The magazine with the thirteen year-old girl on the front is what Tano bought for our Saturday-night sofa-togetherness. When I buy the magazine it's usually Cosmo or Glamour so we can do the test-yourself sections to find out if we love each other, if we have a good sex life, etc. When Tano buys the magazine it's usually some pop-culture teen rag like Giant Robot or Kronik. So Young and Modern is only a minor surprise.

"It has lots of tests," Tano says.

The cover is six pictures of one thirteen year-old girl dressed as six stereotypes. I ask Tano which ones he'd like to have sex with.

Before I can even finish the sentence Tano points to the dominatrix prom queen and the sassy athlete.

I say, "Which one am I?"

He points to a photo where, presumably, the girl is just being herself.

"Why am I like that one?"

"Because she looks like she wants to please everyone."

Immediately, I think of last night when Tano wasn't budging so I thought I'd just be nice because he's always too tired for sex at night but he's never too tired for a blowjob. Then I think of how we're reading the magazine he wants even though it's my turn to pick because I thought if I picked he'd decide he didn't want to read a magazine and he'd spend the night sitting on the sofa staring at the wall. Then I think of the last time I got angry at him for staring at the wall when we were supposed to spend time together and he cried, which of course meant he'd stare at the wall all night.

So I say to myself, I'm sick of this. I'm not going through that again. I put down the magazine and go to bed because while it wouldn't be fair to yell at him for how he answered my manipulative, cornering questions, I can't think of anything nice to say.

For the rest of the night I imagine he sits on the sofa and stares at the wall, feeling relieved that I went to bed in a fit of demoralization because really what he wants to do is sit on the sofa and stare at the wall. Like dogs like to dig holes. It's a destiny thing.

The next night: I write bad checks for nice clothes because payday is soon. For Chanukah I buy a suitcase for Tano—the rolling kind, like stewardesses have. I leave it in the car in case we have a fight.

At home Tano has turned up the heat higher than he likes, which he usually won't do unless I have goose bumps on the backs of my thighs.

I toss my new clothes on the sofa.

Tano has laid out his own purchases on the dining room table: A Chanukah prayer book so he can follow along with me. Chocolate Chanukah gelt, and new Chanukah candles because he thought the ones I bought were cheap and crooked and would drip all over the table.

I like that he's taking initiative. I think he is one step closer to letting our kids get bar-mitzvahed—if he doesn't dump me first.

I say, "Tano, let's look at the girls again."

"Oh God," he says. He pulls me close. Nuzzles his nose in my neck. "Look at the new candles," he says.

I tell him, "Thank you."

I tell him, "The two girls you want to have sex with would not put up with your telling them you're thinking of breaking up. Only the wants-to-please-everyone girl would put up with you. But you're not interested in her. I don't want to be her. I don't want to be lame but I don't want to dump you. What do you think?"

"I think the girl in the workout clothes might put up with me."

It is not difficult to think of myself as the jock type. Maybe this is okay. I don't actually remember what my point was. So we light the Chanukah candles and then curl up on the sofa.

Tano says, "Oh yeah. You have messages."


"Your grandma called. Your uncle died."

"What? You're telling me this a half-hour after I got home? Death is a tell-right-away sort of thing."

"I wanted us to have nice togetherness before I told you."

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