“Because I love him!” she wailed, clutching the pillow angrily to her chest. “You wouldn’t understand. You don’t even have a boyfriend. You don’t know what love is…”
Her words echoed painfully in my ears.
“You don’t know what love is…”
I was used to Jess taking her frustration out on me, but that was a low blow even for her. We had known each other since kindergarten and we were more like sisters than friends. But sitting there on my bed, declaring love for some stupid boy who didn’t deserve her, and sniping at me… it was just too much.
“You want to know about love?” I said bitterly, barely able to choke the words out. “Let me tell you what I know… Love’s not hearts and flowers and candy kisses. And it’s not the butterflies in your stomach when he calls your name. Love hurts. It’s an ache inside. It’s a nagging pain that won’t go away. But it’s a pain you cling to because it’s all you know, and you’re frightened to lose it.”
I swallowed hard.
“Love is being your friend because I NEED to be near you, despite knowing that out-of-reach is the closest you will ever be…”
There was a lump in my throat and my voice trailed off into a whisper.
Jess stared at me, pale, expressionless and silent.
The secret I had been too afraid to give voice to was finally out.
I was in the station last night.
It was cold and that large clock on the wall pirouetted on its axis, dancing the time away. Dead leaves skittered across the floor and I was alone. Not lonely. Just alone.
I lay on the station floor, drinking cheap wine, gazing at the night sky through the holes in the roof. Mateus. Do you remember it? We used to drink it when we were young and had no money – it was cheap but somehow it made us feel rich.
I remember dancing there together when we were drunk. You were fuzzy and I was happy. And our feet whispered over the tiles, floating on the warm buzz of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice. The thrill of those nights, Michael… every moment was electric.
And as I looked up at the stars, I remember you once told me the sky was full of exploding suns. Eternity never looked so inviting.
I remember the first time you told me you loved me. The breeze of the summer night stroked your hair lazily and the star-jasmine glowed in the moonlight. I remember I could see the words dancing on your lips like tiny flames, and the sea of city lights blazed in the distance.
“I love you…”
The sound of your voice felt like sparks on my skin and made me shiver with delight.
I remember every scene and I cherish every moment we spent together, but without you nothing seems real any longer. The game’s just not fun any more. There’s nothing here for me now.
Sometimes, on warm summer nights like these, I think I see you in the shadows, waiting. Dance with me one more time, Michael. And then take me home.
Babel stared at the computer screen with her large brown eyes, wondering how to phrase the email. It was raining outside, which had unfortunately brought Melancholy knocking on the door with a tub of ice cream and a crappy romantic comedy. And naturally, she had invited him in with open arms.
That meant Logic went out of the window and fell face-first onto the cold, street floor below. But he was used to that kind of treatment so he picked himself up, dusted himself off, and made his way into the bar on the corner. He wondered if Juliette was on her shift tonight. At first he felt fairly confident she would be because he knew that she was always in on Fridays. But after an hour at the bar, he began to doubt himself. The unfortunate thing about Logic was that he had broken up with Self-Confidence a while back, and now they couldn’t even be in the same room together.
Whatever happened though, Logic knew that in the morning he would turn up on the doorstep of Babel’s apartment, still slightly drunk from the night before, and he would have the pleasure of going over all the stupid things she had done while he had been away.
Sadly, in the absence of Logic and Clear Thinking (who had gone bowling when Babel had started gorging on the ice-cream), she was regretting that she had recently split up with her idiot ex-boyfriend, for reasons which now seemed quite childish. The main reason was that the grey, rainy evenings reminded her of the times they had spent together. But the irony was lost on her, that “dull and miserable” were the two words she most associated with her “happy” relationship, so she just sat there, attempting to compose a heart-warming message which would send him scurrying back into her arms.
What to say though?
“Hey it’s raining, and for some reason I started thinking about you and about when we were together. I know this is completely out of the blue, but… do you think we could put the past behind us and work something out?”
At least, that’s what she wanted to write. But Babel’s stubborn nature wouldn’t let her. True, she craved his presence. And true, the rain reminded her of him. And she really did want things back the way they were. But she just couldn’t shake the gnawing feeling of resentment she felt towards him. He had been a real ass. And even if she forgave him, he would still be an ass.
After much internal wrangling, Babel punched out a single sentence and hit send.
“It’s raining and I hate you.”