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Sunday, 4:18 p.m.
Eric rested sideways on his couch, mindlessly watching SportsCenter on his TV. On screen, two analysts rehashed the deals of an NFL trade that had been talked to death by all networks over the last 24 hours. Similarly, Eric was rehashing the last 48 hours of his life, culminating in the events of last night. He had woken up this morning in his ex-girlfriend’s bed.
Since arriving home from her place seven hours ago, he hadn’t spoken (or texted) a word to anyone. His phone lay on do not disturb, face down on his coffee table, as he attempted to make sense of his thoughts. He had never thought this could happen. Him and Rachel and had seemed so solid, or so he thought. It was crazy to think how fast their relationship had unraveled in just a weekend. “Fucking spring break,” he muttered to himself, even though he knew that wasn’t the real problem. The more he thought about it, the more he was hard pressed to find a memory of the last six months of his relationship that hadn’t seemed a little tense.
They knew the time between his graduation and hers would be a problem, but they assumed they could tough it out. “It’s only a year,” they had said. “We’re still living close to each other, and it’s not like our lives will be that different.” How wrong they had been. The first fight had occurred not two weeks later, when Rachel’s sorority had scheduled a “date dash” on a Wednesday, prompting a four-hour argument about whether or not Rachel could take a male friend as a date, since Eric had work in the morning. In the six months after that fight, there had been many others. Some had stemmed from jealousy, some from FOMO, and some from plain selfishness. The more Eric thought, the more he realized the conclusion he was coming to. Hoping to find someone to talk him out of it, he shot off a text to Jack.
“I can’t believe I’m asking your dumb ass for advice, but I’m thinking about breaking up with Rachel. I hooked up with Taylor last night, because I’m a drunk idiot, and it just feels like it’s a sign we’re not working out. What do you think?”
Thankfully, Jack was equally hungover and glued to his phone, desperately scrolling his Instagram feed in attempt to ward of the Sunday Scaries. He responded immediately.
“Duuuuude. You hooked up with fucking Taylor? I mean, yeah, she’s still smoking hot, but fuck. I dunno man, do you think it was just a bad weekend because of spring break, or has this been coming? Y’all seemed pretty solid. Granted, I don’t know a lot about this stuff. My longest relationship lasted four days, and that’s because we stayed in the hotel room the whole time, so I’m not the greatest judge. How dope was that Vegas trip though?”
Tearing his eyes away from the middle distance where he had been staring, unfocused, Eric responded.
“First of all, we agreed to never talk of that trip. Second, yeah this was a bad weekend, but it shouldn’t have been if we were in a good place, right? I just feel like we’ve grown apart since I graduated and that we’re different people now. I think I’m gonna have to pull the trigger on this. Get ready for the greatest summer of your life, ya boys gonna be single again.”
His phone vibrated as he hit the send button, causing his hungover brain some confusion until he realized he had received a text from Rachel. He opened it up, mouth moving slowly as he read it, and slowly typed out a response.
“I agree. I’ll see you at my place in a few.”
Sunday, 6:11 p.m.
Eric and Rachel both sat on opposite ends the couch. His knee jostled up and down as he tried to formulate the right thoughts he wanted to express. She was dressed in an oversized hoodie of his, and was wringing her hands as she stared up at the ceiling. Finally, she spoke.
“Eric. You know I care about you more than anything, but I don’t think this is working anymore. This weekend showed that we have some serious issues, and I don’t think it’s fair to either of us to be stuck in something we don’t want to be in.”
Eric pulled his hat off, ran his fingers through his hair, and looked at her. His expression was a mixture of relief, sadness, and a third emotion she couldn’t identify. He smiled wistfully, and she did the same.
“I feel the same way.” .