A nightmarish memory returns to Ryan in the middle of the night, causing a sudden onslaught of emotions. I wrote this a while ago, so it's fluffy.
Smoke danced circles around my head. The atmosphere was thick with a gray cloud that hung in the air like a ton of bricks. In the muffled light, I take an indulgent sip of the drink in my hand. I lose myself for a moment as the world begins to clear. It’s just me and the song on the radio.
And it starts sometime around midnight
Ironically it was sometime around midnight, though I wasn’t exactly sure when around midnight. It was sometime, too, sometime in the dead of night. The darkness envgulfed everyone in a stable safety that could only come about three hours everyday. I glanced at the ceiling, through the smoke and blue light, letting my thoughts bloom into the club. The bass thudded eerily in the background. As I let my gaze fall, something made my heart stop for a moment.
I couldn’t tell through the smoke, or the amount of alcohol pumping through my veins, exactly who stood mere feet away.
I’d never believed in destiny, fate, or religion. The world was as it appeared. Nothing could ever decay my definite beliefs. I lived in the moment, was living in this moment, and will die in the moment. Everything was much simpler than what was believed. The colors are only black and white, no in betweens or shades. But tonight seemed to be a stain on the surface of constancy. Standing only feet away was my personal nightmare, laughing and turning and smiling in the iridescent blue lighting. Clutching a tonic as if gravity’s pull depended on it; he was my only fear, a beautiful, brown eyed monster. Dressed in a pale blue shirt and black blazer, his face sent chills tumbling like an avalanche down my spine.
Before I could take one breath, and taste his familiar scent swirl through the air, memories captured me. Rushing by like a grouping of movie clips, I watched our relationship play from beginning to end.
The day we first met, the rain pouring as I watched him dash into the school.
The first time we talked….complaining about gym class.
When he dropped his books in the hallway and our eyes met for one breathtaking second.
Our first kiss…his terrified shaking, my hand in his hair.
The first disaster of a date….him getting beat up by the most popular jock in our high school…the blood like red wine drizzling down his face
That night as we both held each other, sobbing.
The anguished days that followed.
The picture of us entwined, fitting together like the missing puzzle pieces to every problem imaginable…him laying, fast asleep, in my arms.
And then, the end, the day his parents relocated him and his family to Connecticut. The permanent tears that stain my face…
The world was turning more quickly than usual, spinning almost frantically. And I know that he sees me, staring curiously at me. My cover is blown, my hand quivering against the glass. The rest of bar no longer seems to exist, only him, frozen in time. His stare lingers for a second before walking towards me. His hips sashayed softly and my heart was pounding in my chest, like the day that we first met.
“Ryan?” his voice was something unthinkable. It sounded like melting honey. It was a voice that could narrate my dreams at night. I’d longed for so long to hear him say my name again. I haven’t seen him in so long….so much useless time. The words caught in my throat, as if my heart had stopped them dead, and I just ended up nodding and smiling.
“It’s been so long…How are you?” He smiled. I lost myself in his stare for a moment, as the memories kept pouring in my mind. One agonizing wave at a time.
“Um….fine…yeah…I’m great…” My words sounded hollow. They weren’t coming from me. “How-how about you?” I took one deep breath and the smell of his skin filled my head. What a stupid anti-climactic question?
“Well, I’ve got a job as an intern at a recording studio, you know, doing technical stuff. So much has changed I don’t know what to say…” he murmured, rubbing the back of his neck.
Say you’re sorry that you left. Tell me that it killed you every day, being dragged away from me, thousands of miles away. Say something… I felt completely helpless. And hopeless. And lost, as if the ground had been ripped from beneath my feet.
For the first time tonight, I noticed the blond haired girl standing behind him. In a pair of white, skin tight jeans, and a purple shirt. Well, the shirt didn’t cover her stomach, exposing a tanned midriff with a diamond heart belly button ring. She hovered behind him, never getting too far away. One of her manicured hands was always somewhere on him, as if she was worried he would leave her in the dust. He caught my curious glance and pulled her beside him.
“Oh, Melissa, this is Ryan. He was one of my best friends back in Los Angeles, growing up. Ryan this is Mel, my girlfriend.”
That had been a complete, blatant, lie. Correct me if I’m wrong, but we we’re so much more than ‘Best Friends’. I was completely dumbstruck. Plus, the word ‘Girlfriend’ sounded like a coarse whisper that cracked down the middle. He had a girlfriend. My boyfriend of two years, who was out rightly gay, had a girlfriend.
What frightening things time can do to someone?
For a moment I stared at the pathetically dressed woman, caught up in my own disbelief. Why was he with that? She seemed clingy, helpless, high-maintenance, greedy, overpowering, vapid, and lacked major fashion sense. Of course, maybe I shouldn’t characterize her that quickly, but ‘Mel’ was the exact opposite of his type. I shook her hand coldly.
“Nice to meet you, Melissa.” I murmured giving a plastic smile that exhausted me to try to pull together.
“Me, too.” She smiled, displaying a row of fake veneer. She laughed a strained, desperate laugh. I looked into Brendon’s eyes, desperately searching for some sort of dislike, but there was none. He was completely in love with a girl, and an extremely useless girl at that. I was surprised no one heard my heart drop.
They shared a private moment of tentative whispers, obviously along the lines of ‘Take me somewhere else, and buy me something pretty, foreign, and expensive’. Every once in a while his eyes would meet mine, almost apologetically, though I knew it was half-hearted.
