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By Kody Stadler
There was something about her eyes. The pale waves of baby blue inviting me into her heart before the black dots swallowed me whole, never to be found again. But everything was okay – I loved it. I was safe, I was home. She became my home, and as I would drown within the deep blues of her eyes, sinking to the bottom of the abyss, I couldn’t help but smile as I whispered her name the entire way down:
I knock on the door to a stranger’s house, there for some birthday party a friend of mine absolutely insisted I attend. It’s cold outside, snowing. I can feel the bones of my knuckles crack and wither away with each tap at the door, and for a moment, I consider leaving. The gift I brought for the birthday girl means nothing to me, a simple autographed photo from some band she likes purchased on eBay for $5. I slightly regret making such an ill-advised purchase, and hope that I can slip away before she opens it. But, finally, right as I’m about to knock one last time, the door vanishes and replaces itself with a blue-eyed beauty.
“Hey, I’m here for the party?”
“You’re just in time, we’re about to eat our weight in cake. Come on in.”
I step inside to the beautiful warmth of a house with central heating.
“What’cha got there?”
“Oh, uhh, just a silly gift for the birthday girl, wherever she is.”
“She would be right here! I’m Liz, and you didn’t have to get me anything! But I’m sure whatever it is, I’ll love it. And you are?”
“Jon. Jon Sarvis. It’s nice to meet you.”
“I don’t think anyone has ever said their last name while introducing themselves to me. You’re so formal. It’s cute.”
“Heh, well -”
Voices beckoning from beyond interrupt me.
“Liz, come on! You’re up next on karaoke!”
“I’m coming! I’ve gotta go. But, I’ll be taking this with me.”
She snatches the gift out of my hand.
“Oh, I -”
“Make yourself at home, there’s pizza in the kitchen. And don’t forget about the cake!”
And just like that, she’s gone. The next few hours are a blur, and I hate every minute of it; the drinking, the games, the endless barrage of food, and the resulting awkward flirtations that occur when mixing such things together. It’s all a relentless merry-go-round of blissful ignorance and stupidity, and I’ve tripped up and fallen off to the wayside. Bored, I stumble through the house, exploring and searching for a place to hide. Peeking through the crack of bedroom doors, I unexpectedly see a familiar face: Liz, sitting alone. I try to retreat my head back into the hallway, but suddenly her eyes shine onto me, and I’m powerless.
“Well, someone’s awfully nosy, aren’t we? Do you always spy on unsuspecting girls?”
The light from her eyes burn my face as I struggle to come up with an answer.
“No, sorry, I was just exploring. I didn’t mean to spy or anything.”
The lights dim.
“Relax; I’m just messing with you. Come on in.”
“Why aren’t you downstairs with everyone else?”
“I got tired. I’m not really one for parties like this; my friends are the ones who insisted I have one. Especially since my parents are out of town.”
“I understand. My friend insisted I come to this, and begged for me to stay when I almost left earlier.”
“And here we are.”
“Yeah, here we are.”
She smiles. It’s gorgeous.
“Hey, I haven’t opened the gift you got for me yet.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t. It’s nothing, really.”
“Um, how about you let the birthday girl be the judge of that?”
“Oh? I apologize. Please do forgive me, Your Highness.”
She smiles again, and starts peeling off the half-assed wrapping job I did. I can feel my heart rate go up, and I don’t know why. Already, she has me. When she smiles for the third time, it’s bigger and somehow more gorgeous than before.
“What? Oh my god! How did you know this was my favorite band?!”
“My friend told me, it’s no big deal, really.”
“I love it, I love it, I love it. Thank you!”
“Yes! I’m going to hang it up right now.”
“You really don’t have to do that, I’m just glad you like it at all.”
“No, I want to. You know, I think this might be the best birthday present I’ve gotten in the past ten years.”
“Damn, not as good as the pony you got when you were eight, huh? So close.”
“Oh shush. I was seven.”
It hurts to smile, but I do it anyways. She kept the photo perfectly in its frame the entire time she had it, even after I told her where I had gotten it. Looking at it now, the only scratch I can see is from hitting the box when she presumably threw it in with the rest of the memories. I put the picture back into the box delicately, and look over the rest of the things inside: all the letters we had written to each other, even though we both lived in the same town, photographs, fake flowers I got her for Valentine’s Day last year. To anyone else, it’s all trash, but they’re wrong; it’s my heart. Tilting the box, I suddenly hear a splashing sound near the bottom. I reach down, and discover a nearly empty bottle of Apothic Red Wine.
