Dickens has Nothing on These Expectations

Date: March 14, 2012
Skype Call to Daniel Weaver
Duration: 1 hr, 05 min
Duration of relationship: 9 months

“Holy Jesus, Dan, there’s almost twenty things on this.”

Marley watched her boyfriend’s pixellated image shake back and forth.

“I bolded the ones we should do this weekend,” he said. “When you come visit me, we can do other stuff. Like a long-distance relationship bucket list.”

“We’ll be dead if we try and do everything. Rock climbing and dance lessons on Friday, wine tasting and clubbing Saturday…” What about homework? Or just relaxing in bed like they used to on weekends?

“I’ve already got that figured out. We can rest and grab dinner between the two. I can’t have you drop on me halfway through the lesson.”

Marley pushed all the breath out of her chest. “So, we’ll be dead, but in a good way.”

“Exactly! This weekend is going to be ah-maaaazing!”

Marley smiled without showing any teeth. This weekend would be…long. Did she look bored when she glanced at her desktop clock? Her empty word doc timidly sat in the corner, waiting for her to give her full attention to it.

“What are you thinking about?” He asked her.

“Nothing.” Silence. “I’ve got to get back to my homework,” she added.

“Oh, alright. I love you and can’t wait to see you!”

“I’ll see you soon.” She said and signed off.

This was the type of weekend that transformed into an awesome story. I know, she would say, I didn’t think I had it in me to salsa and rock climb in one day. It was incredible! New experiences for her and Dan would have to bring them closer. Endorphins and all that.

Date: March 20, 2013
Skype Call to Daniel Weaver
Duration: 45 min

“What was your favorite part of this weekend?” Dan asked her.

“Dan, you’ve asked me this already. I look like an imbecile if I just keep repeating myself.”

“Humor me.”

She replayed the weekend. She felt the slap of the rock climbing mats underneath her butt, the smell of champagne and sweat during dance lessons, the plushness of the couch as she sat outside her circle of friends as they crowded around her boyfriend.

“Why do you want to know?” She asked. “Didn’t it look like I was having fun?”

“Well…” Dan started. “You seemed, I don’t know, distant.” Marley must’ve given some kind of facial reaction, because he continued. “There were times you looked like you were having a good time, but, like– okay, remember when we were wine tasting? You spoke in one word sentences for the entirety of the day.”

“It’s rude to talk during a tour.”

He sighed. “You know what I mean.”

She shrugged, “I must not have been in the mood for talking.”

“Marley, that mood lasted the entire time I was there.”

“No it didn’t. I was plenty talkative when we were going to dinner.”

She watched him deflate as the Skype timer hit fifty minutes. “We were talking about the merits of escargot. Not exactly life changing stuff there.”

“So?”

“So…we used to talk about bigger stuff. Our futures, politics, movies…”

“Dan, I’m really tired. Can we talk about this tomorrow?”

“I don’t think so.”

“I was just tired and stressed this weekend.”

“Then you should’ve told me not to come up.”

She scrunched her eyebrows, squinted her eyes and pursued her lips. “What good would that have done? You would’ve been pissed.”

“If you didn’t want to see me, you should’ve just said so.”

Marley internally groaned, “I didn’t say that. I–” She saw Dan watching, waiting for her to say something to make it all better. “I’m used to having this part of my life all to myself.”

“Do you want to keep it that way?”

“What?”

“Do. you. want. to keep it that way?”

This was an out; one or two words and everything would be over. “I don’t know. Dan, I– I’m really tired. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” Without waiting for him to respond, she ended the call.

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