I don't even know what the big deal about sunrise is. The sky is all red and smudged, and the clouds look like curdled milk. Disgusting curdled milk. There's also a big yellow dot in the middle. And everybody seems to make such a big deal about it.
"Tracy." I turn and look at him, he starts to play with his fingers.
"Yeah?" I nod sarcastically.
"I didn't mean to," he says genuinely.
"Didn't mean to what? Tell me that you're getting married? To some brunette in all the way Greece? That you are taking a boat in two sunsets? That your parents from Germany are coming to see it? That you are spending more than a million dollars and stupid carved angels and crystal cutlery? That she loves you? -But you don't and come to Ohio, meet a girl at McDonald's, and tell her you love her over a Double Cheeseburger?"
"You know what Luka? You know what?" I'm yelling now, every part of my face turns red. "What. Do. You. Know?"
"I'm sorry okay? I'm sorry. You don't know how hard it is. My parents never thought good of me. I was their disappointment of a son. They wanted a son who would talk about books like War and Peace and eat roasted asparagus. But instead, I am a boy that searches for fast food joints and steals cars."
"Steals cars? You steal cars?"
I look away, back at the yellow dot in the distance that becomes bigger and fuller, hiding behind the clouds.
"I don't even know you." I look at his eyes. They're brown. Ordinary leather jacket brown.
"We're still getting to know each other."
"Yeah. Yeah, two days before you leave in a small, cartoon-looking boat like some fairy tale."
"I do know one thing about you, though." He hands me a burger, "I know that you love a good Quarter Pounder."
"Luka. You know that it's not healthy."
"And as a good boyf-... I mean friend. I know that you deserve a burger right about now."
"Ok." I smile.
"And of course. I did not forget."
"What?" I ask.
"A peach Crush. One of the worst soft drinks that I've ever even tasted." He laughs.
"Ok," I repeat. It's hard to be mad. So I smile and look at the big yellow dot in the distance.
"Y'know," he grins, "It would be good if we could sit down somewhere."
"Yeah, maybe you could steal a car or something from this parking lot."
"Right. What about that teal convertible over there! Besides that RV."
I poke the bright red straw through the top of the plastic lid, "Sure let's do it." I grin sarcastically.
He starts to walk over to the car.
"I thought that you were joking!" I yell over.
"I never joke," he says, still walking.
-20 YEARS LATER-
Most forty-year-old women on my street have a family. Two kids that they send off to school while they stay at home making cheeseburgers and salty water-based mashed potatoes. Their husband spends his hold day with his head in the newspaper, only saying a set of sentences repeatedly, "Yes, honey" or "I agree" or "How outrageous". Time and time again. I spend all day reading Animal Farm, so many times that I've memorized the opening speech. So lonely that I laugh at out loud every time I see a deformed peach because it is the most exciting thing in my day. I sit on the porch, watching through the yellow-lit windows. Families eat their meals. The woman laughs and a kid smiles. A biker rounds the street occasionally.
The moon slowly comes into view. Mundane as ever. Big, white, and obnoxious. I see a car come round down the corner. It's a convertible. Teal. Shiny. Like a 1950s movie one. I peer through the foggy window. All I see is a tan-coloured oval. The car parks under a precariously hanging maple tree. A man walks out. He's tall. His eyes are an ordinary brown like almost any other man on the street. He holds a paper bag with a big yellow M plastered on it.
"Hi." I wave, my hand hanging awkwardly in mid-air.
"Who are you?" I pause, "and what are you doing at my house?"
He doesn't respond.
"Is this a joke?" A pull my zip-up hoodie over my shoulders.
"I never joke." he grins.
It's Luka. Funny. German-American. Leather jacket Luka. I don't react. He's calm, so that means I have to be calm. It cannot be one-sided. The teal colour of the convertible glints in the moonlight. I watch the hovering of the big white spotlight on the convertible, the shadow of the maple layers on it. Creating a painting.
"Here's a peach Crush." he starts to hand it to me, then stops, "I assume that you've figured out who I am by now."
I spot some white hair above his forehead.
"Yes. I have."
I put the Crush beside me, pulling the cuffs of my hoodie over my white knuckles.
"You love peach Crush. Have you grown out of it?" He sits down beside me on the porch.
I'm angry. He can't come at 8:30 on a Wednesday day night. He can't stop time. It's not fair. With my thumb, I make circles on my palm. Stay calm. Stay Calm.
"Nope. I haven't. First, I need to know if you're married or not."
"Good." I poke the straw into the styrofoam.
He passes me a Quarter Pounder wrapped in plastic.
"I'm not eating that," I restrain the smile that's pulling my mouth upwards, "not until you tell me why you're here and all background complications."
"She divorced me."
All of a sudden the air crackles with tension.
"She knows that I don't love her. That I love someone else." he continues, "She kicked me out. Her father owns the house that we shared. She is going to raise the child on her own."
I place my cold hands on my cheeks, trying to cover the embarrassing beet-red tone of my cheeks.
I choke on peach Crush and cringe as it goes down the wrong tube. "A kid? You have a kid?"
"Yes. A kid. In her family. It's a custom. Every married couple needs to have children. I had nowhere to go. So I put together all the money that I had left. From selling cars."
"Selling stolen cars. I assume?"
He looks away.
"So that's a yes, right?" I smile, patting his back with the large plastic cup.
"And I bought a flight from Greece to here, Ohio."
"Where are you living?" I ask.
"Sunnyside motel. Homey place."
"It is. Very fishy."
"Eek." I laugh and watch the moon float above a couple of faint stars.
"I came here to see you because I loved you all along." he itches the back of his head.
"Don't go all romcom cheesy on me."
"Trust me, I won't."
"So. Are there any more foreign relationships? Any arranged marriages? Any angry parents?"
"Yes. But I'm not sure about the last one." he laughs softly.
"Pass me the Quarter Pounder."