"The Man that I Knew Would Someday Be My Husband" by Leah Donnella

Eight months before he broke up with me, my boyfriend took me to the Mütter Museum, which for those of you who haven’t been, is a museum of medical oddities filled mostly with jars of partially disfigured but fully recognizable fetuses at various stages of development. The museum is fairly small, and almost always crowded. Lots of young children visit with their parents. They stand around transfixed, trying to reconcile the things they are seeing with their still untainted belief in God. One boy sobbed for an hour in front of the “Soap Lady” as his mother tried to explain, calmly, to her innocent little son, that sometimes, when a good person dies, if they get left in a cool, dark, dry room for long enough, that person’s fatty flesh will turn hard and smooth and frothy when wet, and that people will someday try to use that body to wash their clothes.

Inside the museum, there is a very large display of human skulls with racist yet fascinating anthropological tags like

Skull #114

Name: Unknown

Race: Mohammedan

Sex: Male

Age: 47

Profession: Thief

Cause of Death: Consumption

or

Skull #39

Name: Natyasya Beswick

Race: Gypsy

Sex: Female

Age: 14

Profession: Seamstress

Cause of Death: Adultery

But our favorite was

Skull #209

Name: Edward Lewitzki

Race: Jew

Sex: Male

Age: Unknown

Profession: Clerk

Cause of Death: Suicide as a Result of Burglary

To be frank, a morning spent looking at jars of human body parts left me feeling a bit ill. So I dragged my boyfriend to the Schuylkill River Park to be in the fresh air for a little while and recover.

We sat on a park bench in comfortable silence for a few minutes. It was such a beautiful day, and it was so peaceful out there by the water, that eventually we both nodded off. I snapped up after a few minutes, terrified at the fact that we had both fallen asleep in the middle of a busy city in the middle of a busy park in the middle a busy day. I shook him awake, and said frantically, “Geoff, we were sleeping!”

“Thank God you woke me up right away,” he replied. “What if someone had mugged us? I would’ve hated to have to kill myself because someone burglarized my wallet.”

We both laughed at that for a good long time, and every time one of us stopped laughing, we would make eye contact and laugh again.

After that, we went home and took a nap.

It was that day, in the sunshine, that I knew with absolute certainty, more than I had ever known anything before, that I would spend the rest of my life with that man.

#family #shortstories

 

 

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