His breath pungent with alcohol, his face drained and resembling someone’s — that someone whom I see before my mind’s eye is long gone. This man’s face is abound with already dried up blood. Frightened, I can’t help but walk away as he mumbles out to me and I throw back a “The bus will come in a few minutes” to him. Leaving him behind, all I can think of and hope is that he has somewhere and someone to go home to. On Christmas Eve. The evening which should’ve, for both of us, been one of the most wonderful times of the year.
I saw how happy they were with each other, even though on paper it wouldn’t seem that way.
She was an artist with a true Pollyanesque heart, he was a realistic, straightforward guy. He liked classical music, it made her ears bleed. She was an introvert wishing nothing more than to stay at home with a good book, he was a complete extrovert always up for going out, partying with friends.
Yet… they worked. Wonderfully.
It was her. The woman he has longed for ever since they have met some months ago. The woman whom he could never truly have.
He watched her for a long time, not quite knowing how to ask what was on his mind. He decided to go with straight forward and inquired.
- So… How many boyfriends have you had?
- Many. – she answered nonchalantly.
- Is that a precise number? – he winked.
She smiled at him.
- So a lot, huh?
They lay there for minutes, cuddled up. He caressed her back, fondled her shoulder-length hair as she distanced herself slightly from his embrace.
- Is it like… double digits? – he proceeded carefully.
- Higher than ten?
- Higher than fifteen?
- Higher than seventeen?
She paused to look at him seriously. Then slid off of the bed and picked her clothes up from around the room’s hardwood floor.
- What are you fishing for?
- I’m not sure.
- Why? Does it matter how many boyfriends I’ve had? How many men I’ve slept with? What are you really trying to ask?
- No, it doesn’t matter. I don’t know why I asked. – he answered sincerely – Never mind.
With all her clothes gathered up she headed towards the bathroom, then changed her mind. She lowered the pile onto an armchair and asked.
- Want to join me for a shower?
Just a one-night stand, a rebound thing… – he thought.
No, somehow it didn’t matter.
- Just where do you think you’re going with that?!
Maybe she’s asking another family member.
- Can you hear me, honey? I’m talking to you.
Oh, darn… You are talking to me.
- No! Stop right there!
Maybe if I go left, she’ll leave me alone.
Go right then?
- Don’t you dare take another step, Mister!
Oh, come on!
- How many times do I have to repeat myself?
- Take that filthy thing out of my kitchen!
But it’s mine!
- Give it here then.
- Come on, give it!
- I’m taking it to the garbage now. And don’t let me catch you looking for it.
You know how long it took me to catch that freakin’ mouse?
- Understood, kitten?
I’ll go catch and try to sneak another one in. You’re bound to go write a flash about this.
They were admiring the view as he leaned in to kiss her.
She was delighted with traveling to Paris. It was her favorite city in the world. The one she had been so happy in.
Now however, she was overwriting past memories while he charmed his new bride. Overwriting distant memories as the two of them strolled down cobblestone streets and dined in romantic restaurants. Overwriting cherished memories as they criss-crossed the Seine River and visited attractions, as they watched the city turn more magical with every second that passed.
She loved her groom more than life itself.
Obliviously, he kissed her forehead and glanced over the city again, after she graciously eluded his kiss; embracing him so strongly as she never had before, kissing him on the cheek.
There was one memory she could not overwrite.
There was only one kiss she desired to recall on top of the Eiffel Tower.
Staring at the crack in the ceiling, she contemplates on what color to have her room painted.
She’d love purple, except, she couldn’t afford changing the carpets as well. The color needs to be something that matches the red and black combo.
Grey – or would that be too morbid?
No, grey would be appropriate – she giggles at her decision after weighing the options.
Because after the bank loan gets approved, she’d be living on bread and water for the next ten years anyway, and she’s already got bars on her windows.
He had never met anyone quite like her.
He was content in his current relationship but something was missing; he sometimes wondered if he had made the right choice.
She was a wonderful friend, so easy to be around, and the person he became around her, himself, forced him to think of what he really wanted: a relationship where he was appreciated even for simply being there, a relationship he needn’t hide from anyone, a relationship that wasn’t perfect yet he couldn’t imagine living without.
He felt confused, yet more sure than ever. He didn’t want to settle anymore.
He wanted her!
Before he left, she invited him back to visit. That was his only ray of hope, but could only casually accept so as not to purposefully hurt his girlfriend back home, her, and himself.
However, he didn’t know how she felt. He couldn’t tell if she was only being nice and polite to a foreign man she had just met, or if she started sharing his emerging feelings.
He left, holding all the memories of their moments spent together closed deeply away in his heart.
After his departure she felt a hole in her heart – she couldn’t stop thinking of him.
The memory of his kiss on her cheek still lingered with her; something which had never happened before.
She typed countless emails she never sent, fearing it might have only been a crush.
She typed up and sent a quick email, casually reassuring him he would be sorely missed and invited him to visit her anytime he was ready to.
As he read her email, he understood even the words she hadn’t typed out.