Everyone just looks the same. The streets are dirty and so am I.
I wake him up, shake him up, warm him up, and get him ready for the day; Feed him a cigarette and watch him throw-up last night's beer. I fling myself under the cold spray of the shower and hope I'll be able to walk to the bus stop. My shoulders feel heavy, but I ignore it and concentrate on massaging the soap into my thighs, wishing it would make the ache go away. I get out and wrap a towel around my chest, feeling elated by the water dripping off my feet and leaving puddles on the ground. I walk into the room, naked, and pull on some underwear I found on the floor. He's staring at me hungrily, but then his head falls over the side of the bed and the sound of his gagging makes me want to cry.
'You'll be OK, just get on the bus, go home, and sleep.' I don't even sound convincing. I'm shaking inside and he can't even keep his eyes open. Now there's a cigarette between my lips and he's begging me for a drag. I feel like telling him to fuck off, but I pass him the cigarette and watch him weakly put it between his fingers, and close his eyes, like he's about to fall asleep. The bus comes and he throws the last bit of it on the ground, and I notice for the first time how much it stands out; the yellow filter against the snow.
We sit across from each other, silently, and some girls in the seats behind us start giggling. One of them waves at him, and he does his best to smile and nod his head, but the bags of green under his eyes make everything obvious. I put my hands in my bag and feel around for my camera. I take it out and laugh to myself when the flash fills the bus; his sickly image appearing on the screen. He looks at me blankly, blinks, and then turns his head to look out the window. Something inside my chest coils and twists, and then I put my camera back in my bag and sit quietly for the rest of the bus-ride.
I step off the bus, right onto the sidewalk and become annoyed at the Gray slush that has piled on top of my boots. He opens the door to his house and has trouble going up the stairs, the dog's barking fills the air and suddenly I feel like I shouldn't be here. He walks straight to the bathroom and shuts the door behind him. The sound of vomit hitting water is abruptly present, and with the mix of the dog's panicked yelps, the classical music playing for the plants and the cars and planes outside, it makes my head spin and I feel like yelling at all of them to shut the fuck up so I can think clearly. I take two steps forward and lean my forehead against the wood of the bathroom door. 'You OK in there?'I hear a gag, and then a sniff, and again, the unsettling sound of vomiting. I shut my eyes tightly and I can really feel my head thumping now. I put my hand on the door handle and turn it, swinging it open to find him kneeling over the toilet, one hand gripping the shower curtain beside him, the other holding a dirty towel. There's vomit spilling off of the sides of the porcelain rim. 'Jesus,' I gasp. I fall to my knees and throw my body on his back, curling myself around him as if I were protecting him. He gags again and I can't take it anymore. I'm crying now and fuck, I wish I wouldn't because I'm weak and I know he thinks I am. He lets go of the towel and I can feel him shaking, but his hand reaches up to my face and he cups my neck in his hand, getting his vomit in my hair. He's still breathing heavily and I can feel he doesn't want me to let go but the smell in here is sickening and this is anything but romantic.
He throws me a beer and I catch it in between both my hands. I'm sitting on the couch now and I'm wearing nothing but a t-shirt of his and my toes are curling around the edge of the coffee table in front of me. He comes and sits beside me on the couch, and slips his arm around me and for some reason; everything feels like it's going to be OK. A commercial about Alzheimer's comes on and I can hear him laughing in my ear and I give him a dirty look. He tells me to lighten up and kisses my collar bone. This time, I forgive him and I let his hands slip between my thighs and all of a sudden we're kissing each other like we mean it. And while his lips keep hitting mine I manage to say,
'I love you.'
That makes him stop and I can feel him tense up. He lifts his gaze to meet mine and I'm biting my lip now because I'm scared that maybe I shouldn't have said that.
'I know.' He says.
Then he takes off my shirt and I feel like maybe I should've washed myself properly this morning.