I like the early morning, mostly, I like the twilight and I like to watch the sun rise. I don't like that it means I have not slept and have no time to, again, and I don't like that the people you meet at this time of day are not the sort of people you want to meet.
I met someone once, a long time ago, at this time of day, someone I liked a lot from the moment I met him. But I have not seen him since. I was in high school and he was not, so I know that he is at least three years older than I am.
It doesn't seem like a long time to me, and I didn't then either. But he said something about me at the time that made me think that he thought it was a long time. He told me that it was so nice to meet a young person like me.
Someone prepared to be interesting.
I am still like that, I think that it is mostly due to him that I managed to stay this way. But I won't admit it out loud. I am at a bar, which is quite unusual for me, I don't drink, generally. I am out with a friend of mine for her birthday, but she has gone.
She hooked up less than an hour after we got here and now I am the only person out of our group who remains. I don't mind being here by myself except for the men. The standard seems to be slipping as the clock ticks the time away.
I have not had much to drink. As I said, I don't drink much. But I have still drunk enough that I am seriously considering leaving with the next person to ask nicely. I know that it is not a good plan, but by this point in the morning I think my standards are ticking away as well.
Someone sits down beside me. A man, he is tall, slim and quiet. I can tell that from the first sideways glance. "I didn't think I'd see you again," he says casually, hailing the bar tender.
I give him a proper look, I don't recognise him from the side.
"Would you like something to drink?" he asks me, still facing the bar tender.
"Alright," I reply, remembering the thought that maybe I will go home with this guy.
"You don't drink beer, do you?" he asks. "But you do drink…" – he pauses, trying to remember – "red wine, right?"
"Yeah," I tell him, "how do you know?"
"I remember most things," he tells me, ordering a red wine and a bourbon and cola.
"Do you know me?" I ask him, seems like the smarter question, I don't know him.
"It seems unlikely," he tells me, "it has been quite some time."
"Have we met before?" I ask him, he seems a little familiar, but only his manner.
"We have," he says, "five years, four months two weeks and three days ago. We spent six hours and eight minutes together."
"And you remember that?" I ask, wowed by the fact that he remembers the numbers.
"I retain information," he tells me.
The bartender hands him the drinks. He turns to me and slides the red wine in front of me. He takes a drink and that is what I see of him, around the glass he looks familiar but I can't quite place it. He drains the glass in one swig, which is reminiscent of someone…
Then he puts the glass down on the bar and I can see his eyes. They are like the eyes that I remember. I think that his eyes are what attracted me to him in the first place. His eyes are a strange shade of grey, flecked with blue and green. But these are different from so long ago, back then they were filled with passion and somehow also filled with its complete absence. Now there is only the absence.
"Mira Sanchez, right?" he asks me.
I nod wordlessly, no idea what to say. I have thought about this guy pretty much nonstop since the day after I met him. I can do nothing but look at him, speechless, for more than a minute. In that time he somehow manages to get another bourbon and coke without me noticing.
He drinks the entire thing again and the spell is broken. "I know I asked you this last time we met, but why don't you just get the bourbon without the coke if you want to drink it so fast?" I ask him.
"Same reason as last time," he tells me, "I don't want to drink it so fast, I just do."
After that we spend something like three hours catching up, we would move to a table but he keeps drinking, which is something I remember about him. He drinks constantly, pouring drink after drink down his face but doesn't show it.
It takes all three of those hours for him to start getting tipsy.
But we keep going, I am really getting drunk and he doesn't seem to be. I would think that he has built up resistance but he was like this last time too. I know I shouldn't have been drinking back when I was that young, but I'm over it.
Two hours later and I have not had a drink for a while but he is still drinking. We seem to be out of things to talk about. We are all caught up and suddenly his drinking is a little concerning, somehow it wasn't when we were talking.
My phone rings.
I manage to answer it, despite somehow forgetting how to for a while.
"Hello?" I manage to not sound blitzed into the phone.
"You should definitely stop drinking," a voice I don't know tells me. "Sorry," she immediately continues. "Is my brother there?"
Somehow I know that he is.
I hand him the phone and he takes it without asking. "Hello sister," he says, not sounding the least bit inebriated, or surprised.
I can't hear anything of what she says but he says 'sure' a lot and then hangs up and hands the phone back. "Sorry about that," he says.
