It was not something you would have done. You would have known about that when we first met. You saw no glimmer in my eyes. You should have known. You were reckless and ignorant. You didn’t bother. You never bothered. Alas, you didn’t care. I never wonder what has made you this way but I still remember what happened regardless. You and I were there and we were staring at each other, wondering what would happen next. Pondering if we ever had a chance. Pondering if we were willing to fall into something we would never recognized that was conspicuously in our hands. You were reluctant to let go of me and the story was poignant. You wish it was. But it was not. Your presence was ambiguous. And I didn’t care, I knew of it but I was ignorant. Your presence rendered me to condone. You derived my heart and simultaneously broke it. I’ve got nothing to lose.
It was at a cold and dark night when I stumbled upon a piece of shattered glass on the damp ground. Having no idea what I could possibly do with it, I raised it up in the air and threw it as far as I could. I couldn’t see it when it landed on the ground. But when it did, someone cursed and yelled and asked who threw a fucking piece of shattered glass at night. I scrammed and never looked back. The stranger didn’t come after me. I laughed at myself and drew a cigarette from it’s carton and light it up twice. I took a drag and exhaled, hoping not to see who ever it was I threw a piece of shattered glass at ever again. The leaves on trees were dancing with the wind as I inhaled the cigarette once more. I’ve never experienced a moment so perfect.
‘I assure you,’ she said, ‘I could not possibly forget you.’
I smiled, convinced as we were leaving for separate directions to discover what is left for us in the world after six months of being together.
It turns out everything was possible after a year of not seeing each other, of not holding each other or talk to each other. It was all possible. I have been vulnerable. At first, I had no idea how to live without her. Without Veronique. But life moves on, as they say. Everything was apparently, possible. I realized when I was with her, time passes me by. As if all I need in life was her. I was wrong. I’ve always been. Around her, I felt as if there’s a reason for all the bullshit in the world. Alas, I felt the same without her. She never made an impact in my life. She was just playing with my emotions. Playing them as if she didn’t care. She was beautiful and I was lucky. I have heard of that a million times. I never remotely realized that. I was ignorant. I knew that all along.
I was afraid and you were the only one who’s ever there. You were the only one who ever told me the world is going to be hard on me. You were the only one who knew that all I wanted was the truth. And you give it to me. You were strong and you were the only one who had the audacity to tell me the truth. The audacity to tell me it is not always going to be alright.
‘I fucking hate myself today.’ I told her, grunting.
‘You hate yourself every other day, Tony.’ She replied with a smirk. She was right, I always do. I watched her read the paperback she just brought yesterday from the vintage bookstore ten blocks away. ‘What are you reading?’ I asked, having nothing else to fill the silence between us. ‘Anna Karenina by Tolstoy.’ Her eyes were all over the pages. I wonder why there’s so many people have the patience to spend so much time on a good read. Superhuman, that’s exactly what I’d call her.
I watched her walk away with absolutely no intention of stopping her. She didn’t look back nor did she stopped her pace. It was crowded with strangers and it seemed like she was swallowed by the movement. I kept staring at the pavement she walked on for a whole ten minutes and I wonder if she’d run back for me and apologize. She never did.
‘Here’s your coffee, sir.’ The barista said, forcing a smile. I smiled back and left for the table in the corner of the room.
I woke up at the deadliest time of night. It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t heating up. So I begin to wonder what’s wrong. With me, my life and perhaps the world. I mustered all strength to stand up and then I walked slowly to the kitchen, trying to get iced water as it is the only thing that could calm me down other than straight up vodka. I looked to the ceiling, closed my eyes as the water began travelling down my throat.
I heard and I abruptly opened my eyes and sat up straight, trying to avoid myself from getting a mini heart attack. I glanced over my shoulder and saw Sophie in her black, floral night robe. ‘What is it, Sophie?’ I asked her gently when deep in mind I just want her to leave me alone for a minute.
‘I have to go back to the apartment now.’ She said as she walked closer to me. ‘Now? At this time of night?’ She nodded and pull my hand to her chest. ‘Can you wait til it’s much brighter?’ She smiled and shook her head. ‘No, I have work in the morning.’
‘Sophie.’ I extended my arm to her neck and caressed her jaw with my thumb. She had her eyes shut tight. I could only see part of her face but she was beautiful. ‘I’ll drive you home at seven. I promise.’ I let her go, stood up, kiss her forehead and left the kitchen.
