By the time I had reached home, the TV had worked itself into a righteous, vigorous anger.
Apparently word had reached it – and I’m not blaming anyone specific here but I do strongly suspect my laptop, a sleek sexy bit of an appliance who can’t keep her damn lid closed – that I would no longer be spending time in front of the TV, butt planted, mouth open.
The TV was angry; and for reasons I still don’t understand, smelled slightly of stale cigarettes.
“Is it the screen? Huh? What? ‘Cause I’ve got a scratch? ‘Cause I don’t know from HDTV?”
“It’s not that…”
“What? I’m not big enough for you, Miss High-and-Mighty? Is that it? You think because you’ve a tub and a shower that you’re too big for the primetime line-up?”
“Hey, I never said…”
“Oh, save your breath, Miss I-Never-Heard-of-Him-Who-Is-This-Maury-Povich-Person! I know what you watch! You hear me? I know what you watch!”
“Hey, now. There’s no need to –“
“Tell it to the Marines, okay? Where’s the thanks, huh? Should I tell all your brainy friends about your Tetris addiction?”
“Ha! You think I don’t remember that? You think I don’t remember you and your Nintendo? Hours and hours of Mario Brothers? Of Tetris? How you’d play until you swore the city’s skyline had gaps in it you thought you could fill in if the right piece ever came down?”
My face burned with shame.
The TV laughed cruelly. “Thought I’d forgotten that, didn’t you?”
“Look, that was a long time ago.”
The TV laughed again, his power indicator fever-red. “I don’t need your crap,” he spat. “I had a life, you hear me? I had a life before you!”
I lost control of myself. “You didn’t! You had no life! I paid for you! I paid for you and I dusted you and I moved you every single time I moved! Do you hear me?”
I burst into tears. “You think this is easy? You think I don’t still care for you? It’s just gotten dirty! I feel cheap! I have a callus from using the remote! The middle cushion on the couch has a Pearl’s-butt-shaped dent in it! If I’m not careful – oh, God! I’m going to end up watching info-mercials!”
The full horror of the situation hit me at that moment; and I fell to my knees in front of the TV, sobbing.
The TV made staticky, cooing noises.
“Movies, maybe? You could watch movies, right? And what about the second season of True Blood that you just never made time for? Maybe we could do that? Huh? The Dune movies? What about the Lord of the Ring Trilogy? You love that stuff."
White and black lines of contrition spread across the TV screen. "I just hate to lose you,” he said.
I sat up, wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my shirt.
“I don’t know." I hiccuped. "I don’t know if we can be friends. I guess we’ll just have to take it one day at a time.”
The TV began to hum the theme song from “One Day at a Time”.
I shook my head, repulsed.
He’ll never change.
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