Nacho Cheese

May 18, 2008
By Madison Collins, Mesa, AZ

I walk out the door every morning, each time glancing at the sign by the door reading:
Don’t Forget!


Lunch / money



You scribbled it out in sharpie on a piece of wide-ruled paper. I hate wide-ruled. You know I forget everything so you thought it would be cute to make a little sign to remind me. I never actually read it all the way through ‘cause I know what it says. I could probably tell you exactly what it say in a couple years when it’s gone and you are, too. The sign always makes me grin just before I walk out the door which is ironic because the last word on the list is “smile” and I do every time.

When I walk across the street to my car I look up behind me at your window with a pinch of hop that you’ll be smiling back at me like you used to. I miss that but I know you’re sleeping and we’re not a new couple like we were once. I still like to check every morning just in case you woke up when I left and want to make sure I make it to my car okay.

I drive to work with my coffee in the cup holder, almost always singing your favorite song. I don’t know what it is about that song. I never liked it before. I guess it just reminds me of you. And us. And how we used to be happy and in love. Not that we aren’t anymore, we’ve just become too accustomed to what we have and now we take advantage of that. We’re almost always too busy for each other now. But I still think about you all the time, everything I do and everywhere I go has some little memory of you hanging on to it. Sometimes they’re funny memories though and I chuckle at myself and strangers look at me like I’m a loon. Like on my lunch break I go down to the taco stand in front of my office building and get nachos with the fake cheese that comes from who-knows-where or why I still eat it and I always remember the time we were walking down this street and you got the same nachos and ended up spilling the all over yourself.

On the drive home, it’s dark. In this city, you can hardly see the stars because of the lights and the pollution. You used to always complain about that and how we should go to somewhere like Wyoming where you can actually see the stars and lie underneath them. We never did that and I wonder if we ever will.

I park across the street from our building in my usual spot and turn off the car. When I look up to our window I can tell you’re not there, the lights are all off. I wonder where you might be and if maybe you left a note for me. I decide to go up and see if you did.

When I unlock the door and push it open, I almost hope you’ll be there behind the door waiting for me like you used to. You’re not there though and it’s completely dark in our apartment so that I almost trip over Sparky. I don’t know why you named her Sparky because she actually isn’t sparky at all. She’s actually the laziest Pekinese I’ve ever met. At least she doesn’t annoy me like most little dogs do. I turn on the lamp and there’s no note by the door except for the one you put there for me to read every morning. I guess I’ll just go to bed and hope that you come back sometime tonight and wake me up to tell me about your day.

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