[Fiction] Two couples, living in a “Yooper town,” dreaming of a better life:
Craig is sweet and smarter than he or anyone else gives him credit for. After a long day of work, he smells like sweat and sap. He likes to read Decadent literature, especially Oscar Wilde. I’m the only one who knows that. He doesn’t hate himself for being a Yooper boy dating a Yooper girl working a Yooper trade. We’ve been together for eleven years, since we were sophomores in high school. We had a baby once, a little girl named Emma. She had his eyes and his dimples and my smile and my temper. She died when she was four and a half—got sicker than we knew was possible and needed the kind of help people like us can never afford. Craig asks me to marry him every month or so but I don’t know how to say yes in a world where our child isn’t alive. I don’t know how to say no either. I tell him soon.