The Return Blues

A. and Lanie adjust to married life.
  July 14, 2003

I am back from the honeymoon; been back for a while, in fact, but there is no internet, no phone, no means of communicating with anyone…  Outside my window no longer is San Francisco.  It is Long Island, New York—what right now seems to me one of the ugliest places on earth.  Europe was nice, although blurred by fast motion.  It deserves a separate entry which I may or may not compose.  Naples gave me a suntan; Venice, a heartache; Paris, new shoes.  Amsterdam was grungy but fun.  La di da.

Back in the US, it's been nights spent in strange beds, smelly hotel sheets, cars, roads unfurling outside, heavy crates, surly clerks, dust in hot air, sweat in your armpits and blisters on your hands, and you're stuck digging in a hopeless, forever jumbled mess of things on the floor while the one you came here for is gone to work and you feel bad because you have no work, so you sand and shellac the floors to prove your usefulness but then she comes back and kisses you and you don't care about any of it because you can smell her rigth next to you in bed … but she's asleep, exhausted, and so are you.  Bills arrive.  Money departs in wagonloads.  Her parents ask you on the phone if you've found a job yet.  No, you say wearily, not yet, just let me put this apartment together, just another week.

At other times you scream and rage at each other, set off by the stupidest things.  This happens when two tired irritable stubborn people meet on a hot day.  Once, back on the ship, she got under your skin so much with that whiny voice of hers—it scratched your soul like rusty nails, and you told her to shut up, just be quiet, just shut the fuck up because this is a good movie on TV and you're missing it—and then the small black remote control that had been resting in your hand exploded in bits of plastic over her left shoulder and that finally made her pipe down.  You yelled “Are you happy now?” and turned off the TV, and stormed out onto the balcony.  Then, thinking that this looked too much like a retreat, you stormed back in and told her to learn not to be such a bitch when things don't go her way.  She sat through it with a guarded, wary look on her face, not uttering a word.  A bit later, still out on the balcony, you thought you heard her cry quietly inside and examined her eyes later for traces of tears but couldn't find any.  Is it wrong to feel bad about acting this way? you thought.  Do I give in to her too much?  It seems like she always gets her way with me in the end; am I right, or is my vigilance against weakness turning me into an asshole?  “I didn't aim at you when I threw it,” you told her later, when you were laughing about this episode and kissing again.  “I know you didn't,” she said.  “I would never hurt you,” you told her and again she said: “I know.  Not on purpose.”

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