The Northville Review
an online literary journal
Some Riot

J. Bradley

The day she said she was leaving came the bullet I wanted to make out of my wedding band. I walked home imagining the how, the where, the why, never who. Her father-in-law lumbered around our apartment, grabbing her furniture like a throat; her mother asked me to say nothing. She surrendered the cutlass of her wedding ring/engagement set, asking for my ring back in retaliation.

The scene at the bank where we closed our wounded joint account isn’t worth mentioning much. As we waited for a manager, she threw things like “technical writer” and “I’ll make more money than you”; they weren’t worth their weight in salting a margarita glass. I was too happy from the night before where I met a bridge shaped like a blonde; we splintered six weeks later.

It took a weekend for her to move out of our place, two more days to turn in her key, two months to fill out the paperwork. We met in parking lots, her always dressed to impressed, flaunting how much she didn’t miss me by looking like a woman I never knew, her mother clutching bouquets of legal documents. I leaped through hoops, wore the lash of questions and paper cuts. The day we filed, she cleaned the corner of my mouth with her thumb while we stood on the courthouse steps telling me I’d never get laid looking like this.

I waited a week before I broke what was left of my vows with a mistake I made a month after I asked my wife to marry me. She told me when I came it felt like part of my soul.

Facebook makes for a cheap private detective. It told me my wife had a ghost of a new girlfriend. I dumped the body of my wife’s profile into the river, tying cinder blocks of “fuck you” to its ankles.

The ghost approached me, wearing my wife’s lipstick like a scar.

On the day we said “I don’t,” I showed up early, waiting outside the courtroom. I called my wife and her mother to see where they were. The deputy fed us one by one into the courtroom. When the deputy asked us if we had questions, I raised my hand and asked what would happen if she wasn’t there for the hearing. The deputy reassured me that since I was there, our marriage would end no matter what; I resisted the urge to high-five him.

When my wife and her mother finally came into the courtroom, they sat one row behind me, closest to the door. I saw the way one of the soon-to-be divorcing husbands hit on my wife, her mother giving the thumbs up. The judge scolded my wife for not answering questions with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ when it was our turn.

We waited fifteen minutes in the clerk’s office for our paperwork to come through. When it was time to purchase a certified copy, I didn’t have the three dollars to take care of it; this was the first time she paid for something without me asking her. I have the final decision hanging on my refrigerator, lacking a gold star.

About the author

J. Bradley is the Interviews Editor of PANK Magazine, the Falconer of Fiction at NAP, and a contributing writer to the Specter Collective. He lives at