Written by: Sunny Jong
He shoots you first. That nasty, bastardly scowl you dreaded because you knew how turbulently the tiny fibrillations in his brows oscillated between rage and resignation - something you could never foretell. You march toward him - his dormant body supinely sprawled across the tuxedo couch - lounging like a king who hadn’t just eaten week-old leftovers because he couldn’t cook for himself, and try not to rub your temples as to visibly reveal the fact that you are about to broach a problem to him. The semantic calculus courses through your head, but your tone can’t quite lend its best self to the words you choose, and they all tumble out of your mouth rather heavy-handedly:
“The toilet seat, Tom, I’ve told- how many times- Tom, what the-” You give up and gesture violently in the direction of the restroom, unable to calibrate the appropriate level of professional diplomacy to display.
“Oh,” his scowl fades, and his listless, absentminded face returns with a derisive chortle, “What, fall in it again?”
“It’s not funny, Tom. I have to go shower now.”
He flicks a potato chip into his mouth. “Do you really not look before you sit? It’s not that hard.”
“It’s not that hard to just put it down after you’re done either, dick.”
His listless expression dissolves into a stern and angular countenance, its humorless features sharper than he looked on the day of the baby shower.
“What did you just call me?”
Surprisingly, you had plenty of time to chew it over before spitting out the virulent moniker. You saw the conversational landmine and still stepped on it - no, you dug it up before bringing down the force of a thousand suns because you knew the debris could hit him and you didn’t care.
“Tom,” a warm, familiar sensation swells beneath your eyes as the world before you fades into a mosaic of strobe lights, “We’re done.”
“No we’re not - come back and talk to me when you’ve calmed down,” he spats.
Without hazarding a second thought, you realize the infinite wisdom in Tom’s platitudinous words. You breathe a heavy sigh.
“No, no, you’re right,” you say as you head for the door. Thinly veiled in an old fleece bathrobe, you make your way down the porch, circle around to the front of the house, pull out your phone, and punch in a familiar sequence of numbers. You needed to calm down. You needed to take a moment to reevaluate the situation, reevaluate your attitude - reevaluate your life choices. You needed to take a step back and de-escalate the situation. You needed Peter from accounting.
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