“There is another world, but it is in this one.” – William Butler Yeats
“It’s 3am,” I say.
What I really mean is, I want to go.
Even though that’s not really what I mean at all, but now is not the time. Not the time to make my way into his heart and forget that there might be something greater around the corner, and I should just keep floating. Not the time to want to swim deep, because the surface is getting cold and crowded. My head is spinning a little, but not enough to drown out the little voice that tells me how it’s too soon to be fragile, how everybody loves strength, and how showing anything less is a mistake that can cost me all future possibilities. And so, I want to leave, because I don’t want to stay only to play it tough. I’m never tough past bedtime, or around men like him. And there’s no way I’m going to let myself be soft tonight.
“It doesn’t matter that it’s 3am. There will be other 3ams. But come.”
As we step outside the bar, he zips up his coat and his cheeks are red and I can’t help wondering what life could become if I left with him instead of looking for a taxi. No, no, no.
“Actually, there are only so many tomorrows, until you run out of them,” I mumble, mostly to keep myself distracted from fantasising again.
“What?” he laughs, and lifts up my chin. “You never know, we might live forever.”
You know that spark they talk about in movies? The one that you only get with The One – when he finds out that you’re engaged but is still willing to take the first plane to your hometown and get a ring out of his pocket with one hand while fighting your first love with the other? Yes, well, I think that was, more or less, what I felt when he touched me.
It was electric.
“There will be no other 3am like this one,” I say. “They will all be boring.”
Ah, to hell with strength. It’s always been my weakness. I knew this would come, and his face tells me he knew, too. The next thing I know is that I’m sinking my face into his shoulder and my nails into his back and I’m dying to be tracing the line of his jaw with my fingertips in a minute or so.
“I can’t let them get too boring, then.”
“Because the world is up to you,” I laugh.
“Ah, I’ll tell you everything later.”
I shrug. I don’t have a suspicious nature. For all I know, he’s drunk, and I’m mostly happy.
“It’s fine for the rest to be boring,” I say. “That’s what 3am are for – to send you to sleep. This is an exception.”
His grip gets tighter and tighter and my breath stops for a little while. I think I understand what I dislike about all the other nights. They don’t go like this one.
“Hey, listen,” he says, “I’ve got something to ask you. I’ve always wanted to ask you this.”
“What breaks your heart?”
“You, right now,” I say without thinking. “What do you mean you always wanted to ask me that?”
He laughs and thinks I’m funny.
At least I get that.
“You always wanted to ask a girl that, you mean?”
“No, really, what breaks your heart? I think this is the kind of question everyone should be asking one another. This is what we all want to know about people after all – what makes them human, what makes them tick. I couldn’t think of something that would break you yet, so I want to know what it might be from your perspective.”
I laugh, and he smiles at my laughter and I am somehow beginning to feel a warm connection between us coming to life.
“I don’t know what breaks my heart, to be honest. Indecisiveness, maybe. Ah, the irony.”
I’m shivering and I’m torn between wanting to go home and wanting to play this game for the rest of the night, even if it makes no sense; particularly because it makes no sense.
“I knew it!”
He looks satisfied while I imagine I look terribly confused.
“Nevermind, nevermind. I’ll take care of this tomorrow. For now, come…”
So are we going together from here after all?
“But of course we are. I want to spend as much time with you as I can,” he says, and I realise I didn’t ask it out loud.
Or did I? Who’s keeping track?
“I’m taking you to where you belong.”
How strange. It must be that connection thing.
“I see. My place or yours?” I laugh.
“Yours, you fool.”
“Fine. Just know that it’s messy, and I’m almost sure we should have gone the other way instead.”
He seems to be wondering how come I am this easy.
“I can’t tell if you’re joking or not,” he says.
I have no idea.
“I have no idea.”
Suddenly, he puts an arm around my shoulders.
“I do. It’s this way – because we’re taking the shortcut.”
