October 14, 2013 § Leave a comment

I was eating chips and salsa when I heard them yelling. Again. I put on my headphones to shut it out, trying to focus on my book. They hadn’t stopped fighting for the past few weeks and I knew it was all jealousy and passive aggressive pent up feelings and they needed to sort it out, but their fighting wasn’t good for my digestion. I choked on a sharp piece of chip when I heard the first plate smash. I imagined the emotional gore in the kitchen and I groaned. I knew I’d be tiptoeing around it for weeks. There was a thump. A body hitting the refrigerator. Something about “the fucking dishes” and that made me giggle. I’m still a little immature, I guess. The noise level went up an octave. My sound-canceling headphones were a joke. You understand I had to go do something. I was three weeks tired of playing peacemaker, but The Grapes of Wrath wasn’t going to read itself, and their soundtrack didn’t make the Joads easier to understand.

“Guys. Calm down!”

They didn’t even hear me. Jesse, in the middle of a shriek, sent another plate whirling. My mother’s plate. No. I dove for the kitchen floor and caught the white ceramic inches above the tile. Their fighting paused as I rose, growling, to my feet. Megan had hair tangled around her fingers and I was pretty sure it was Jesse’s.

“I get wanting to smash things. But seriously, use your own dishes. Oh wait, they’re all mine.”

I almost wanted to swallow that last bit. I guess it was a little low. Megan was particularly offended by it. Jesse couldn’t have cared less, but Megan had some complex about being poor. I mean, we were all poor, but I got a job and spent my money on dishes and a gym membership. She was jobless and her parents cut her off, so sometimes I could cut her some slack for being a bitch, but this time, I was pretty stuck on the fact that I needed to read my book and I had a fitness competition in the morning. Solving a dispute between two college girls, friends or not, was definitely not on my list of to-dos.

“Geez, can’t you solve this over a beer or something like civilized people? You’re not in high school anymore.”

I hated the way I sounded. Like my mother when my sisters and I would fight, accusing us of immaturity as if that would shame us into rightness. Didn’t work then, didn’t work now. Jesse and Megan laid into me. Amid the mostly indiscernible words, I caught a couple phrases. Nosy. Busy-body. Not your problem. Bitch, it is my problem. You don’t have a mute button. You’re in my apartment. I wanted to spark the violence again, but my peacemaker neediness kicked in and I started talking with open hands and pointing my feet at them and throwing myself under the bus like an idiot.

“Tell me why you’re fighting. One at a time.”

They talked over each other, pushing and shoving with their words. Megan found her way to the front and dominated, like she always did, pretending to be smart and logical. Girl is on a nationally ranked debate team and can’t even communicate her relationship issues without pulling out someone’s hair. My scorn must have shown on my face. She came at me like a wet cat, hackles up and growling. I batted her away, but not before her fake nails pulled red from my arm. I guess I must have snapped a little, then. I mean, I’ve always been a little angry. It’s just this time, I had a white plate in my hand and blunt force trauma is easy with Crossfit arms.

I don’t live with them anymore. But I did finish The Grapes of Wrath, at least seventeen times. I could probably read it a couple more.

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