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What We Talk

About When We Talk


About Love

M Y ftieod Mel McGinn11 W~ ulking. Mel McGmnis is


a cardiologist, and somet1mn 1h.c gives him <be right.
The four of us were s1t11ng around his ki<chen table
drinking gin. Sunlight filltd 1he kocchen from the big window
behind ch< sink. There were Mel and me and his second
wife. Tercu-Terti. we called hcr-nd my wife, laura. Vk
lived in Albuquttq"" ch<n. Bue we were ~ from some-
where else.
Tbue wu ao ice bucket 011 che c.tble. Tix gin aod chc
come warer kept gomg around, and we somehow goc on the
subJCCt oflove. Mel thought real love wos nothing less than
1piricua) love. He said he'd spent five years in a seminary
before quitting to go co medical 1ehool. He said be still

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H'1iar /It Ta/ft About Ulhtrr Ifr Tai~ About lollf! JV'ha1 Ht Talk Ab~111 If ?r"" Mt Th/k AbD111 Lor

\OQl\td back on th~ )'~O in the )cminry ~ tbe mo>1 "Ma~ up wlm?" Mel u\d. "Wl<>l 1~ there U) 1nakc: up? I
1mporta111 ye.rs in his life. know wh1 I know. Tht'> all"
Torri said the man sh.. lwed wnh (x,forc slir lived wirh "How'd we get stmed on rllis 1ubjtct. anyway?" Terri
Md loved hc,r so much he rrird ro kJI her. Then Terri said, said. She raised her glau and drank from rL "Mel alW.J)'j h:
"He bear me up one n1ghr. He draggd me round the mt
10\'e on Im mmd," 1;1\c.\, "Don't )'(>\\,honey?" SI"' miled.
livmg room by my ankle" He kept saying, J lovt you, I and I rhought thai was tM l>sr t'f u.
lo,-,:, )'OU, you birch.' I le wnir on drgging me round rhe "I JUst wouldn't call Ed's bdmror lo,-e. That'< all l'rn
hving room. My h~d l<cpr knclck1ng on 1h1ngs." Terri saying. honey," Mel ..id. "Whac abour you guys?" Md said
look<d around rhc mble. "Whar do you do with love like to )..aura and nre. "Poet that sound h\\c love 10 you?"
rh31?" "I'm the wrong J>CfSC'O ro ask," I said. "l didn't e-,:,n
She was a bone-thin woman with pretry &er, dark cyn, know the m:m. 1\-e onl) bend hrs name men11ontd 1n
and brown hair rhar hung down her back. She liked neck- passing. I wQuldn't )mow, You'd have to know rhc prriC<.
la~ made ofrurquoi~. and long pcnd.m tming1. lars But 1 1h1nlc \YMt you're saying is tht \o"e is an
"My God, don'r II<' silly Tlw' nor love, and you know absolu~."
ir," Md said "I don't know wh.r you'd call 11, bur I sure Mel said, "The kind of love I'm talking abour rs. The
know you wouldn'r cll ic love." klnd otlove I'm tlking bour, you don't try to kill people."
"Sy what you want ro. btrr I know rt '"'1S." Tern said. "h Laura said, "I don'< know any1hrng about Ed, or any
my sowid cnry co you, but it's cruc Jusr the 1<1mc. Pooplc thing abour <M mution. Bur .. ho <'n 1udgc anyQne else's
arc .fi!Tcr<nc, Mel. Sure, sometimes he may have ~ctod crazy. situation?".t
Ok.y But he loved me. In bis own way may(x,. bur he I rouched 111<- back of Uiura's hand She gave mo a quick
to"cd me. There was lo"c rhcrc. Md. Don'r ..Y there smrk. I prdt-d up Laura's ban.I. It w~ wrm, the nails
\\'~.snr.
pol11hcd, perfecrly manicuretl. I encircled '~ broad wm1
Md let out his breath. He held his glass and turned 10 with my fingers. :uid I hdd her.
Laura and me. "Tbc man rhrntroed ro Ir.ill me," Md said.
He finishtd hrs dnnk ml reocb<d (or tbc gm bonlc. "Terri's " W H E N I lc:fr. he dunk rar porton,~ Terri uid. S~
a romanric. Terri's of rhc k1ckme-sol'llknow-youlove-111c da1pcJ her am1s wi1h her hands. "1 hey rook hrrn ro rhe
school. Terri, hon, don't look tbar wiy." Mel reached across .bo1p11al in Sanr It Thus where we lrvcd r.ben. lbour rerr
<M rablc and touched Terri's chcel:. wrrh hrs fingl'rs. He nulcsour. Tile) sa-.d Im life. Bur hrs gums "-.n' cnzy from
grwned at her. ir. I mean th)' pulled awly from Ins 1ctrh. After rhar, his
''Now he wanrs 10 Jllkc up," Terri s;rid. teeib stood our like fangs. My God," Trrri said. She waited

