by WK Taccic
art by Dee Rimbaud

Yvette watched flickering lights in the distance grow more city-like as they drew nearer. Her head rested against the passenger door glass as she watched the city come closer. Feigning boredom, showing her indifference. There were many miles of quiet reflection behind them now, and she kept staring out that window at mostly unseen scenery.

Morgan cleared his throat and she waited to see if he would say something, but he didn't. That was fine, she didn't mind, so much was said already. Him to her and her right back, back and forth until too much was said and none of it could be unsaid.

She saw him reach for the radio from the corner of her eye because she wouldn't look his way. The volume went up and she didn't mind that either. There wasn't anything left to say, and she liked the song that was on. They both liked this song. Yvette wondered what message he was sending.

"We still have this in common," perhaps. Or maybe he meant, "I'm done with you, can you tell?" She didn't know which, and she wasn't certain which she wanted it to be.

She was so tired of it all, how it kept happening, how they kept pretending it wouldn't happen again. That things would be different this time. There would be a whole new level of devotion this time. Then nothing would change, at least not for long.

Sooner or later they were back here. It was him, it was her, it was every little thing between them, sooner or later.

"Water under the bridge," he would insist once they decided to fix it again. Fix things. Fix them. "We just don't look back." They always looked back. "The past is passed, it's done." Their past kept coming back, never done enough.

He always said the same things, or things similar to those, and she always tried to believe it. Every time. Maybe he did too, maybe he had to try like she did before he could believe what he was saying. Maybe he just said it for his own sake.

The song ended and another came on, then another. And another after that. Morgan made no move to adjust the volume. Neither did she.

The city was closer now, those distant lights no longer so distant. Closer to home with nothing resolved. Typical. She tried to remember what started it this time, an accusation, or some insinuation, some reminder or another of past transgressions. His, hers, theirs in tandem. Recollection escaped her, and she knew it didn't matter anyway.

They rolled on, the silence between them loudly preserved by whatever the radio had to offer. She didn't know how long this went on, nor did she care. Too long, and not nearly long enough. Reckoning was coming too soon, a protracted discussion, a desperate reconciliation. They might even make peace from the pieces of this latest rupture. But no changes.

She kept her head against the window as she stared out at a lot of nothing lit by streetlights. She wondered when she would break, or when he would. Which of them would it be this time? One of them was bound to claim they weren't as done as they should be. One of them was bound to start preaching redemption, promising a better way. That things really would be different, that they could make it work.

She resisted a sudden urge to look at him, to take his hand in hers, to do something, anything that would move them along and get them past this. She wasn't so sure she wanted to move them past this. Nothing changes.

The long ride home went on, through and around the city, out to the 'burbs. She kept her head pressed to the glass all the while, hoping for the change she kept telling herself wouldn't come. So much easier not to let go. So much easier to keep going. And that's just what they did, each and every time.

Morgan finally turned the radio back down, they weren't far from home now. She heard him give a heaving sigh, and she wondered what was going through his head. Wondered how long before he made the right noises to try and make this right again. She knew he would.

There was home, at last. He eased into the driveway, shifted into park, yanked out the keys. The porchlight was on. She didn't remember hitting the switch on her way out, and she was glad he'd thought to do so. She popped her door, climbed out, then followed him to their front door.

He pushed it open and motioned her through, she stepped in and waited for him to follow. Inevitability loomed. They were going to patch it back together, make it work all over again, but only til the next time. He would say what they both needed to hear, she would answer in all the right ways, and they would both promise to do better. All this behind them, once and for all, until it came back like it always did.

Easier to keep going, to keep rolling, even if they went nowhere at all. But she didn't bother to tell him that. By her count, it was his turn to figure it out.

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