Just for tonight
Just maybe we’ll make it
Sing like you want this
Sing like you want this
Just one more minute, she thought staring at the clock which currently read a painful 7:59. She had been doing since 4 this morning and after abruptly waking she was begging for that time where it seemed acceptable to get up, especially since she was on vacation. Excited to be in a vibrant American city, not one day of her holiday seemed to possess that aching lie-in that most people actually went on a break for. Not her, the moment her feet skimmed the ground of the airport and her eyes froze onto the flashing lights it was as if the city had embraced her; she welcomed it in her heart.
The red lights of time shuddered to 8, she threw off her covers, shuddering from the morning cold, ran straight to the bathroom. Steam filled the bathroom as she slid from her pyjamas and stepped underneath the soothing stream. She cleansed the slumber from her pores and let it wash over her scarlet hair. Going through her week’s events, she wondered about what would happen upon her last day here and the pang nearly consumed her pulse. She would be sad to go but life, supposedly, does not stop for dreamers. Or their dreams. Thinking about this made her sad so she shook her head and promised to savour this day. This last day. Climbing out of the shower, she caught her eyes in the mirror. God I need coffee she grimaced, her blue eyes with a hint of red,/ time to walk again/. Padding into her bedroom of the hotel, she wasted no time in getting dressed (simple skinny jeans, jacket and t-shirt,) grabbing her bag, wallet, keys and iPod (the most important) and rushing out of the hotel.
Travelling alone had this great advantage, a slight piece of freedom and control she good use without having to consult a group of friends and organise the moans. Her favourite use of this time was walking, simply walking. She loved taking in the sights and the people she passed, some of them now giving her nod on passing her everyday this week. A smile broke across her face at this acknowledgement and it spun throughout her bones. Moving on, her eyes basked in the views and blinked out of the beauty that surpassed her own home. She sighed and stepped along to the constant beats of her blaring music. This solace is all she needed and she thanked herself for the decision to do this on her own. Emerging herself in the music, she strolled along.
She must have walked for a while because she found her self in the centre of the city facing the working hours. Suits and briefcases cluttering her sights, she hunched her shoulders and attempted to avoid them, which didn’t seem to make a difference as she was barged, knocked and shouted at as she battled against the tide of torsos. The bustle of bodies could not hide the simple scent of coffee, although some odours tried. She could see the sign, the same café she had been visiting every morning and soon she turned into the doors. She was almost grateful that she had left the hectic world outside until her nose brushed the back of the gentlemen in front of her. The queue was long and she was at the back. Patience was not a strong point; she blew the bangs out of her face and tapped her hands against her legs.
Although her eyes were fixated on the clock, she seemed to get through in no time and soon she was ordering warm cup of coffee. As she grabbed it, stupidly expecting it to be cooler than the boiling heat that was seeping through the cardboard and scolding her skin, her eyes scanned the seats and table. Full. Full. Full. Her feet were aching and she couldn’t stand much long nor did she want to sit outside whilst the heaving masses rushed to work. Yet the more she looked, the more it seemed that the cold park bench was becoming likelier by the second. She had started to walk to a door when an empty wooden space caught her eye. Making sure she was not invading a group of close friends, she found just a solitary boy sat there. He was about her age; cute but was fixated on his laptop, one headphone in, one dropping down his denim jacket. A hat tip and thick glasses hid his eyes but nonetheless he seemed friendly enough to steal that little bit of personal space. She shyly walked over and loomed over him, he peered up to catch her saying; “May I take this seat?”
He nodded and using the tip of his colourful shoes, he pushed it to clear more space for her. Smiling politely, she sat down and placed the coffee far away from his laptop because around her, sometimes, accidents like that happen. She decided not to interrupt him further as he seemed intense of the work he was doing so she popped her headphones in her one ear and turned the volume up. Prince’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover” streamed joyfully through her system and she delved in her bag, retrieved her travel journal and began a writing flurry of thoughts onto the page. She was blissfully in her own world.
It was half way through the song when a small tap hit her hand that was busy making notes. She jumped out of the sudden connection and looked up to find the boy staring at her a little bit concerned. Pulling out her headphones, he leaned forward and said “You’re singing.”
“No I wasn’t,” she replied indignantly but she went red as he softly nodded at her, “oh god, how loud was I?”
The boy softly hinted at the room and when she looked around an array of faces looked at her weirdly, some even whispering. She turned away from the crowd, trying to hide her scarlet cheeks; she wrapped the headphones around her iPod and thought it save she hid it way away in her bag.
