The fight was bad. Angela asked when she could come get her stuff. I told her the sooner the better, then made sure to box up any gifts she’d given me along with the handful of personal items she’d left there. I thrust the box at her when she pulled up.
“Oh, that’s real nice,” she hissed in that quietly venomous way she had when she was monstrously angry. I raised an eyebrow and attempted to maintain a mask of boredom, like she wasn’t tearing my heart out of my chest by leaving me. She took the box, dropped my one-time gifts in the green, driveway trash bin, and hopped back in her car to drive out of my life for good. Or so I thought.
A few hours and a several Coronas later, my cell phone rang. It was Angela.
“Hello,” I answered.
“Hey. I’m sorry, but I didn’t know who else to call.” Her voice was softer, shaken, not at all the way it was when I’d last seen her.
“Why? What’s up? Are you oaky?” All the trite bullshit surrounding our argument dissolved in the face of whatever real-world tragedy must’ve prompted her to forget her initial anger and call me.
“I’m okay, just a little shook up. I was over at Joy’s house when her husband came home drunk and started yelling at us and punching the walls. He threatened to hit me and Joy, but he didn’t. I knew he was a pussy.” She spoke tough, like she always did, but I knew she was no match for Joy’s husband, who was a pipefitter and supposedly some kind of martial artist. I’d met him once, and the thought of him threatening my girlfriend, whether or not we were currently together, filled me with rage.
“I’ll be right there,” I said, any trace of resentment toward her gone. I jammed my car into drive and kept the needle at ninety all the way there, the possibility of a DUI never entering my thoughts. I pulled into the riverside trailer park that Joy called home. Her husband’s absurdly lifted truck was nowhere in sight. I located the girls.
“Thanks for coming,” Angela said as she hugged me. Joy stepped forward to hug me as well, but I turned abruptly away, pretending not to see what she was doing. Angela’s hug felt like absolution from our earlier hostilities, like there were too many people against us in the world for us to waste time fighting each other.
Joy’s husband had been drinking with his friend, who’d left his Volkswagen Bug parked in the driveway, so we knew they’d be back. We had convened to inside the trailer, and busied ourselves with passing a glass meth pipe between us. I felt my beer buzz retreat in the face of the stimulant. My previously dulled senses sharpened right up. I was ready for a fight.
I waited outside, partially concealed in shadow, while the girls took a loop around the park in Angela’s car. They let me know via text that her husband and his ridiculous truck were headed my direction. I felt relatively calm despite the ice I’d smoked, and the possibility of impending violence. The girls beat him to the trailer, but not by much. Two men stepped out of the truck, one about my height and wearing coveralls and a beanie, the other slouching and goblin-like, his hair springing from his head in greasy curls. The taller one, Joy’s husband, stomped straight at me, while his sidekick wormed over to my left, attempting to flank me. I could hear Joy yelling something behind me, like some kind of evil cheerleader.
“Don’t come any closer. Just turn around and go home.”
He didn’t slow his advance in the slightest.
“Don’t come any closer man, I’m telling ya.”
He started to say something, but I was too busy closing the distance and hitting him on the side of his face to listen. I heard Joy yelling something like “not so tough now” and “kick his ass J—”. He staggered and fell, and I followed him to the ground and kept hitting him in the head. Joy’s cries changed to “stop, stop” and “don’t hit him anymore”. Many people think violence sounds like a good idea until they see the reality of it. His buddy was still slinking off to my side, getting closer to Angela and Joy than I cared to have him.
“Watch that fucking guy!” I yelled and pointed at him. I was up on one knee perched atop Joy’s semi-conscious husband. Believing the sidekick to be more dangerous than he was, I decided to finish Joy’s husband as quickly as possible by driving my knife into the base of his skull. I reached for my knife, which I always kept clipped to my right-side pocket. Luckily for me, it had fallen off in the tussle.
Before I could figure out what to do, Angela menaced the sidekick with a self-defense spike she kept on her key chain and shouted, “Back up motherfucker or I will fucking stab you!” I believed that statement more than anything she’d ever said up to that point. He took a couple steps back, obviously he was a believer as well.
I’d been in plenty of fights because of girls before, but this was the first time one ever had my back in a street fight. The moment I heard Angela’s promise to ventilate that dude, I fell instantly in love. If we weren’t both divorced and disgusted with marriage, I may have proposed to her then and there.
I let Joy’s husband up, and the two headed back into the night, a little bruised about the face and egos. I found my knife laying in the driveway. I picked it up, shaking a little as I realized how close I’d just come to spending the rest of my life in prison over a dumb-ass fight. Angela and I left Joy there and went back to my house and fucked each other silly. I always thought that was the best way to make-up after a fight.
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