I 38 l 39

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II 1w II+ To/It ANwt II itcn lit To/It Abo111 U.or

m1nult'. then kt go ofhtr arms.ind picU<I up her glass. ~)' like mt? Bui I did I bc>ughr one for \Clf-<kfmse and
-~. ptopk .. onr do!"' uura Aid. arritd 11 in 1hc itloe awnr"mrnt Somctimts rd 1u,.,. 10
"Hr'' our of 1he acnoo no... Md said. "Hr's dad.- knT tht apanmrnt 1n chc rruJdk of chc n1gh1 . To go ro cbr
Md lundrd mt tbt taucn of Limn. I rook a seaioo. bop1ral, )1'U know? Trm and l ,.Ttr111 muritd tbm. and
Mjl.lttttd II O\'Cr I'll)' drink. and Jbtttd tbr ltt cubes with my line ,.,,ft luJ cbr 00- anJ ~id.. cbr doi! C"\ttything,
my fingrr and Trm and I ,..-tt lmng 1n th11 apanmrnt htR. Somt-
"Ir gieu \\"Ont," Trm ~. "Hr shot himselfin tbr IDOUlh. nmn, ., I i.ay, I'd ~t a nll cn 1ht miJJlc of the mght and
&1 he bungltd 1lu1 coo. Poor Ed." shr Wd.. Terri shook~ luc 10 go tn to chc h<"J'1UI >1 two or thtn- ID the mommg.
head It'd be darft out there In the parktn1t fot, and I'd break IDIO 2
"Poot Ed no1hmg," Mel said. "Hr was d.uigttous." s....~ai !..-fore I coulJ f\\"11 Fl 10 m)' e>r I ~u lnc-v. lfhr
M~I was forcrfie ~mold. Hr was call and caogy widi ,. as ~mg 10 comr up ouc <>I dir lhruhbtry or from behind
curly sofr lu1r. Ha faa aod amu were brown &om cbr a car and scare >ho.111n11 l m'"" ct... m.in w.s crazy He was
ccnnos he playtd Whro hc was sober, bu pures, an Ins capble of" iring a bomh. nyrhmg. fir usrJ to all my
movemtnrs. were preciic. very cmful. stt\'i ac all houri anJ uy hr ntnlrJ 10 ulk 10 the doaor.
"He did love mt rhough. Mel. Geant mt thar."Terri said. and ,.hm I'd murn ch, call. he'd say. 'Son of a botch, your
"That'J all I'm a1king. He didn't love me th< way you lovc days art nu111~red' Lml~ thon1t' l1kr !hc Ir was 1cary. I'm
me. I'm no11aying 1har. Dur he loved me. You can grant me telling you."
rhat. can't you?" "I mll fuel 1orry for l11m," Tern r.ald.
"Wlm do you mean, he bungled i1?" I said. "le sounds hk, 01Kl11matt," Lauro '"id. "Out what exactly
Laura leQncd forward wi1h her glass. She put ber elbows happened afrcr he 1hm h11t11rlf1"
on the table ano.I held her glass in both bands. She glanced Laur~ IJ a lrgJI sctrrnry. W.-'J mer in a professional
from Mel to Terri anJ wa1lt'o.I with a look of~ilderment capacity. fkfort wr knew n. 11 ' " ' cournh1p. She's thlrry
on l~r open face, as 1f amazed rlur such thin!!' luppened 10 five, chrrr yoan yo11n11<-r than I am In 1dd111on 10 being in
people you were friendly wuh. love, we hkc each 01 hrr and enjoy one anochrr's company.
"How'd he bungle II when he lulltd hlmsdf?" I said. She'> cly 10 Ix wnh .
"111 rdl )'Ou wlur lup~. Mel said. "Ht rook this
rwrn1y-1wo pos1ol he'd bough1 10 threatrn Terri md me " W H A T happrnrd r' Llura u1d
wuh Oh. I'm ittlOUI.. tbt man ""always threatening. You Md u1d, H~ shoe humdf 1n che mouth ID bu room.
