I can’t even remember what we were fighting about, but it was big. Jared and I hadn’t talked for a few days and we might have not talked again except that we had plans to go to this improv performance before everything went down. I didn’t know exactly what to expect from the night but I was sure that it wasn’t going to be good.
He showed up around 6 PM carrying a bouquet of all white and green flowers wrapped in newspaper and twine. At first glance I thought they were a peace offering.
“Oh these are beautiful!” I cooed. “Thank you.”
“Yeah they’re from a little flower boutique that no one really knows about,” he began his hipster rant. “They use all organic products and the modern neutral tones are really popular right now.”
He continued to subconsciously explain why the flowers were really all about him while I put the flowers on the table and rummaged through the drawers for a vase. It became clear that I wasn’t paying the requisite amount of compliments for his “thoughtful” gift because he glared at me expectantly. I shot him back a look that said “What?” deciding he didn’t deserve any more compliments.
Jared looked me up and down, giving an almost parental disapproving look.
“Are you wearing that?” he said with disdain.
He was wearing a nice button-up, khakis and dress shoes. I was wearing jeans, boots and a Henley.
“Aren’t we going to a comedy show?” I said equally confused about his attire.
“I got us reservations as La Jolla,” he replied. La Jolla was this new fancy restaurant located nearby. Stuck-up waiters, table linens, portions suited for a small child each item of which contained some form of butternut squash. It was 2011 and butternut squash was very cool. It was also one of the top choices for Provo socialites and health-conscious hipsters with funds. My outfit would not fly here.
“We’ll you should have told me!” I said with a raised voice. “Now I have to change, and we’ll be late.”
Jared sighed dramatically.
“Whatever. You look fine. Let’s just go.”
The car ride to La Jolla was tense. I considered a tuck and roll at almost every stoplight on the way over but decided against it since there was ice on the ground. Jared had decided to “just have a good night” in spite of the smoldering aggression he was harboring. I was angry that he was being so overtly incongruent and making it impossible for me to pretend to “just have a good night.” Every time I would bring something up in the way of chitchat, he would glare at me and punish me with silence, reminding me that he was being sarcastic about trying to let it go. I rewarded him with punitive looks. Neither of us would bring up the precipitating event.
We got to the restaurant in time for our reservations. I had put on a peacoat from Anthropologie in an effort to look more dressed up, but I still felt shamefully underdressed. The waitress seated us at this small table near the back of the building with a view to the outside shops. Jared swirled his water angrily as I stared out the window, fuming over the fact that I had left my cell phone at home in an effort to appear more connected with Jared on our night out.
“Now I have no one to come pick me up,” I mumbled.
“What was that?”
“Nothing.” I retorted in a very teenage tone.
“Are you not having a good time?” Jared asked, genuinely incredulous.
“Are you kidding me?” I said, trying to keep my voice low enough to not attract the other tables.
“I bought you flowers which you completely ignored,” Jared started. “I took you to this fancy restaurant…”
“I said ‘Thank you’ for the flowers, what else did you want? Did you want me to start crying out of appreciation? You only got me flowers to make up for the fact that you…”
For the life of me, I cannot remember what we were fighting about.
“You’re making a scene. Let’s just order dinner and then go home,” Jared said lifting the menu so that he wouldn’t have to look at me anymore.
My heart was racing. My hands were shaking, teeming with anxiety. My whole body was energized by the impending conflict ready to fight or flee. I tried to steady my breathing for about a minute, burning a hole through the menu-wall with my eyes, waiting for him to engage with me again. When it became apparent that he actually was planning on eating instead of talking, I grabbed my peacoat and purse and stormed out of the restaurant towards the parking lot. I didn’t look back but I assume that Jared was blown away by the audacity of my departure.
I got to Jared’s car quickly, propelled from my anger. I was about to keep walking down University Ave when I heard Jared holler my name.
“Cait! What the Hell?”
“I want to go home!” I shouted back. “Take me home or I am walking home.”
“Calm down!” he yelled.
“Take me home! I refuse to spend any more time with you! You’re being ridiculous!” I continued, fully aware that I, too, sounded ridiculous. Tears of frustration rolled down my cheeks.
“Okay, okay. I’ll drive you back,” Jared opened my passenger door and I slammed it to punctuate my emotion.
I think it was the tears that softened Jared into talking about the fight. Somehow we had reached homeostasis only 10 minutes later when he pulled up to my apartment.
“Aren’t we going to go to the show?” I sniffled.
“You still want to go with me?” He asked. I nodded.
“Well because we finished dinner early,” he smiled, “we have some time to kill.”
“Good,” I said. “I’m starving.”
Back at Jared’s apartment he poured us both bowls of cinnamon LIFE cereal.
“Was the whole argument just a ploy to save me money on dinner,” Jared asked.
“You’re welcome,” I said, not looking up from my bowl.
We devoured the cereal in his room, bites interwoven with resumed casual conversation, legs intertwined in couple’s contentment.