As a little girl, I sped along the cobblestones in a chariot pulled by goats with beautiful amber horns. This is my only childhood memory.
Alexei never believes me. His own childhood memories fill an entire mind pantry, each one neatly pickled and preserved. He pulls them out at cocktail parties: a light garnish of a Christmas in the Alps, or a gherkin of summers in Nice.
He says there must be something in my head besides the goats. He whispers this playfully while he puts one eye to my ear and peers inside, as if he can see right to my synapses.
“Did the goats trample you?” he asks. “You can tell me. Did they trounce on your golden curls and stomp the memories out of you?”
My goats would never. I’d remember that, I think.
Alexei and I married in an aquarium, one large enough to hold a beluga whale that let out a terrific hum through the whole ceremony. Afterwards we ate sea scallops next to the starfish exhibit, and I wondered if the starfish knew it.
We danced close that night, the aquarium floor lit by electric eels coaxed into performing for the party. Then Alexei led me out the front doors, underneath a shark skeleton.
There, a chariot waited. Eight anxious goats shifted their weight, unnerved by the city lights.
“It’s bigger,” I said, running my hand on the chariot.
“So are you.”
We climbed in, and he took my hand as the goats pulled forward with a rough start across the parking lot.
“Will you remember this?” he asked.
But the color of their horns wasn’t quite right.
Front page image by Anita Carril.
GHOST WRITER is a project by Tracy Danger Mumford. New sections are released every other Sunday. If you’d like to receive email alerts—and that’s all you’ll get, a short email—saying the new one’s up, sign up here: