You know what broke us up? That fucking recliner. (And why did I spell reclyner with a y earlier?)
He said: I’ll do better, baby. You are my *insert deep emotionally significant song lyric here*. No, really, I love you and I will do anything to keep you. We will have great sex, I will love your body and reach out and touch you often. I will support you in anything you want to do, baby. I will follow you everywhere you go. I believe in you. You are good.
She said: Thank you. Let’s just sit next to each other and watch a movie, okay? All you need to do to keep me with you is respect me, touch me and don’t forget I exist. Okay? Are you listening? Please just don’t forget I exist.
He said: Oh, I will remember you exist. I will take advantage of your good nature as much as possible. I will demand rides and money and patience. Constantly, every single day, I will expect something from you and I will not be giving anything back until you are ready to walk out the door. I dare you to walk out the door.
She said: I won’t leave, darling. I love you, you can trust me. I am happy to give more than I get. Just sit next to me, go for walks with me. Just touch me, share some space with me sometimes. Hug me. You don’t even have to initiate the hug, I will do it for you. And I won’t do it unless you accept it because I respect your boundaries. Everything is going to be okay. When you are ready to pay attention to me, I will be here. Wagging my tail behind me.
He said: I’m going to die soon, anyway. It doesn’t matter. I’m going start drinking twice as often now. I’ll probably go back on the drugs. I won’t be able to see my daughter anymore because everyone hates me. I’m no good. I have so many anxieties and dependencies and mental illnesses I’ll never be good enough for someone to love.
She said: You aren’t going to die. You are a good person, you have people who love you. I love you. Take care of yourself. Get a better job. Stop working night shift. Stop drinking yourself into oblivion every week – especially on the nights your daughter you say you love so dearly is here. Don’t you understand that she only gets to see her dad four days a month and you spend two of them drunk and the other two on the couch recuperating. She’s growing up fast and you are missing it.
He said: Why are you so mean all the time? You’re so arrogant. Thinking you’re better than everyone else. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around you. You remind me of my father – you remember, that man that used to beat me when I was a kid but I idolized him beyond reason? Yeah, you’re just like him. You remind me of my mother – who was cold and didn’t do everything she possibly could to make me happy? You’re just like her. All women are evil anyway. You’re just like the rest of them, aren’t you? You just fuck around. You take people and use them at will. You are no good. Just like the rest of them.
She said: Oh wow, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know you felt that way. I’ll go. I don’t want to subject you to that. After the rough start you had in life, with all of your anxieties and dependencies and mental illnesses, you don’t need more torture from me. Let me do this for you, I will walk away and make your life easier, as you want it to be.
He said: Go then. I don’t fucking care. I’m going to break this coffee maker against the wall, remember the one I desperately needed only a couple of weeks ago so you spent money we didn’t have on it and the rent check bounced? Yeah, that one. I’m also going to fling your laptop across the room and smash the screen, remember the one your mom had to buy for you because you were so broke and could barely feed yourself? Yeah, that one. Oh, and that tv tray you use when you colour in the bedroom to sometimes get a few minutes of peace and quiet? And the book you’re currently colouring? And the expensive pencil crayons I bought you? They’re all going to get pulverized now. Watch, I can even make a big black mark on the ceiling of our bedroom while smashing your suitcase to smithereens because I don’t want you to go away.
She said: You don’t like me. You barely notice I am here. You walk out of the room while I’m talking, you stop my stories to tell me I’m boring, you won’t let me sing in the fucking car. You can’t even manage to grunt in acknowledgement when I come home. You give me nothing and you need to stop taking so much. You demand my attention and then toss me aside like I’m worthless. You take your clothes off in the living room and then walk into the bedroom to get something else to wear.And I don’t even mind picking them up. I like to putter. I hate this stupid apartment where there is nowhere to putter. We are suffocating here. Let’s get our lives together, let’s get better jobs and go out and do things sometimes.
He said: You are one fucking demanding bitch, you know that? I’m going to throw a marriage proposal in your face and make you feel like that’s all you deserve. I’m going to have nightmares all the time and every now and then I’m going to punch you really hard in my sleep and you’re going to forgive me because I can’t control what I do when I’m asleep. I will create such a fuss if you try to have your own life that you will not be able to go anywhere without me. We have to do everything together or neither of us gets to do it. Even though I don’t want to do anything. You belong to me, you have to stay with me. I demand it.
She said: Yeah, I’m going to have to go ahead and leave now.
He said: NO! No no no no no no no, please, no… don’t go. I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it, I promise. I promise. I was just afraid. I’m literally on my knees in front of you. I need you, I can’t live without you. You have to stay. I have anxieties and dependencies and mental illnesses, you know. Please, Bev, please stay.
She said: You are stronger than you know, you can manage without me.
He said: No! Didn’t you read all of those song lyrics I printed out and framed for you? I meant every word that someone else said, I promise. I walk the line for you, baby. Every little step you take and shit. I love you. I love you like no one ever has. No one has ever loved you this much before, you don’t understand. This is what it feels like. It will get better again, I promise. I’ll even write you a super duper romantic love letter. I’m just so jangly lately. It will get better. Please just hold me. I understand that I need to be there for you. I know you need me to touch you and acknowledge your existence sometimes. I’ll do better, I promise. Can we just lie here and hold each other?
She said: Of course we can. I understand, I know you are good because you made me laugh a few days ago. I will stay. Thank you for loving me and for the framed words. Here, let me give you some of my calm. You can drain us both of it until you fall asleep. Just order a pizza before you deflate me completely, would you please? And hot wings. We still have chips, right?
He said: I love you.
She said: I love you.
He said: Forever?
She said: Okay, forever. With one or two codicils.
He said: Zzzzzzzzzzz.
She said: For as long as we both shall live. You… said you’re going to die soon, right?
The next morning…
He said: Hey! Can I get a recliner? There’s one on sale! It’s a really good deal and you’re going to see your family because you don’t love me enough to stay with me 24/7 and if you get it for me I will give you a hug, maybe!
She said: Get the fucking chair.
And they never sat together and watched a movie again.