The sound of some Netflix show played in the background. Tweek had long forgotten what they had put on. Instead, he opted to lay stretched out on the loveseat and flip through his phone.
His mind was numb as he scrolled through numerous posts on Facebook. Someone wanted to show off their lunch. A few more people were graduating and becoming doctors or lawyers or some other highly esteemed career choice.
Tweek looked over at Craig, who was laying on the couch beside him, also on his phone. Craig had the same neutral look on his face, but he was clearly playing a time waster game, as his thumbs clicked rapidly on the screen.
He continued scrolling. Someone just got engaged, and someone else was planning a wedding. He barely remembered any of these people anymore. It had been such a long time since he added them on Facebook. One of these days, he always told himself, he would go through his profile and delete people.
“What do you want for dinner?” He said, still scrolling.
Not moving his gaze from his screen, Craig responded: “I don’t know,”
Typical, he thought. He never knows what he wants. “If you could have anything in the world, right now, what would you want?”
“Anything’s fine with me, honey.”
Tweek gripped his phone tight. This was the same conversation they had last night. And the night before that. And the night before that. He couldn’t remember a time when they didn’t have this conversation.
Tweek was beginning to think that they had hit a limit of their long-term relationship.
They had started dating at ten years old, during the entire yaoi fiasco. He wasn’t even sure he was gay, let along wanting to date anyone. But there was Craig, telling him that he was capable of more than he thought. It felt good. He had confidence for the first time in his life.
They were together ever since. Hitting major milestones in life together. Starting high school, going to prom, graduating. Starting college in separate towns, keeping a long-distance relationship. Tweek and Craig had both fallen for the “you must go to college to get a good job and have a good life” schtick, and halfway through, they each didn’t know what they wanted to do in life, and each had left with a generic degree in general studies.
Tweek worked at a coffee shop to support himself in school, and when his parents called needing help with their shop, he returned to South Park. He moved back in with his parents while working in Tweek Bros Coffee.
Craig returned to South Park a few months later and moved into the Tweak household, sharing a room with Tweek. His family had left South Park a few years prior, and to Craig, it just made sense to stay with Tweek. He even worked at the coffee shop with him, though he mainly handled the register, as he was not great at making coffee.
That had been their life for several years. Working at the same place, living in the same room. One day, feeling like he was a failure in life, Tweek announced that he wanted to move out, and they began searching for places to live. Each night, they would lay in front of Craig’s laptop, side by side, and scroll through houses.
Not having to pay rent allowed them to save up money quickly, and after a few months of searching, they found a perfect place just outside of Denver to call their own.
Craig proposed to him the month after they bought their house, right before their housewarming party. When he showed off his ring, he was congratulated, but people mostly asked him why it took so long.
They were married a year later, and Tweek couldn’t be happier. Craig had actually smiled in public as they read their vows. There was something…final…about the moment they kissed. Tweek said goodbye to Tweek Tweak, and hello to Tweek Tucker. A new Tweek. A better Tweek.
They danced at the reception. They cut their cake, and Craig smashed some on Tweek’s face right as the camera flashed. They laughed and they kissed some more.
That was five years ago.
Eventually, the stress of the coffee shop began to build up. They worked more hours as Tweek’s parents traveled. Twelve hours a day, seven days a week. Tweek wasn’t the best at handling stress, but he especially wasn’t doing well without any time off. After a heated argument with his parents, which resulted in them firing Craig, he walked out and immediately applied for the first job he could find.
That was four years ago.
And now, Tweek was a paper pusher at a corporate bank, and Craig planned truck routes for soda deliveries. Both were Monday through Friday, seven – to – three-thirty jobs. They had the same schedule, and they worked relatively close together.
They were happy. They were financially stable, had tons of time to spend together, and they had weekends off to plan anything they wanted. It was a dream come true.
But now what?
Tweek looked over at Craig, watching him totally engrossed in whatever game he was playing.
What do they do now?
They had done it. Tweek felt like they had reached the “end game”. And they were only twenty-nine.
What was the next milestone?
What were they working towards now? Retirement? Death?
He set his phone down, twisting the ring on his left finger. They should be doing something. Right now. Time was ticking by, and they were wasting time on their phones.
“We need a hobby,” Tweek said.
Craig continued to play. “What do you want to do?”
Tweek frowned. One of things that he loved about Craig was how considerate he was of what Tweek wanted. But sometimes, Tweek wanted Craig to suggest something.
“What do you want to do, Craig?” Tweek sat up.
“I don’t know,” Craig shrugged. “Whatever is fine with me.”
Tweek pulled on his hair, clenching his jaw. “I don’t know either!”
And they sat in silence again, leaving Tweek alone in his head to think of all the time that was being wasted by sitting on their phones. They could be making dinner, or going to dinner, or reading a book, or building something. Or even taking a class. Or catching up on work.
Tweek held his head in his hands. Work. The last thing he wanted to think about, but the one of the first things that always came to his mind. He was behind on entering credit card applications into the system, and there was a stack piling up. He would clear out a hundred in a day, but a hundred and fifty would come in.
That’s what he could do. He could go into work and clean that up. Maybe it would make him relax knowing that he made some progress.
