Toby stared out the car window, wondering when his life had become so complicated.
Jason was driving and neither of them had said a word for about twenty minutes. They’d had a huge argument before leaving the house and the tense silence seemed full of recrimination on both sides.
Why were they always mad at each other these days? It hadn’t been like this for the first few years they’d lived together. They’d been gracious and gentle, treating their growing relationship with kid gloves. Somewhere along the line they’d traded in the kid gloves for boxing gloves. Little betrayals and inadequacies had become BIG DEALS and now they barely shared a kind word.
Toby sighed, looking out into the darkness at the lit up blue and red art installations as they passed by. They were a controversial addition to the city but Toby thought they looked kind of nice.
“Not those eyesores again,” Jason muttered. “I hate those fucking things.”
At least he had spoken. He had made an effort. But had he said the wrong thing?
Toby wondered if Jason thought he was an eyesore. Had they been together so long that Jason didn’t find him attractive anymore?
“What are we doing?” Toby said, before he realized he was going to say anything at all.
Silence for a few moments. Then Jason sighed and said, “I don’t know.”
He didn’t pretend to not understand what Toby was talking about. He slowed the car and pulled over to the side of the road, switching on the hazard lights and placing a broad hand over his eyes.
Toby felt his stomach churn and the bile rise in his throat. After a few more seconds he realized Jason was crying.
“It’s okay,” he said, in order to say something.
“No, it’s not,” Jason said. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. With us.”
Toby felt tears at the corners of his own eyes. “I don’t know either,” he whispered.
They watched the traffic pass them by, like all the happy plans and dreams they’d had about their life together.
“It’s not over. It can’t be over,” Jason whispered.
Toby felt his heart break but he had to reply. “Maybe it is. Maybe it should be.”
They were silent for several moments. Then Jason started the car again. “I want to go home.”
“There’s nothing there,” Toby stated.
“Yes there is,” Jason said firmly. “It’s all there. Everything we ever wanted. We just have to see it. And keep trying.”
For the first time in a long while, Toby felt a tiny spark light deep inside. They could try. They could always try.