There comes a time in every failing relationship when all the good things get filtered out and all that’s left are the shitty things plus the habit of staying together. That’s what happened to us. I was ready to leave at least a year before I actually did, even though I didn’t know it yet.
The good things disappeared slowly. All the fun and adventure, my station wagon bound for Atlantic City in the summer with the windows down, the thoughts of the future I had when he was asleep and I wasn’t quite yet. Those things got buried one by one, under the shady relationship with his ex, the complaints from the landlord, the broken glass on the floor, the depleted bank accounts. All the good things were distilled out of our relationship until there was only one left.
The last good thing was this. On Sunday nights, after my shift at the Writing Center on campus was over, he would pick me up in the station wagon, a beer waiting for me in the glove compartment. We would stop by Taco Bell. For me, a Crunchwrap and a quesadilla, and for him, a profusion of those hard-shelled tacos. Then, we’d go home and eat together while we watched old episodes of The X-Files, in order, one season after the other. That was it, this mundane ritual, and now I’ll always remember it because it was our last good thing.
We never even finished all the seasons.
Elyse Hauser is a freelance and creative writer from the Pacific Northwest, and an MFA student at the University of New Orleans Creative Writing Workshop. Her work has been published by Electric Literature, Racked, Vine Leaves Press, and others. Visit elysehauser.com for more.
image: Amee Nassrene Broumand