The night we ran from the cops. Hanson’s wedding. He’s divorced now. His marriage was annulled. His wife was a stripper. A dark period of her life. No one knew except me. But that’s not why they divorced. Hanson decided he didn’t believe in the teachings of the Catholic Church–to which his wife was now devoted–and decided it was ethically wrong and irresponsible to bring children into this overpopulated, deteriorating, and honestly shitty world, that reason must overrule our biological imperative to propagate.
Love is a tool of evolution, he said, to bring together two people to propagate and make sure they don’t abandon their children when they’re crying and shitting themselves at three am in the morning.
His wife didn’t like this argument. They were using natural family planning, but she wanted children. She went to visit her parents; he got a vasectomy. When he told her she felt betrayed, to put it mildly. But that wasn’t what led to the divorce. He slept with a colleague. She became pregnant. It was his child.
It’s about a one in a hundred chance, Hanson said, but she was on birth control too, so I pretty much fucking won the lottery.
Sometimes the universe just says fuck you, I said.
His wife moved back in with her parents in Pennsylvania. She started a blog for Catholic women going through annulments. Hanson was co-parenting with the mother of his child. They were no longer involved.
I know it’s going to sound sappy as shit, he said. And don’t ever tell my ex-wife, but this kid is the best thing to ever happen to me.
Hanson and his co-parent were assigned to work in Puerto Rico. I went back to Pennsylvania. I saw his ex-wife inside a Walmart. She was buying AngelSoft Toliet Paper. Expensive, but she deserved it. I bought her a few drinks at Chick’s.
She lit a cigarette. He’s such a bullshitter, she said.
She was a little drunk.
The whole anti-Catholic thing, she said. I don’t believe in papal infallibility and I’m a Buddhist now, darling. It might be true but it’s all bullshit. He wanted to sleep with other women. That’s it. He asked me for an open relationship, can you fucking believe that? Just because I was a stripper for a month he thinks I’m down with anything? Like I’m going to pray the rosary and then have a threesome? He didn’t have the fucking balls to ask me for a divorce. He didn’t. That’s the whole story.
We made out, knocking over a few Yuengling bottles in the process.
I moved to California. It was four am and I’d fallen asleep with a beer bottle in my hand. I woke up when I poured it on myself. That phrase was in my head: the night we ran from the cops. It was the night before his wedding. On the walk back to the hotel after the bar had closed we found an old factory. We climbed to the roof. Police sirens were suddenly all around us. We crawled over the rooftop and climbed down another ladder and ran from the cops. We heard them shouting behind us. When we got back to the hotel the sun was rising. We drank all the whiskey in the mini-fridge.
Fuck it, Hanson said. He was lying back on his bed, his eyes closed. I’m going to join the Marines. No honeymoon. I’m going to Iraq. I want to be the first kid on my block with a confirmed kill. That’s all I ever wanted. Bang bang. I got him, sarge. I fucking got him.
I went up to him and put my hands around his neck. His neck was smooth, almost soft. I squeezed. He opened his eyes. They were drunk eyes. I wanted to fill them with blood. I squeezed harder. I wanted them to pop out of his head. I wanted to take his skin and put it on me. I’d sew it back up. We’d switch places. I’d live his life, he’d live mine. I squeezed harder.
I had this fucking crazy nightmare, he said, as we drank coffee. You ever have nightmares?