For almost a year, I’ve been in a three-way relationship. Anywhere I go — to the grocery store, gas station, beach — it’s been me, my wife, and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. You know, the books adapted into a hit television show? Six seasons? A historical drama about brilliant Claire Randall and tough, kilt-wearing Jamie Fraser as they gallivant across 18th century Scotland, France, Bermuda, and Colonial America…
With ear buds in place, my wife has been listening to audiobooks of the entire series, along with its many spinoffs, taking Diana Gabaldon with us on our daily errands and outings. Ever since their bond formed last summer, it’s been a tumultuous affair. I haven’t always felt loved or included in this polyamorous partnership. My wife just started downloading the series one day, and that was that.
No request for my input, no questions asked. We just don’t talk about it, or anything else, anymore. As we fold laundry, or take a walk around the neighborhood, my wife giggles about an inside joke between her and Diana…
“She’s that good, hey?” I ask during our stroll around the block.
“Whaaaaat?” my wife says. As she withdraws her ear buds, her lips curl with annoyance.
How dare I interrupt their narrative?
“The author. She always finds a way to keep you smiling, doesn’t she?”
My wife blathers briefly about a dandy with impeccable fashion taste that Claire just met, but she cuts herself short when she sees I’m not paying attention.
“… it’s like Diana is living in this whole universe she’s created, and I’m just along for the ride.”
“I know the feeling.”
“Never mind. Nice day, hey?”
But already the earbuds are back in place, and my wife’s adventure with Diana continues in Revolutionary-era America…
Will I ever get her back?
Maybe I need to double-down at the gym, strive to achieve Jamie’s masculinity?
Nah. Too much work.
Hell, do I even want my wife’s attention?
Maybe this is a good time to join a fantasy football league and hang out with the guys.
Unfortunately, they’re too busy watching Outlander with their wives.
Maybe I just need a hobby, besides writing stories that aren’t a commercial success.
As I sit on the couch and imagine how I may resuscitate my romance with my wife without having to wear a kilt, she asks me to stool up at the kitchen counter.
“Why?” I ask.
I am so used to her tuning me out.
“Because I want to talk to you. Is that such a crime, for a wife to want to talk to her husband?”
Oh, shit, I think. Something’s up.
I lumber from the couch to the counter, scanning our home for signs of intrusion — a terrorist high-jacking, perhaps, or alien abduction, any explanation for this new wife of mine. She was more like my old wife, really, before the spouse-snatching Diana Gabaldon snuck into our lives…
My wife talks about her workday. She’s dressing actors for Flamin’ Hot, a 1980s period movie about the popular Cheeto brand, and she’s on a tangent now, joking about how Vidal Sassoon hair products from that decade used to be advertised in commercials…
“…like they were European gold,” she says, “but they were really just an over-hyped and low-end shampoo.”
“Corporate America fooled us again,” I say, shrugging in disbelief.
I haven’t heard my wife speak to me so attentively since…
I look at her ears. No earbuds.
“Could it be?” I ask, marveling at the lack of wires around her head. “Have you finished listening to the Outlander series?”
Yay! Our disastrous polyamorous experiment has come to an end! Diana Gabaldon has given me my wife back!
“…but she has a new book coming out in the fall…”
Ryan Hyatt is a former news reporter and author of the Terrafide sci-fi series. He edits the satirical sci-fi news site, The La-La Lander, and Not Your Father’s Bedtime Stories, kid’s lit he creates with his daughter, author Sage Hyatt. For updates on the state of the future, visit thelalalander.com.