See, I don’t precisely know what we’re doing right now, but the feeling of being myself around someone is the greatest high I can hope for at 3am. It’s terrifying and exciting and it might mean nothing and it might mean everything. It makes every alternative feel like a waste of time. I almost wish these streets would have no end.
If only things were always light and simple.
“I really hope you never again end up leaving a party with a stranger because you’re not sure what feels worse, being alone or being used,” he suddenly says. “When we get to yours, I’ll pour us another drink and tell you my story. That should help you the next time.”
I choke on my words before they come out.
“Your story is supposed to have this massive impact on my life and my ways and my… self?”
Another drink or not, his newfound arrogance would probably keep sobering me up.
“If words don’t change the world, I don’t know what does,” he smiles. “You don’t believe that everything we create is real?”
He stops and shows me that we must turn right. I nod my head. He is right.
“See, at this point I’m not sure if you’re charming or creeping me out,” I admit.
“Charming, just charming,” he laughs, but doesn’t slow his pace.
“Fine. You can be disappointed, you know. Just know that in genera–”
“Don’t worry. I’ll find a way to have you fixed by the time I finish my story,” he says. “It won’t be tonight, but I will think of it.”
“That’s great news, all figured out then.”
We are here and I reach for the keys. I worry that he is strange and I’m starting to feel strange around him, but there is this pull – this strange pull – that I can’t fight, and that something tells me that I shouldn’t fight. I stop, keys in my hands, and try to think. 3am is not the best time to think, contrary to popular belief.
“No, you shouldn’t,” he whispers, as if telling me a secret, and I turn around to look at him, hand up in the air, thoughts still unclear.
“I shouldn’t what?”
“That – what you said to yourself. You shouldn’t pull away. I promise it will make a lot of sense. Actually, I can’t wait to tell you.”
“Are you talking about…”
“My story, yes.”
I stare at him and he stares back and I can see that he is progressively realising he may have said too much, and he is not happy about it. I’m curious and frightened at the same time. What started out as a joke is now being taken a little too far.
“Look, as much as I like it when guys can read my mind…”
“Ah, just invite me in already,” he says impatiently. “God damn it, I should have thought of this and keep it short, just in case.”
“Hey Lucifer, watch out, you don’t have my soul yet,” I say in a thin voice, thinking of how to get rid of him.
I don’t think he got it. Concerned, he takes a few steps in my direction, until his face almost touches mine. I feel as if the timing is wrong, or this was not supposed to happen at all, but I don’t just think it – I feel it in my bones. Strange?
“Listen, this is not about your soul, I am not the devil. Real life is hard and I don’t know how to be out in the open with girls like you. So give me a chance, will you? I know you’re feeling as if God’s suddenly pulling the wrong strings, but I never thought of what the right ones would be in this case. I mean, this is absurd in my book – us on a bad date, this is not even a story, you know? This, we’re just making this up on the spot! Ah, damn it. See, this is what I hate about life. It’s so unpredictable. I almost wish I would have stayed home to write tonight, because I feel like I’m making a fool of myself now, and I’m not sure what to say anymore. Everything I say is only making it worse, isn’t it? Ah, I’m lost for words. Help me out, please.”
“Are you crazy?” is all I can say, but it’s too late now.
When he gets close to me and runs his fingers through my hair, his smile gone, I already know that the story is about me. His touch is electric indeed, but I fear it’s for all the wrong reasons.
“The story where I don’t die, and I get the girl too. I wrote that. And yes, it’s all about you. But this is not how I want to tell you about it. It’s not as if, regardless of what happens tonight, I’ll still be able to change you tomorrow morning. It can’t be that simple, because this is happening too. Do you understand? This is still part of it. Whatever is written can never be unwritten, and I’m pretty sure that’s how life goes too. So you need to give me a hand here, because I can’t let you fear me or hate me. That would go against every law there is.”
I want to sit down. I came home with a mad man. I just wish somebody walked past us.
