It might've been spilled milk, or the fact that that dinner got cold while we were waiting for The Partner to finish a conference call, or maybe that someone ganked the last of the banana bread. The cause doesn't matter as much as the admission.
"It's all my fault," The Partner said, throwing up his hands in martyrdom. "It's always my fault."
The Boss looked over at me. "It's his fault," she confirmed. "Not ours."
I laughed. I had to. But the chuckle lost depth as I thought of growing up in a house where my mother would drop a glass in the kitchen and immediately blame the wreckage on someone else, even if the nearest person was minding her own business upstairs in my bedroom, reading Judy Blume through spectacles as thick as magnifying glasses.
"It's nobody's fault." I spoke more for The Boss's benefit than to validate The Partner's histrionics. "We don't need to blame anyone."
The Boss's eyes were wide with knowledge that belied her three uneventful years. She looked from me to her father before settling back on me. Her voice was a blend of confidence and whisper. It was as if she didn't want to burden me too heavily with the truth. "But sometimes people have fault."
I gasped out a smile the way I do so often when I can't believe the words that have just come out of The Boss's mouth. I never expect the perspective, the grace, the matter-of-fact observations that elude many a person ten times her age.
So I conceded. How could I not? I marveled at our daughter with a headshake and a shrug, then I dismissed the issue from the table, sure that we'd be able to discuss it in more detail for the rest of our lives. "You're right. Sometimes people do have fault. You're absolutely right."