lhould ha\'C Jttn chc ,..y we l1vtd ID thost days. Uh SomcoM heard thr hor and tnld t lir managrr. ~ came
fugimn. I C"\rll bougb1 a gun myself Can )'OU~... it? A 1n w 11h a p111k>" "'"' wluc had barpcncd. and called an
1111~.1 tur~ ro bc tlx-tt .... hm thty broup;ht him Sht poured rht lut of the gin 1nco her gb.11 nd W'llgglcd
1n, abve but p>t rcoll The mlD (a,cd for three d.a~'S HU the bott~. Mel got up from the ubk and wmt 10 the
head swelled up to 1w1~ the s1u of normal head. I'd never cupboard , I le cool down anochrr boulc .
..,.-n .uiytlung liu u. and I hopr I nevt-r d<> apin Terrr
1unred to go 1n md sn wnh him wbtn she found out about w E L 1. , Kick and I k!IO\\ what 161t ,., Loura said.
II We h.d a fig)it O\(f IL I cllJn't think shc "-Id l t t him for u\, I me.a." lour soi.I She bumped It') kott "~th btr
ltkr tlut I didn't think she should 1tt lum, md I still don't." kntt. "You'i-., wppoocd to soy somrtb1ng nCM," Liura >be!.
"Who -.on the fight?" Laura 1.t1d and cumrd her lnUk on rnr
"I was tn the room with him when ~died," Tcm said. For an answer, I cook Liuu's hand nd rmcd II to my
"He never amc up out of 11. But I 1.tt "uh lum. He d1dn'1 lips. I mode a b1fl prodU< uon out of lmsinp; her hand.
iu,,, .nyonc d~. E''tt)"""' "'mud
"He ""ai d.aneirrou>- Md sa1J "Ii you all that Jo,..-. )'OU y,~.,, lucky." I wd.
no ha,,, 11" You gu~ Tnn said scop rhit now. You're malting
"h wu love," Tern said. "Sure, it's abnormal ID mosr me sick. You'rr sull on chr honeymoon, for God's sake.
pcople'scyt"S But he was willing co die for it. He did die for You're 11111 gaga, for crying out loud. Juc wa1c. How long
II"
have )'OU been cogcthcr now? How long has tt been? A
"I sure u hell wouldn't all 11 loH." Mel ...d "I mean, no )"Cat? Longrr tlun Y"""
one knows whar he- did 11 for l'vr J<'f'n a Jor of swndts. and "Go1nii on year inJ a lulf Laur said, flushed and
I couldn't say anyone ever knew what r~y did 11 for.'" sm1hng.
Mel puc his hands behind hi~ neck and ulted his chair "Oh. now," Terri said. "Wmlt 3while."
back. "I'm nor interMtcd ID that lund of love," be said. "If She held her drink anJ g~uJ at Laura.
thar's lo,c. you ca have 11." rm only kidd.ng." lern ..,J.
T<"m uiJ, ~ wm.- afra1J Md~ rm<k a Wiii ouc ~ Md opm<V rl'I<' gm nJ ....m .round 1/,.. t~bk m1h tilt
wrote 10 hu brochn ID C.ltfomt who used to bc a Grem bottle.
!km. Mel culd tum who 10 loo~ for 1fsomething happened "Herr, you guys." hr ..,J ~e's ha.c a ro~11. I want to
to him.'" propose a coast. A coast u1 lovc. To true love." Mel said.
Tcn:1 dr.uik from her glass She sa1J, "But t.11:1'> right-we \\c tOU<hcJ gbssn
[l\cd '1k fog111v.:s. We "'ere afritd Mel was. wemt't yoo, "'TO i'>T," '"' SOid.
honey? I cvm callcd tbt poli at~ point. but tbty wett
no btlp ihcy said they couldn't Jo aoyrlung un11l Ed o v T \Io E 101hebad1.~ltJ.oncof1htdogsbcg;tnto
bark. Th< lrav<I of the .,pen tlm leaned put the ,.,ndow
a.;tually d1J somcthlDg lm't that bugh?'" Tern said

