“You’re a real asshole.”
“And you’re a fucking whore.”
This was the fourth fight Kelly and Mike had gotten into during the last week. And much to the discomfort of everyone in the frozen yogurt shop, the two threw their barbs back and forth like no one else in the world existed.
“I’m a whore because I didn’t pay for your shit?” Kelly snapped back as they both stormed through the exit and the argument spilled out into the parking lot.
Mike hurled his untasted frozen yogurt against the curb of a grass island situated between the parking spaces. “No, I always fucking pay.” His anger spiked with the realization of what he’d just done. “You’re a goddamn whore because you sucked Jessie’s—”
“Hey, there are kids out here!” a woman yelled from the outdoor patio of a nearby restaurant.
Mike grumbled something under his breath and got in the car, slamming the door as hard as he could in the process. Embarrassed for both of them, Kelly quietly sat in the driver’s seat.
She stuck the key in the ignition and cranked it a few times until the old engine finally turned over. “Why do you always bring Jessie into this?” The car sputtered and shook a bit before settling into a gentle hum. “That was like six months ago.”
“Yeah, but you still did it. Didn’t you?” Mike’s words burned like acid.
“You fucked my cousin!” Kelly blurted out.
A hush fell over the car. This was a silence they’d experienced together numerous times. It was always the same old fight with the same tired outcome. No resolution. No change of behavior from either of them.
They drove for several miles before Mike spoke unexpectedly. “Why Jessie, though?” He stared out the window with an absent gaze. “I just don’t get why out of everyone, it had to be him.”
Kelly didn’t say anything. She was tired of answering the same questions and seeing the same unsatisfied look on Mike’s face each time. “Here. I’m not in the mood for this anymore,” she said, handing over her half-melted cup of frozen yogurt.
He took it without a word and began to shovel the semi-cold goop into his mouth. The sweetness gave him a tiny uptick of joy which was invariably followed by the guilt of his earlier actions. But the damage was already done and he knew apologizing wouldn’t fix anything. They both had let the relationship deteriorate too far by this point and were only still together out of convenience.
“Do we still have to go to your mom’s house tonight?” Mike asked nonchalantly.
Kelly knew Mike hated her mother and would do anything to get out of going to her house—even going as far as starting these stupid fights to piss her off so she would go without him. Which explained the earlier frozen yogurt shop incident. Turning this over in her mind, she couldn’t help but get angrier. And as much as she tried to suppress it, her anger towards him had finally bubbled over.
“You know Mike, do whatever the fuck you wanna do.” She squeezed the steering wheel so hard her knuckled turned white and her eyes were laser focused on the road.
“What?” Mike played it off like he had no idea she would get mad over the comment.
The car whipped to the right with a sudden turn of the wheel and came to a halt next to a rundown gas station. “Get out,” Kelly commanded.
“Are you joking?”
She refused to look at him and instead spoke to the steering wheel. “I’m not playing these games with you anymore. Get out.” There was a fire in her eyes Mike had never seen before.
“I’m not playing any—”
“I said get out,” she interrupted. “We’re done. I’m packing my things tonight and moving in with my mom.”
To Mike, it was like seeing a giant man cock his arm back, but being too slow to avoid the gut punch. He had known for some time that this day would come, but for whatever reason he was unable avoid it. Now, his mind raced to come up with something to say. To figure out how to smooth this all over like he’d done so many times in the past. But the look in her eyes told him it wouldn’t work out. Not this time.
“Babe, I was just joking. We can still go to your—”
“I said get the fuck out, now!”
Mike flinched as she swung her arm across his chest, unhooked his seat belt, pulled the door handle open, and pushed him with all the strength she could muster. He could’ve fought it and stayed in the car, but he knew that would only make things worse.
Standing on the outside of the car looking in, he pleaded once more, “Kelly, I’m sorry. Please just let me—”
But it was to no avail. In two rapid movements she put the car in reverse, then switched to drive and took off down the road—causing the passenger door do swing wildly for a moment before slamming shut. All Mike could do was watch her with that pathetic look he wore so well until the car disappeared around the block. Then he put his head down and started the long walk back to their apartment. And even though he could’ve called up a buddy to give him a ride, a part of him was hoping that by walking, she might eventually get worried and come looking for him. After all, she’d dropped him off in the sketchy part of town.