Looking back, if she had to make a list of the things she didn’t miss about him while on her trip–and after so many years together there was a list–his habit of waiting until the last minute to refill the car with gas had to be at the top, right up there with his selective hearing and the bizarre way he stores papers he doesn’t want to lose on top of the china cabinet in plain view, as if they were a display of ironstone or silk flower arrangement.
But as she refilled her tank on that stretch of desert highway (only half empty, naturally) she admitted that if it wasn’t for all those empty tanks, there would be no reason for him to look at her and smile when she noted, for the fifth time in as many minutes, that there wasn’t enough gas to make it to the gas station. There would be no hand squeezing her neck affectionately as the wind ripped through her hair (“We’re good! Just turn off the air and roll down the windows.”) or flat out laughing every time she fell for his gas pedal foot tapping (“Maybe you’re right. Maybe we won’t make it. WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?!”)
Were it not for his habit of waiting until the last minute to refill the car with gas, she would miss all the rest by consequence. That’s when she knew. It’s the way he stores papers he doesn’t want to lose on top of the china cabinet that she missed the least.