maybe a little drunk on satisfaction
During summer, your eyes were gold on Sunday mornings. You told me once it was because of that one time when you were a kid and you fell into a pot of fairydust near the river by your parent's house, which is the shittiest story I have ever heard, but I believed you anyway.
On any other day, your eyes are amber, warm like autumn, with just a slight breeze of gold stuck to the edges. I think of autumn leaves crunching beneath bare feet, fragile and crisp, vulnerable like the space between us right this minute. I think of fire when I see them now.
"Why didn't you answer your fucking phone?" you snarl after several seconds of gathering your breath and staring as though you could disintegrate me if you stared long enough. I raise a brow, fold my arms before my chest. "Doesn't matter. Where's my shit?"
"Probably in the toilet, where it belongs. Did you bring Eleanor?" I question.
Eleanor, the cat we bought together. The cat that woke me every morning so I would feed him; the very one that spent time with me, watching cartoons at four a.m. while you slept, snoring loudly and I imagined it was you laughing at some stupid joke I didn't quite get.
Eleanor was as much mine as he was yours. In fact, I still remember how you lectured me about naming him after Eleanor Boardman—a woman, you'd yelled—because The Crowd is still my favourite movie of all time.
I kind of think it represented us quite well, actually, for a while—right?
"I am not fucking with you." You take a step towards me. "I want my shit."
And I think of the day when I first kissed you at the twin's party nine months ago; our friends that have now become exclusively yours. Yeah, it hurt deleting their number as they requested I do such because you told them to—because you told pretty much everyone to ask me to, and I just obliged. I remember the way everything inside of me went cold when you didn't kiss me back. I remember standing there for a moment, mouth wide open and eyes even wider, wanting to apologise, trying to tell you that it was a mistake. I remember turning away so quickly my world spun and everything blurred, went black for a moment and then stabilised again.
I remember that soft smile you gave me—the one I've only ever seen then—when you tugged me back to tell me it was entirely okay and that you felt the same way about me. You deserve nothing more than okay.
And now I think how you are the biggest asshole I've ever come across. Especially now that I can only think of how you told me I should not be ashamed of loving someone of the same gender, then, just three months later, you tossed me aside for someone of the opposite gender, telling me I was just a test subject and that my taste on your tongue was foul, pretty damn disgusting. You told me God would punish me for tempting you, and now we're here, in this cataclysm of a relationship.
"You left me for a crackhead," I state with a raised brow, leaning against the door frame. "Maybe, sweetheart, you should go ask that girlfriend of yours if she didn't sell your shit for her next fix."
I think of the first night you took me home and how you were straight to the point when you grabbed my hand and locked your bedroom door. I remember giggling. I remember lifting your shirt over your head. I remember the first time you told me you loved me.
But you aren't as warm now. You are not smiling that gap-toothed smile. Instead, you lean forward. You grit your teeth. Nostrils flaring, you hiss, "Don't you talk about Tabby that way."
"Who the fuck calls themselves that?" I say incredulously, throwing my arms up in the air. "How can you even date someone named Tabby?"
"Listen, I just want my fucking spare key back and my stuff, get it?" Your face is so close to mine I can smell your breath, which still smells of vanilla, like it used to. And it is a shame that I still like your scent. "Just give back what you stole—" you pause to lick your lips— "okay?"
"I have absolutely no clue what you are talking about." It is a huge coincidence that I finally took a shower today, an hour or two before you came, actually, after my two weeks of sulking, which has been just another way of my coping with this. "Where is Eleanor?"
"God fucking—" Your fist collides with the door. I watch your muscles ripple, stare at the dent you leave behind. "I just want my stuff back. I just want my key. Just give them back."
"What exactly are you missing? Told you to ask your girlfriend."
You glower. "Look here, you fucking know damn well what the fuck I am missing because you fucking took it." I open my mouth to say something snarky, but you continue, in that same angry tone of yours that makes me want to smile, saying, "She can't sell drawings for drugs."
I gasp, pressing my palm to my chest. "No?" I ask innocently. "I think they are worth something; pretty damn attractive model, you—"
"Just give me my keys, then."
"Just your sketch pad that's gone? Nothing more?"
I watch the way your right eye twitches. Your shoulders tense and you're trying really hard to stay calm, not to make more of a scene than you already are. That's really not a problem, though, because the neighbour to my right is a drunk and the other is an old lady, which you know—not that I think you're actually worrying about that.
"You know damn well what else," you say.
