Brian and I had a fight. One of those marital fights with words in it like “you always” and “why don’t you.” One of those kinds of fights. I may be wrong but it may only be married couples who can have a fight like that. Why married couples? Because married couples vowed, somewhere, sometime, whether in front of a judge or a priest, whether they meant it or not, to love and honor their spouse. When Brian and I fight I start to wonder what percentage of “love and honor” I meant. A hundred percent until he pisses me off? Fifty percent if I don’t understand what he’s doing? Twenty-five percent if he tells me he’ll be home at one time and comes home at another?

What makes this particular fight interesting is that we were fighting about music. Making music. Making our music. We don’t have children but I wonder if it’s like fighting about the kids. One parent wants to child to go to public school, the other, private. One parent wants to take them to the grandparents, the other wants to go to the zoo. Is it like that I wonder?

For us, fighting about a song is like fighting about its (our) future.

Brian’s laying on the floor, as usual, the remote on his chest. Ben sits beside him curled into the crook of his arm. We’re talking about a new song.

“I thought you were going to play brushes on that?” He asks.
“No, sticks.”

I shrugged my shoulders. “I changed my mind.”

“I think it sounds good with brushes.”

I’m reading a book on the couch. I shrug my shoulders.

“I like playing it with sticks.”

Brian says nothing but from the corner of my eye I see his mouth set slightly. That tensing of the jaw muscle is as good as a sentence.

“What?” I ask.



“You always do that.”

“Do what?”

“You always change your mind about the song after we decided upon it.”

“Well, I’m sorry. I just wanted to play with sticks. That’s all.”

“You could have told me. That means I need to change the way I play it.”

“What are you taking about? You always change the way you play it. It’s never the same way. I figured if I changed it wouldn’t matter to you.”

Brian’s jaw tenses again. Now, he’s not going to say anything at all. At least for a minute or two. This is where he builds steam, like the little engine that could, ready to puff it’s way up the hill. Even in these tense moments, I occasionally have the urge to laugh – to laugh at us. Ha-ha, we’re fighting! I hear in my head. Isn’t it funny?

But we keep fighting.
You do this.
You do that.
I do not.
That’s not true.
It is.
Well, if that’s how you feel.
You can just go.
You go.
No, you.
I’m not going anywhere.
Neither am I.

It goes on like that for awhile until someone breaks through and we discover what the fight is really about.

I’m worried about work.
I’m worried about school.
Why didn’t you say so?
Why didn’t you?
You’ll be fine.
So will you.
I’m sorry.
Me too.
I’ll play the sticks.
No, play brushes.
No, I can play sticks.
I won’t change the song.
I like the song.
I’m hungry.
Me too.
What do you feel like?
How about Thai?
That’ll work.
I’ll get the car.