I think we’re alone now. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. The beating of our hearts is the only sound. Can you hear them pound? I can hear mine. The lub-dub of my heart is a loud roaring in my ears. The frantic tattoo is nothing compared to the speed of the thoughts running through my brain. If you look deep enough into my eyes, you’ll see them flit across, like a slot machine that matches three images to give you cash.
I think we’re alone now. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. We’ve been running as fast as we can, as fast as our schedules would permit us, to this place, to this oasis that exists in the vast wasteland of work, bills and needless taxes. It almost seems surreal – you, bathed in the glow of the light coming in from the open window. The orange hue of the overzealous street light across the street that lights up the walls of our apartment kisses your hair gently, and your body is aflame with the intensity of it. My body is aflame with the intensity of you.
I think we’re alone now. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. The stillness of the apartment is a welcome reprieve from the seemingly endless chatter that pervaded it for hours on end. The last of our friends have said their goodbyes, shuffling into their rides drunkenly. It would occur to me to hope they get home safely if I am not busy noticing that we’re finally alone. I lock the door and turn around to face you.
Your features are still arranged into that of the perfect hostess. You wear that mask so easily, and it almost frightens me how you wear different faces so effortlessly. I’m not frightened though, because no matter what mask you wear when you have to face the world, you never wear one with me. I know you. I have felt you and coexisted with you in your space. There’s no part of you I haven’t seen, no mask of yours I haven’t broken into smithereens to get to the beautiful soul that lives beneath.
I know this because you’re the only person who knows me, too. Your presence allows me to just be, without fear of judgement. I am never anyone but myself around you, and it is the most liberating feeling ever. It gladdens me immensely that I do the same for you; that my presence is the space where you allow yourself to exist without any frills.
You look beautiful as you stand there by the couch, frowning at the mess that inhabits our usually impeccable living room. I can see you calculating how long it would take to clean up. You’re also wondering if it would be better to clean now and sleep in tomorrow, or go to bed now and let future us worry about it. It’s always fun observing you trying to figure out the most efficient way to do a thing. I would look at your face as it makes those nearly imperceptible movements that mean you’re assessing a situation, except we’re alone now, and I want to hold you. It’s been the slowest of tortures, watching you look effortlessly gorgeous tonight and not being able to have you to myself and tell you how you’re making the blood race through my veins.
“Hey, we’re alone now.” I breathe the words gently into the air in front of me. I stretch out my arms and you come to me. Cupping your cheek in my hand, I look into your eyes. Eyes that are a sensuous banquet of incredibly long lashes, that act as a sybaritic frame around a mesmerising hue of the most vivid brown, a shade so vibrant, as if to hint that no matter how still you may be, there is never a dull moment with you, only intensely moving experiences. I will never tire of watching you. I watch as the veneer slips, as with each passing second, a part of your façade fades until all I see when I look in your eyes, is you. My reflection in your eyes is smiling back at me, and the smile on my face widens as you sink into me. Your long lashes sweep your cheek when you blink. Every move you make enchants me, no matter how minute.
I don’t know how long we stand there. It feels good to just be, to just breathe you in and feel you against me. I don’t want to be anywhere else but here.
“Tonight was fun, but let’s not do it again for a very long time.” Your voice is low; its usual breathy quality diluted by exhaustion. You speak to my chest, the differences in our height making it easy for you to rest your head there. I chuckle and nod my assent. Keeping adults entertained for hours can be surprisingly tiring. You’re the more social of us, and I let you work your magic while I skulked in the darker corners of our apartment. I showed up only when necessary, which was never. Nothing goes awry when you’re in charge, and the housewarming party went much better than I thought it would.
“I agree. I can’t deal with that many drunk people at once for another century.”
I feel your low laughter vibrate against my chest. I like it when your mirth travels from your body into mine. It’s as if it awakens all the little nerve endings in my body that were otherwise dormant, and I begin to feel you even more intensely. Your laughter is contagious, the sort that causes anyone in the vicinity to laugh too, even if they have no idea what’s funny.
“Wanna take a shower, get high and watch Hell’s Kitchen?” It’s my turn to laugh. It took a lot of convincing and bribery to get you to watch an episode of Hell’s Kitchen. Now, you’re as addicted as I am.
“Sure, but let me hold you some more.”
“Whenever you say that, we end up standing in the same place forever.” You intend to grumble, but I know you enjoy this too. Your arms tighten around me as you speak. You aren’t ready to let go either. There’s something alluring about being in your arms. I stopped trying to figure out what it was a long time ago. I simply allow myself to enjoy the pull of you.
I think we’re alone now. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. The beating of my heart is the only sound. I can hear it beat frantically in my chest, the loud roaring drowning out the loud thoughts that won’t give me a moment’s respite when I am alone. I know if I took a look in a mirror, the haunted look would be back in them, as if a thousand ghosts had made their habitat in my soul, and my eyes were the only place by which they could make their presence known. Aren’t the eyes the windows to the soul? Which better place to announce themselves through?
I think we’re alone now. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around. I’ve been running as fast as I can, trying to flee from the memory of you, the thought of you, the very essence of you that haunts every corner of the apartment we shared for years. I moved into a new apartment, I made new friends and last night, I threw a housewarming party, even though I hate social events. Perhaps all I needed was a complete change of scenery. New apartment, new people, new memories.
You taught me how to be around people without wanting to run away and hide. It doesn’t escape me how I am trying to survive without you with skills you taught me. It doesn’t matter what I do. You are a part of me now, whether or not I am ready to accept it. It happened so slowly, I didn’t realise it until I was too far gone to care. You have permeated every part of my existence in ways that I cannot get rid of. I carry you in little deeds, in weird inactions, in the mannerisms that have become such a part of me, I almost don’t realise that these are things I never did till I met you.
You’re already in this apartment before I’ve made it truly mine. There is no escaping you, no fleeing from the effects you had on me over the course of our time together. You’re in the paintings I hung up, even though I prefer bare walls. You’re in the coasters I use now, even though I really don’t care about surfaces getting ugly. If I can’t let you go, I will make room for you in my life. I already have. You’re here. You’re everywhere. Even if no one else sees you, I do.
So, I think we’re alone now, finally. There’s no one and nothing to distract me from the memories of you that haunt me ceaselessly. I’ll make us some tea and we’ll binge Hell’s Kitchen. After all, it’s just another Sunday morning and we’ve nothing else to do but be.