I 42 I 4 3
11ckrJ agouuc the glau. The af~oon >Wl wa.s li.l<e pm-
his gWs. "You guyi hl\"C been rogt-thrr e1ghtttr1 months md
mu m 1hl' 1oom. 1~ 1p:.c\01n ligln of~ md ~ry.
you 10\'t t11th (>l\ln h \hov., all O\'tr yw You glow with
~could bny bttn auywh=. >OnrWlx1c ~ ~
II But )'O<I boch loINI Olhct- proplc brfurr )'QU mtf C'ach
r.ulnl our gbDn agw and grinnd ac ecb cxher lik oihrr. You\ bo1h bttn mrrit-J bdore. jwt hk us. And
clulwn who hail agr..ci on somrthmg forbidden.
)'OU ~\>I) lovt'cl lllhcr pt0plr bdore tlur 100. "'nl. Tem
"111 rclJ you what ml lo'" u. Md-'. "J rneou. 1'11 gi~
)'Ou a good mplr. And rbm you can dnw yoar own
-t I hn<' bttn rogcrhtt 6<' )<'.an. btt-n ITWTitd for four.
And ch. rrmbk rhao)l, the 1ttt1blc: 1hang u. bu rhr good
condu<1onl." H pour! morr gin 1n10 lus glass. 1-k added
rhing mo, ch.- 1mn~ gr~. )'OU m1gh1 uy. iJ thr 1f 50rie-
an ~ cubt aDJ a ""Yr of fun. "" "'"'ccd and sappod our thmg h:arpm! co ont' of1n-cxcusr mt for ""fU"S thu-bur
dnnb. laura arid l 1oucht-J ltnttS ag.10 I rur a mod on htt
ifso111t'(hang lupptn<"J 10 o"" of us romorrow I 1h1nk ck
warm thigh and lrft 11 rh<rr.
orhtt one. iht' oditt pcnon. would grit<' for while. you
"What do any of us rrally ltoow about lovo?" Md saul
kn". bur chcn thr uinwing ~rry "'<'Uld go our ind IO'"e
"lt ftll:I co enc "''re JWl bcginnc;rt at lovo. We say W<: lovo
agun. ha\c 'l<lmeo"" d1e \OC)(I cnough. Alt this. II o( this
w
raeh orhrr and do, I don'r doub111. I love Terri aod Terri
lo"e we're rlking ab<lut, 11 would JI.ISi be a memory. Maybe
loves mr, and you guys Jove each othor too. You know ch.
llOI rvrn memof) Am I wrong? Am I way off b;ue?
l11nd of IO\lt I'm ullung bout now. Pby!ical love, tbat Bc:talllt' I wmt }"OU 10 i.et ~ \lrngllt if you tlunlr. I'll\
irnpuJ.IC char drivrs you 10 someone special, as well as love of
wfong. I wane ro k1low. I mt"n, I don't know any1hing,
the other pmon's btrng, bu or htt csstn, as ir wcr. Carnal and I'm rhr fif'r on ro admir u
love and, won,~ 11 scnrunrntl] lovo, rho d.ly-to-day caring
"Md, for Coch uk.~ Tern 1.ltd. S.... reached our and
about the orhor person. Bui som<t1111('S I have a hard time
cook hold of hu wri11. "Are you gtrdng druok? Honey?
aooiunnng for ch fOICI 1ba1 I muu hav loved my fuse wife Are you dnmk'"
roo. Bui I did, I know I did. So I suppose I am Lite T=i in
'"Honey, I'm JU>! rlkmg." Md s.id. "All nghr? I doo't
thac rcg;ird. Terri and Ed.'' He thoughr about ir and then he
have to be Jrunk co ay wha1 I think. I mean. we're all just
-.mt on ~re wu a umr wbm I thougbr l lovtd my first 11lkmg, riglur' Md ,,.,J He fixed bis e)TS on brr
wik more rlun hit 11>elf. Bur now I hair htt guis. I do. How S11o'ttt1<. I'm not cr11tetnni1." Trrn s.11d.
do you explain due? Wb.ir hipf"'n~ 10 dm love? Whi1 She p1ckd up her gfis.
b.tppcatd co ll, ts wlw I'd like to i<MW. I wtsh WlttlCOlle rm nor. c>n all~~; Md s.1d. "Lcr me remind you of
~lei rdl mo. nm th='J Ed. Oby. wo're bacli to Ed.'* rlur . l am m>t on call he so.id
lows T=i so much he mos ro l<11l htt <1nd he wmds up Md, 11oe love you," uur <)1d
lulling l\imsc\f:' Mr\ OJ'P'd r.alk.ing and "''ailc:M.O from Md 10<>\.td a1 uun. Ht ~J a1 bn u If be roWd <><><