"Hmm?" somehow I don't get what he is apologising for.
"She knows when I drink too much," he says. "And she always knows the number to call."
I can't honestly say that I remember anything else except him stoping me kissing him at my door. And I think I gave him my number. I wake the next afternoon sure, for some unknown reason, that I need to work today. I have no job and it is Sunday.
I get up consider breakfast. But first I need to throw up.
I check my messages while munching on cereal. I have one message.
"You need a job."
I know it is from my mother, because that is all it says.
The phone rings and I manage to not scream, or run away. My mother has this strange way of knowing when I listen to her messages. But it clicks and starts recording a message.
"Maybe I should get an answering machine," he says.
"You answer your phone anyway," his sister says.
"I am trying to leave a message," he tells her.
"I know," she replies, there is the sound of footsteps retreating.
"Sorry if this is too early in the day for you, you did drink a lot," I can hear him smile as he says that, I swear it is true. "I am mostly checking that this is the right number. And I was curious as to whether or not you want to get a coffee later, something non-alcoholic."
"Did I hear non-alcoholic?" his sister sounds like she is in another room. "Count me in."
"I hope that is alright," he says, I think to me, he doesn't talk louder. "You will enjoy meeting her again."
"Again?" I wonder aloud as he hangs up his phone.
I finish my breakfast and get dressed, I was wearing pyjamas. For some reason I want to be dressed when I talk to him. I pick up my phone and find that I don't know his number. Surely he would have left it in the message if I didn't know it.
I look around a bit only to find that it is written on the back of my hand.
Did I forget my mobile last night? No, it is out of battery now. Didn't I give him my mobile number?
I plug my mobile in to charge and call him on the landline.
One ring and the phone is picked up.
"Sorry Mira, but he is in the shower," his sister says.
"I gather you are coming," I say, "I was just calling to make a time, and place."
"I'll get a pen," she says.
There is a rustling and she comes back. "Ok, go," she says.
"Um…" I can't really think straight, she sounds like he did all that time ago. It is like she is the other half of the guy I met so long ago. "In an hour at the coffee shop up the road from my place?" I suggest, I can't remember any details right now.
"I think two hours is better," she says. "I need a shower as well."
"All right," I concede. "Two hours, and do you know where I am talking about?"
"No, but my brother will," she tells me and I hear her writing.
"See you then," I say.
"Yep," she replies, hanging up.
That was weird.
I have my own shower and get dressed and then I just lie on my bed and wonder what to do now. I have an hour and a half and a four minute walk. I get up and turn on my computer. I check my emails and my page on seek.
I was fairly sure when I started that I would have nothing on either of those sites.
I don't, and I think my neighbour is catching on to my using his internet.
One hour and a four minute walk left.
What am I supposed to do for a whole damn hour?
Lie around tends to be the answer to those questions and today is no exception. I lie around for something like an hour wondering what I should be doing before I notice that all I have left is a four minute walk. Or a ten minute walk.
I get there early, which is pretty much the point, but I don't order anything because if all you are having is coffee then it kind of defeats the purpose if you order before anyone else gets there. So I just sit at the table and wait.
They arrive exactly on time, and I mean exactly. I am just checking the time when they sit down as the minute changes. Exactly on time in an uncanny way. I look up and his sister looks like he does, that is what I notice.
I have the same moment with her that I had with her brother, I just see the guy I met so long ago.
But somehow seeing them together makes it… more.
The feeling is stronger, like I am seeing the guy I fell for five years ago. Like I am seeing him exactly, but only now that they are together. To be perfectly honest it freaks the hell out of me and I seriously consider leaving, the only reason I don't is the look in her eyes.
He brother's eyes have the absence but she has all the passion he had five years ago and none of the same absence. Like someone split him in two and came out with this brother and sister. I seriously consider that for a long moment.
"She sure catches on fast," he says, glancing into the café.
"Already?" she asks him, looking somewhere between impressed and disappointed.
"What?" I ask, but the waiter comes, I didn't even know there was a waiter here.
"What can I get you?" the man asks.
"Two short blacks," she says, he just nods.
"Can I get a cappuccino?" I ask.
"Be right back with those," the waiter says, departing.
"What did I catch on to?" I ask.
"That thought just now," she says, "'like someone split him in two.'"
Somehow the part that isn't surprising is that she knows what I am thinking. "So…?" a prompt more than a question but she answers me none the less.
