"Well Rex," I said to my hamster. "Looks like it's dinner for two. Again."
It had been a long, long day. I had chased down three skips and tried for another two. So when one of them had pushed me into a pool, I had decided that enough was enough. At least for one day. So I came home. Or what should have been home. I'd been living with Morelli for a few months; I'd lived with Morelli on and off for more than a year. It was obvious that it wasn't going to work out.
I wanted him. He wanted me. So what's the problem, right?
We didn't want each other.
Joe, it turned out, didn't want to settle down. He didn't want a housewife and children. At least, not yet. I didn't either. So what's the problem, right?
We communicated. We communicated in calm voices with no name-calling. We talked about all the things you're supposed to talk about when you get into a relationship, that we'd never gotten around to.
And I didn't want to be Wonder Woman, and he wasn't unwilling to compromise.
So what's the problem, right?
We talked, in our calm voices, and made fair and reasonable compromises. We were polite and pleasant and any other synonym that starts with the letter 'p'. So what's the problem, I asked one more time.
The problem was that the spark had gone out of our relationship. There was no more excitement, no more of that little rush when we saw each other. In its place was the mundane
So now it was eight o'clock and I still hadn't eaten my dinner because when Morelli and I had had this enlightening talk, we'd decided to call it a day on our relationship, too. And I'd had to pack up all of my things and go back to my apartment. Luckily, freshly painted since the Circus Clowns had moved out.
"Well, Rex," I said to my hamster. "Looks like it's dinner for two. Again." I searched in the freezer for anything edible. The fridge turned up a moldy carrot and sour milk. I tried the cupboards, and struck gold. For Rex, at least. I dropped the last few pretzels into his bowl, and watched him eat.
"Or maybe, it's dinner for one," I sighed. I took all of my bags and started the arduous job of unpacking it all. Maybe I was destined to eat alone all my life. Maybe I wasn't meant for non-hamster companionship. Maybe I would just have to start getting used to it.
And then there was a knock on my door. I went to answer it, and could smell greasy Italian food from behind the door. If it was Joe, I didn't think I could handle it. It wouldn't matter if he'd changed his mind; I hadn't changed mine.
I opened the door, and it wasn't Joe.
"Ranger?" I asked. "What are you doing here?"
"Brought you some food, babe. Heard you moved back in, and didn't think you'd have much in your kitchen yet," he smiled. He knew there was never really anything in my kitchen. Unless somebody else had bought it.
"Anthony's," I asked, seeing the bag. He nodded.
"And I thought," he started. "Maybe, tonight, you wouldn't want to eat alone." I just stared for a minute, before looking at Rex.
"I had Rex," I said. "It was supposed to be dinner for two." I looked up at him, and caught what might have passed for surprise, or maybe disappointment glance his features.
"But I think we have room for one more," I told him so he wouldn't go away. "Dinner with you would be wonderful, Ranger. Thank you."