He Said, She Said
The correct thing to say would have been, “Yes,
it was me who farted into your water glass.” But
I was drunk, and so I said, “Water glass? What water glass?
I haven’t seen any water glasses.” This deepened my guilt.
I now appeared very guilty. The first thing you do
when you are guilty is deny it. “I didn’t do that,” you say,
when you did. When in fact you did. Guilt is so interesting
because it turns the obvious inside-out. It is like a glove.
When it is inside-out it still looks very much like a glove.
I continued to not know about the water glass. I said,
“I have never even seen a water glass. What do you mean
by water glass?” Clearly I was lying. I continued, “By water glass,
do you mean one of those things you leave all over the house?”
Now I was in much deeper water. It was deeper water,
but I had pulled a classic move: I had turned the table
and made the argument about her leaving glasses everywhere,
not about me allegedly farting into one of them. I was on top
and I intended to capitalize on the situation. I proceeded to say
that if her cooking wasn’t so bad, maybe we wouldn’t
be having this conversation. This really pissed her off. I was
the better cook. We both knew that; but she didn’t appreciate me
rubbing it in. And why should she? Some people
are good at volleyball. I’m not. (She’s not really either.
In fact, she’s terrible at it.) But good volleyball players
don’t go around making bad volleyball players feel bad
just for trying to do a spike. I suppose I’m trying to say
that I wasn’t in very good form that night. Maybe I farted
into her water glass, but that wasn’t really so wrong. The
trouble was that I wouldn’t let bygones be bygones.
I had to up the ante. I had to turn the water glass thing
into something else. This is the nature of fighting.
I kept saying that to her: “this is the nature of fighting.”
It didn’t help things much. I think I drove her a little too far.
“This is the nature of me dumping you,” she said. She said it
but then she laughed. It was one of those laughs
that happen between lovers when they are quarelling.
The laugher tries to knock the laugh back, pretend it didn’t happen,
maybe even gets a little more mad, rachets it up, as they say,
because when you’re seriously mad about something
you can’t fuck it up with a laugh. “I’m not kidding,” she said,
“you are dumped.” But I wasn’t dumped. It was long before
I was dumped. It was just one of those pre-dumpings
that happen all the time between couples
who are truly in love. The stakes get so high,
so it takes the threat of a dump here and there
to acknowledge just how high they are. “Okay,” I said,
“what if I did fart into one of the water glasses
you leave everywhere?” “And I’m not saying I did,”
I added. “But if I did, what would you do?” I was feeling
much better about things, like things had calmed down
enough so that I could get back to reading my book
without making her feel like I was completely disregarding
everything we had just talked about. “I don’t know,” she said.
“I’m tired.” I was tired, too. “Do you want to watch tv?” I said.
Then I went in for the tentative belly poke. It’s a classic move
that men do when they are ready to stop fighting.
“Sure,” she said. “Sure?” I said. “All I get is a sure?”
"Fine," she said. "Tv sounds fine."