“Babe, your mother is crazy.”
“Fuck you!” she says.
“Babe, your mother is crazy.”
“Fuck you!” she says.
“Babe, be reasonable. Your whole family is weird. I don’t want to spend my thanksgiving holidays with your stuck-up sister and your pretentious father. I want to go to my brother’s where they at least they don’t pretend that we are not fucking!”
“Fuck you and the big white horse you rode in on! You think your family is better than mine. Your mother abandoned you. Your father is a pervert. And your brother is just shy of being certifiable. So fuck you for talking about my family.”
“Fuck me? Fuck you! Fuck your whole fucking family!” you shoot back.
“You know, it’s clear that we are not able to talk just now. We are certainly not communicating! It’s clear we need a fucking break!” she shouts as she reaches for her keys.
“Where are you going?”
“I don’t know. I just know I don’t want to be here screaming and cursing at you like I don’t fucking love you. I’m going out!”
“You can’t leave now!” “I can do whatever the hell I want. You don’t fucking own me. Goodbye!”
You can hear her sobbing.
The door opens. Slams. Silence bounces off the olive-green walls. This is just theatrics, you think. She can’t just walk out in the middle of an argument. She just wants you to run after her. And you are sick and tired of playing these games with her. So you just wait there, stewing and stewing and stewing. While you wait, you decide that when she comes back you’re going to break up with her. The relationship has not been working for some time. You both know it’s time to leave. You are relieved to have made a decision. Now you just have to wait the half an hour it’ll take for her to come back. Then you’ll break up, tell her you want out. You will have to move out, or course. This is her apartment. Well, maybe not right away, maybe she’ll let you stay until you save up enough money to get your own place. Maybe you could move back in with your brother and his anorexic wife. Maybe not. Maybe you’ll just be roommates. But she may not want to share her space with you if she’s not your girlfriend. Hmm. Maybe you’ll break up with her after you’ve saved some money. Maybe you’ll just threaten to break up. Make her suffer for walking out in the middle of an argument. Maybe you don’t want to break up. Maybe you’re just mad. Maybe you can make your point by just alluding to what might happen if she doesn’t treat you with some respect.
Four hours later, she is still not back. You don’t know where she is and her cell phone is still on the coffee table, so you can’t even call to say how sorry you are. Now you don’t even care if she apologizes for talking to you like that. Now, you just want her to come back home. You don’t know how this fucking argument got so out of control. You don’t care where you go for Thanksgiving. Her mother’s, your brother’s — both places will suck. You still feel she was wrong, but right now you also miss her so much your stomach feels empty. You crawl into the bed, sniffing the sheets for evidence of her. You wander the small apartment, going from the bathroom to the hallway to the tiny kitchen — Then the door opens and she is there — all warm and soft and just as sorry as you are.
There aren’t enough hands to get naked fast enough. You break the hooks on her bra. She rips the lace on your favorite panties. You can feel her teeth on your jugular, her nails on your scalp. The counter is slick with the extra virgin olive oil leaking from the bottle her elbow knocked over. This shit only happens in the movies, but here you are, your ass wedged between the saltshaker and the oregano, the most beautiful woman in the world using her tongue to whip your pussy into the kind of frenzy that can only be inspired by the need to forget the stupidest argument in the history the universe.
You worry the neighbors will hear you begging her to fuck you, so you press your mouth into the potholder as you whimper. You want to flip her and fuck her but she’s doing that weird thing with her thumbs and your right nipple, so you just close your eyes, rest your head against the condiments cupboard and let her do what she wants with you.
She still owes you an apology, you are thinking, but she’s already has three fingers deep inside you, and you don’t want to break her rhythm. Maybe you’ll hold off coming, you think, make her work for it. Maybe you won’t come at all, just to punish her for this afternoon, but you can feel your body betraying you. The slow rise begins somewhere in the pit of your stomach. Your right glut keeps bumping against the jar of cornmeal, the sugar bowl has turned over (you know this because the grains are pressing into your coccyx) and somewhere, it sounds like very far away, someone is moaning and clutching at the dials of the stove. It takes a minute to realize that the animal sound gushing out of a stranger’s throat is yours. She lifts you off the counter and slams your back against the fridge. Neither of you is sure if passion or anger is the driving force, but it feels too good to stop.
An hour later, she rolls over on the kitchen floor and says, “I’m sorry, hon. I was a real prick earlier.”
“It’s ok,” you say, “you more than made up for it just now. Plus, I was a first class dick as well.”
She laughs, “These phallic references are a little troubling, but I’m glad we made up.”
“Me too. And for the record, I think we should have our own thanksgiving, and invite all our friends who don’t want to go home and be tortured by their families about being gay.”
“Sounds like a good idea. But we have to get more olive oil, and sugar, and cornmeal, and maybe a new saltshaker — ”
“— and some oregano…”
Aah! Don’t you just love the holidays? They bring out the best and the worst in us, don’t they?
(Staceyann Chin is the author of The Other side of Paradies: A Memoir)