The latest fight started over bananas. I like to keep brown bananas in the freezer for the banana bread I never get around to baking. Who knew the yellow fruit would be controversial?
In the beginning of romance nuances are regarded as “no big deal” when you are enamoured with his perfection. This is the point you stomach a Cubs game when you are a die hard White Sox fan and tell yourself it is no big deal. You positively frame that he doesn’t like coffee so there is more for you. The day comes when every song on the radio he picks you detest. He orders the same food at every restaurant you go to. You are bored with what attracted you to him in the first place. He doesn’t eat any dessert other than chocolate cake.
He eats nothing with sauces. No food touches.
I am not compromising. I don’t care if he doesn’t like the bananas. I pay the rent and the bananas are staying.
Did I mention this boyfriend is an artist? A real artist with commissions and art shows and everything. He drinks pink tequila and sleeps late. He is brooding and dark and mysterious. All these components now make me crazy.
What do I want? I don’t want him to leave. I do love him. I don’t really want him to change. Or do I? Have I changed?
Silence is constant because he is obsessed with his work. Last year, he would take a break and venture out of the studio space and kiss me or make me a sandwich. My needs are not being met and he has not even noticed. I need fun or at least words.
All the fine dining in the world we could afford and he wanted the greasy spoon experience. I want him to appreciate the food and the aesthetic. He only saw it as fuel for his art. It will never change. It is no different at this point so why would I expect it to be different?
This morning our fight escalated from the freezer bananas to shots of tequila during the day to whether to go on vacation.
Then there was the triad. I really shouldn’t have thrown such a fit, but things were boring and I felt ignored. It was my grown up tantrum.
The triad was a huge amount of work for Ian. They were painstaking pieces of time and skill. The process was unusual. He painted the canvas and then scratched it. Painted again and then pieces were cut by hand and rearranged. They were abstract, colorful, and alive.
I fell in love with them immediately. I just wanted one. The complication was the three were commissioned. The set was not to be broken.
Ian kept insisting the money was the factor. I didn’t care about the money. In the end, I lost. My consolation was the vacation to Hawaii for two weeks.
The first night we had an argument over wine and dinner. Well wine for me, beer for him, He didn’t drink wine. Add that to the list of irritations…
He insisted we consumed too much media. For our respective jobs there was an amount of necessity but he insisted we participate in a complete tech drought while on the islands.
I wasn’t sure I wanted to pay that much attention to him. I wanted my podcasts, tv, books, blogs, music and news. He pressured about how much of this input was enriching and how much was draining? I needed to be connected.
He didn’t hear me.
His suggestions for my withdrawal was to keep a notebook of letters back and forth.
I start my first letter with “I remember…” I hope he does the same.
Three days and it started to feel better. Maybe it had been a good idea. I felt like we talked more.
We planned a trip to the valley to ride four wheelers. My boyfriend isn’t the most coordinated.
He followed behind me. He thought I was going to turn. I didn’t. He panicked and hit the wrong controls and flipped 500 pounds of metal and gears onto his right leg and pelvis. In the xrays the bones were slivered and completely obliterated.
It was three months of a flow chart of surgeries and PT before I could consider putting him back on a plane.
My cell played “Highway to Hell” on a Wednesday morning driving to the hospital.
“Ms. Hull?” It was Dr. Larson.
“Yes, this is she.”
“I am afraid I have some news.”
“I am on my way in.”
“Please come directly to my office.”
The ions in the room were off. I held my breath and sat in the padded chair. It would no longer matter about fights about frozen bananas or wine vs beer or chocolate cake vs cheesecake.
The flight home was long.
The stay had been almost four months by the time I stepped foot back into the apartment. Ironic since I thought I wouldn’t be able to handle being away for two weeks.
I set down my bag and opened the blinds.
I fell to my knees on the living room carpet we had wrestled with when we bought it.
The pieces were framed and hung – all three in the living room. The triad.
The card read:
I love you.
Three words – three pieces.
Just for you.
Tammy Breitweiser is a writer and teacher who is a force of nature, an accidental inspirationalist, the keeper of the little red doors, and a conjurer of everyday magic who is always busy writing short stories. Her flash fiction has been published in The Ninja Writers Monthly, Spelk, Clover and White, and Elephants Never. Her essay is in the I Wrote it Anyway anthology.
You can connect with Tammy through Twitter @TLBREIT or through her Medium.
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