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When she and Sterling start over it’s glorious: they spend whole days together in the park, sunshine and honest silence, and the earnest rhythm of his words.

But six months in, she remembers why things ended. He rants at length and his arguments are ill-founded; he never listens to her. When she finds herself cheating with Bisson and Willis, she knows the time has come.

She takes him out to a coffee shop to break it to him. “It’s not me,” she scribbles on his cover page, “it’s you,” and leaves him with one of those stickers on his back.


It’s easy to make an episode a marathon, when they’re there to watch. Elaine and Sterling get up on Saturday and the VCR’s still on, so why not see what happens next? They pull up blankets. “I’m gonna shower,” says Elaine, “you want a pizza?”

Sterling sorts her brother’s fansub tapes, stacks of them, yellowing meticulous labels. “Nobody does anything in anime,” he laughs, “without doing it,” and Elaine thinks maybe they’re the same. Face forward, hands splayed, action lines through the TV forever! There will always be Bubblegum. There will always be pizza. Grace, grace, and the lie of summer.