If I had known that a mere argument would have such an impact on my life, I’d go back in time and tell myself how stupid of an argument it is.

“Mr. Smith?” The lawyer said louder than before, papers in hand, handing them over to me.

“Oh, I’m sorry. I must’ve dozed off a bit there,” I couldn’t help but scratch the back of my neck in embarrassment.

“It’s fine, i was just asking how all this happened? I don’t mean to intrude. It’s just basic human curiosity I’m holding,” I look at the lawyer.

At first I was reluctant to tell him, maybe I felt ashamed for it all but then realized, I’ve got nothing to hide and so what if this whole thing was dumb? It was my life and I’ll just tell it as it is, without the made up pretty parts.

“An argument over a ripped book,” it sounded dumber when I said it out loud but it’s what happened. Ignoring the lawyers surprised face, I continued, “it was a bad day, I was stressed. I didn’t want any problems at home because I knew I’d take everything wrong and out of hand. Yet, that’s not always possible. I went home and my daughter, four, had ripped a book of mine. It was a rarity, this book. A first print, signed edition. You know how it is with some book collectors, like me, books are our life. We save and work hard to collect and that was one of my prized possessions.”

I had to pause because I knew what I was going to say would only make things worse, in terms of my image I mean.

“I yelled at her and I didn’t hold back. It wasn’t something that I should have done. I’m not proud of myself and I’m not proud of the argument I had with my wife. I should have acknowledged that it was just a book, a materialistic thing. Yet, I argued and argued with my wife as if our daughter had killed our cat. I refused to see what was in front of me and it all got out of hand and it went on and on. Three months later, here we are,” I couldn’t help look at the Manila folder with the signed divorce papers.

“I… don’t know what to say,” the lawyer finally said. I wasn’t surprised because I wouldn’t either.

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