Gone Lawn
a journal of word-things
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Gone Lawn 46
autumnal equinox, 2022

Featured artwork, The City, by Koss

New Works

Serena Jayne

Our Relationship as a Monthly Subscription Box

The January box pops open like a can of crescent rolls. Instead of dough, I discover a plethora of squirrel stuffies inside. "Happy Squirrel Appreciation Day, honey," Rick says. He tries to hug me, but I stiffen. Squirrels remind me of his stupidly short attention span. I imagine each squirrel represents one of the "girls" he's followed on TikTok, messaged on twitter, or sent cash to via OnlyFans. Rick installs a net above our bed to store the stuffies. The scurry of squirrels seems to drop inch by inch over the month, and I take to sleeping in the spare room.
Rick ducks to avoid the squirrel toy I toss at him, knocking over the container of heavy cream from the February box. We agree to therapy on Don't Cry Over Spilled Milk Day.
The March box contains pie, lots of pie. Our therapist suggests we revisit dating. We settle on pie at a local diner, three times a week. On the fourteenth of March, our waitress winks at Rick and wishes him a happy Pi Day while I stuff my face with French silk.
The April box is filled with disappointment. My embarrassment climbs with each Rick-less moment at therapy, but I give Rick a pass. Afterall, it's Sorry Charlie Day. Afterall, I kissed Tony, my personal trainer. Once I burn off the ten pounds I gained from the pie box, I'll delete Tony's phone number. I swear.
May's box contains socks, which would be fine, because everyone needs socks, but none of these socks match.
June brings more single socks to commemorate Repeat Day. I choose to celebrate Bourbon Day instead.
On a Wednesday in July, I find Rick, our therapist, and my mom sitting on our living room couch. If this month's box were a TikTok video, the caption would read "Tell me this is an intervention, without telling me this is an intervention." My emotions pinball in alignment with Pandemonium Day, which should at least have included a Panda plush.
In August, I resume AA meetings. "Happiness Happens," our therapist says, seemingly unsurprised by the fact that Rick and I are holding hands. I discover Happiness Happens Day is really a thing when the box arrives, filled with yellow smiley-faced ping pong balls.
The September box contains an engagement ring—the kid's kind with a plastic band and an enormous candy jewel. Rick kisses my hand like he's a Lord and I'm a Lady and slides the ring on my finger. I embrace Positive Thinking Day by cancelling my gym membership.
Rick and I dress as the Joker and Harley Quinn, respectively, to hand out subscription box candy corn to trick or treaters. A kid in a Ninja Turtle costume wrinkles his nose at our offerings and flips us the bird. I don't bother informing the hellion that it's National Candy Corn Day. Rick must be still celebrating Lost Sock Memorial Day, since his socks are mismatched. He's so sentimental.
My mother's schnauzer, who we're dog sitting, eats everything, including the blue flowers we receive in honor of Forget Me Not Day. The emergency vet informs us that Buttons needs an operation to remove plastic bits of candy engagement ring from his colon. National Absurdity Day is also a November holiday.
Throughout December, I find squirrels under the coffee table, in the refrigerator produce bin, and stuffed in a sock. I can't really fault the squirrels, because I discover them while on a recon mission for the tiny booze bottles I've hidden. I shove the squirrels along with the unopened December "Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day" box into the trash. Thankfully, our subscription has ended. Pretending is exhausting.

Born under the sun sign of Leo, Serena Jayne is naturally a cat person. Her short fiction has appeared in The Arcanist, Ghost Parachute, Lost Balloon, Shotgun Honey, Space and Time Magazine and other publications. Her short story collection, "Necessary Evils," was published by Unnerving Books. She tweets @SJ_Writer. Website: serenajayne.com