I swear I could feel her stare at me as I walk farther. I didn’t get the chance to drive her home that morning.
She left before I got the chance to see the sun rise.
You are as unreal as a blessing of unicorns, I always say to her. She would smiled at me and asked meand I would never answer because she was, deep in my heart, unreal.
I constantly am watching her every movements. The way her hands sways in the air as she listens to jazz on the radio. As she closes her ocean eyes as she pretends her body is somewhere far away from here. Somewhere she believes she’s free. As she makes the coffee and how her fingers would work together to stir them in our mugs. As she inhales and exhales when she’s fast asleep. As she wakes up in the morning to serve me breakfast that I never ask for since I could just have breakfast on my way to work at the deli.
‘Hey.’ I called her when it was just another day for her making my breakfast. I pulled her arm and pulled her closer to me. I could barely see her properly since my eyes were quite blurry from all the drinking I had that night. I held her face and stared at her until I could get a better look.
She was crying that night. She was but she denied it when I ask. I didn’t notice, of course. I never notice when I drank.
‘Get back to sleep. I’ll make breakfast.’ She laughed incredulous. ‘Let me help you.’ I nodded and we walked to the kitchen abreast each other holding hands.
‘I love you.’ I heard as she whispered to herself.
It was cold for a Sunday. It was odd for a Sunday to be felt lazy and quiet. None of us has anything to say so we just stared the ceiling, pretending everything was exactly like it currently was. It was serene and we both had teas to be enjoyed once the heat releases itself into the air. The fan repeated itself quite soundly and my eyesight was entirely focused on nothing but that. I held her hands and closed my eyes, ostensibly contemplating that I was somewhere else but the apartment.
Her hands felt warm and I gripped it much tighter and maybe even closer to my heart. She was gracious and full of life, everything I wasn’t. She had everything to live for while I spend most of my days rotting in bed, not trying to move much so I wouldn’t hurt myself much more. Sometimes I’d be in the hospital, talking to the doctor about how lifeless I’ve always felt. How I’ve grown so mature and old and how I wondered my life would be better if it ended years and years ago and how that would do everyone else around me a fucking favour.
It was cold and I let myself freeze in the dark. My throat was dry and there was no sight of water in reach. I touch the solid heat next to me. He was breathing but he was looking away. I trace the definition of his spine. He was freezing as well but it seemed like he didn’t let that bother him.
I stood up and walked out to get water. Then returned to the bed once I tucked myself under the covers. I felt like I was dying by the thumping in my head. He woke up and turned his back away from me. He smiled at me and noticed me gasping for air. He asked me if I am alright. Bullshit.
‘I’m fine. There’s nothing to worry about.’
‘Are you sure? You don’t seem alright.’ Bullshit.
‘I’m fine Shawn, go away.’
He looked at me and smiled. I smiled, not knowing what was ahead of me. He had brown hair and green eyes. It glimmered a second ago. I looked away, unsure of the moment. He was odd-looking and silent. When I looked at him, he was still there, sitting on the brown, wooden chair with a book in his hands. The edges of his lips were still curled upwards. I wondered if he was smiling because the book was humorous or he hasn’t stopped smiling yet and he knows I am looking at him.
I looked away again, not wanting to gain his attention. But I did. He was standing up and placed a finger in between the pages, probably the last sentence he read. He grabbed his shoulder bag. He sat in front of me, on the empty seat. He was shaggy and seemed like he needed sleep.
I let him sit there in utter silence. I took the second sip of my coffee. It burnt on my tongue. I let the bitterness rest on my taste buds. He flipped the pages open and licked the tip of his finger when he flicked to the next page. I looked at him. He was reading a book in French. I have no idea what the title even meant.
‘Parlez-vous Anglais?’ I asked since that’s the only phrase I could remember from taking up French in high school for four years.
‘Oui, je ne parlez Anglais.’ He said ever so softly.
‘Pourquoi n’êtes-vous pas parler en anglais alors?’ I stuttered but managed to remember what I am saying.
‘Je ne suis pas sûr moi-même. Mon nom est Tyler.’
‘Je m’appelle Sidney.’
‘Avez-vous toujours venir à cet endroit?’
‘Non, pas vraiment.’
‘Peut-on commencer à parler anglais aujourd’hui?’
‘Oui, it’s nice to meet you, Sidney.’
I smiled back.