[AN] The 1000 word 'Beautiful Disaster' challenge.
She is the sun
She has green striped tights on. It's the first thing he notices because of the way she has one leg curled up, the other crossed over it and dangling to her side. It made him wonder how she could possibly be comfortable. The second thing to catch his attention are the dark red nails, long, made even more noticeable by the cigarette hanging loosely between her fingers and the silver rings that catch the light and set off the colour. Then, there are the red, red lips and close behind that the green earrings which look like jade but he knows are simple plastic. The necklace, however, is jade—a gift from her mother. The last thing he notices is the shirt.
He'd thought it was some kind of dress at first, it's black and not really very flashy so it's an easy mistake to make. It's not a dress, it is long and black and too big on her short frame but fits perfectly on his bigger one. He remembers tossing it on the backrest of a chair, complaining it smelled and did she know where he'd put his spare shirt?
In lieu of a greeting, he tells her he loves her.
"That's nice," she answers distractedly.
He doesn't even pause to sigh any more but continues to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and liberally lace it with something exotic. After that, he'd finish off the wine from the night before while counting her pills and then hunt for a new bottle to open while he wrestled with some of the paperwork. She would be sitting exactly where he'd left her once he finished and depending on several factors would either acknowledge him or not.
He works with nervous clicks in the background, clicks he has learned to ignore. There is no pattern to them, which makes it a little difficult, but he's had a lot of practice. The clicking noise is her, she hits the space bar on the keyboard when she's bored, or distracted, or just stuck on a passage.
It used to be one of the things that irritated him most about her, that infernal clicking. He's learned to live with it over the years and hardly even hears it any more. He actually prefers it to either of the alternatives.
Once he's finished, he walks into the study to tidy up—she is fundamentally incapable of that task. There are papers everywhere, blank sheets and sheets filled with cramped writing, crumpled balls of paper in the corners, on the floor, even thrown into the bookcases. Afterwards he sits down to read.
… it may only be an approximation with blanks filled in with the most logical choice because it's human to err and a memory is a human thing isn't it, a human equivalent of a database of experience, feeling, events and hopes and dreams we want immortalised but can never be certain of because it comes back to the flaw, the fact that a memory is a disorganised mess of approximations and hopes and wants and not an exact account but what else is there? What else can we do but believe and accept as truth something which is inherently flawed, where would we be without memory, without knowing what a first kiss smelled like and a mother felt like and the pain the pain the pain of being alone and scared and still hoping, wishing, wanting to be found by someone, something that could hold us up and say, "This is it, this is what you needed and here it is, here it is, it wasn't for nothing, you are here, now." …
He puts the page down and cradles his head in his hands. In ten minutes or so, he'll stand up and go stand over her, waiting for her to look up at him and remind him of days spent in meadows where the sun illuminated her hair, making it glow like a halo. Those days she would smile and say something so brilliant and heartbreakingly beautiful it would send tingles from his eyes straight down to his toes leaving him feeling warm and honoured, honoured he was there to hear it.
For that memory he would stand firm for her to cling to when it was 'one of those days', when she was nothing like the girl he loves but a broken, monstrous thing whose mind was a labyrinth of dark shadows and need, and maybe a little bit of fear.
Cold hands sneak under his shirt and a weight presses down on his shoulder, hair tickles his neck. She breathes into his neck and he smells the smoke on her breath. If he pays attention, he can smell himself on the shirt she wears.
She presses her lips against the skin of his neck and he feels them moving, silently at first, puffs of warm air which smell of smoke which slowly turn into words.
"..you...i lve you, i love, love, I love you, love you, love you. Do you remember when we were kids? Do you remember, I would run through the grass so very, very fast and you would follow me. I always tripped, every single time. You tried to catch me but I just let myself fall so you fell with me, we fell together because we did everything together. We'd end up rolling through the grass, laughing and laughing. Our mothers hated the stains but never got angry because we were so ridiculously happy every time."
He feels her chest rise and lets his eyes fall closed, exhaling along with her.
"Sometimes I wish I could fall so hard I'd shatter into a million pieces, teeny tiny little pieces. You would be there to put me together so I could be all right again, better again. It would be sunshine and freshly cut grass, like before."
"Sometimes I think I love you too much," he sighs.
Her hands are warm.