The clock is ticking down the seconds and I'm sitting in this blissful silence, save for that damned wall clock. Every little 'tick' strangles me farther and farther away from reality. It's louder even, than my guitar, believe me, I strummed as loud as my pathetic little heart could let me and still, the ticking echoes in my mind. I've gotta get out of here.
Relax, I tell myself. I only had three days left anyways, before I really could get out of here, and get back to something more familiar. Leave this town and every rotten-beautiful memory behind. Leave -
Just as I'm about to sink into my reminders of her, the phone rings, and lo and behold, her number appears and her voice is in my ear. Slightly stained with alcohol, but I can tell she hasn't really started in on the bottle yet. It makes it easier to talk to her when she's a bit buzzed anyways. And the way her eyes glow slightly more, and the red tint to her cheeks ...
"So, I'm having a bit of a party, do you want to come over?"
It's been nearly a month since I saw her last, and I have no excuse. Her house is a five minute walk away from mine - wait! I tried, one night, I really did! It was four o'clock in the morning and I walked in the freezing March rain to get to her, and when I'd arrived she was gone, and I'd stayed and played her guitar. She'd never phoned me after I left that message.
"I might stop by." I lied, biting my tongue, cheek, and finally lip to have to repress the, "YES! I'll be there immediately!"-screams that were dancing on the tip of my tongue and threatening to leave my vocal chords. So, I hung up very quickly and squeezed my phone in frustrated anger, and a melancholy sadness.
Play the waiting game, I told myself. Don't let her think you're too eager. So I stayed in my apartment and endured as much of the clock as I could possibly handle, and tried strumming my guitar once more to drown out the sound, only this time my distracted thoughts helped a little bit.
One hour passes and I'm slipping farther and farther into this abysmal madness that I call a home. I've gotta get out. I've gotta leave now, I have to go visit my wonderful escape. I grab my guitar. I grab my beer. It's showtime.
The walk is refreshing, because even though it's May, there is still a hint of frigid cold in the air and when it sinks into my lungs it feels as though I'm freezing myself from the inside out. How many times had I made this walk, and turned around halfway? Always right there, right by the crosswalk, but tonight I exhaled deeply and defrosted the chill in my lungs and heart, and forced myself to keep walking.
I pause at the door, unsure of what to do next. I contemplate my next move and light up a cigarette. By the time I've made up my mind, I've exhaled the very last breath and I'm grinding it into the grass as I open the door.
She's sitting in the middle of the bed, surrounded by these strangers that I do not know, but even being here, the scent of rancid alcohol and cigarette smoke that stains the putrid air, it all has a lingering beauty to it. This could be my home. This could be the rest of my life if I wasn't so damned stubborn. But as quickly as the thoughts surface I push them to the back of my mind to manifest someday for inspiration. I take my guitar from its case and sit down on the bed, not quite beside her, but not so far away that she can't surround me with one of her hugs that I feel are reserved especially for me.
The seconds drag by like hours, the moments feel like days, but slowly and surely enough, the strangers begin to disperse like guilty children with their hands caught in the cookie jar. By two AM, there are only the three of us left. Her, myself, and the best friend she tells all of her secrets to, of this I am sure.
Her eyes are glazed and she has trouble concentrating on her lighter and cigarette. I just keep strumming my guitar casually and encourage her to keep singing. Inside my heart is racing, as it has been for days now. Can I really give this up and leave this all behind? This music.. no. I can't blame it on the music. This whatever it is, this is real.
Her friend stands up to use the washroom and just like the first time we were ever truly alone, we jump towards one another wordlessly and instantly our lips are locked, our secrets are foolishly exposed. It's never going to change, I think to myself as I gently stroke the back of her neck. We're never going to outgrow this. Even the month I'd spent away from her had no effect.
Her friend leaves and we're stuck here alone with nothing but our thoughts, and primal instincts, and the electricity and passion that we both share. This demon that burrows itself in between our veins and forces us apart while driving us each together.
And when she's exhaling her cigarette smoke and the sun is rising and we're laying next to each other sad and lonely but so close together, and she looks into my eyes and says but one word : "Stay." I have no choice. I take the cigarette from her hand and gently place it in a half-filled beer can and listen to the satisfying sizzle it makes, and I pull her closer to me, letting her head rest upon my chest and the pounding race of my heart that she has done to me. As though my heartbeat in itself could tell her the secrets that I can only ever sing about. As though I could stay forever.
In a perfect world.
I awake before she does and stare down at her with a smile stained with tears that she will never see. I silently and stealthly close myself, grab my guitar, and walk out into the sunshine that's taunting me. I stand outside the closed door and stare at the ground, noting the cigarette butt I'd stomped on nervously only a few hours before.
The clock is ticking, and if I don't leave now, I'll stay forever. So I wipe away the tears and imagine that this is best for us, and mechanically place one foot in front of the other, forcing myself to leave and begging myself to stay. I decide it's best for the both of us if I leave town that day, and before I leave the yard, I blow one last kiss right before the wind carries it through her open window and rustles her hair, and she awakes to see me walking away.