"Sorry, no clue, really. Ask Tabby the fucktwat, she probably knows."
"Key," you growl.
"Right." I purse my lips, run my tongue across my bottom one. "Say, dear, would you like to come in and have a seat while I go get it?" You grit your teeth. "No?" I let out a deep breath. "You always liked the sofa, called it heaven, slept there for hours, through quality movies, mind you, sweetheart, honestly, how could you have slept through—"
"Go fucking get it so I can get out of this shithole."
"Shithole," I mimic your tone with a frown. You used to tell me my flat was unique, beautiful, spoke volumes about who I was. The way you always said it, gently, peppering my neck with kisses, made me realise just how hard I've fallen for you. You used to tell me, unexpectedly, quietly, between whispers—of shush, dear, this is where the movie gets even better and pizza or chinese, sweetheart?—that you wouldn't mind spending the rest of your life here, with me, in this apartment. "Right."
I pull the key from my pocket then because I always have it on me. You scoff while I twist it around between my fingers. "Aren't you curious?" I ask, quietly, hesitantly for the first time. The question rings and echoes in my ears, drowning the sound of my wildly beating heart.
You've long stepped back, adding space between us that shouldn't be there.
"How I feel, right now," I say, looking up and into your eyes.
It actually hurts to think of how I bloomed underneath your palm. I'd watch how you traced flower patterns on my chest, right above my heart, adding kisses every now and then. It hurts to know that you will haunt my body—that this is where you died and where you'll stay forever.
"Well?" I prompt.
You laugh so loud it rings in the hallway, shake your head, then say, "I really don't give a fuck," while thrusting out your hand for the key.
"Of course." I stare at your open palm, at your fingers, at the place where my hand should be. It's funny, thinking about you like that again, because it feels like I should burn for what I did to you; standing in front of you like an enemy feels utterly wrong. "You never did, did you?"
You don't hesitate, don't even breathe, when you say, "No." The answer is crisp, short, said with a casual shrug of your shoulders.
"Can I get—"
"I am not bringing you the fucking cat, okay?" You snatch the key from me and turn to leave. Our skin does not touch. Your back is straight, shoulders squared, and I know you are walking out of my life.
I can only try to understand how not to miss you.
"I just want Eleanor, please." I've taken a step outside my door. I have taken a step to go after you. I would go after you, any day, any time, whenever you ask me to again. "Could you just give me the cat? I honestly do not have your stuff. I swear I don't. Ask Tabby if she's seen it."
You turn, your eyes no longer as stern as they were. The tension's been zapped from you. "He's mine as much as he is yours," you say.
I try to smile because that's much easier to focus on. I try to blink some tears away. I try not to think of this as a final farewell. I try to hate you. I want to say something clever, something that will make you reconsider this, shake your head and give me a genuine laugh. But I can't really think of anything so I say, "Can I have him on the weekends?"
You roll your eyes. "You are not getting the cat, that's it," you say each word slowly, as though I am daft, which really hurts. Then you look down at the key in your hand. "Just keep away from me, okay?"
"I'll trust you this once." You look at me again and shrug. I shrug too, give you a smile. "I'll...I will ask Tabby if she's misplaced the...stuff."
"Or sold it?" I offer.
"Fuck off," you snarl and stomp down the stairs.
I can't help but laugh at the fact that you would rather walk down eight flights of stairs—when once upon a time you refused to—than stand there and wait for the elevator, which means being in my presence a minute or so longer. I only stop laughing when it turns hysterical.
I linger by the door. I stay still, leaning against the wall, closing my eyes and listening to the echoes of your boots, which bounce off of the walls as you walk further and further away from me.
When I am sure I am just imagining the sound of your boots now, I walk back inside. It's a slow process of looking back. Eventually, I close the door behind myself and go straight to the living room, picking up your sketch pad, which I've placed on the coffee table right before you came banging on my door and yelling for me to open the fuck up.
Thinking of you makes me glance up at my cup of tea and the seven copies of your key I've made, all sitting there in a row, next to the watch your father gave you when you were seventeen, which you always keep on your dresser. I blink back a few tears and then end up looking at your jacket hanging on one of the kitchen chairs where you left it, as though, I keep imagining, it is the excuse you made to come back someday.
I look back down at the drawings, thinking of how gently your palm would always slide against the paper, how you put so much effort and focus and love into each one. I think of how shy you were when I caught you once. I keep flipping through the pages, staring at all the pictures of me: naked, dressed, smiling at you. I focus on the date of each of them.
Especially the one you drew three days ago.