If you stay, I would even wait all night,
Or until my heart explodes, how long,
Until we find our way, in the dark and out of harm?
You can run away with me, anytime you want.
She’s drunk, and swinging her hips to the rhythm of our song, while I groggily watch from the couch on the opposite side of the room. She points a finger at me, and curls it toward her liquid body, inviting me into her party of one.
“Come dance with me.”
“I’m drunk, and I can’t dance. I can’t see it turning out well.”
“Oh, come on, just try.”
“Honey, you’ve seen me dance before, and you laughed at me.”
Laughter from her lips travels to me in shimmering sound waves of rainbows.
“Only because it was adorable.”
“You’re adorable. And I’m terrible at dancing. These are just two facts that I think we both need to accept for the good of our relationship.”
“Well, I refuse, and if you won’t come to me, I guess I have no choice but to come to you.”
She stumblingly dances over to me and falls into my lap, smiling on the way down, and I can’t help but to laugh at her bravery.
“Elizabeth Connelly, you are crazy.”
“I am not. I’m just having fun.”
“Oh? Is falling your idea of fun now?”
“It is when I land in your arms.”
I brush the bangs out of her face, and stroke her cheek. She closes her eyes, nuzzling against my fingers, and suddenly, I can feel it slip out of my mouth with no warning.
“I love you.”
With no hesitation, she opens her eyes, which pierce their way into my soul.
“I love you too.”
And she’s right; falling is fun. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had.
Or, at least, it is until you finally hit the ground. I swallow the rest of the wine, and try to fit in my emotions with it as well, though it doesn’t work, and I feel the chill start to come over me in waves. I set the bottle down, and look for a jacket to put on. But the only one I can find is the one that’s in the box, the one I gave to her; or rather, the one that she took.
I can feel her eyes light up each time I enter her. The only light in the room shines down from the moon, watching over the night, but I can still see every part of her, inside and out. We’re making love for the first time. Music plays softly in the background, melodies flowing down the curves of her body and into my ears, interrupted only by short bursts of air leaving our lungs. The disruptions in rhythm grow more and more frequent, washing over us and drowning fragments of the world into obscurity, until they finally cease altogether and all is still.
Come die with me,
Please lay down your sorrow.
Close your eyes, don’t be afraid,
I have always loved you,
I will always love you.
Her silhouette dances nakedly around the room to the melody like a lover’s lullaby, and I watch from the comfort of her bed. I never want this moment to end. The song reaches its end, and she flows to the corner of the room, leaving me in silence momentarily only to return wearing my jacket and eating an apple. She’s a beautiful Eve, and I’m just the fortunate Adam. Gliding over to me, she whispers ‘I love you’ into the depths of my ear, and offers me a bite of the apple.
She could seduce me to hell any day.
I put on the jacket and bury my face into the sleeves. I can still smell her sweet skin, and for a moment, it’s too much. The waves of emotion crash down through the bottom of my eyes – I’m falling apart. I let out a small grunt of anger, and blink away the rest of my tears before kicking the box away from me.
This is bullshit, fucking bullshit.
I wipe my nose on the sleeve of the jacket, and look at it to notice traces of blood. But I’m not bleeding, and I already know how it got there.
Noise. There’s so much noise, and all I can hear is the silence of anger. It’s been like this for weeks. She says this, I say that. It doesn’t matter at this point anymore.
It’s already over.
“You know, you’ve never respected my choices! You always have to second-guess what I’m doing.”
“What are you even talking about? I let you do whatever you want, short of hurting yourself or just being stupid!”
“Don’t fucking call me stupid! I’m not stupid. So what if I do hurt myself, or make strange decisions? This is my life, Jon. Not yours.”
“I get that, but I love you. I know I get angry sometimes, but I just don’t want anything bad to happen to you, okay?”
“No, not okay. I know you love me, Jon, I know you do. But you’re too much sometimes; you’re stressing me out with all of your insecurities!”
“My insecurities? What does that even fucking mean?”
“Like getting jealous when I talk to other guys! I mean, really? With as long as we’ve been together, you should know by now that it’s only you. It’s always been only you.”
“Liz, I’m sorry, okay? Just hear me out.”
“I have heard you out, Jon, several times now, and you always do this. You say you’re sorry, and then you go back to doing the same things. I can’t even talk to half of my friends now, because you don’t trust me with them. Why can’t you just trust me, Jon?”