"Do you have any idea how old he was when you met him?" She asks.
I shake my head, I didn't know. "I thought he was about three or four years older than me," I tell her.
She starts laughing but her brother stays serious. "He was thirty eight," he says.
"But you look way younger than that now, and he did then," I protest, that is the only word for it, a protest. I did not fall for a thirty eight year old, I certainly did not.
"That is a lie," she tells me matter-of-factly.
"But it is also the case that he fell for you," he tells me. Obviously that part did not happen for him.
"He split his life in half so that he would be the same age as you," she tells me. "But there were a couple of problems."
"He split his personality into us," he tells me. "I have no fire, like he had no fire. But my sister has fire like he had fire. She has feminine like I have masculine."
I do remember him being somewhat effeminate, in his looks and his manner, but not enough that he was half and half. I can't really help but look at her, she is the fire that I craved so much back then, the confident femininity that even I, a girl, didn't have.
She is everything that I loved about him, and he is all that was left over.
"I remember everything," he tells me.
"And I don't remember the numbers I punch into my phone," she says.
"But we both remember you," they say it in unison and it is exactly how I remember his voice being.
"But you guys are like… forty three, aren't you?" I ask, that is weird, they look my age.
"He split his life into us," she tells me. "We are twenty three."
Twenty three is very close to my age. But I can't shake the feeling that she is the part of him that I actually liked the most while he is… not. I'm not sure what it is that he has, I don't remember much about the first time we met, a while ago. I only remember the parts that I want to. And all of those parts seem to have gone to her.
I'm not sure if I am comfortable with that, but I am more than prepared to find out. Someone once told me that you don't really work yourself out until you find what it is that you like. So you just keep trying, someone else added that, someone I didn't like. But I can take whatever advice helps.
She is giving me a look, he is not. The look I am getting is not something I don't like, it is just something I have never had from a woman before. But it is also the case that I have never wanted to take up the promise of that look. Before now.
The coffees arrive and we are quiet until the waiter leaves, I could've sworn that there were no waiters here. He blows on his coffee, then he downs it like I watched him down so many drinks the night before and stands.
"I am going to go out on a limb and say that I am not important here," he says. "Mira has my number, call me if that changes."
He walks away and I am left with the part of his personality that I liked. Except the assertive part apparently.
"So… um…" I want to ask what other bits she got, but I don't really know how.
"Don't worry," she says. "I got the mind reading and I got the libido, and I got the passion," she pauses. "It isn't really that simple in most cases, but I got all of the passion and the entire libido. So really he got neither. It is mostly hard to say with most stuff, but those two things it isn't."
I get the feeling she is reassuring me of something, but I haven't had a boyfriend is about a year, and I have never had a girlfriend, or even a female lover. I really don't know what the signals I should be responding to are. Or even… anything.
"I would like to think that it is similar to with guys," she says, "except that you have to think of what you would normally do and work backwards."
"That pretty much involves throwing up," I tell her, "all guys seem to want to do is get me drunk."
"It certainly worked for my brother," she says, somewhere between teasing a jealousy.
She is easy to read but hard to work out, that would be my appraisal, if I had one. "I was trying to keep up with him for something in the area of two hours," I say, justifying myself to her. I know that she knows what her brother is like.
"Maybe I got most of the psychic stuff," she says, almost to herself. "That is a very good way to get drunk," she directs this at me.
"I know," I reply, sipping my coffee, it is still too hot. She hasn't touched hers.
"I am letting it cool more," she tells me.
She did say that she got the mind reading.
Mind reading? Whatever.
We sit there and chat for a while, she downs her coffee in one mouthful like her brother did, but really that is the entire point of a short black. She orders a cake thing for me but not for herself, I'm not really sure why that is. But the cake is nice.
I eventually finish my coffee and – tactfully – suggest that we go back to my place.
So now we are in my home. And I kind of feel like things are heating up. Mostly because they are I guess. We are on the bed and I don't think she has stopped touching me since we got here. But we are still both dressed, so maybe it isn't heating up so much.
Her hand gets under my clothes and I find it difficult to think anymore.
And now I am not wearing clothes.
It is weirdly hard to keep track of what is happening.
We are both naked now and I am on my back.
And now it is late in the day and I am pretty hungry.
But there are better things to do, neither of us are asleep.