The quarrel began because I wanted to go jogging in the evening snow storm. Our Vine Street apartment was only two blocks from the outer loop of Warinanco Park. Warinanco offered two jogging routes: the inner loop of 1.7 miles and the outer loop of 2.5 miles. I preferred the outer loop and often ran it two times.
That evening, Krystyna did not want me to run and she was adamant about it. She claimed that I had promised to help her study for the United States Medical Licensing Examination, which she needed to pass to get into medical school in the U.S.. I told her we could study after my run, but this was not acceptable to her,
I was just as inflexible and told her I was going to run whether she wanted me to or not. The argument heated up as I got into my sweats and tied the laces of my running shoes.
—Maybe I not be here when you get back.
I clamped my mouth shut and did not respond.
I ran only one loop and it was glorious. I love running with snow blowing in my face. She was still there when I got back. I showered and changed into a clean pair of sweats which I prefer over pajamas. I got into bed next to Krystyna who was watching a movie on television. I was grateful for the fatigue and sleepiness. There would be no love tonight.
—If you sleep in the bed, I go to couch.
—You can sleep in the hallway if you want. Or call up your illegal immigrant sister. I’ve give you a ride over to her house.
She got out of bed, dressed, and began packing her belongings into a large suitcase.
—On the second thought, I’m tired. Call a cab. I’ll give you forty dollars.
—I don’t want your money, you, you bastard.
—You’d better take it. It’s snowing and I’m not lending you the car.
She snarled something in Polish.
—I love you too, but these fights are getting old. Maybe it’s time we moved on.
Krystyna put on her coat and moved to the door. As she opened the door, I called after her:
—Wait. Take all of your stuff. I’m going to change the locks. I don’t want you coming back.
I began throwing the rest of her things into the hallway: books, clothes, boots, shoes, records, her reading lamp, and the huge Teddy Bear I had bought for her last Valentine’s Day.
We were both in the hall now and we were screaming at one another.
—My sister told me Jews were good husbands, but you not a good anything.
—That’s because I’m not a real Jew. You, however, are a real snot-nosed Polish princess.
—Debil! Maybe I’ll call the FBI and report a certain illegal East European immigrant.
—She never hurt you, you monster.
—You and Elizabeth are a couple of opportunistic, manipulative, spoiled little rich girls who...
I stopped mid-sentence because we had made eye contact. Her glare had morphed into her special kind of pout with her mouth all puckered up. It makes her look adorable. I tried to stifle myself, but I broke out laughing. She looked so cute and so funny.
She too began to laugh. The whole scene was ridiculous. We were soon both laughing uncontrollably, hysterically.
A neighbor looked out her door and asked if we were okay. That made us laugh more. Tears began running down our faces because we were laughing so hard.
The whole hallway was covered with books, record albums, clothes, boots and shoes, the lamp, the suitcase, and the Teddy Bear. We were sitting in the middle of all the rubble and laughing like a couple of imbeciles.
We began moving everything back into the apartment.
—We were like two terrible actors rehearsing a lame breakup scene in a grade D movie.
—You were worse.
After we got everything into the apartment, we undressed, got back into our bed, and tried feebly to make love, but were thwarted by spasms of laughter.
—You’re screwing up the hot reconciliation scene —I said.
Krystyna laughed so hard we had to stop.
Later, wrapped in one another’s arms, we closed our eyes. I thought we would never get to sleep. One of us would start giggling and that would set off the other. Finally, somehow, we laughed ourselves to sleep.