“I do trust you.”
“You don’t. I love you, more than anything else in the world, but I think we need a break. I can’t handle all of this right now.”
Just like that, she walks away. If this moment were a scene in a movie, the camera follows Elizabeth to her bedroom, the shot mimicking my point of view. But, before I can make it inside with Elizabeth, the door slams shut and breaks the lens.
My nose is bleeding.
“Fuck, you fucking bitch! What the fuck is wrong with you?!”
Silence. I bang on the door.
“Hey, way to go! I think you broke my fucking nose! Goddammit.”
“You know what? Fine! Fuck you, and fuck this, I’m out of here.”
The door opens behind me, and I can hear the words ‘I’m sorry’ echo through the hall, but it’s too late. I’m already gone.
Why didn’t I turn around? To this second, I still wish I would have. Maybe things would be different.
No, they wouldn’t.
I’m lying to myself if I say that they would be. Because that wasn’t the only mistake I’ve made. Everything leading up to that was a mistake and everything after just made things worse. She tried so hard, and I just threw it away.
I pick up the kicked over box, and start putting everything back in it. A part of me still can’t believe she kept all of these things, but another side isn’t surprised. She kept everything that meant something to her, even receipts from places she had been on vacation. It was from her that I learned a plate of spaghetti cost $6.18 in New York.
She had the receipt taped to her mirror.
I knock on the door to her house, there for the rest of my things. It’s warm outside, sunny with a slight chance of rain. I can feel the remains of my heart crack and wither away with each tap at the door, and for a moment, I consider leaving. In my other hand, I hold the rest of her things, and all I want to do is set them down and run away. But I can’t. Finally, right as I’m about to knock one last time for the last time, the door opens and there stands Elizabeth, holding a dark brown box.
“Is that everything?”
“Yes. I made sure it was, so you wouldn’t have to do this again.”
“Okay. Here’s your stuff as well.”
“Oh. You didn’t have to bring anything back to me.”
“I know, I just wanted to, I guess. I felt like it was fair.”
“Listen, Jon, I just – how’s your nose?”
“It’ll be fine. Nothing I can’t handle. I’m sorry I yelled.”
“No, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have – I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay. Really.”
There’s a short pause before either of us speak again. Her eyes look dull and lifeless, and I want to see them shine again, more than anything else in the world.
“Listen, Jon, can we talk? About everything?”
“I don’t – I don’t know.”
“It’s not you, I just – fuck, I have to go.”
“Okay. Good bye, Jon.”
I start to walk away, but I can’t. I’m stuck, lost in translation. I turn back to see her still standing in the doorway, waiting for me.
“I’ll call you?”
I see a glimmer of light in her eyes, and I’m filled with hope. But I can’t do this right now, and so I leave.
And that was the biggest mistake out of all of them: leaving. I stare at the box of things in silence, and my vision begins to blur. More waves crash through my eyes, and I’m tired of fighting it, so I let them. All of the memories play over and over in my head, and I want nothing more but for them to stop.
I’m lying, I do want something more. I want her back.
My phone rings, and I stare at the number for almost a full minute before answering.
I can feel my voice crackle sorely over the phone, and it hurts to speak above a whisper.
I’m late for work. I run to my car, and start the engine. Music cuts through the silence, and I speed all the way to work. It’s a miracle I don’t get pulled over, much less even see a police car, and it almost seems to be a dream. Maybe it is.
I feel my phone vibrate as I pull into the parking lot, and I answer it without thinking.
“Hey, who’s this?”
I check the number on my screen, but don’t recognize it.
“Oh. Hey. Is everything alright?”
“Jon – I – she’s gone.”
I hear tears on the other side of the line, or maybe they’re my own.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Elizabeth. She’s gone, Jon. She’s gone.”
The noise in my ears fades in and out as if I’m falling asleep, and I wonder if I really am dreaming.
The driver was drunk.
Elizabeth might have been too.
The police found a bottle of Apothic Red Wine in the car; our favorite.
I hang up, although I don’t know whether or not I said good-bye.
And beneath the blaring music in my car, I scream so loud until I can’t hear or say anything else.
Everything just falls apart.
It’s not as much fun to pick up the pieces.
“How’re you doing, man?”
“I don’t know anymore.”
“How’d the open casket go?”
“Her eyes were closed.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s over. She’s gone.”
#Unreal #HerEyesWereClosed #PickingUpThePieces #ComeDieWithMe #BabyBlueEyes
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