Note: This is Nova Part II
I saw him fiddling with his fingers. Staring into the mirror with doubt. His lips twitched softly and his eyes fluttered. His eyes were rimmed in dark purple, I could see that he was a workaholic. His suit was buttoned up to the neck, tight and secure. So tight that his veins seemed to bulge against the collar, trying to break free. I walked up to him, testing the waters. If he was interested, he would glance at me and glance back. If he wasn't, then he wouldn't look at all. He glanced. It wasn't full eye contact. Just a flicker. I make quick socialization, he seems awkward.
I pulled off my headphones and secured them on his ears, that'd be enough to wake him up from his daze. He's restless. Bored. His life is a monotonous cycle. Guys like this are an open book. They are depressed, bored, and waiting for a woman to come into their life and give them a hell of a ride.
His home is tidy. The walls are pinstriped with faded navy and beige. A single golden chandelier hangs lonely from the middle of the room. Orange velvet arm-chairs frame the place. In the corner, a thin bookshelf is gutted with books. In an open cabinet there are rows and rows of TV dinners. He really is lonely.
His name is Joseph. We talk. He stares. The way he looks at me- it's different. So adoringly. His brown eyes don't flicker. He's a man that wants to get married. He wants to settle down and have children. I can tell by his face. He isn't confident, but not feeble. His forehead is sketched with shallow creases from stress, experience. His hair is combed but strands peek out from behind his ears.
I laugh. I talk. I smile while glancing at the clock in intervals. I leave as soon as the clock strikes 12. A Cinderella with a pinch of reality.
I stayed at the buzzed stage for a while. Laughing at my own jokes. Dancing to songs in my head. Every horrible thought in my head is wiped away. My heart feels light in my chest. I can move. I can breathe. It only takes a second to pick up the bottle of beer. It's cold and wet against my hands, soaking into my palms. It goes down like ice in my throat but hits like fire. The fire spreads through my veins to the tip of my fingers. I punch. My palm hits the pole and blood streams down like a writhing river.
The river of blood soons turns into tears streaming down my face. I hold myself in the cocoon of my arms and rock back and forth in rocking-chair motions. It soothes me. It's something to depend on. Something that isn't unexpected. I feel waves crashing in my stomach. Brewing a hurricane. Splotches of grey turn into peach and brown. I hear a voice. Soft and clear. It's distorted like a glitching radio. He picks me up and I black out.
I feel a cushion. Then the wood of a hard bed-frame against my head. I see a pinstriped wallpaper and instantly wake up. It's Joseph's house. I pull my body up solicitously, moving my arms and legs so that they won't make a single creak. I arch my toes and meticulously slide them against the floorboards. Joseph looks asleep, his chest moves in and out steadily. I reach my hand towards the copper doorknob. A tingle runs through my body, a strong arm has gripped onto my hip.
He kisses me. I grab onto his waist. After a second I pull apart. He trails his finger along my lower lip. I hesitantly bounce backward and leave. As I turn to go into the elevator, he's still standing there. Dazed.
I feel an impulse to call him. My hand wavers over the phone.I press call and the phone rings. We ended up at Fifth Avenue. I scan my eyes for a brick to paint. There it is. In the middle. It has a crevice inside of it like a pothole and cracks tear along the edges. I pull out the pink and start creating a forest of flowers over the cracks and bumps. That's me. A flowery mask over my imperfections.
My arm aches when I'm done. The spray can scream as it crashes against the ground. I crouch down and start blasting Pink Floyd. He looks at me and we share contact. He starts yelling. First it's just blurred noises but now I can make it out. I Love You. The word hits like knives at my throat. I wanted a friend. A shoulder to lean on. Not another relationship. A relationship where I wasn’t enough. A relationship where I couldn’t be committed. A relationship where I’d cheat. A relationship where I’d run away.
"No, please don't. Please don't." My eyes start to burn, like onions are being rubbed against them.
"What, what do you mean?" He’s so helpless. I want to run to him - tell him I love him. But it just won’t work out.
"I don't want to be put in a cage."
"I want to love you Nova." He says it calmly, all the anger drained from his voice.
"It's complicated." I don’t know how to explain it. I start to rub my thumb against the rim of my eyes, trying to keep them from crying.
"No matter how complicated it is, I'll listen."
"I don't do relationships. I don't do stuff like that." I feel the urge to scream. Shout. Cry.
"I love you and I won't stop no matter how hard you try."
"No-just no." I pick up my back and walk away. I know that I’ve broken someone. But if I love him, then I will break myself.
I wake up at dawn, shivering in the covers. I comb my hair. I brush my teeth. In the shower, I stand long enough to see brown hair against my skin. Purple dye swirls like stars as it travels to the drain. In the mirror, I can see him. His strong hand is gripped onto my hip. I turn around. He’s gone.
I stand in front of his door. My trembling fingers brush against the door, too feeble to turn into a knock. Then I walk away. He’s still holding onto my hip.