Chibimagic's Weblog

Archive for February 2014

Early morning, the bike ride up C street is quiet and quick. No lights to stop for or pedestrians to dodge. It’s a jarring contrast from its normal bustle in the evenings, as she’s only seen it before. Other than the odd lone priorietor outside his shop, everything now stands stark and too-bright in the morning light. It’s beautiful and breathtaking in a post-apocalyptic sort of way.

It’s her first time leaving for work from his place. Everything is still fresh and new. Now come the routines that become the rhythm of a relationship. In these moments of diminished light, magical and fleeting, everything is established and enshrined. And full of possibility.

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As I descend the stairs, I catch him at the edge of my vision—and freeze. It takes a second to realize that it’s not actually him. Same hard beard line along his jaw, same angular face, same close cropped hair. But it’s not him. He is 350 miles away, working. Or 2000 miles away in graduate school. I haven’t kept up. I continue towards my destination, shaken.

It was like this last time, too. Visiting down south, exploring the new buildings and paths on campus, when suddenly—but of course he would be there. It was his senior year, and he would be scrambling around trying to get everything wrapped up for graduation. And with only 2000 students—900 counting undergrads only—it’s easy to run into people. Especially back at the House where we were both members. Which I hadn’t visited.

I was too shocked to be anything but cordial. I was prepared to feel rage, at how things ended, at how he’d treated me. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him. If he even thought of it anymore. But the chance meeting was so abrupt that I didn’t have time to react. We exchanged minimal pleasantries and continued on our ways.

Our courtship had been sudden and accelerated. Within 4 weeks we went from not having spoken a word to each other, to moving in together for the summer. The first time we spoke it lasted all night. By the end of the first week he had effectively moved in to my room.

But that was a quarter-lifetime ago. And I had not thought of him in years. Strange that he should still have such power over me. And worrying. My vision blurs. I shove him back into his box inside my mind and hastily wrap it up. Back into the closet of dusty memories with you: this scab still seeps blood when picked.

I awake to his chest hairs tickling my nostrils. No matter which way I turn my head, they seem determined to crawl up my nose. I give up and inhale his scent, slowly. He smells of powder as always. I caught whiffs of it in the car last week as he drove, stirring up old memories. He shifts again, arms wrapped around me, which I note with surprise. He always had trouble sleeping while touching someone. His cold must be hitting him hard.

I run my finger down his side. His skin feels feverish, and damp from sweat. But here, away from cat fur and dander, at least his breathing is no longer wheezy or strained.

Last night he placed his hand on my hip and pulled me against him as we waited to get him a drink. I rested my head on his shoulder, nestled against his neck. I noticed a friend across the room I hadn’t seen in a while, and made a move to head over. “Don’t abandon me,” he teased, intertwining his fingers with mine. Same sneaky shyness. I had managed to drag him to this party where I was the only person he knew by promising to entertain him all evening. It was towards the end of the night and I had barely noticed any of the other attendees.

I grinned at him and stayed, absent-mindedly playing with his shirt instead. “Your shirt’s blue,” I commented after undoing a couple buttons.

“Is it?” he asked. “The outer one is blue too.”

“It’s gray,” I replied, remembering. His color blindness.

Later, as I bounced on his knee in time to the karaoke song that other people were singing, he grasped me by the shoulder and drew me backwards until my back laid against his chest. With my head next to his, we mostly stayed like that until midnight.

After the countdown and cheering he kissed me with a kiss that was at once old and new. A few minutes later we slipped away from the chaos and noise to hide out in an used room. In the darkness we giggled like schoolchildren.

His alarm goes off. He’s supposed to pick up his friends for a ski trip today. He sits up, groaning, and reaches for his thermometer. As he sits there with it in his mouth, waiting, I trace my fingers around each abdominal muscle. I poke him, imploring him to flex. He pulls his stomach taut and I take in the six well defined rectangles.

“Crap,” he mutters, looking down at the thermometer. “Okay, you’re not going to like it, but I need to put some clothes on.”

I make whining noises and pout at him as he clambers out of bed. As he wanders the room looking for a shirt, I sit up on my elbows to leer at him, admiring the V of his hips. When he gets back in bed, clad in shirt and pajama pants, I crawl on top of him, and slide his shirt off again.