They had lived together for ten months, with the first month being pure bliss and the following nine consisting of discussions evolving into disagreements, which acquired the dimensions of arguments, one after the other. They had both brought quite a bit of baggage with them into their relationship and it was showing up all the time.
“You think it’s easy being me?” With a furious face, Lorraine pulled a suitcase from under the bed. “Do you? Well, listen to this!”
Lorraine popped open the suitcase laying on the floor, the lid flew open, and her mother rose straight up out of it, finger already waggling.
“You’re a bad girl. Your math scores are low, you hang around with the wrong crowd, and when was the last time you helped in the kitchen? You are never going to amount to anything. Never ever.”
Lorraine pointed to her mother and yelled at her boyfriend Arthur. “See!”
Arthur shook his head in a combination of pity and superiority. “Oh…you think you’ve had it so bad? Take a look at what I had when I was eight.”
Arthur pulled a bag of his own down from the top shelf of the closet and opened it. A cute little doggie jumped out of it and ran around on the floor barking playfully. Suddenly a train came barreling through the bathroom door and ran over the dog, cutting it in half, then thirds, then mincemeat, and then shot out the window just a suddenly.
“See!” Arthur pointed at the bits of his scattered, dead childhood pet. “How am I just supposed to get over that?”
Lorraine stared open-mouthed at her boyfriend’s puppy’s body parts…but she had what she thought was even worse.
She walked over to her dressing table and yanked open her usually locked top drawer. Out of this arose a life-size pelt of of her skin when she was five. It was covered in welts. “This is what my father did to me when I was five. At five years old! One doesn’t easily forget such things.”
“Exactly!” Arthur shouted as he jumped toward his gym bag, ripped open the main zipper of the bag so his father’s head like a bowling ball could emerge to sneer at his son, “You think you’re a man? You’re lousy at sports, you always hide in your room with your games and books, say boo and you pee in your pants. Be a man. Come on, throw a punch? Think you’re tougher than your old man? Huh? Do you? I said, Do You?”
Lorraine opened her rather overlarge handbag and out came three giggling teenage friends who just pointed at her shoes and laughed and laughed.
Arthur popped open his mobile phone and out came thirty of his so-called university friends , each staring at their own mobile phones, Arthur’s number glowing on it, and not dialing.
Lorraine and Arthur pulled out of their separate overnight bags twenty-seven pairs of lips, which flapped crazily around the room like manic butterflies, each mouthing off different parts of their past conversations, endlessly analyzing their relationship from different possible angles, over and over and over. The combined emotional noise was frantic and piercing.
Lorraine whipped out from a hidden compartment in her baggage her seven month old self, wailing in fear and tears. Arthur did the same from his own hidden compartment, yanking out his nine month old self, wailing, teary, waving his helpless arms about feverishly. Lorraine pulled out her thirty month old self, followed by herself at eight, eighteen and twenty-one, always crying and wounded, internally more than externally. Arthur matched her with his own self at fifteen months, eight, seventeen, and twenty-eight years of age, weeping and afraid and alone. There were different scenes being yanked out of different baggage of being fired from jobs for no good reasons or refusals of employment, again for no good reason, other partners turning away from them, siblings or cruel cousins teasing them mercilessly, their parents continually appearing in different guises from different times with fuller, fresher curses to hurl at them. The couple showed off the times when they scrapped their knees at five or were slapped at seventeen.
Meanwhile, the train kept charging out of the bathroom and running over the newly revived happy pet dog over and over again, while the mother berated the daughter and the father taunted the son and many teenage friends and recent business colleagues endlessly betrayed and tormented them. And their lips talked and talked and complained and wished the other would change, change, change for the better.
Then both suddenly stared at the various traumas that pulsed and moaned all around their apartment, and they ran into each other’s arms, wanting to shout, Save me! and Love me! and Help me! and I didn’t know! and Oh my God! And in the end they always said, each time, I love you.
And the baggage zipped back up and went quiet, for a while.