“Sorry,” he said, looking like a scolded puppy, “Darcy kicked me out again.”
Stan is practically family, so there was nothing I could do beside fetch a blanket from the linen closet and toss it on the couch.
“What did you do now?” I asked.
He pretended his feelings were hurt. “Go ahead,” he said, “assume it’s my fault.”
I just glared at him.
“Honest,” he said, flopping onto the couch. “I don’t know.”
“Did you ask?”
“I tried,” he whined, “but she’s too moody. There is no talking to her. I’ll let it slide until she comes around.”
Great, I thought, I’ll have a house guest until then.
The stair light was on and all I had to do was walk toward it. But if I did what I should, I wouldn’t have allowed Stan through the door in the first place. Instead I opened my big mouth.
“You can’t let these things fester,” I told him, “if it doesn’t get resolved, she will add it to her list.”
“Huh?” Stan said.
“Her list of unresolved issues. Think of it like Santa’s naughty and nice list, except for relationships. If you don’t work out your problems, they will build up and destroy you.”
“I know where she keeps it,” he said.
“It’s a metaphor,” I told him, “not an actual list.”
“She keeps it in the bottom drawer of her file cabinet, under a pile of old photos.”
I couldn’t believe it. No – on second thought, knowing Stan and Darcy, I could.
“It’s about two inches thick and every grudge is indexed by category,” he said, “She has it all organized with highlight tabs.”
Stan’s life is like a car crash, you know you should turn away but watching the horror unfold is too compelling. “Don’t keep me in suspense,” I said, “what does it say?”
“She wrote that I’m a weasel…”
“…and a jerk and a loser,” he said, “She must have wrote it holding her pen like a chisel.”
Apparently, she kept a detailed chronology of his every transgression, right down to the quarter hour, which shed a lot of light on Darcy’s behavior. For one thing, it cleared up why she was always checking her watch.
I was amazed. “She compiled two inches of dirt on you?”
Again, he acted like his feelings were hurt. “Only about a quarter of it was mine,” he said, “The rest belonged to her old boyfriends.”
I asked him what he did when he found it. Apparently, the next time they got into a tiff, he asked her to make a list of all the things she liked about him.
For Stan, this represented a rare step in a positive direction.
It took her three hours but she finally came up with something. She wrote, “You have good taste in music.”
Next, he told her to make a list of everything she didn’t like about him. A few minutes later, she came back for more paper.
That is when he informed her that he had found her list. It is also when she kicked him out.
“So can I stay here for a while?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I told him, “you have to work it out with Darcy.”
“I don’t know what to do about her,” he said, “but there is one thing I’m going to do…”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“I’m going to start keeping my own list.”