“Don’t worry, I don’t think anyone heard,” he said, a little too cheekily and moved back to his work as she stared into her coffee. An air of tension filled the space between them. He shifted uncomfortably, cough slightly and went, “Prince fan?”
She weakly smiled at his attempt to cool her down, she breathed out softly, “the biggest.”
”Ha ha yeah right,” he said and moved his jacket so she could see the curly haired pop star strumming a purple guitar, immortalised on this strangers jacket, “beat that.”
She nodded and pulled up the sleeve of her fleece jacket showing him the words Rich On Personality and muttered, “checkmate.”
”Okay Okay, “ he giggled and raised his hands, “you win, but it was a close call.”
”Have you ever seen him live?”
”Never had a chance”
“Then it wasn’t a close call,” she winked.
He held his hands to his chest, “man that was like taking a bullet” and they both shared a vast giggle before he held out his hand, “So what’s your name then?”
She took his hand but simply said, “Anonymous,” he peered at her but she just shook her head, “I’m sorry I don’t do first name basis with guys I just met, maybe later though; if this conversation takes us to later. What’s yours?”
“Maybe I don’t want to give you mine either,” he scoffed lightly, retrieving his hand, “After all you were the one who sat down next to me, maybe you are one of those girls who pounces on guys when they are least expecting it; black widow type thing. You could be a predator.”
”At 10 in the morning? I don’t think so; anyway you were the one who spoke to me first.”
“That’s because you were singing. I couldn’t just let you carry on, who knows what tunes you could’ve killed before I stopped you.”
”HEY!” she said tapping him softly, “you don’t know me well enough to make fun of me. That’s a little unfair.”
”Okay, fair enough.” He said and met her eyes; his sparkled green. “So I gather you are British then?”
”Oh how could you tell?” she sarcastically replied.
“The accent is a big give away,” he muttered a little dumfounded.
”Yeah annoyingly,” she snapped and felt an instant remorse from doing so, “I’m sorry, again, its just I have been here for a week and that’s all I get from restaurants, cafes, receptionists, even strangers –“ she then mocked an American accent “ ‘Oh you’re British? You have such an adorable accent. Can you say this? Oh dear look how she says it, isn’t the cutest thing?’”
“Whoa stereotype much?” He said as he slowly shut the lid on his computer, but he smiled, “It must be frustrating especially being so far a home and alone. I take it you’re alone?”
”Kind of a creepy question to be asking a stranger isn’t it?”
”It just seems you are the type of girl to have loads of friends back there that having coffee by yourself would be impossible. So you being here at this time alone, you must have travelled alone. Or run away.”
She grinned, peeling away from his eyes and taking a sip off her coffee, /did he just compliment me? /She thought as she blushed a little; the rouge tinting her cheeks and warmth she felt could not have come from the coffee. She managed to look up at him, “Yeah I am alone.”
”Cool,” and he shoved his laptop in his bag simultaneously as she shoved her notebook away, “How long have you been here?”
”Oh nearly a week, I go back tomorrow.”
”So what have you seen?”
”Oh you know every tourist attraction this place has to offer,” she rose her hands “I have souvenirs up to here.”
“Soooo none of the good places, right?” He rose an eyebrow at her as she gave a friendly scowl. He got up off his seat “Come on then.”
“What?” shocked, she stared up at him. He took her hand and lifted her off a seat, letting go sheepishly as she looked down at him, “you don’t expect me to…”
”Oh come on, I’m not going to kidnap you from a busy coffee, at a busy time in a busy city in broad daylight,” he replied to her shock and before she could protest he jumped in, “Look, you can say no if you want to but I work around my own time and you should have a day of someone local showing you properly around the city, before you go. Come Anonymous, what do you say? We can stay right near people if you want to…”
That made him laugh and she flapped her arms saying “Right, okay, no need to go on, lead the way tour guide..” and she followed him around the door.
Walking along the pavement, the wind bustled around them as they both stepped silently with their hands in the pocket, he was a little bit a head of her but she feared for the physical connection as though he may grab her any minute; whisking her off to trouble. Not just that but they hadn’t said a word since the coffee shop and that was ten minutes ago and the awkwardness stung the air. From time to time, they looked as though they were going to start but how do you? To someone you don’t even know? She sighed and kicked a stray stone that came into her path. He looked at her and a bit of sadness hit him, this wasn’t going to plan; “so have you been to the beach?”
”I’ve been to many a beach.”
”Ah yes but not this beach,” he coyly replied, slowly a little beach so they are side by side.”
“What’s so special about this beach?”
”It’s my beach” and his eyes twinkled at her.
