Relationships always started with that heady, swoonish period, where the other person is like some new invention that suddenly solves all life's worst problems, like losing socks in the dryer or toasting bagels without burning the edges. At this phase, which usually lasts about six weeks max, the other person is perfect. But at six weeks and two days, the cracks begin to show; not real structural damage yet, but little things that niggle and nag. Like the way they always assume you'll pay for your own movie, just because you did once, or how they use the dashboard of their car as an imaginary keyboard at long stoplights. Once, you might have thought this was cute, or endearing. Now, it annoys you, but not enough to change anything. Come week eight, though, the strain is starting to show. This person is, in fact, human, and here's where most relationships splinter and die. Because either you can stick around and deal with these problems, or ease out gracefully, knowing that at some point in the not-too-distant future, there will emerge another perfect person, who will fix everything, at least for six weeks.
It had been about a month since he had dumped her, and she'd moved though her weepy stage to just kind of sad all the time, with occasional moments when I actually heard her laugh out loud, then stop, as if she'd forgotten she wasn't supposed to be happy.