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More or Less: Chapter 10

Esther Kurtz

“Why do you have to be so mature?” she said finally. “Why do you have to say the things that just take my whole rant and somehow defeat it?

Wednesday, February 06, 2019




’d asked Abby to meet me in a public place like Starbucks, to prevent the discussion from getting too heated, but Abby had objected. “I don’t want to behave myself. I want to yell at you, and since you’re the person who botched this up, we’re doing this on my terms. Get over to my house ASAP.”
So here I was, a night after Abby’s hissing phone call, sitting on her couch. Ari had made such a disappointed face last night and encouraged me to go to Abby right then, but my exhaustion beat out my guilty conscience.
Abby rarely gets mad, but when she does it’s not pretty, she doesn’t pull any punches. She seated me on the couch and then towered over me, glowering.
“What on earth were you thinking? I was doing you a favor, and you tell the world I’m pregnant? I’m not this tzniyus police person, but c’mon —a little privacy, dignity. I’m not one of those women who send out weekly bump updates, and now the world wants a piece of me because I’m growing another person in me. I thought my house was safe, but they called and want to collab with some news show and do a short ‘cultural interest’ piece on me — at my house, my studio, at the Institute of Fine Arts. Seriously?! This is insanity! I don’t want to look at you, but you’re the only person who can fix this.”
I sat and listened to Abby’s rant. There was nothing to say. She was right. I made my bed and now I had to lie in it. It seems foolish to have exchanged a job for a friendship, but it didn’t feel like that was the choice I was making when I did it. 
“Aren’t you going to say something?” Abby demanded.
“Sorry,” I said. I locked eyes with her. My throat throbbed. “There isn’t much to say, you’re right. Totally right, I really did you wrong, and I’m sorry. I don’t know how to make things right, but I’ll try my best.”
Abby looked like someone had turned the lights off inside her. She sat down next to me and was quiet for a few seconds.
“Why do you have to be so mature?” she said finally. “Why do you have to say the things that just take my whole rant and somehow defeat it? You for sure read or heard something about apologies and you’re just manipulating this — aren’t you?”
Now that she said that, I was reminded of a Radiolab podcast on the efficacy of apologies, but I couldn’t remember a thing they suggested. 
“I’m not mature, I did something incredibly selfish. But I’m not an idiot, I value our relationship. Me claiming innocence isn’t going to score me any points.”
“I really wanted to yell at you more, and you’re making it hard, so I don’t know if that scores points.”
“I conceded too easily?”
We went quiet, I twisted my wedding ring around my finger.
“I felt so violated and it came out of nowhere, and I would never have expected it from you, of all people.”
“I know. I’m sorry.” What else was there to say? “There’s no defending myself.”
“I guess I owe you a get-out-of-jail-free card.”
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 629)

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