144
l 4 s
What Uf Talk About Wlrrn I-If Ta/It About Law W1rat U~ Talk Abot ~Hit H~ Ta/It About Lo1'1'

pixc her, as ifshe was no1 the woman she WllS. Mulriple fuctum, inrtrnal mJuries. ~orrhagmg, conru
"Lo'-e you roo, Laura; Mel said. And you, ~ick, love sions, b~rauons, rtx. works. and d...y each of rlimi had
you too. You know JOmt'tbmg?" Md uid. "You guys arc dknuthn concuuions. They were in bad way, bcl1t\..,
our pals " Md uid mt'. And, of coursr. rhrir gc ws two strikes ag;un<r chem.
He picked up hi~ gl~!S. I'd say she w;u worsr off rhn he was. Ruprurcd spln
along w11h evoryching elo.c. Borh kneecaps broken. But
M l said, "I w;IS going to tdl you about SOmerhing. I they'd been wranng the1r scacbdts and, God knows, rha!'s
mean, I was going 10 prove a po1m. You ~. dus h>ppe~ wba1 savrd them for chc nmr bemg."
few months ago. but it's still going on right now, and it "Folks. chis u an d\rrus..mm1 for chr National Safery
ought to nuu us fttl aslumcd when we talk ltU "-e know Counal." Trm said. "This is your spo~. Dr ~1cl,m
wbac we're talking about when ~ talk about love." R. McGinnis. t.tkmg. Terri lughcd. "Md, shes.id, some-
"Comt' on now." Tern said. "Don't u lk l1kt you're drunk times you're JUS< coo much Bur 1 luvr you, hon," shr said.
if you're not drunk." "Ho1wy, J luve you," Md aa1d.
':Just shu1 up for once in your life," Mel said very quietly, Hr lca11cd across the cable. Trrri rnr1 him halfway. Thoy
"Will you do me a favor and do tba1 for a minute? So as I kisscd
was uying. thetc' lhu old coupk who h.ad this car w=lr. "Tctt\l right," Mel s.tid :u bt sctdcd himself @jlio "~t
OUt on ctx. iruencacc A kid bil ihan and they w.u all tom rhosc serbelu on. Bue 1n1ouJy, they were in SOmt' shape.
10 shit 211d nobody was giving ihan much clLJncc 10 puU thme oldsr<1$. By th nmc I got down rhert, the krJ wu
through." <kad, I s.i1d. He was off 111 a comer, laid our on a gurney.
Terri looked a1 w and tbeo back a1 .Mel. She seemed I cook one ll)ok JI the old couplr and 1old rhe ER nurse 10
anxious, or maybe 1har'1 100 strong a word. gee me a neurologist and an orrhopcdic man and a couple of
Mel was handing the bottle around the rable. surgconS down th.,rr righr away!'
"I w>& <>n Q\I ilut mgbt," Mtl ~d. "It "':16 tfily or Hc don\. from lus glass. rll 11~ 10 kttp 1his ~. hr
maybe ic was June. Terri and I had jus1 sal down to diona said. )<> "'"' rook rhc two of 1hrm up co the OR nd
when the hosp1ul c.illed There'd been ibis dung our on the worktd hi<., fuck on chem mo.t of the night. Th<y hd
intrmace. Drunk kid, 1ccnagcr, plowed his dad's pickup these in~mhblc reserve>. rhoS<' two You Se<: thac once in a
inco chis camper w1rh rhu old couple in ic. They wrrc up in wh1lt. So wt did everything that could be done, and toward
their mid-seventies, that couplt". The kid-eighteen, oine- mornin11 we're giving 1hcm a fif1yfifry chance. mybc less
tn. somttbing-h was DOA. Taktn the slttflng whccl chan 1h~1 for her. So here 1hty trc, still alive rhc nt'XI
iluoogb Im mmurn. ~old couple, rhcy w-= alive, you morning So. okay. ""' move 1htm 1n10 the ICU. 'Wh1d'I "
understand. I IDC2n, JOSI batdy. 8Ut rbty had everything. whrre 1hey borh ktpt pluggmg w) ac 11 for rwo "ks.

