet. Next to the toilet Lynsey at a small desk, talking to the realtor who agrees to meet us tomorrow morning after breakfast.

I smile at the idea, finding the smallest space to grow.

Most families have it wrong, Lynsey tells me with a kiss. They think the larger the house, the more room they have to flourish.

But it’s not that way at all, I finish. The larger the house, the smaller the home. You disappear in giant luxury, every child a room down another hallway far from the heart of it.

Lynsey kisses me hard. Our home is tiny, she says. My lips find her neck.

But it can be even smaller, she whispers, brushing her lips across my ear. Her words descend in volume, her syllables disappear and I feel too large for what comes next.

When I force a smile, Lynsey assures me, Living will be easier. I agree, We’re ridding ourselves of what we never needed.

Materialistic wants, Lynsey says.

But what are we, but material? I ask, but only in my head, the thought too small or too large or too what it is it shouldn’t be.

My anxiety lives in the way my lips linger on her own, and Lynsey tells me, Don’t. Don’t worry.

I shrink in her embrace, and Lynsey quiets me, reciting, The smallest feeling is love.

And home is where we keep it, we say in unison, our marriage vow a lyric we recite before sex then bed, our bodies intertwined beneath the comforter, a thick fur we shelter under dreaming of our next big move.

Our home is engineered by a young German who sends us newer, smaller designs in the mail. Each time, the design arrives in a smaller envelope. The first disappears in my hand. The mailman thinks it’s a stick of gum until he discovers our address, placing his drinking glass over it at the office. When he delivers it, the mailman places it into my wet palm where it dissolves upon contact. A week later he arrives again with what now appears to be half a stick of gum wrapped in manila paper. When he rolls his eyes, dropping it into my now dry hand, I explain, You’re thinking in wasteful terms. This is a good thing.

Of course, it is, he tells me, smiling at my little mailbox. Of course, it is.

On the morning of our move, the toaster fits in the palm of my hand. Lynsey smiles. I whistle. It’s another Gunther Funhf design, she tells me. I nod and drop crumbs in, hoping they won’t burn.

After breakfast, we move. I take only Lynsey. She does the same.

On the edge of Montana, we see Canadian pines, a sea of darkening green. The realtor shouts above the wind, We have to be ready to move. Snow is coming.

We hike. Lynsey pushes on, everything she owns in her hand, our fingers intertwined.

When the realtor slows, then stops, we stand in the middle of a valley. Only winter grass grows. A cold­moving stream bubbles and saplings take quiet root.

Lynsey whispers, with small words, It’s perfect.

The realtor removes the buffalo skin covering his head and tells us, You’re not the only ones interested. Try to make a decision soon.

Can we go inside? asks Lynsey.

Sure, he says, motioning us to enter near his foot, next to a small field pebble.

When we step inside, we disappear, one into the other, our vow now complete, compacted and slipped inside our heart, of what we always wanted, of what we only need.

 

Christopher_DiCicco-DiCicco_author_photoChristopher D. DiCicco was born in Pennsylvania during the winter of 1981. He is the author of So My Mother, She Lives in the Clouds and other stories (Hypertrophic Press). His work has been nominated for Pushcart, Best of the Net, and Best Indie Lit New England, and has appeared in such places as Superstition Review, WhiskeyPaper, and Bartleby Snopes. Visit www.cddicicco.com for more.