“Everyone’s asleep,” he says. “Actually, I don’t think there’s anyone alive at all. I didn’t write them. I didn’t exactly create a whole world from scratch,” he bites his lips, nervously, and I am dizzy enough to still think that is sexy. “I’m so not good with endless details, Mia. I really only created you –”
“Wait, how the hell do you know my real name? I didn’t tell you that.”
I take a step back to lean against the front door.
“I gave you this name. I also made you stand up for yourself when you need to and right now, I kind of regret that. I tried to make you as good as I could think of, honestly. You do like Mia, don’t you?”
The night feels surreal and I wish it was only because of drinking.
“Please,” he says. “Let’s go. I will tell you everything.”
Before he can do anything to stop me, I pick up and throw a small rock at my building.
We both stare in silence. Soon, there is broken glass all over the pavement.
“Hey, what’s going on down there? It’s half three in the morning, you drunken idiots!”
An angry man in striped blue pyjamas threatens us from a broken window on the second floor.
“I hate neighbours,” he says.
“I thought you didn’t write any,” I say, both still looking up.
“Well, I guess some things are just there, you know? I mentioned this place, it makes sense there are others living here.”
“Sure, it makes sense.”
I look at God, God looks at me, and we both know we’ve messed something up. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I shouldn’t have come home with a stranger and break that window. He probably thinks he should have included more details in his story, so I would have fallen in love with him and stopped swearing by now.
I can’t believe myself. I can’t stop playing along.
Soon, we’re running up the stairs to my apartment, talking about how little coffee I’ve got left. He says he blames himself for that. I tell him not to worry, writers think about characters and plots, not how much coffee imaginary women have in their homes. He then asks me if I think he is crazy. I stop, turn around and ask him the same thing.
“You look pretty insecure for someone who claims to be my maker,” I say.
He shakes his head.
“I told you, I’m not following the storyline. There is no storyline for tonight. I couldn’t have seen this coming. We’re making it all up. It’s just as absurd to me too.”
“Running into you.”
I want to go talk to myself in the mirror until I sober up, but curiosity got the best of me and pinned me down. No surprise there.
“What’s so incredible about it? You gave us both a free night. I had every right to get out of your story and go get drunk in a bar.”
He bursts into a wholehearted laughter.
“You should have made me immortal too. That would have been pretty wonderful. I would have thanked you in every prayer.”
“What for, Mia? You never take any risks.”
“What do you call this? It must be the biggest risk I’ve ever taken, letting you in–”
“Exactly. And do I look like I want to kill you?”
The truth is, he does not.
“Well, I could have at least been someone by now, don’t you think? I’ve never even made it to the loving myself checkpoint. But you know that already. Do you like me like this?” I know that he wants to touch me, but I show him not to.
“Honestly, I want to know. Was this all just a very elaborate plan to make me have another drink with you, or do you actually believe what you’re saying?”
“Come on. Do I sound like a living, breathing cliché?”
“Then tell me, based on all that, how did you jump inside the story? This is too much to be just a coincidence, if i am nothing but a figment of your imagination. You wrote a new chapter, didn’t you? Why didn’t you at least change the scenery? You know I’ve always wanted to go to… Mexico.”
He looks at me for a while, as if this was something serious.
I’m not as good with role-playing, but I try.
I like him, in a weird, twisted, friends-would-blackmail-me-forever way.
“No,” he finally says. “Think about it, why in the world would I want to meet you in person in the first place?”
“Because I am the girl of your dreams, I imagine,” I say, dead serious, and take another sip of coffee.
He looks amused.
“Do you really want to go to Mexico?”
“Doesn’t God know everything?”
“I’m not God.”
“You’re my God, aren’t you?”
“No. If I was, I’d make all your wishes come true.”
“So write a new story where they do.”
“I can’t, I don’t know what you wish for.”
“I could make you a list.”