146 14 7
hi111ng 11 btt1n- and bcnn- on aU tlit scopes. So wr tnnsfcr bnidn 1lit1r lad.n. us that 1bty hod 1mt suit of urnor.
thtm OUI 10 1fit11 Ol"'tl room. )OU kno... and 1lity couldn't get hurl \'Cf)' easy. No can m
Mel rco~ wlung "Ii=." lit s.ud. ~e's drink this those d.p. you kOCM ? No dtunlt tttn.gcn 10 i.-u mto
chcpo [t1D 1fit hell up. Thro ..-cir going 10 dilmcr, right? )"OUr .us.
Trtn .and 1luiow J new p~. Tut's .. ~ w.-11 go. ro this
- p1- ..t know Jbour. Bur "<"'tt DOC gomg until wr .. \' A > \ A l ' Tnr1 Mid
finl>h up ibis cu1ni.-, lousy gia. v,1u1?" Md u1cl
Tern uod. "\\\- lu-m'1 xnwly <attn thtt.- )'l"L Bur it "VawJ<. Tern said They "'ttr c.tllcd ua.al.. not\'&
looks (IOO<I From rlit -~. )"OU know." IC!..
"I l1J.t fooJ, ~icl satd "lfl iud 1110 do a0 O\U again. fd "V1<UJ... cucls. .\icl utd. "whar rlit fuck's dit dJfcr-
be J clitt; )"OU know? R1gf11. Tttni'" Mel said. cn? You knt" ,. hat 1mt>nt aoy\\i.t)' AU nghr. Md said.
Ht l.iughtd Ht lingtttd tilt ~ m his glus. "So I'm noc tducm-d I lumtd mv 11uft'. I'm a litan sur-
"'Ttm knows. he 1.11.i. "1'trn no tdl you. But kt me say geon. ture, but I'm JU\! a mttha~1c. I go m and I fuck
1h11. If I could CORY b.lck ag:un Ill a d1fltrm1 hfi,, a d.lkrrnt around and I fix 1hm~ Shu." Md tatd
nnit and all, you know wmt? I'd hkc 10 come back as a "Modesry doc1n'1 b.<omc you," Trm wd
knight. You "'trt prcuy s.ik "'t<uing all tmt armor. It w.u "He's Jul! a humble s.i" bones." I s.i1d. "Bur somctlmt'S
oil right bems a knight until gunpowder and musuts and rhey 1uffornr.I m all rh.ir >rmor, Md. They'd even have
p1s1ols c~mt Jlong" heart macks 1( 11 gur mo hor anu they were too rirtd and
Md would like to ride a horse and carry a bncc." Terri worn our. I read 1omewherr char they'd fall of!' their hor1<s
said. and nor be able to gee up because they were 100 tired 10
"Carry a woman's icarf wi1h you everywhere," Laura stand wi1h all rim .irmor on them. They go1 trampled by
s.i1d. 1heir own horsc1 somc11mc1."
'Or ju>1 a wom;in," Md uid. "Thar't rm1ble," Mel "11d "Thar's a terrible rhmg, N1dc.y. /
"Shamt on you." Laura sald. I gum rhey'd JU\I lay 1herc and wan unul sonYbody omc
1Cm !.lui, "Suppmc you came bad ai a serf. 1k serfs along and made a slmh k.t:btb out of tlv:m."
didn't hnc 11 io good in 1bolC' days." Terri ..,d. "SonY 01her vt11<I.'' Terri 1.11d
"JM 1<1'1\ llt\t1" h.td 11 good." Md said. wBut I guess t'\'Ctl "Tfut, nghr." Md said "Somt vaual ould ro1t1t along
thr kni11h11 were \'t11d1 ro 10mt011t. bn'1 that tilt way ir and ipcar the ba<u.rd 1n 1lit nanY oflot Or wharou tilt
t'fll.r<I> Bui 1bcn e\'tl')'Ont 11 alwa)'t a ,1'Ud ro 50m<'One. fuck u ~ rlity fought o~r 1n thole d.ys
Jin'1 t1..1 nglu? Tcm? Bur wlu1 I hkd about knights. "Sa1t1t 1htn@.1 "e fight O\tt 1fitsc da)-i. Tern 111d