The ice had broken and they begun to chat just like before as they walked from metres to miles to go to the beach. He occasionally would stop to show her some landmarks she hadn’t know, birthplaces or urban legends. Or sometimes, the best of times, he would pull her into some dusty record shop and flick furiously through the sleeves; happy knowing that she was skimming just as fast. This always lead to a heated debate about music; whilst most times they matched on musically likings there were times where the conversation turned sour;
“How could you not like David Bowie?” he said, for the thousandth time, “you’re British, he is an icon.”
”I didn’t say I didn’t like him, I merely said that I didn’t get into him except from epic crotch shots from The Labyrinth. He just didn’t appeal to me.”
”You are lucky that you like The Genius that is Ray Charles otherwise you’d be stranded.”
”Well,” she said pulling leaflets and sheets out of her bag, “I do have maps” and they emerged themselves in giggles. As they carried on down the steep decline she looked around from him to stare at the glistening waters and golden shore that was cupped by such a glorious city, “erm wow.”
”See, see what I mean…” He sighed and took her hand, rushing her down to the sand. She stopped him to rip off her shoes so she could feel the heat beneath her soles. He pulled her along until he nearly pulled her into the water. She got to ankle high before she realised, screaming as she kicked water at him and drenching his beloved Prince T-Shirt. “You are going to pay for that.”
”Bring it, you pansy,” and the two supposedly adults began soaking each other until they exhausted themselves collapsing upon the sand, not caring that their clothes stuck to them and attracted the beige parts of sand.
They laughed through their exhaustion taking in the pearls of oxygen that was fed to them buy the ocean breeze. She couldn’t help but pan out at the wondrous heaven she had been led to and thought about leaving it all behind. She lifted her knees, cupped them with her hands and leaned on them. He regained his breath and looked at her, “are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m just thinking..”
”About going home?”
She lifted her head, stunned that he realised this so soon, she took a sharp gift of breath, “Yes but it isn’t home. Not really,” and then she couldn’t stop herself, “It’s just, not here. My life revolves around schedules, plans and other people. I haven’t a second to myself, I am just not me anymore. I battle from day to day barely having the time so I can sit down and do what I do. Everyone is so safe. Including me. And my love life, pah, I am stuck between guys without passion and people who thinks passion means having sex all the time. I just thought I’d leave the neuroticism at home and play it dangerous. I came here because I never had such a calling to one place than here and,” she stood up, “there is so much vibrancy, so much creativity, all in this place. I have done so much I wanted to do just down to this one place.” She turned and looked down at him, “how can I go back home?”
He stared at her, blinking through his now stained glasses. Taking them off and wiping them clean with the bottom of the shirt, he stood up next to her; “this place has problems too, trust me. I have lived here my whole life and it isn’t perfect. Nowhere is perfect. Maybe you like it so much because you haven’t been here long enough to experience the imperfections. And maybe you shouldn’t”
“Maybe, but who wants to live on maybes?” she wiped a small tear from her eye. “I should get going, I need to get changed and such…”
”Where are you staying?” she reluctantly gave him the hotel name and he violently shook his head, “uh uh you aren’t going that far in this state.”
”My clothes will be fine. They may hurt for a while but I can walk that out..”
”That’s not what I meant. Look I’m only five minutes,” and he pointed into the direction, “I am pretty sure I have some clothes from my ex- “ he paused, “ex girlfriend, she was your size.”
”Oooh maybe that’s not a good idea, if you have a girlfriend.”
”I said ex.”
”Still, doesn’t sound like the wounds have healed,” she whispered, “maybe I should chance it, a little chaffing never hurt anyone…”
“Too. Much. Information.” He said slowly and leaned in, kissing her on the cheek, “it will just be for a moment….seriously five minutes.”
She couldn’t help but beam at him, white rows of happiness parallel as the imprint of his lips still tingled delicately on her cheek. He turned around and walked off as she dutifully followed, feeling a lighter air underneath her feet and a swarm of butterflies colliding into her stomach wall.
The house was more than five minutes away, not by much but she couldn’t help noticing. When they reached the street, they stood in a line of suburban houses all puffing away with worried wives, hardworking husbands and a chorus of chattering children, skipping outside. He carried on taking her down the curving road waving politely as the hands hosed the gardens or trimmed the hedges. There was a scent of summer holidays as the heat waved across the emerald grass and barbecues raged in backyards. The flurry of chatter rose and dimmed as they passed house by house, each with its own personality but fitting in nicely with the clan.
