The Little Things

The Little Things

“I’m sorry you expected me to just be a silent arm prop all night, but I can’t not take a stand when someone speaks with such….I don’t know is he that ignorant or just a jerk?”

“I know you didn’t want to go,” Sam replied with a long sigh. “I’m sorry, but you can’t just launch into a rant during a casual dinner with my new boss.” They stepped through the door and into their tiny apartment. The radiator was making that clanking noise again.

“If I hear someone say ‘All Lives Matter’ one more time I’m gonna lose it. You have to understand how it completely distracts from the actual point of the movement,” Melissa said as she tossed her coat onto the clean side of the coffee table.

“He’s ignorant. He’s privileged. And you made sure he knew that, but you didn’t have to be so harsh.” Melissa kicked off her heels before she plopped down onto the futon that doubled as their bed. The silky cerulean dress contrasted with her ebony skin. Sam paused to look her over for a moment. “And if you must know, you were a beautiful arm prop tonight… Also, sorry you were an arm prop.”

Melissa smiled. “Thank you. I’m sorry if I embarrassed you in front of your boss.” She tossed her braids over one shoulder and reached for her laptop on the coffee table.

“It’s alright.” After all, Sam had admired Melissa’s ability to speak her mind…most of the time anyway.

They’d spent the first few days of their marriage in bed together of course. The next few days involved adventuring: a hike up the Diamond Head, a surfing lesson on Waikiki, long walks around Honolulu, colorful fruity drinks in Tikki bars. Money they probably shouldn’t have spent. Then they’d returned to Sam’s studio apartment — now their shared studio apartment, in the cold, gray winter of New York. Sam started work at an ad agency while Melissa doubled as a grad student and barista.

Sam went into the tiny bathroom and looked at her reflection in the mirror as she washed her hands. The wind outside had blown wisps of her honey-blonde hair from her bun and they hung in her eyes. There was a rosiness to her cheeks and she couldn’t determine if it was a lingering sunburn or the blush. Melissa had convinced her to wear makeup, and she wasn’t certain she liked the way it looked on her. Then she noticed a towel on the floor and the cap was off the toothpaste. Again.

“Seriously?” Sam shouted before returning to the living room/bedroom/kitchen whose walls were lined with overflowing bookshelves and posters she’d had since college. Of course Melissa moving in had brought plants to the fire escape, and scented candles on every surface. Melissa was using her laptop, probably working on one of her papers.

“What’s up Samantha?”

“You’re a slob is what’s up! Please don’t tell me you plan to use this towel again.” She threw it at Melissa.

“What?”

“It was on the floor. And the toothpaste — ”

“You’re so uptight.” Sam watched her roll her eyes. Actually roll her eyes. The nerve.

She thought about shouting, then thought better of it and shrugged before walking to the miniature kitchen to grab a beer and bag of baby carrots from the fridge. She plopped down next to Melissa to chew and sip as loud as she could.

“Someone’s passive aggressive I see.”

Sam mockingly smiled and started chewing with her mouth open.

“Could you please not do that?” Melissa pleaded. “I’m on a deadline here and I already wasted time going to your thing tonight.”

“You act like I forced you to go.”

“You made it seem like your boss meeting your new wife was such a big deal so how could I not go?”

“After tonight I don’t think he’ll want to invite me to company get-togethers for fear of you anytime soon.”

“We’re not talking about that again. I have a paper to write.”

“I have a boss to impress.”

Melissa looked at Sam briefly and raised her middle finger before turning her eyes back to the laptop screen. They sat in silence…well almost silence because Sam did continue to chew the carrots, and Melissa’s fingers vigorously tapped on the keyboard. When did everything stop being perfect? Most days lately it seemed like every breath annoyed each other.

After some time, the two women got ready for bed in silence. Melissa even replaced the toothpaste cap after she brushed her teeth.

“Sam? Remember the advice your dad gave us at our wedding?”

“‘Never go to bed angry with each other.’”

They stood on each side of the futon and looked at each other.

“I Love you.”

“I love you too.”

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