Cheap Dates

Relationships are an opportunity to experience new things and be walked through them with someone you care about. The possible downside to this is you may never be able to disassociate the memory of the person from the experience. If the relationship goes south, and/or if you’re a petty person, it’s a definite downside. Fortunately, there aren’t a lot of new experiences that broke and socially awkward students can easily afford.

There’s the experience of new foods and drinks: She boils water and pulls down a re-sealable bag from her cupboard. It’s one of those fancy teas you get from stores that only sell tea, a business model that works but I never understood why. I mean, it’s just tea. It’s not worth devoting a single store to, right? It’s just a bunch of leaves and random shit you stick in hot water in the hopes the water will take on some trace amount of flavour. You can sweeten it with sugar or honey, but to me that feels like admitting defeat. I mull over my skeptic thoughts as she hands me a cup of what she’s brewed. It’s called something along the lines of “sparkly tea”, or “shimmering tea”; it a red liquid with suspended bits of shiny golden sprinkles. It looks like cyborg blood, or the result of an industrial accident. She encourages me to take a sip so I do. It’s actually really good. It’s kind of amazing, in fact. It’s sweet, but with a rich undertone that makes it the most flavourful tea I’ve had. After this the tea becomes a semi-regular focus of us hanging out.

There’s the experience of new television shows: We’re in her bed and she asks me how far along I am into watching “Broadchurch”. I tell her I’m almost done the first season and ask if she’s caught up with the latest “Peep Show”. She isn’t caught up, so she decides we should have a mutual viewing party. This isn’t a viewing party where we watch both shows together, one after the other, possibly having to pause the episodes because we’re too focused on making out. No, these shows are too good to watch in such a half-assed way. Instead, we set up a more efficient viewing party. I watch one show on her old laptop; she watches the other on her new laptop. It’s the modern version of couples reading separate things in bed. In the moment I feel like we’re the cover photo for some think-piece on millennials. With our earbuds in we can’t even hear what the other person is watching. I think about couples who eventually graduate to spending time together yet separately, enjoying each other’s company while partaking in their own activities. I’ve never made it to that level before, so I’m not sure what that usually entails. In my head, one person may be reading, the other person may be sketching; one person may be writing, the other person may be doing a light workout; one person may be practicing juggling, the other person may be training the dog to shoot flaming arrows — I don’t know. We’re both just independently vegging out to British television and I love it.

There’s the experience of new things in bed: No, I’m not going to write about that. What kind of writing project do you think this is?

Way It Was is a writing project and ongoing attempt to work through a lot of relationship related shit. Find out more about it here.

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