Eventually he slowed down and spun to walk up a garden path, she in took every fragment that built the house. Tracing the layers, the foundations and committing it to memory. Her heart strummed in her chest as he turned to face her and she couldn’t help wondering if it was fear or love. Either way she was about to risk something and she couldn’t help wondering if it was going to be good, or bad. She stepped up the driveway as he was turning the key, deciding that whatever happened would change her completely.
As she walked in and he shut the door, a wave hit her and embraced her soul. The feeling of belonging swept around her and a shudder crept down her back as the warmth wrapped its arms around her. She peered around and it was everything she knew it would be; framed music posters, guitars leaning against the wall, a high book collection and an even bigger music one. She even guessed the mess though it wasn’t disturbing. He waited in her silence before signalling upstairs; “turn left and its straight on. Would you like something to drink? Coffee or stronger?”
”Oh god, stronger please.”
He smiled “I have some wine… please make yourself at home..”
Home she couldn’t help think that she had stripped away who she had once been. The memories of her home life just slipped away as she was filled with familiar senses. She couldn’t shake it off but she knew something was right and she couldn’t place her finger on it. As she slowly crept up the stairs, she looked around taking in every ounce that she could. Drinking it in till she got dizzy from the detail. She turned left and wondered as though a ghost through the hallway until she pushed the door of the bedroom open.
That is when it hit her, the colours of deep orange crawling up the walls and the lines of funky trainers lining a closet. The pictures, the collection of bottle fragrances to the music stereo next to his bed and the laptop wire snaked on his bed. This house nearly set up exactly like hers. The important stuff anyway and despite the men clothes, the photographs of unfamiliar places or odd out of place item, she couldn’t help feeling as though she had stepped into her own home. Frozen to the spot, she struggled to take this in. Her mouth tumbled open.
She could feel his presence at the door as in one hand he held two glasses and a bottle and the offer a DVD, it read Purple Rain. She peered from that to his face, the look of astonishment etched onto her face. He stuttered, “I thought if you wanted to stay a bit, we could..erm…watch his… I guess.”
A rush stormed throughout her and thudded within her blood, she couldn’t explain it but she flung herself at him and pressed her lips against his. Without hesitation, he blindly placed the items in his hand on the side and pulled her close; so close that their hearts drummed away at each others. She pressed herself closer still until every essence of them were entwined, knocking his hat to the ground. This action pulled them apart as they heavy exchanged breath, halting before hurriedly kissing again. This time their hands covered each other limbs trying to, needing to remove anything they would stop their flesh meeting. He stepped forward to step her close to the bed and as she hit the side of it, she broke away and outlined everything he was. A stop in heartbeats before they tumbled to the bed…
Hours had passed and she awoke coveted in his essence; the TV had flickered on and she stared at the empty wine bottles and takeaway boxes that surrounded his bed. His hand was draped across her and she never felt such at peace. She peered at his sleeping figure and tried not to wake him as she fumbled for a watch or clock. A garish light from under a garment of clothing flashed evilly at her, she peeled the shirt away to find 4:00 am pounding into her temples. How did it get so late? She wondered, her stomach lurching that she had to go, she had to go back. The thought was tearing her apart. She had a life. Trying not to make him stir, she fumbled to get dressed and searched for her things. Kissing him one more time as he basked in slumber, she stepped downstairs and found a phone book, quietly ring a taxi to pick her up. she crept silently out of the house.
She had barely reached the driveway before the door flung open again and he stumbled out doing up his jeans in a rush as he shouted “So you are just going to leave? You can’t just leave?”
”I have to go back, I have a plane to catch, a life to lead.”
“but you said you hated it there. God you just can’t do this. You dreamed of leaving.”
”I don’t want to, I really don’t. But life doesn’t stop for dreams,” tears streaming down her cheeks as a taxi pulled up beside her. He rushed towards her grabbing her arm. “Please let me leave.”
”But I love you,” he kissed her lips, “God, I don’t even know your name, but I love you…”
“I love you too” she whispered as she prised herself away from him, “but I have to go. I have to be anonymous.” She climbed into the cab and before shutting said, “Maybe this is how its supposed to be. We go back to our day and day lives knowing we experienced something more then the drones. Maybe we are meant to be but not now. Maybe it was just for tonight.” She slammed the door and rolled down the window. “You will always be home for me though.”
He met her eyes and knew instantly what she meant and heavy hearted said; “will I ever see you again?”
She smiled; “maybe.”
And the taxi rolled her away. He turned back shattered by this fleeting lust, this sudden love, this frustrating girl. He climbed in his home and slammed the door. “Who wants to live on maybes?”