“Mia,” he says and puts his hands over mine before I have a chance to protest, “I am not a magician, ok? I just write and write when the evenings get long and loneliness dissolves in me, like… sugar in” – he points at my mug – “your coffee. I don’t know. All I know is that it’s peace and quiet inside my head when I write about you, and I like it. That’s all I wanted to do, write some more. I never had any intention to… breathe life into you. I should have known that everything we create is real indeed.” I can’t help but laugh at his stupid, stupid words, then yawn and then laugh some more.
“You’re drunk, my friend.”
“Not drunk at all. Maybe just mad.”
“So you’re saying that you went out to your favourite bar tonight, with nothing in mind but to have a couple of drinks before you went home and got back to writing your novel about me?”
“And then I showed up there, and you couldn’t believe that one of God’s waste of words is walking around like she owns the place. ‘God damn it – or I damn it – I should have made her better-behaved, rebels are only good in books. Who does she think she is? I’ll get her drunk, take her home and tell her everything, so she learns a lesson before I get to write it into her’, huh?”
He looks a bit embarrassed.
“See, I’m curious, how did you know it was me?”
“It’s funny now that you ask, because I never wrote anything about your looks. But there was this vibe, I don’t really know how to put it into words…”
“Said the master of words that can change the world. What’s your name, anyway?”
“Yes, your name.”
“Alright, alright M. And the name of my father?”
“My father. What’s his name?”
“How am I supposed to know that? I told you I didn’t think about your parents, or what you like to drink, or how you like to dress.”
“Or the fact that I really want to visit Mexico.”
“Or my deepest fears, or my favourite colour, or my date of birth. Right?”
“What are you doing, Mia?”
Suddenly, I move closer to him and kiss him on the lips.
He looks terribly confused.
“You didn’t see that coming, did you? You never wrote a single paragraph about the kind of guys I like or whom I want to kiss over my kitchen table at four in the morning. You never wrote about my father and pretend you’re not good at details, but you forget that I can’t exist if my parents didn’t. You don’t really know much about me, and you sure don’t know as much as you claim. You’re just good with words, and I’m drunk enough to pretend I believe them.”
But his lips curl into a smile as I speak and, soon, he is twirling my hair around his fingers.
“Then it’s true,” he whispers. “Words do change the world.”
I lean back and roll my eyes.
“You really are nothing but a professional liar.”
“And an amateur writer.”
“I don’t know that, but I’d sure like to read everything you pretend you wrote about me… no, you know what, forget that I said that.”
“Listen… no, don’t look away, listen to me.”
I can’t stop listening to him, anyway.
“‘They say they want to discover me, I tell them there isn’t much to see. In a way, I’m not lying. You know all those things you’ve always wanted, but thought they aren’t real? They aren’t, because you haven’t created them yet. Before they’d want to touch me again I’m gone. You put the pieces together from here.’ Breathe, Mia,” he says, touching my hair and my back and finally taking my hands into his.
I mean, he just repeated my last journal entry back to me, word by word. I am, indeed, pretty damn shocked.
“You forgot to breathe, Mia!”
“It’s ok, you do this every now and then. It won’t get you killed.”
“How do I die then?”
“You don’t die, silly,” he says and lights up a cigarette.
“Burn me!” I say, looking at the lighter.
He laughs and, luckily, doesn’t listen.
“You don’t die in my stories so far, I mean. I don’t know how or when you’ll die in real life. You’re clearly more than just a character. A burn won’t get you killed I suppose, but it’s best not to try anything that would just for the sake of proving me wrong.”
“What if you’d write a story where I die? That might get me killed…”
“Perhaps. I’m not sure how this goes. I wouldn’t want that, though.”
“… if I am nothing but a product of your imagination.”
“Hey, I think tonight just showed us that you’re as real as you can be.”
I’m thinking that, if this was real at all, then moment should remain in history – God physically comforting one of his people. And it’s all happening in my apartment. I can’t wait to tell everyone.
