Little Talks: A Midwestern Goodbye

A series of short stories about a relationship starring a fictional couple who live rent-free in Scott’s head.

Scott Muska


It’s almost time to go.

And almost means it’s definitely time.

Past time.

I have to get kind of a head start on leaving. Or at least that’s what I’m learning. Because it’s tough. And it takes time.

“Well,” I say, making a half-assed motion to get out of bed, kind of throwing the comforter off my lower half, “I guess I’d better start the day.”

That move is my bedroom equivalent to the tried and true maneuver where you’re sitting on a couch and you slap both your knees and make a somewhat labored move to stand up and ostensibly, eventually, walk out the door.

I’m told it’s how you commence a long and drawn-out Midwestern Goodbye.

It’s not easy to make my morning exit — becomes increasingly more difficult as things go on — which I have to think at this point in the relationship proceedings is a good thing.

Goodbyes hit different when you want nothing more than to stay right where you are — especially when you have somewhere else you’ve got to be at a certain time, and parting ways is all but unavoidable. It’s a different dynamic than I’ve grown used to, where people have an almost palpable, agitated energy about them that silently screams, “Get out of my hair.”

“Are you sure you can’t stay?” she says as I’m hopping around her room struggling into one of my socks, and I think about canceling the plans I’ve made with my friends. I opt not to and decide instead I’ll just show up fashionably late — take on the chin their comments that I’m incapable of being punctual, even when it’s an all-you-can-eat chicken wing brunch situation, which any man should be able to be punctual for.

I give up on the sock and do a little hop right back into bed.

I am easily convinced. She’s good. So good she can’t help it.

“Maybe just for a little while,” I say.

There’s a chance that someday I won’t want or have to have multiple kisses goodbye, so I figure I may as well embrace it now, while it’s new. I have it on good authority that eventually the Honeymoon Period will end, something that just happens without you even immediately realizing it — that a certain climax will pass and move into falling action you’ll have to fight to sustain. The longing you thought you’d be nothing without becomes something you lose track of. And that’s okay. A sense of normalcy can be totally underrated. It’s not like I’m settling at all here, but we might settle into a life together, which is a different kind of settling altogether. I can see it happening. Things already feel unprecedentedly comfortable in a way I kind of thought might never be possible. It scares me in the best ways.

Eventually I leave.

It makes it easier knowing I’ll be back sooner rather than later.



Scott Muska

I write books (for fun, and you can find them on Amazon), ads (for a living) and some other stuff (that seems to magically show up on the internet).