He wasn't sure where their relationship had gone wrong. They had been so happy together. He had been with her for years – in love with her even longer. But now, all he had was a coupon for a local taco place. "Free Tacos…" it read. As he stared at it, lounging on his couch, he realized that he didn't even like tacos. He was more of a burger type of guy. But he knew that spending anymore of his tight budget money would only make him feel worse in the long run. Free tacos would have to do.
He got up from the couch with lethargy slowing him. Once he was finally standing, he let out a sad huff. Then, he walked to the front door and put on his sneakers. He didn't care that he was wearing a dirty hoodie. It had old stains on it – probably mustard, he thought. This was the hoodie he never wore anymore. He hadn't worn it because she had been wearing it instead. Now, it smelled more of her than it did of him. Her scent was all that had got him through the day.
It wasn't until he reached his car that he finally realized that he'd forgotten to grab his keys. He was too depressed to even hang his head back and growl at the sky in frustration. So he did so only in his head. He trudged back inside. It took him twenty minutes to find his keys, because he'd left them on the arm of the couch. He must've passed them a hundred times, and they didn't even blend in with the fabric, but he hadn't thought to look there.
As he grabbed his keys, he noticed the picture frame on the side table. It contained a photo from two years prior – his first anniversary with her. In the photograph, she was hugging him and smiling at the camera. He was smiling, too, but he didn't look at himself. No, he stared at her, instead. Her smile made him think. Had she stopped smiling? When? Why?
Sick of wallowing in the misery she'd brought him, he grabbed the picture frame and turned it onto its face. In doing so, he again noticed the coupon for free tacos. It was sticking through his fingers. Part of him thought about pocketing it, but he couldn't. He was going to hold this coupon in his hands until he had what he wanted. That being free tacos. If he couldn't have her, then he would at least have something.
The coupon for free tacos had arrived in the mail that morning. He supposed that it was supposed to have been part of one of those coupon booklets, but he had found it on its own. Only an hour later, she had left. It was stupid, but he couldn't help but feel like the free taco coupon had been related somehow. Perhaps it was an omen. Perhaps it was destiny. He was destined to eat some free tacos. He wondered, if that was the case, whether he was supposed to be depressed while eating them. But he digressed.
He dragged himself back to his car and stepped inside. It was dark outside. As he sat in the driver's seat, alone and in the dark, he glanced at the passenger seat and was overcome with emotion. He blinked back his tears and started the engine. Then, he put the car into drive. He was slow about pulling out of his driveway. In truth, he wasn't sure he should actually be driving. He was so miserable that paying attention to his surroundings was little more than an afterthought. He didn't think he would try to kill himself or get into an accident on purpose or anything, but still he worried. Regardless, he started to drive.
The specific taco place that the free taco coupon was applicable for was some ways away, past the main roads. It would take him half an hour to get there. He tried not to think as he drove, but to no avail. He couldn't get his mind off of her. How could he? Even though she left, he still loved her. He would love her to the grave.
Ten minutes into his journey, he found a spark of anger in his chest. He had done his best. Why should he feel bad? It was her loss, not his. He had given her everything she wanted. What had she ever given him? Heartache, that's all. As he drove, he found himself ripping off the hoodie. He didn't need her. He was going to get himself some free tacos and eat them like a man. No more of these girly feelings. She had left. It was over.
Filled with confidence and determination, he reached over and turned on the radio. He had been hoping for some bouncy pop song, and he got one. He stopped at a red light and started to tap the steering wheel. He was about to sing along when he finally recognized the song. It was a remix, but it was definitely of the song he was thinking off – her favorite song. Their favorite song. Before he knew it, he was sobbing over the sound of the music. Someone in the car to his left was staring at him in the disturbed sort of confusion that comes with discovering that the guy in the car next to you is shirtless and wailing. He picked up the hoodie and pressed it to his face to cry into it. Blindly, he reached for the radio and turned it off. For a second, all was quiet. He could see nothing with the soft fabric against his face, and her smell soothed him. It was almost like she'd never left.
It wasn't until a car behind him honked that he jolted up and saw that the light was green. Embarrassed now, he sniffled, cleared his throat, and resumed driving.
The streets were quite dark, so when he got to the taco place, it was like a beacon of light in the darkness. He parked and got out of the car. As he approached the restaurant, he put the hoodie back on. He stopped in front of the door. The free taco coupon was still in his hand. He gazed down at it. For one reason or another, this coupon (for free tacos) had taken him on a journey. It had proved wrong his thought from earlier that day – a thought that he would never leave the house again. That he would live off of delivery pizza for the rest of his life, too depressed to go outside and get something for himself. In a way, it had helped him to get back onto his feet. All of a sudden, he loved tacos. These free tacos were going to be the best things he'd ever eaten, he knew it in his soul. He had butterflies in his stomach like he was about to go on a first date with someone new. Both nervous and eager at the same time, he pulled open the door.
There was no one in line. Every customer in the restaurant was sitting at tables, eating various kinds of tacos. They smelled delicious. He wondered if they, too, had come here for free tacos. He was still staring at the people eating their food when he heard a cashier behind him.
"Hello! What can I get for you tonight?"
He turned and looked at the woman behind the counter. She looked friendly, but he didn't pay much attention to that. Slow but purposeful, he extended the coupon toward her. "I'd like two free tacos, please," he told her.
The woman took the coupon and looked at it. He was so eager. But then, she frowned and handed the coupon back to him. "I'm sorry," she told him, "this coupon isn't valid yet."
He stared at her in silence for what felt like an eternity. So many things were whirling around in his head, but there was one word she had used that was especially confusing to him. "Y—… 'Yet'?"
"Did you read the fine print?"
He took the coupon back and looked at the front. "Free Tacos…" it read. Then, he squinted and looked closer at it. The fine print read, "… tomorrow."
Around him, people carried on with what they were doing. The customers kept eating their tacos. Some man walked into the restroom. The people behind the cashier continued to work. The cashier herself glanced over her shoulder at her co-workers for a moment. All the while, he stared at the supposed free taco coupon. He was experiencing a roller coaster of emotions, none of which registered on his deadpan face. More than anything, he felt awe. A close second was utter betrayal. He took his time in raising his head, at which point he stared at the cashier. His voice was quiet as he whimpered the only thing he could think to say.
"That… That doesn't even make any sense."