“You can’t tell everyone you idiot,” he laughs. “No one will believe you.”
I can’t believe this conversation.
“Maybe I just remind you of your character and I’m thinking what she’d be thinking, M.”
“No, you are her.”
I know everything so far sounds insane, but as I reach for pen and paper I have high hopes.
“Write about me. Let’s go to Mexico!” I whisper and give them to him.
“You know that’s not how it works,” he says. “I have to believe in what I write.”
“So what do you believe in, if not a beautiful life?”
“Oh, Mia… I am so sorry. If I believed in a beautiful life I would have never written a single story.”
‘I created someone in my writings, I created a human being out of paper and vivid imagination. At first I thought I created Mia to hurt myself. To run my fingers through her soul and see what it’s like to be inside a beautiful mind. To contrast and shame me at my worst, to give the best of me to my favourite character. Then I figured out that Mia is real. Mia is here, she is accessible. She isn’t an unattainable trophy, but my hidden treasure. I didn’t create anyone, for she was in me all along. And, despite all, watching my imagination unfolding was like watching God at work – the best part of me, giving its very best. Heavenly.’
“Are you fucking kidding me? I wanted to go somewhere, or at least be prettier or smarter. What is this?”
“I’m sorry, Mia, but these are the only things I believe in: you, and my ability to write. I wasn’t interested in the plot. I just wanted to sketch a person.”
“Oh my God – and that definitely is not you – to hell with you and your ability to reshape me! You said you’ll fix me in the morning, well I don’t feel any better. You’re sick, M.”
I’m too tired to kick him out, so I’ll just rely on his ability to read me this time.
And it’s probably working. A few seconds later, he stands up.
“Mia, I’m going to go get myself killed.”
“No you’re not,” I say. “God, I’m so stupid – and so are you!”
But when, moments later, he slams the door behind him… you know what I do? Yes, this one isn’t too hard to guess either. I really must be the simplest character ever written. I get up and run after him.
“What do you think you’re doing?” I shout.
He’s made it all the way down, but I can still see him.
“I told you, I’m going to jump in front of a car or something!”
“That’s immensely stupid, why would you do that? And what about me?”
That’s two floors below and I know I wouldn’t be able to stop him if he was actually serious.
“I want to see if our next date will be in Heaven or Hell!”
“But I don’t want to die yet!”
When I can no longer hear him, I go inside. It’s five in the morning and I’m wide awake as I stretch and curl under my blanket, still feeling the taste of alcohol on my lips. ‘I’m alive,’ I tell myself over and over again, but I’m afraid to go to sleep. I know that I’ll have one of those nightmares again, and this time it’ll be ink that pours out of me, not blood.
Eventually, I put a coat on and go outside. I’m cold and tired and I expect to see an ambulance any minute now.
I walk for what feels like hours until I give up and slide down a brick wall, back pressed against it, head in my hands. There is no one awake – or alive, as the man I spent the strangest night of my life with put it.
‘Just wait until you tell everyone that you’ve met your own personal Jesus,’ I say to myself and start laughing. But then I hear that familiar voice from up above me, and I just can’t believe this is happening again.
“Up here, Mia!”
“Hi God, what a miracle!” I shout back without looking, chills running up and down my spine.
“Get up here, it’s cold!”
“I would, I just don’t know where the elevator to the ninth cloud is!”
“Have you tried inside the building?”
When Voltaire said that God is a comedian he must have met someone like this the night before.
I turn around and see M looking out a third floor’s window, looking at me.
“I’m coming,” I scream. “You hear that, you insane god, I’m coming to read from your book of secrets!”
Someone pulls the curtains and I see a woman’s face behind another window.
“Hey, who’s that?” I ask and point at her.
“Did you make her up too?”
“Just get up here!”
“Hey Chloe, turns out you weren’t good enough for him! Apparently I’m the girl of your artsy neighbour’s dreams!”
