A pair of glasses slapped me in the face, green, one lens half-broken. The new neighbours were arguing again. I broomed a bunch of noisy leaves to the side and told my wife this really had to stop. “Last time I almost lost an eye, I’ll turn into Cyclops!” My wife laughed; a piece of lettuce struggled to breathe between her two front teeth. “I have a plan,” I whispered. She was all ears. We spent a month practicing our arguing abilities. My wife used the word “asshole” a lot, I used the word “bitch,” one night she called me a “motherfucker,” I invented the word “fatherfucker,” I commented on her tits, too small, she told me my penis was below average, we broke cups and plates and recorded the whole thing on my Iphone, we downed six bottles of wine and twenty-four cans of beer, we even smoked a five-year-old joint stuck at the back of a drawer, she asked me if I had actually fucked that girl in Hong Kong, I said “Hell, yeah, hell, yeah,” she snatched a knife and tore two of my shirts, I stained her wedding dress with wine, I asked her if she still thought of her ex, she said she imagined the three of us naked around a fire, I screamed in ways I never screamed, she screamed in ways she always screamed, I punched the wall and kicked a chair, she scratched a door and spat on a window glass, we punched and kicked and slapped and scratched and bruised things we never thought we would punch and kick and slap and scratch and bruise, and had this whole thing play again and again and again through a speaker we had installed at our front window, but we still couldn’t sleep at night and the new neighbours continued to fight, and things, as we knew them, also started to change.
Maria A. Ioannou is a writer based in Cyprus. She studied Literature (MA, BA) and Creative Writing (PhD, Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence in Research Award 2019) in the UK. She published two short fiction collections and a children’s book in Greece (Emerging Writer State Prize 2012). Her short fiction ‘Pillars’ was a Best Small Fictions 2020 nominee. More info: http://www.maria-alpha-ioannou.com
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