I 48 I 4 9
111rat llf Ta/Ir About iw,,.,, llt Talk Ahow l..otJt

Lauri u1d. "Norhuig's ch.m~ wun'r my bnt fnend, I'd C.11 in lo>c with you. I'd carry
The color ,.;u Still high 10 Laura's chtth. Hes: eyes \\'C'fe you off, hoB<"y." fir uuJ
bnghc She brought bcr gl.us to hn- !Jps. "Tcll your uocy." Tern uid "1bm "'11 go co thar racw
Mel poured himself anocbcr dnnk. He looUd at cbclabd platt. oby ?"
dost!) as 1( lfudrmg long row of namben. Tbrn be "Okay." Md uid "Where ,.., 11" hr Jaid He surod
Jo...ly put the boctk- down oo che ubk Jnd slowly r<aehed the ubk nd cbcn hr brg;on .ag;tlll.
fOt thr tome \Utrt. 1 dropptd 1n to SC't c.sch of thnn t'\<tY day, tomrtlnl<S
N> a d.y 1f I "'"'up doing ocher calls Jn}-V.J) Casa :and
wH A T bout thr oicl couple"' Laun sa.d. "Yon didn't band.gn. hcMI co font, thr bocb of chem You kDow.
finnh ch.at uory )'OU swttd you\.., seen u m thr mo"IC> Tlut'> Jlllt the "''JY they
1.Juri us hav10g lurd tunr ligbung her cipcttt. Her looked, JllSI l1kt 1n thr movin. Lurk <)t-holn and nosc-
m.mf,...kpt go1ngour holn llld mourhholn And me had to h.-.., bcr kg1 slung
1hc sumh1ne mwdc the room was d.iffi:rem now, ch.mg up on cop of 11 Wdl, rite hwh.nd wu ''Y dq>reucd for
ing, ~rung thinner. Bur the lcvcs ouwdc the wmdow rhe longnt while. Even ftcr hc found out thar bu wife was
wcrr mll 1h1mm<nng, and I stared at r.hc pattern they made going co pull through. he wa1 11111 vcry deprn.scd. Noc
on the panes and on the Fonmca counter. They weren't the about the acc1dcnt, though I m<n, the occidcnr was one
um< panrrn1, of coul'\C. chmg, buc u wm't everything. I'd ~t JP to his mou<h
"Wlm abuut the old couple?" I said. hole. you know. and he'd 1<1y no, ar wasn't the accident
"Older but wiser," Terri md. exaccly bur It wa1 because he couldn't sec her through his
Mel mrrd ar her. cycholcJ. I le sid tlm wai whac wlls mking him fed so
Terri said, "Go on wlrh your srorv, hon. I was only bad. Can you imagine? I'm telling you, chc man's heart was
kidding. Then what happened?" breaking because he couldn'r turn his goddamn head and
1oTcrn1 son1cumrs.' /\1rt ~lid. Ht Im goddamn wife."
"Please. Md," 'ICm 1<11d. "Don't always be so serious, Md lookd around rhc table and shook has head at wb.r
1wt'ttte Can't you tak a iokc1"' he was gmng to sy.
"Wilt-re's rhr iokc?" Md u1d. "I mean, II Wat killing rhc old fmiusr bee.use hc coufdnt
He hclJ h11 gl.us ind gucd ncadtly at bu wife. look ar the fuckmg wuman ,"
"Wl~t hap~nrJ>" uun J.lid We all lookd u Md
Md furcned hncyC>on Ltur Hc said, "Laura. if! didn'r "Do you SC't wht I'm'"> 1n11,.. hc s.ud.
ha>c 1em nd if I d1Jn't IO\T her so much, and if N'ick

I S0 I S I
What Ufo Talk About Wiren I# Ta/It About Lo'f! What U! To/It Abow Uillm Uf Ta/It Ahow Low

