She grimaced at the same six words that had been branded into her mind ever since she made that miserable choice three years ago. It was quite funny really, she thought the existential dread would’ve gotten to her by now. Tilting her head ever so slightly, she rubbed her cheek over his stained blue pillowcase. She inhaled deeply over a brownish stain on the corner of the sheet.
Was it Hoisin sauce?
It had to be, nothing else would stain that dark.
The two of them always got Chinese takeout on Tuesday nights anyways. Maybe it was the remnants of Kung-Pow Chicken? She looked up and over the bedsheets at the drawer laying across the room. A flock of empty Corona bottles huddled together in the left corner, explaining why she didn’t remember the evening before.
Not like she’d want to anyway.
The slightly dampened paper takeout boxes filled the rest of the empty space, with her perfume tilted slightly on the Ikea branded dresser, the glass reflecting rays of sunlight creeping in from the closed blinds. She sighed.
No, it was definitely Hoisin sauce.
At least that made her feel something. Well, more than the usual feeling of melancholy she had ever since moving in with him.
Lazily rising from the bed, she saw a note hastily written on the back of the receipt from last night’s feast, describing that he’d be back soon, and was at Tesco picking up a few items for later that week. He added a few smiley faces at the end of the note, causing a sour taste to form in her mouth. A light wisp of smoke was still trailing off of the incense burner she had put in yesterday, filling the room up with the usual smoky dank scent that reminded her of him. She blew a soft breath at the smoke, smirking as the cloud dissipated into the air. Swaying listlessly, she made her way to the kitchen, bringing the unfinished food to its permanent residence on the countertop.
She had met him in college, around the middle of her Junior year. They shared the same group of friends, though he had always been more of an outlier. You couldn’t blame him though, most of the boys in the group were assholes, all they wanted was to get wasted and watch T.V. all day. It was Niki who eventually got the two of them talking, since there wasn’t a single outgoing bone in her body. Leave it to Niki to realize that the only two people in the entire circle who didn’t have a significant other were the two of them. He never really stood out much compared to the other guys, his most obvious trait being that he was a bit more reserved than the rest. But hey! They always said the quiet ones are always more interesting, that they hold much more value since they appear more pensive amidst a blaring world. Maybe it was his mystery? Maybe?
Rationalization wouldn’t help.
Fishing for cereal in the pantry, she popped the perforated cardboard lid open and started grazing on the fruity bran while scrolling through Twitter.
They all said she would eventually learn to love him. How would she know any better? He was the only guy she’d ever dated before. In a way, she couldn’t help but feel a bit jealous watching the other couples from their grade. Why wasn’t she smitten with him? Why didn’t she feel her heart fly whenever they held hands? Why was it whenever he tried to take her breath away, she might as well be dying?
She glanced at the fluorescent glare of the blinking clock on the microwave. She had forgotten to re-adjust the time ever since Daylight Saving Time, not like it would matter anyway.
The sink was leaking again.
In a way, she wished he had a better job than just being a sound mixer at their local radio station. He wanted to start a band way back in college, but as expected – those plans fell through. You could tell he lost the passion that came with living the moment he was thrust into the English school system. She bet when he was younger, his father probably berated him for picking up a guitar instead of a football, marking the start of his problems.
Not that she actually knew, anyway.
She was as much in the dark as anyone else.
She continued to scroll through her timeline until the dullness of the action became too much for her. Clicking on her own account, she saw three or four pictures of the two of them together, in various situations. She didn’t remember them that vividly, so it almost felt wrong to see pictures of her smiling at his side. Tapping on one of the photos, she saw a comment below the image from Niki. She viewed her old friend’s profile, scrolling down, watching as years of memories popped up in front of her. Softly smiling, her gaze fell upon a picture the two of them had taken together at her University’s local coffee shop.
The day she had made her decision.
She could practically hear her friend’s high-pitched perky voice echo in her head.
“You should really give him a chance! When I first started dating Charlie we didn’t hit it off right away, but after some time we really started to connect!”
“Ugh, Niki! I’ve texted him, like, five times before. I think I’ve eaten bread that was less stale than those conversations.”
“But you said he shared the same taste in music?”
“It’s literally nothing.”
“Didn’t you say he was kind of cute?”
“When I was drunk.”
“Give the guy a chance. You do realize that if you don’t want to date him after a while, you can always break up?”
“I guess you have a point there. It’s just, I don’t know? It’s really sweet that he’s always so kind to me, and I will admit his artsy aura is intriguing, but still…”
“You’ll never know unless you try..?”
The sink continued to drip after she had thrown her phone across the kitchen.
Maybe it was the sudden recollection of memories that swirled around in her head. Maybe it was the annoying drip of the damn faucet. Maybe it was the monotony of it all. Maybe it was the fact that she was just exhausted with him. Maybe it was the stench of the godforsaken takeout that had contaminated the entire apartment.
She heard the lock turning.
She smiled as he waved and dropped the newly bought groceries on the counter.
She couldn’t live like this any longer.
The already small cage she lived in was shrinking each step he walked closer to her, leaning in for a kiss.
“What if he thinks I’m the one? What if I had to atrophy away with him for years? Yes, with him. Him. Him. Him! Him and his stupid obsessions, him and how much he cares when I forget to add a extra heart emoji to my fucking text messages!”
He had to eventually realize that she didn’t care as much as he did. He had to eventually understand the message. He had to hear her obvious cries.
She had thought wrong.
He sauntered back around to the fridge, stuttering while unloading bags. “They forgot to restock the Cherry Pepsi at the store.”
In that simple moment at 11:52 A.M. she snapped.
A roar of emotion took over her as she choked out words she never thought she’d say. He backed up and started to bellow, cowering towards the door as her maniacal screeches let loose. He punched into the wall, causing a puff of dust to exude from the newly broken drywall. She scrambled into the bedroom, with him following in close pursuit. She felt a dizzying pound pulsate in her head due to the newfound rush of adrenaline, only fueling her hysteria. The rage in her voice combated the raggedness in his. She wailed, her screams bringing passion to her life for the first time in years.
“Why can’t you just bore me to death?”
Culled from blog.reedsy.com