Prompt: Use the following sentence as the start of your entry: I heard the car door slam and immediately looked at the clock.
I heard the car door slam and immediately looked at the clock. I closed my eyes and rested my head on the steering wheel. That had to be a record; “Shortest Fight Before One Party Angrily Leaves.” Go team.
I follow his path into the house, carefully stepping where he did to avoid getting too much snow in my shoes. His coat and shoes are already off, tucked neatly away, tidy as ever. I stow my winter gear and lean against the door to the living room. He’s on the couch, staring at the Xbox loading screen. I read his posture, tense and closed off, shoulders hunched and brittle, and I sigh.
“I’m sorry,” I say, immediately regretting how forced the words sound.
“No you’re not,” he replies, not looking at me, not looking at anything other than that damn loading screen.
“I feel bad,” I concede. “Is that enough?”
He sighs, running a hand through his hair. I wait.
“Yeah. Whatever,” he says.
His game loaded, he checks out. I guess it’s my turn to sigh. I leave him be, padding quietly into the kitchen and pouring a glass of water. I chug the first half, the cold water sending a shiver down my spine, before quitting and opening a bottle of wine.
How many fights have ended like this, him loading a video game and me drinking alone in the kitchen? Too many to count by now. I try to remember the good times, remember when we could stay up talking until the birds started chirping. He swears quietly in the other room, the sound of a grenade indicating he just died in the game. I consider joining him, grabbing a controller and playing like we used to, but instead I take my wine upstairs and run a bath.
The water is hot enough to distract me for a few minutes, drowning all thought in seared nerve endings. I close my eyes, shutting out the quiet. What were we even fighting about? Oh, right. Dinner with his friends.
It’s not that I don’t like his friends; they’re good people. I don’t actually know what it is. That or I do know and am just too scared to face the reality that maybe this relationship isn’t going to work out after all, that maybe all those plans for the future belong in the bin. I’d like to say that it’s a 50/50 chance as to which the reality is, but I know in my heart that we’re spiraling the drain.
I make a tally of all the clichés we’re living up to right now, how many of those classic lines I could drop on him.
“We need to talk.”
“I just need some space.”
“I think we’d make better friends.”
“It’s not you, it’s me.”
“You deserve better.”
Except that I actually believe that last one, believe that this can be traced back to me. Sure, it’s no one’s fault now, not at this point, not when we’re this distant. But I took that first step away, pulled back when he switched jobs. I didn’t want to be in the way, and now I feel like I’m the only thing in his way, like he could be doing better at his job and at his life.
His life. Wow. A year ago I would have said our life. Funny how time changes everything whether you want it to or not.
I drain the bath and my glass before heading back downstairs. He’s still on the couch, mindlessly running around an unbelievably realistic map of Montreal. The level of detail in video games these days is crazy.
“Hey,” I say, leaning against the door frame again.
“Hey,” he says, not looking up.
Jesus. We really are doomed. I sit next to him, quietly waiting for him to be ready to talk to me. Hell, I’d take look at me right now.
He does after a few minutes, eyes flicking over as he navigates the cramped streets.
“What’s up?” he asks, eyes back on the game.
“I thought we could talk,” I tell him.
I can see the weariness in his eyes, the sagging at the edges as he replays all the times we’ve sat here talking as I want to now, all those conversations about who is going to change and how we’re going to fix this.
“Yeah, okay,” he says, pausing the game and leaning back.
I consider the clichés, all those lines I could feed him to end our suffering. But I’m not ready to give up like that, to throw away these last six years. I sigh and lean against him.
“We’re pretty fucked, eh?” I say, half a laugh bubbling out.
He sighs, resting his head on mine.
“Yeah feels like.”
We sit like this, both lost in thought, the silence deafening in my ears until I can’t stand it for a moment longer.
“Do you want to keep trying?”
This story is continued on Day 10.