The front door opens before I need to buzz and I find myself inside the building. An old man on his way out looks me up and down, confused.
“What, have you never seen a character going off script?” I ask, then run all the way up to Heaven’s gate.
“Are you crazy?” he asks and pulls me in, looking terrified. “You’re waking everyone up.”
“You tell me if I am! And why worry about the neighbours, they aren’t real, remember?”
I laugh in his face until he cracks a smile too. He must know it’s not really him I’m laughing at, but rather his so-called creation. I can not believe neither him, nor myself.
“There you go, God, life is beautiful – or are we not there yet?”
“No, no, no,” he says. “This isn’t a two-way street.”
“Tell me about it. I can hardly make you laugh, when you wrote my way to your place. Life really is stranger than fiction, and your fiction must be the strangest there is.”
“Listen, Mia, I didn’t write anything about you coming here.”
He sits down on a green, velvety sofa. I look around. His place is cluttered, but well organised.
I reach for the pack of cigarettes he keeps on the coffee table, take one out and make myself comfortable – on the floor. He hands me an ashtray and I suddenly feel a little dizzy.
“So how did I get here then?”
“I’m not sure, but I’m not surprised either. But take a look,” he says and points at his laptop. “Have a read. I just wrote that when I got in.”
“Weren’t you going to die or something?” I mumble.
“Not like that.”
“Not like what?”
“Not like I said I would. Read.”
I read. It’s one short paragraph about a girl who sounds very much like me, things I’ve said and things I haven’t. She’s speaking, seemingly by herself, until she feels some sort of outer force dissolve into her, and she knows she’s achieved whatever she was set to achieve in the first place. She feels whole, and she looks around, and she is alone. She seems to be pleased with it, unlike me.
I stop reading and tell him that my head is spinning.
“It’s only natural, you’re hungover.”
“You think I’m a mad man’s thoughts on a blog, that’s what you think I am.”
“I think you’re a living, breathing, beautiful girl, Mia,” he says from across the room this time. “I just happen to know you really well. But I don’t know everything. Just the… essential?”
I put my chin on my knees and stare at him for a while.
“You don’t believe that. You’re fucking insane.”
“I don’t really believe in much anyway.”
My God is an atheist. Oh, the irony.
“You’re a coward.” I say. “You would never kill yourself.”
He smiles at me.
“No, but I don’t want to kill myself. What I said, could you not tell I was joking?”
“I can’t tell when you’re joking, no. I can’t tell if all this is a joke to you or not, and believe me, I’ve been trying all night.”
“But Mia, don’t you see that, in a way that isn’t the way you thought of, I did it?”
“No. You wrote a stupid story where you free the girl. What’s the big deal?”
He looks upset, as if his character doesn’t understand her own lines, and that must make him a bad writer. I laugh to myself, for I realise how into it I am at this point.
“You fight life with words, and it seems that even your own words fight back against you. You say I’m not very brave, but you aren’t either. You’re just a scared boy wanting to play God who just ran into Lucifer.”
“You’re not the devil, Mia. That’s way off.”
“Do you even hear yourself?”
“I told you this – no, I wrote you this when we were in your kitchen. You’re that part of me I wanted to save, so I wrote about you. I just didn’t think you were going to… you know… exist. Or I was ever going to bump into you.”
“This is too much for one night,” I cry, headache growing and growing. “Do you ever wait until the second date?”
A couple of minutes later, he tells me to go sit next to him on the sofa. I go. Maybe because I feel like I am inside a good film, and I am never inside a good film, I just need to figure it all out.
“So you wrote about a fantastic girl because you still believe in making homes out of humans. Am I your safe haven, the best thing you have to make up for your lost faith?”
“You are, in a way,” he admits.
“I guess I turned out to be pretty flawed, judging by our first 3am spent together.”
“You weren’t meant to be perfect, just raw and real and beautiful. I’ve watched you all night, you make me proud.”
