Troubador turned beggar, a dapper king growling from your jeweled
throne as I enter your home. You turn your whiskered nose up
until I offer mice bites of cheese from the icebox.

You take them carefully from my fingertips with your tiny teeth,
then to show your love of all creatures great and small, you hump
your giraffe. Our pilgrimage begins, we step out amidst

the Poor Clares, you sniff gingerly. Slip and click, claws scrape
hallway linoleum as you scuttle from doormat to doormat. Sit
your silent protest of passive resistance at top of stairs—

it worked for Ghandi and Martin Luther King but you’re just ten
tough pounds of hair and teeth, a bat without wings, this city’s
great rat terrier, terrorist king. Jacob’s not the only one

 

My dog’s ashes are currently in a small silver gift box on my bookshelf. I loved my dog, but I hate that ugly box and its stupid tassel.

When my husband and I decided to cremate Bernie, we thought we would scatter his ashes along one of his favorite hiking trails, but doing so is illegal where we live. I hated the idea of us furtively dumping a baggy of remains in the always-crowded park. It didn’t feel like an appropriately jubilant celebration of his life.

Frog

in

the house!

 

­She’s been out now for seven hours without a phone call or anything.

I’m worried, but I’m not worried.  I mean, I know nothing really bad is going to happen, but I’m worried because it’s been seven hours.

More than that, I’m pissed because if she wants to play that game, then fine.  I’m not going to call first.  She needs to call first.

She’s the one that’s out.  And, yes, it takes two people to have an argument, but she’s the one who has always got be right and I have no say in whateverthefuck it is.

It’s okay for her to bring up irrelevant shit, but not me, ever, and it’s only at her convenience do we get to ever talk about it, but fine.

So, yeah, go ahead, go out and have margaritas and I’ll just sit here alone.  Fine.

Fine, fine, fine.

I search the kitchen for tequila and then the fridge for lime and some mix, but there’s nothing.  And I don’t feel like going out.

Instead, my fantasy is my wife comes home and we hash this thing out and fix them, because I don’t like being mad and I don’t like not sleeping next to her, but, fuck- she can ruin a day.

And maybe it’s me, but it’s not all me.

We both need to find a better way of talking to each other. I imagine me saying to her:  “You don’t like how I talk to you, I don’t like how you talk to me, we both do shit that drives one-another up the Goddamn wall, but we have to fix this if we’re going to spend a lot of years together.”

I see myself saying this.

Not placing blame, not taking blame, but making this an equal thing and telling her this in a way that makes sense and makes us talk and figure all of this out.

And then I fantasize that she doesn’t come home tonight and stays over at Deena’s and that when she finally does come the next morning, I’m calm.

I say that I would never not come home.  And she would feel bad.

And I’d say that by not coming home she started on this path that’s a bad path.  That we don’t want to go down this path because it leads to the end.

The end of us.

And no matter how mad I am, I certainly don’t want that. Even though I fantasize about that, too.  I love her and she drives me nuts.  And stupid arguments like this shouldn’t make us want to go down that road.

I don’t want to fight with my wife.

What happens to us humans that when we get into relationships, we need to fight about insignificant things to the point where the fight itself becomes significant?

Anyone who says that relationships should be easy, that they shouldn’t require work, is either a fucking moron, or has never had a real and serious relationship with real and serious feelings and emotions.  Or they’re full of shit and won’t admit how they really feel.

Relationships are work.

They’re a full-time job, and like any full-time job, sometimes we feel like quitting.  But we don’t because this is the best job there is and the benefits are huge.

So sometimes, no matter how much we feel like we’re in a shit hole, we stay because we can climb out and wash off and just enjoy each other’s light.  But finding the light when we ourselves feel dark and dim is difficult.  So I end up in a shit hole because I want it this way, she wants it that way and who fucking cares anyway?

I mean what difference does it make?

None.

Absolutely none, but I want it this way and she wants it that way.  And I don’t want it that way, so I yelled and I screamed and I said that she was bringing old shit up so I began bringing up old shit and that’s how I ended up in a shit hole.

And she ended up going out without me to what is undoubtedly the best Cinco de Mayo party ever in the entire universe for all eternity.

How could she be out celebrating the Fifth of May when, clearly, it didn’t go so well for us?

The fourth of May was fantastic.

Maybe she’s crying on Deena’s shoulder about what an asshole I am.

And I am and for what?  Because I like it this way?  I don’t even really care.  I don’t even really know what we fight about most of the time.  I suppose whatever it is, what’s really going on is that I’m very controlling because the rest of my life feels so out of control.  So it has be her fault, right?

We were supposed to have a nice dinner tonight but instead I have leftover Pad Thai and cold wonton soup with shrimp.

Not a bad dinner, actually, just not one that I’d planned on.

How does she put up with me?  And how do I with her?  Because we work at it.  This is part of the process.  We work and we get through it and we’re good for a while.  Love is hard work.

Love is not loving the person for the things you like about them, it’s loving them despite their faults, and sticking by them no matter what, even when you’re really mad at the insignificant whatever-it-is.

I don’t think I could live a day without her.

If she left or something happened, I don’t know how I’d be able to function.  She is everything to me.  But goddamn, she frustrates the hell out of me and how do I get past all the little things that frustrate the piss out of me? They just build up like a snowball rolling down a hill, and it’s all the little things which become this one big thing and it drives me bananas.

How the fuck do you reconcile that?  It’s like an old one-two.

Love me with the left, bruise me with the right.

That’s a deadly combo.

It can kill relationships.

Just kill them.

But she has to call first.  I always feel like I come around first and this time I want her to.  Which is stupid.  I love her, I should just call.  But, no.  I just want to feel right.  Which is even more stupid.

So I’m alone with the dog and she’s out.  I was supposed to be out, but I’m not.

She’s out and good for her.

And all I can think about is sleeping next to her with the dog at our feet, all warm and happy.  I don’t even know what we were really arguing about.  But we both want to be right and it seems so important to be right.

I just sit on the sofa and the fantasies of being single swim inside my brain.  What would it would be like to be single again?  I like to think that I’d be fucking any chick with a pulse.

I also think about how miserable I’d be, how we would both be so unhappy.  How dating sucks and how lucky we are to have each other, and, if that’s true, what the fuck is wrong with us that we get so mad at each other over nothing.

My Dad likes to say “Do you want be right, or do you want be happy?”

I want to be fucking right!

Just once!

Right or happy.  I really want to be happy.  And I want her to be happy.  I want us both to be happy and not fight about stupid shit.

The thought of being without her scares me.

The dog trots into the room and stands in front of me.  He tilts his head to one side like he’s trying to figure me out.  Good luck, I say.  He inches closer, jumps onto the sofa next to me, and just stares at me.

“What the fuck do you want?  Isn’t it bad enough for me right now?  You’ve got to make me feel like an asshole, too?”

He nudges my hand with his head.  I stroke his furry little head and pet his back and he lays down on my leg.

What the fuck is he doing?

I think it’s got to be one of two things:  He’s either plotting something and trying to distract me with kindness, or maybe he just knows I’m sad and maybe he doesn’t want me to be sad.  He licks my hand and lays his head down on my leg.  I sit on the sofa for an hour just petting him gently.  His fur is soft and he’s warm against me.

I start to cry a little.

It’s a bit off-putting to think that maybe I fucked up so bad that even the dog knows, but he’s here to tell me it’s going to be okay.

And it will because I want it to be, so I will do what it takes to make it right.

“Happy Cinco de Mayo, buddy.”