He mentioned on the phone that he will tattoo my name on his right thigh and that we should get back together. We never spoke about breaking up, but I guess it was in the air. Last time I saw him I didn’t have a clear look of his face. It was all vague. He pinned me to the ground, and my elbows itched with the hard carpet. I tilted my head left and right along with my body to resist him, but it only increased his strength, as he glued my left cheek to the ground. I could smell the remains of the dripped liqueur on the carpet. His breath reeked the same.
The room was dim lit. It was cold. I stopped moving, or more like I couldn’t move any more. When he sensed no resistance, he dragged himself, and then stormed out.
I stayed still for a few minutes after he left. My left cheek was still resting on the velvet carpet. I stood up, made some instant coffee, and turned on the TV. He called me again this morning. It had been two weeks. He wanted to grab some coffee at the new Café by the south avenue. I told him that I would think about it.
I wore denims, and stood by the door. I took them off and wore a blue shirtdress. I then stripped again and decided not to go. I poured some gin and tonic and called Megan, but she didn’t pick up.
He leaned on the wall with his head crooked. His eyes gleamed upon seeing me, but I remained neutral. He went for a hug and it made me hostile. I nudged him aside and he apologized. In the Café the light was like a glitter. It was quiet. I felt like this was it, so I ordered.
“So, what’s up?” I have never heard him say that sentence before. It wasn’t in his dictionary. Was he feeling the same awkwardness? What does he mean by what’s up? Why is he so clueless?
“Steady. You?” I shoot back.
“The usual.” He paused for a second as the waitress came with our drinks. A latte for me and iced tea for him. “I have been busy somehow with Chris. He is putting the final touches to his college application and I am trying to be there, you know.”
Of course, I know. You do what you do and then storm out because you need to proof read some essays. That’s how it had been for all of us when our siblings where in high school.
I take a sip from my latte before it gets cold and he continuous. “How about you? What have you been up to?”
He kept pressing as if these questions weren’t the same as ‘what’s up’. If he doesn’t have anything specific to talk about then he should’ve spared us all the awkwardness. Look at him staring and faking a smile. He waits for an answer and gulps half of his tea in one wash.
“I have been reading this novel.” I went. I was never into reading, but I didn’t know what to say.
“Oh! What is it about?” He knew that I wasn’t into reading, but played along nevertheless.
“About a couple who went to a family dinner.” I say as I shuffle through my memory. I trace the outlines on a short story I read in high school.
“The couple were invited to these lovely charismas dinner hosted by the aunts of the husband. He gives a speech. They dance and feast.” I stop to take another sip from my latte. It was already cold.
“Continue,” he says.
“So, when the dinner is over, the wife dragged a bit on the stairs before their departures’ she was listening to a song. They head to a hotel as they came from far. It was also the first time in a while for the husband and wife alone and away from their kids.”
“What happened then?” He seemed so eager to hear the rest.
“They start kissing under the pale moonlight. And then amidst all of that he asks her about the song. She tells him that it reminds her of someone she loved a long time ago.”
“And what did he do?”
“Nothing. The slept and he thought about how his wife could’ve loved anyone before him.” I smirked. “Weird, right?”
“Yeah, it is.”
“It’s lovely but heartbreaking, right?”
“Yeah, it is.”
We strolled next to each other, dragging a bit and smiling. It got late and I circled myself with my arms. I didn’t expect the evening to turn up like this. Under the street lights I stopped suddenly. “It’s getting cold and late.” I told him.
“Yeah.” He muttered in a low voice.
“Let’s walk for a bit more. Until we reach my place or something.”
“Oh! Okay.” His tone changed.
We again walked side by side, only inches apart, and with every second we got closer. A light fringe of snow found its way on my shoulder. More followed.
“We should hurry up.” I said.
Minutes passed and we freezed for a moment in front of the entrance of my building. His body was now the closest to me this night. We kept inching towards one another as if seeking warmth. We moved until our bodies were tightened together. And then it was our heads’ turn. And then our lips, his of peach flavor. In front of my building, we pulled apart for air and then in again. We laughed for a bit after, and then we hovered in the snow for a couple of more minutes before I broke the silence.
A drink or two and then each of us will be left be, it won’t harm. And so it was decided.
“Do you wanna come upstairs for a drink?” I asked him, only out of courtesy. I knew that this is what he wished for.
I ascended the stairs him behind me. For some reason, it felt like this was the first time for him here in years, but it wasn’t, the last time he stepped on these stairs was less than a week ago, and a few days ago, my wrists hurt. Two clicks. The door opened to my dark apartment. I turned some lights on and it became dim lit.
“So, how’s is Chris doing so far?” I said as I entered the kitchen.
“So far, so good.” He replied, not looking at me but his scrutinizing the place like it was his first time.
I filled each glass with two big chunks of ice. Added about 50 ml of gin and some lime juice. I then topped with the tonic water. He took a seat on the sofa and his right leg was restless, shaking and shaking. “Here.” I said as I handed him his glass and took a sip of mine while sitting. He didn’t do the same and put his on the table. He eyed me sharply.
“What’s wrong?” I said and then followed with a wry laugh. He didn’t reply and kept gawking at me. I stood up, wanting to ask him again but I knew that it’d still be pointless.
My elbows were starting to sore, and eventually will. He doesn’t blink and his face is crystal clear. The ceramics were cold his breath of peach. I was paralyzed for a minute, was to give in. I proceeded with a blast not like the earlier nudge. He again stormed out. I never saw him later.
I was drinking black coffee.
“I can’t believe you even went.” Megan said on the phone. She sounded irritated.
“What were my options?” I replied; I knew my options though.
“Let’s see.” She paused for a couple of seconds. “Not go!!” She screamed. I could see her shaking her head like she always do when she’s being sarcastic.
“I know. You’re right.” I decided to give in. I took a small sip from the mug. “But I somehow thought that there was still a chance.”
“There wasn’t.” Her reply was instant.
“You gotta learn somehow.”
“You should’ve learned earlier.”
“I know. I know. It was just a bit weird. I knew him for a long and I never gave him an issue with sex. Yet he did what he did. Twice.” I took another sip to discover the mug was already empty.
“It’s as if he was wearing a mask the whole time, we’ve been together. Even during our last date. I feel like I’ve never knew him at all.” I continued
“I know.” I went to the kitchen and poured more coffee. “I wished you have seen it, though. How I pushed him, I mean. I kicked his ass pretty hard.”