“Well, I’ll see you around Ry….bye,” he gave me a quick, very undemonstrative hug, before taking Melissa’s hand and turning to walk away.
“Bye.” I sat flatly. I could still feel where he had been, against my chest, melting into me like acid.
I watched them exit the club, my head spinning. The anger rushed across my body. My breathing hitched once or twice.
“Dude, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost or something?” Someone too drunken to stand up straight asked.
I didn’t answer. My stomach was in a knot that pulled tighter and tighter with every passing second. And the blood racing through my veins was hot, scalding and boiling my insides. I just wanted to see him again, see those dark brown eyes, and watch that heartbreaking smile spread across his face, kiss his soft lips, and hold him in my arms.
Without another hesitation, I dashed out into the dark night. There wasn’t a star in the sky, but the swollen moon shown through the clouds. The streets were deserted, cold, and unfamiliar. There was the far off sound of traffic, and the music from clubs down the street. A homeless man lay among bags of trash. But somewhere in the somber eve he was walking with Melissa. I had to find him. In a split second I began running to the right. The street lights shone fake light above me, flinging past. I just have to see him….
I ran block after block passing strolling couples, people walking dogs, homeless men and women, and groups of twenty-somethings, but not one of them was him. I was out of breath, and my legs felt like jelly. Completely lost, I gave up and leaned up against the back of a brick warehouse. There was nothing that could be done except give up. I would never see him again. I couldn’t help but feel my eyes burn and my face grow flushed. Tears flooded my eyes, cascading down my cheeks. Darkness filled my mind, as I closed my eyes from the harsh night.
Things had suddenly spilled into a mess. Everything in my mind was scattered and disorganized, like all the files had been thrown open. There had been so many emotions, standing there next to him again, but I couldn’t understand how he still affected me so after I’d spent years convincing myself that I’d moved. And in a self indulgent rush of feelings, I simply sat on the street corner and sobbed.
I knew the voice from the second it found my ears. It was Brendon.
“Hey, are you okay?” he asked gently resting a hand on my knee. I knew I couldn’t show my face. He would see that I was crying and would probably have Melissa trailing him like a lost puppy. This is so unbelievably embarrassing…Maybe if I hide here long enough they’ll disappear; he’ll just dissolve back into thin air as fast as he came.
“Go away.” I whispered childishly. I felt him sit down next to me, his arm brushing against mine. I guess he’s not planning on walking away.
“Ry…,” his voice was sweet, so soft and gentle like it had been in high school. He must be alone. “What’s wrong?”
I sniffled softly and let my eyes meet his. They were a chocolate brown shade, glazed over, red, and swollen. Why had he been crying?
“Ryan, c’mon talk to me, are you okay?” he asked again, always relentless and stubborn.
“I’m fine.” I murmured.
“You don’t look fine. Seriously what’s wrong?” Brendon kept his face low and only about 10 inches from mine.
Suddenly, the anger for him rose in my throat. He had completely turned on who he was, and mostly he had turned on me. “You’re what’s wrong. You’ve changed so much, since the day you left. Do you remember that? You simply walked over to my house and told me that you were moving. You left me on my front porch. And now, you’ve completely lost the person that I once knew. Melissa? Who is she anyway? But really it’s none of my business, and I shouldn’t care about what you do. And the sad part is that I do care. I care more than you could ever imagine.”
Brendon’s faced crumpled slightly, obviously not suspecting the insult. “I didn’t mean to leave you like that….I was too scared to let you go, and I didn’t know what to say. It broke my heart to walk away that day, but I had to. Over the years so much has happened, I just changed along with the crowd. And Melissa, well, she was my girlfriend of about one week that just dumped me ten minutes ago. I’ve never had the best luck with girls. Even after three years, I still wake up every morning aching to apologize to you. Leaving you is my permanent regret. After all these years I still haven’t forgotten….,” He faded off slightly, staring down at the concrete that was covered in years’ worth of dust and dirt. “I have lost myself, but I’ve never lost my love for you.”
I glanced at him briefly, watching a single tear glisten in the street lights. “You still love me?”
He looked up, black hair in straggles, brown eyes wet and exhausted, “Yeah,” he smiled slightly, as if he was laughing at himself.
“Then, why didn’t you try to contact me? You knew where my parents lived, my phone number, my email address, everything about me. You knew me better than I knew myself.” I glanced at the night sky, peering out from behind a tall brick building.
“I was too embarrassed. After just walking away that year I couldn’t face you again. I’m so sorry.” He rested his chin on his knees, staring blankly off across the street. There were people staring and whispering as they walked in the dead of night. For once in my life I didn’t care.
“I’m sorry for being so judgmental, Bren, I’ve just missed you more than anything.” I shrugged, leaning my head on the cold bricks behind my head.
“Me, too.” Brendon turned to me, the tears streaming down his face. “Do you still love me?” He said softly, the words dancing off of his tongue, voice quivering.
Looking into those eyes, the one thing of his appearance that was completely familiar to me, my mind flicked back to all of the mental snapshots of when I would gaze into the depths of them. Those pictures stood out, and I knew everything at once. “Yes, I am still pathetically, hopelessly, helplessly in love with you.”
In the cool summer air, in the middle of New York City on a sidewalk, he leaned in and kissed me. For the first time in three years, he kissed me. And it was our first kiss. The only one that I ever felt pump the once dead blood in my veins back to life. I would never leave these lips for as long as my heart was beating.