I lost my temper then, and said so as a way of feeling better about my own lack of self control. I thought of this as a favour to her. 'I can't believe you're getting angry about this,' she said, 'When I'm the one who's...' but I didn't reserve any part of myself to wonder whether her disbelief was justified. I just got madder and squeezed my fists on the table where she could see them, and ground my teeth. My cheeks and neck felt hot. It was all very theatrical. My nostrils flared and later on - the next time we fought - I would notice it happening again, and as usual I would think of my face as a horse's face, its snout, displaying animal emotions. I liked the idea that I was a monster in the shape of a man, though I didn't like the shape itself; nor did I like my own doubt as to the authenticity of nostril-flaring, jaw-clenching, fist-squeezing. The next time we fought, in the kitchen, dining room, living room, and finally the bedroom - where we lay holding one another afterward, and two hours later had wondrous tearful sex by way of expiation and forgetting - the next time I imagined her dying, wondered what I'd do in the event, and vowed that I would travel until the money ran out. What led to the sex was that I told her about this vow, recasting it as a 'What would I do without you?' gesture of outreach, a way of enfolding her, enlisting her. We could stand together against that tragedy, and so forth, and it really worked, the tears when they came were honest and relieved, and I tried not to allow myself to be proud of how I'd told her this story, how I'd really sold the motherfucker. But I was proud. I agonized for months over the decision to leave her, but she left me first, and I couldn't blame her - you couldn't blame her - but I blamed her anyhow.