Little Talks: Anniversary Establishment

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

Scott Muska
I THOUGHT THIS WAS WORTH SHARING

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“When is our anniversary?” she asks and I say, “Good question” because wow — it’s definitely a confounding one and I’m immediately stricken with fear when I realize I do not know precisely how to answer it. Feels like I’m walking straight into some sort of a trap.

“I’m not great with timing — or timelines,” I say.

“But I thought you remembered everything.”

“And I do. Like a fucking elephant. But there has to be something to remember. Something concrete. And I’m not sure we have that.”

“We might not.”

“If we did I think we’d both remember it.”

“But we have plenty to remember along the way.”

“Right. But I guess what we’re trying to figure out is the starting point of this ‘along the way’ we’re talking about.”

“So let’s make it so.”

“What?”

“Let’s figure out an anniversary.”

“We can just, what, decide on an anniversary? Is that something you can do arbitrarily? Is it a kind of alchemy?”

“McDonald’s gets to decide when the McRib comes back.”

“Well, that comparison gives me pause about where you feel we are in our relationship.”

“Then you don’t come even close to understanding what the McRib means to me.”

“Do most people?”

“It’s tough to articulate. Kind of one of those ‘if you know you know’ situations.”

“Got it.”

“But right, anyway — it’d be nice to have one day of the year every year — “

“Annually.”

“Yes, I know the word, thanks. You dick.”

“Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“I’m worried.”

“Don’t be.”

“Fine.”

“But, yeah, a day to celebrate. Our day.”

“I guess that’d be cool.”

“Plus, people are starting to ask.”

“About our anniversary?”

“Yes.”

“Who asks about that? And why?”

“Some of my friends. And I have no clue. But they do. They ask me all kinds of stuff and I pride myself on generally knowing the answer. However…”

“No body, no crime.”

“That doesn’t apply here.”

“I’m just bad at being quiet.”

“Okay, so, let’s see if we can’t figure this out. When did we meet?”

“You mean the date you ‘liked’ me on the dating app? The day I ‘liked’ you back? The time three days later when we started messaging each other, had our first ever conversation? The day when we took it offline and met at that dive bar, a choice I think we made to not put too much of a serious bent on our first date?”

“Fuck, man. So many dates.”

“Hard to nail one down as most significant, right?”

“It is.”

“Could be the night we first boned.”

“Which would be the night we first met in real life.”

“Hell yeah it would be.”

“Nice.”

We high-five.

“But, like — when was that?” she asks.

“Um. I don’t know.”

“I remember everything about it, except the when.”

“So I guess we backtrack?”

“I’ll go back and check my calendar.”

“I’ll COMMAND+F your name in my journal and see the date you first came up. There’s no way I didn’t write at length about our first night together.”

“I was something to write home about?”

“Well, yeah, but these are probably missives I don’t want my mom to ever see.”

“Went into vivid detail, did you?”

“Trust me when I tell you it was more than worth recording. For posterity.”

“Glad to hear it. But here’s a question: When did we actually become something?”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, there’s a gray area, right? We can romanticize our first meeting all we want but even if we knew something significant was going to come from it, neither of us was probably 100 percent confident it would become a lasting relationship.”

“That’s a good point. I recall wanting that to be what happened, but also only in, like, a cautiously optimistic way. I didn’t know how to proceed to make it so, I guess, and I had no real way of knowing if we were on the same page, at least at first. I didn’t even put your name in my phone contacts for a very long time.”

“And we didn’t have that conversation for months.”

“Right. And I think we put it off beyond when exclusivity was tacitly implied.”

“This is a tough one. It’s always strange when people ask me how long we’ve been together and I can’t really give them a solid answer.”

“Agreed. It’s not like these things just happen, but sometimes they kind of do.”

“Right.”

“Why don’t we just celebrate each other all the time?”

“Well, because that’s a great thing to think we can or would do in theory, but if we said that was the route we were going to take then the celebration factor would probably quickly lose its significance. Its luster.”

“What do you mean?”

“It’s kind of like, I guess, it would make things less special if there wasn’t a specific date we had to celebrate. It’d be like when someone is constantly yelling about their opinions, it pretty quickly starts to mean less and less, until it means nothing. But if we have that one day a year, we’d be more like the person who only raises their voice every once in a while, and so when they do you know it’s a significant occasion.”

“I’d say that’s a strange comparison but honestly it’s spot on.”

“I propose we just go with the date of our first date.”

“You’ll get no argument from me.”

“Great. Our anniversary is now set.”

“Awesome.”

“Now, here’s another question: What’s our song?”

“That sounds like a question for Tomorrow Us. Let’s not try to figure out everything at once.”

“it’s going to be ‘Slow Show,’ though, isn’t it?”

“Most likely.”

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Scott Muska
I THOUGHT THIS WAS WORTH SHARING

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).