“Thanks, I guess. God, this is awkward.”
“M for you,” he laughs.
“I’m sorry, you aren’t funny anymore.”
“I know, I know, I am sorry.”
I look at him with a frown, then look away. He tries not to laugh at me.
I try not to laugh with him. I can tell how nervous he still is.
“I wrote the ending and I want you to finish reading. Then I’m done as a writer – in what concerns you, anyway – and you’re free as a bird,” he says and shows me the laptop again. “Tell me what you think.”
I give in. I take the laptop on my knees and start scrolling up and down to convince myself there is a story after all. My name appears in most paragraphs. I can feel his gaze and then his breath on my shoulder. There is one last paragraph at the end that I hadn’t seen the first time.
“Interesting. You made it all vanish for good, but let me live. I see what you mean now. You’d make the perfect boyfriend.”
He ignores that.
How do I still feel stupid around him?
“Aren’t all geniuses insane?” he laughs. “Ah, enough with the false, imagined immortality I got by playing God. I don’t think I’ll ever create another character. I can write, like… descriptive prose? Make up a world or two? Plant a tree where there wasn’t one, but I thought there should have been?”
I’m just about to laugh, but I can’t.
“Do you want breakfast?”
I do the maths quickly. I’ll never find another guy who goes clubbing, reads my mind and writes like a god. On top of that, he can boil an egg, too.
And, I’m starved.
And dead curious about the egg thing.
He goes to the kitchen and I go through the text one more time.
I’m standing by the kitchen’s door.
He is so good-looking. Shame about the distorted reality.
“When did you really write that?”
He thinks about it for a moment.
“It must have been five or six in the morning, right?”
“I think. I don’t know what you usually have for breakfast.”
“I got here later than that. How did I still find your house?”
He looks at me, puzzled, his smile fading.
“I don’t have all the answers, Mia. But we must be bound together, somehow.”
He tells me the coffee is ready as he brings the laptop to the kitchen. I ask him what’s going on and he mumbles something about figuring stuff out. I roll my eyes.
After typing something quickly, he closes it and comes next to me. As soon as he touches me, electricity runs through my body, wild and intense. I must admit to myself what a nice feeling holding his hand is.
“If you were to go anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?”
Then, before I can say anything, he kisses me. He’s a good kisser too. I can’t believe this is what’s going through my mind right now, but hey.
My body is suddenly pumping energy and joy to my every cell. Happy, yes, I guess I am most of the time. But it’s just plain, ordinary happiness – here’s a cookie, chew on it and keep quiet. This one’s a bit different.
“Nowhere,” I say, amused. “Why? Here’s good.”
I’m not ready to wake up from this and sigh back to reality. I want to see us together for a little longer. At the end, or should I say, the beginning of the day, we belong next to whoever we are happy with.
“How about Mexico?”
I frown. What’s he on about? I go to his laptop, and there is one phrase on the screen:
‘If I am right, then she falls in love with me. And stops swearing, for a bit at least.’
I can see him out of the corner of my eye, smiling and going back to his cooking. Ah, I should be so happy here, if only he didn’t pretend to have fallen from the sky.
I get close to the window. There isn’t a single person out there, driving to work or walking their dog. The world seems emptied out of all the details that makes it come alive. A part of me begins to wonder about how the neighbours got here, but his voice stops my train of thought.
“Do you like spicy food?”
I get a sudden urge to pray to God, but I remember that maybe, just maybe, he is next to me and could tell what I’m doing.
“Do you?” I ask back.
“Then I guess the girl of your dreams likes spicy too.”
He laughs and I take a deep, deep breath.
“You’re mad, M,” I say in a thin, shaky voice.
He is probably tired of answering with another yes, no, maybe to the same remark.
I hate spicy food, but I am beyond curious to see if in the next minute or so, I’ll love it.
“Me too,” he says. “Me too, Mia.”