I had never heard of it. Neither has she.
“That is so sad,” she says. “I would never go there.”
Me? I probably would. I find the idea strangely optimistic — finding a home for what are otherwise homeless artifacts.
But this subject annoys her, in part because she hates museums. And she worries that it’s a sign of something, my bringing it up with her.
Still, I consider it an interesting exercise: What would I donate to such a museum, if it came to that? What would be worthy of exhibit? It would have to be something that reminded me not only of her but of a particular moment. A bad moment. A moment that I wish to forget but can’t because of this one stupid object…
The First Fight
Thermal paper, 7.9 cm × 9.1 cm
I used to keep an old receipt in a zippered pocket of my backpack — it’s a receipt from a Mediterranean restaurant on Third Avenue. She didn’t want Mediterranean food that day, but she wasn’t in the mood to suggest anything else. She was hungry and she was tired. She snapped at me during the walk over, when I asked if there was anywhere else she would rather go.
“Look, I don’t really care where we eat. I just want to sit down.”
The place was noisy. The food was bland. For ten minutes I kept quiet. Then she snapped again.
“If you’re not gonna say anything to me, why did we even bother to go out? I might as well be at home eating by myself.”
“Why should I talk?” I said. “You’re just going to shut me down as soon as I open my mouth.”
“What, you mean outside on the street? That was fifteen minutes ago. You’re still stuck on that? We’re not standing out there anymore. We’re past that now. I’m talking about now, in here. So you’re telling me now you’re just gonna sit there and not talk to me?”
I put my fork down on the table. It had been a while since I last walked out on someone at dinner. More than ten years. But it was coming back to me. All I had to do was push back in the chair, get up, and leave. It would probably feel really good, if only for a few minutes.
Instead, I decided to stay. I took another bite of my bland food. Then I asked her about her day.