Meanwhile Joe hasn’t bothered me much over the car theft. To pontificate about it would have the effect of trivializing his carefully compiled list of my lesser crimes. The harangues take place every three weeks or so, after a buildup of hostile silence. I never know what he is angry about until the harangue begins, but whatever it is, it always concerns the same petty infractions. They are permanently registered on a yellow pad of legal paper, the list filling up more and more of the pad over the years, so he can flip through the pages to remind me how many instances of the same infraction were previously committed, dates recorded in the margins. Nothing is ever forgotten or forgiven. Here he bares his Jesuit fangs: the pad of paper is my soul, with many-layered sin written all over it.
Let’s take the sole remaining bruised and wrinkled apple sitting in the back of the refrigerator in its clear plastic bag aerated with holes. The bag has been there for months. I have admittedly eaten most of the apples. My mother also ate a few. The last one stays there for the taking. Joe deliberately refrains from eating any of the apples, so the crummy little apple never gets eaten. But it doesn’t matter. It’s the point that counts.