He stood up.
If he went to work, then he wouldn’t be able to spend time with Craig. What if by going to work, he established a pattern of doing this, and then he never spent any time with Craig at all? What if something happened to Craig, and he regretted going into work?
He sat back down.
“Son of a bitch.” Craig dropped his phone. “Fucking game.”
“What happened?” Tweek asked.
“I didn’t clear the level fast enough, so I lost.” Craig picked his phone back up. “You have to do it in like, a minute. Otherwise, you lose. Then it costs you some of your in-game money to keep playing.”
Tweek stood up again, walking over to Craig’s couch and flopping down on top of him.
“Tweek! You’re squishing me!” Craig said, moving his arms to allow Tweek to adjust himself.
“Don’t care,” Tweek said, his voice muffled by Craig’s shoulder. “Are you calling me fat?”
“Really?” Craig said flatly, a small smile on his lips. “You are like, ten pounds lighter than me. If I’m calling you fat, then am I also calling me fat?”
“You are not fat.” Tweek said. “I love you.”
“I love you too.” Craig responded, moving his arms around behind Tweek to keep playing his game while Tweek laid on top of him.
Tweek held onto Craig tightly, burying his head into his shoulder. He breathed in deeply and slowly, trying to calm his racing heart. Trying to reconcile that sitting here was a waste of time, but not sure what he should do. He was starting to feel overwhelmed, and he wasn’t sure why all of this was such a big deal to him.
“Craig,” His muffled voice again. “What. Do. You. Want. For. Dinner.”
Being this close, Tweek could hear Craig’s fingers tapping the phone screen, and the sound from the game itself.
“Honey, you know it doesn’t matter to me—” Craig started, coming face to face with a terrible glare from Tweek. “—uh, but we could order pizza?”
“That costs money. And it’s high in calories.” Tweek said.
“Yeah but we don’t have to cook.”
“But we’ll eat the whole thing! We always say we won’t, then we do, then I feel guilty for eating all of it!”
“Who cares if we eat the whole thing.” Craig closed his game, opening the pizza app, and giving Tweek a squeeze with his free hand. “You want anything else with it?”
“No, it’s fine.” Tweek said. “What kind do you want?”
“Pepperoni and pineapple sounds good.” Craig tapped away at his phone.
Tweek frowned. “But that’s my favorite pizza. What do you want, Craig?”
“I want you to be happy.”
Tweek sat up. “But I want you to be happy!”
“I’m happy when you’re happy, Tweek.” Craig submitted the order. “Too late, already ordered. Guess we’re eating your favorite.”
Tweek opened his mouth to protest, then closed it, then opened it again. He was at a loss for words. On one hand, he was happy he was getting his favorite. On the other hand, he was upset that Craig wasn’t getting something he really liked.
Here Craig was, selflessly ordering something just for Tweek. And here Tweek was, getting worked up over Craig not making a decision.
Tweek felt guilty.
He really didn’t deserve Craig.
“You’re too good to me,” Tweek said. “I’m not nearly this good to you.”
“Tweek, you are good to me.” Craig returned to his phone game. “You’re the best thing in my life.”
The pizza came about forty minutes later, along with root beer and an order for cheesy garlic bread and a big cookie. Tweek had been stewing over Craig’s phone game, but once the food was placed on the coffee table, he felt guilty again. Craig had ordered even more things that he liked without even needing to ask.
That night, Tweek laid in bed staring at the ceiling, watching the fan spin on the highest setting. Craig was always warm at night, while Tweek slept with three blankets. He shut the light off with the remote on his nightstand (still one of the best purchases he ever made), and a soft blue glow came from Craig’s side of the bed.
That phone again.
This was always Tweek’s least favorite time of the day. This was when he couldn’t distract himself from all the thoughts in his head. And there were tons of thoughts.
How much work am I facing tomorrow?
Is that game more important than me?
If I skip lunch, I can get about ten applications ahead.
Is Craig truly happy in our marriage?
Why did I waste my day doing nothing again?
I haven’t called my parents in a long time.
I shouldn’t have bought that book off Amazon, it wasn’t worth fifteen dollars.
I bet I could find a better way to key in applications.
What if my manager thinks I’m not doing a good enough job?
What if I get fired?
Am I just waiting to die?
Am I saving enough for retirement?
Is Craig truly happy in our marriage?
I have all this time to do things but no motivation to do anything.
The kitchen is still a mess.
What if I paid better attention in my classes?
What if I can’t fall asleep?
Did I waste money going to college?
Is Craig truly happy in our marriage?
Tweek stared wide eyed at the ceiling, heart feeling like it was going to burst out of his chest. He looked over at Craig, who fell asleep holding his phone. He’s going to regret doing that. The stupid thing won’t be charged.
He pulled the phone out of Craig’s hand, getting out of bed to plug it into the charger on Craig’s side. Once in bed, Tweek pulled all three blankets up to his face, and turned his back to Craig.
What if Craig died in his sleep?
His eyes shot open. He flipped back around and stared at his husband, waiting for his eyes to adjust once more to the lack of light. He watched intently as Craig’s chest expanded as he inhaled, and Tweek flopped back down onto his pillow.
It was going to be a long night.