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What We Don't Need is Another of Those


He came home and sat on the damn chair waiting to be praised. And I'm not about that, at all. No. Nope. No I'm not, sir. I'm very much not about that. Nor am I about to tell him that it's a miracle he returned. No one is going to give this fool a parade for making it through the day, same as myself.

In fact, maybe he should consider giving me a parade. A parade with floats and balloons of all of my favorite cartoon characters, come to life at last. And a throne for me. King Vincent. Just for me. For enduring with constancy the inanities of this ordinary existence.

I make this apparent to him. I also make apparent to him that he arrived back into this home at what you might call a perfect moment. Grace smells like she has fallen backwards into a barn. She requires fatherly attention. He must attend.

He does. Bless him. He does. He sighs deeply and rubs his hands over his face, but then he's up and grabs grace from the walker, where she's kind of cooing in her cow-smell. And then he kisses me on the cheek without a word. A hunk of ice calves from the glacier of my stupid anger. And bobs there in the ocean as I watch him recede into the back to change her.

And look, under different circumstances I would tell him right then that I appreciated it. Instead, I stand there in silence, in a kind of shock and relief that he's home. I don't know. I just don't. I get all worked up when he gets back from elsewhere and all I've done all day is talk to a two-year-old and an infant. A body can only coo so long and clean so much and rattle the toys around so many times before that body is liable to go absolutely bonkers.

I can't talk to fitness moms in yoga pants at the coffee shop anymore. I just absolutely will not survive too much more of the inanities, the questions about our "lifestyle," the interrogations about logistics.

Lawrence works, god knows. And our arrangement was that I would take the first two years. He would take the two after that. And if the deal holds -- as I very much expect that it will, or I will kick his scrawny ass into a very deep chasm of despair -- then all will be forgiven. Until then, I'm just worried sometimes, lying in the dark, that he won't remember what it took to get us to that bargain.

Not in the literal sense. Again, no, I will not let him forget the actual terms and conditions to which we agreed before I let him start talking in earnest about adopting the first of our two monsters. No. I mean: he won't remember the tenderness with which we struck this bargain. I guess what I mean is that he won't remember where we were at in terms of life situation, how deeply we cared for one another at the moment we decided to seek the opportunity to raise these two kids. Because we were still all that we had, right? We had all this love and nowhere for it to go but to each other, and the sense that we wanted it to go elsewhere.

Namely, into two poop machines, I guess.

Now, while vacuuming or whatever, I wonder: does love come and go? Is it always there in the background on a lower frequency no matter what? Sometimes he gets home and I'm angry with him only because I can feel love and love's opposite at once. They war within me at something like an instant.