Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Bad news and worse news

Saturday, April 30, 2005
Steve's bedroom

"I have good news and bad news."


"Which do you want first?"


"I can't go to Hawaii."

"What do you MEAN?"

"Steve, I'm so sorry!"

"What happened?"

"Remember that internship I interviewed for at home?"

"Yeah. You GOT it?"

"Yeah! I'm so excited!"

There's a prestigious law firm near Steph's mother's house where Steph worked while she was in high school. Working there made her want to be an attorney, and it's been her dream to go back and work there as a law student. There were five internships available for the summer; competition was fierce, with hundreds of applicants vying for the spots.

"Steph! Congratulations!"

"Thank you! But I'm so depressed I can't go away with you," she pouts.

"Why can't you?"

"It starts right after finals are over, and goes all the way up until classes begin. It's really competitive, and missing any work at all is highly discouraged. So taking a week off is a bad idea."

"So you're gonna be gone all summer."

"Steve, I'm SORRY! But this is really important to me."

Call it a selfish phase. Suddenly I'm angry, like a petulant little boy, thinking only of myself and my needs. All I can think of is how patient I was with her, sitting home alone for all those long nights while she studied endlessly, looking forward to summer, when I could finally whisk her away and spend some quality time with her while the sun was actually out. Now summer is here, and she'll be even more scarce than she was. Yeah, it hurts.

"I am happy for you. I am. But I can't lie to you, I'm disappointed. I was looking forward to spending a lot of time with you this summer."

"Me too. But I'll come visit you every weekend. I promise!"

"You won't come visit me every weekend. You're gonna be working your ass off on the weekends!"

Her smile fades. "Well... you could come visit me.."

"And watch you work?"

"STE-EEEVE!" she wails. She stares at me, her face cloudy with sorrow, her hazel eyes sparkling with tears. It's been a very long time since I've seen her cry.


"I thought you'd be HAPPY for me!" she sobs. "I thought you would SUPPORT me!"

"You SAID it was bad news, didn't you?"

"You're being selfish! You make me SO mad sometimes!!" She stomps off to the bathroom and slams the door.

Why do girls always run to the bathroom in the middle of a fight? Does being angry make you have to piss? Or are you reviewing your argument crib notes?

Minutes pass. Finally I hear the lock pop, and the door opens slowly. She walks over and sits next to me. "I am sorry I raised my voice," she says with a sigh, enunciating each word carefully, as if teaching a foreigner how to speak English.

"I'm sorry I upset you. But, we're supposed to share everything with each other. Right? If something is bothering me, I need to let you know about it."

I look at her. She's searching my face, up and down.


"Mm-hmm," she says. "To be very honest with you, I feel guilty about taking it. I almost turned it down, because I didn't want to be away from you. You work a lot of hours, and I'm gonna be working a lot of hours..."

"Well, it's gonna hurt me too, but I'm very glad you took it. That was the right thing to do. We'll find a way to make time for each other this summer."