M A Y B E - were a litilc drunk by then. ! know it was get married again, I'm praytog we'll get herself stung ro
Mid kttping thin8' in fOCU\. T~ light"'~ drillning 001 of <hrh by a swarm of~ bees.
the room, going back through the y,'indow where it Jud "Shame on you." Laura said.
come from. Yet nobody made a move co get up from rhe "Bzzzzzzz," Mtl said. rucning his fingers into bees and
table co turn on thr ovn-head lighr. buning them at "RTri's rhroor. Then he k1 his bands drop
t~n.~ Md said. "Las fuush this fucking gm. 'Th:tc', all th.! way 10 his lidn.
about eno~gh lefr here for one shooier all around. Then "She's vicioiu," Mel said. "Sometimes I think r11 go up
lee's go rat. Let"s go ro the new place.'' chcrc dressed like a beekeeper. You know, 1ha1 har chat's like
"He's dtpressal." Terri said. "Mel. why doo'c you take a a b.!lmct wirh 1he place tba1 ()()mes down over your f..ace. rhe
pill)' big glo=. and the padded CO><? 111 knock on rhe door 20d
Mel shook his head. "I've taken everything there ii." ljl( loose a ru\'C of bees in the house. Bur fint rd mah. sure
"We all need a pill now and clicn," I said. chc kids were our, of course.''
"Some prople att born netding thetn," Tern said. He crossed one I~ over tbe other. It scetticd 10 take him a
She was using her futgu co rub ac oomeching on the loi of tunr 10 do it. Then he put borh fttr on the Ooor and
table. Then she sropp<'d rubbing. leaned forward. elbows on rbc table, bls chin cupped in bis
"I think I want to call !JlY kids.'' Mel said. rs that all righc bands.
with everybody? I'U call my kids." he said "Maybe J won't C2.ll rhe kids. after ll. Maybe it im't such
Tern saul. "Whac 1f ~UrJOne answi!n the phone? You a boc idei. Maybe we'll just go ear How does char sound?"
or
guys, you've heard us on the subject Marjorlcl 1-Joney, "SOllDcb fine to met I ~d. "at or nOt ttt. Or ktcp
you know )"OU don'c wane to t.tlk co Marjorie. lt'U make you drinking 1 could hoad right on our into !he suruet.''
fed C'\"Cn worse." "Whar does chat mean, hOl!e)'?" Laura said.
"I don'r want ro call: to Marjorie. Mel said, "But I wane "Jr Just 1De20S what I said, l Mid. "It means I could jusr
to talk 10 my kids:' ~ gciins. Tha1'1ill11 m=JJ,"
"There istl't day goes by tbac Mel d~nr say he wishes "I could ear something myself," Laura said. "l don'c think
she'd get marriI again. Or elst die," Terri said. "for one 1"~ ett been so hungry in my Ii&. ls rhere something ro
thing." Terri said, '1ht's baokrupnng us. Mel$.!)'$ it'sjust co nibble oo?"
spi~ him du.t she "''Qn\ g\'t mmied g>.in. She h1S boyfriend "111 put our !Orne cheese and cuckers, 'fm said.
'
who lives with her and the kid<, Mel is supporril:lg clic But Terri jusr sat there. She did nor get up 10 ger atly-
boyfriend wo." cltlng.
she's Uergic to bees. Mel said. Ifrm not praytngsbcil Mel cuniN hU glass over. He spilled it our on tbc table.

1 s2 >j
WIM I# Tall: Abour IW.tn I# Tall: Abow Low

"Cin'> gone; Mt! said


Terri s:iid. "Now what?"
I could hc.u my heart beating. I could hear everyone's
One More Thing
heart. I could hear the human noise we sar there making,
not one of us moving, not C\'Cll wbm the room went dark.

l. D. s wife, Maxine, rold him 10 get our the nighr she


c:unc home from work aod found t.D. drunk again and
being abusive 10 Rae, their fifieenyear-old. L.D. and Rae
were ar the kitchen able, arguing. Maxine didn't ha"e rime
to pur htt purse away or rakr offhtr coat.
Rae said, "Tell htm, Mom. Tdl htm whar "" r.al~
about.''
LD. turned the glllS.I in bis ha11d, but he didn't drink
from it. Maxine had bun tn a fierce and dtMjuicdng gaze.
"Kttp )our nose our of thtngl you don't know anytlung
about. l.D. said. LJ) wd, "I cm'c takt! anybody saiowly
who sirs around all day rcadtng :mtology magazines"
"This has nothing 10 do wi1h astrology,'' R11c said. "You
don't b:nre to 'uuult mC:'
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