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"You threw that glass at me"

Ballyhooly Road, Cork City Ireland, October 2009 —

I awoke to the smoke alarm at about 7 in the morning. By the time I'd gotten downstairs in my underwear it had stopped, but I opened the door to the kitchen/sitting room just to see if everything was okay.

Dave was at the stove. The oven was open. The air was full of smoke.

"Is everything okay?" I asked.

"Yeah, fine," he said.

That's good. I asked him if he would open the fan above the cooker. He said yeah — but he didn't do it. I wasn't sure he'd understood me. I asked him again. He said yeah, again.

"But could you do it, I asked."

He told me to go back to bed. I closed the door, calling him an asshole.

Of course, I couldn't sleep, so I got up to put on some music and write. I went down to make some tea.

He was outside the kitchen window, and asked me something in his cool, practiced voice. "You alright, bro?" I didn't say anything, but he didn't stop. I don't remember what he said, only that it infuriated me.

She called the cops, the next day — Another stupid housemate episode, this one in Kilkenny, a few years earlier....

Setting it down a little hard, and a bit sideways, I accidently dropped my favorite glass onto the tile floor — a thick German pint-glass made for beer that I used for tea. Its rim shattered.

I picked up the remainder, and said "get out of the way." He did, pulling his head away from the open window. I threw the glass against the wall outside beyond him. It shattered pretty good.

"You threw that glass at me," he said. He spoke it like a boy, like he was going to use this incident — or his narrative of it — in vengeance. Of course, with no witnesses he could as easily have said anything.

He didn't speak to me for the month it took me to find another, better place to live.