"Curse words were invented by people too stupid to think of an intelligent response," he says, finally standing up, and when she tells him to put it on a t-shirt he grins. "Yeah, maybe I will, Rebecca." She stares, jaw dropped. The last time Rebecca saw Cathy's brother -- after the hospital, before his relapse -- he'd left his hiking boots for Bruno Maglis and was making a very healthy income.
"Ironically, income is one of the most unhealthy things there is. It starts the cycle." She doesn't need to ask what cycle. She remembers him now. "Your short stint in the care facility and your subsequent stab at civilization didn't take?" He looks her up and down. "And what about you? Just getting old and angry? Trying to squeeze into clothes meant for a woman half your age, but not willing to change your style until one of your one-night stands pays off?" She'll drink to that.
"So what law firm thought you were a good idea?" She grins and calls him Sassy and tells him she's in pharmaceutical sales: A drug pusher, he says, gearing up for another speech. "You're the reason nine-year-old girls are getting boobs!" For which, she assures him, nine-year-old boys everywhere are thanking her.
"Look, I have a job that is questionable -- at best -- but they pay me very well. And since I have no husband and no children to be responsible for, I pay for my father's nursing home care and I donate 20% of my income to charity. My dime could be the last dime needed to help cure cancer."
But she's still as bad as she is good -- a balanced person in the house of splitting selves -- and that's something they can agree on. He can't take his eyes off her. They're just saying the things that you say, the fight you have, the ideologies, but it's coded: They both know where this goes, where it leads. It's a freight train they don't have to stop.
It was supposed to be this way: Small ceremony, large reception. They wanted to keep the money for their honeymoon; she'd never even seen most of the world's oceans. His family grew up wealthy, traveling, and he wanted to show her the world. But his mother got involved, and her sister with the cats and the gift-wrapping closet, and suddenly it was lists and deposits and funny uncles and the cousin he'd once kissed, and John found Samantha sitting on the floor of the walk-in closet, staring up at him with eyes gone slightly mad, and for one second the world tilted but then John remembered that she would never leave him, she said it and he believed it, and he knew he felt the same. This was about the weight of expectation, the fact that everybody there would be staring at them like some kind of crystal ball, trying to get a glimpse of the future. Trying to see, through them, to a happy ending. John knew they'd have that regardless. So he knelt and took her hand and said, "There is a fucking better way. Get your toothbrush."