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What If We Fall?
There she was, laying beautifully on the bed, her hair was draped over her shoulders as if it were pure silk. The dim light of the bedroom seemed to illuminate her, as if she was a star. She was indeed a star, she was his star. She was the person he turned to whenever he needed to hope for something better, something that would take him out of the dump he lived in. As he glared at her body, it all felt so real. He wondered, God, could this be it?! Is she even real?! She seemed to be so close, yet she was so far. He couldn’t, he couldn’t. He couldn’t stop staring at her, yet he couldn’t make himself come closer. As he slouched on the door frame, his tie loosened, his shirt poking out of his pants, and his sleeves neatly folded up, he seemed tired. In fact, he always seemed tired, yet today it was different. There was something different in the way he slouched, in the way he thought, in the way he gawked. She could sense that, yet she didn’t stir. They both knew that she wasn’t sleeping and that he wasn’t going away anytime soon, and yet they sat there, in the silence of the dimly lit bedroom, their minds racing like crazy, yet their hearts failed them.
He slowly turned away, making his way to the living room, when she whispered softly, “You can sleep here, you know.” He sighed, letting out a burned breath. He could still taste the whiskey and the cigars on the back of his throat, a mixture that was so pleasing, yet so disturbing. “I know,” he replied while looking at her sadly, as if it was the last time, as if they were parting ways. He then turned away, his head laying low, his shoulders slouching, and his arms were flapping by his sides. As he made his way to the couch in the living room, he heard a soft, yet peaceful noise. At first he couldn’t make out what it was, then he realized, she was crying again. He stopped for a moment, as if wanting to turn around and hold her in his arms all night long, but then he kept on trudging to the sofa. He sank in the couch, put his arm under his head and listened and listened and listened. It had become a sort of routine for him to listen to hear cry quietly on her bed and him lying there on the couch, his mind flying away to a million places, yet his heart was sitting there, listening to her weeping in the bedroom. Now, he couldn’t imagine falling asleep without listening to her cry. His eyelids felt heavy, they started closing softly as he dozed off. They both had a long troubled sleep before the sun rose again, and their little game repeated itself over and over again, like a broken jukebox.
She was making coffee again. The smell of freshly brewed coffee made its way to the living room, making him slowly wake up, his eyelids throbbing constantly as if trying to adjust to the bright light that was coming from the window. He carefully made his way to the tiny bathroom and threw a quick glance at the clock. It marked 13:05. As they fell into their usual routine, they didn’t speak a word, not one.
It was so peaceful, yet so cold. It all felt so cold, so distant, as if they were miles apart, but yet so close together.
It was almost painful, painful to watch her sink into her clothes, lost away in thoughts, faded away by time, and yet there was nothing he could do. He glanced at her, as she was staring out of the window. He always wondered what she was looking for out there, hoping that one day she could find it, hoping that one day she would come back to him, but that day never came. As he leaned on the door, drinking his hot black coffee while looking at her, he thought about all the things that had happened. Everything seemed to lead to this moment, to this one moment that he couldn’t comprehend even if he tried. In between sips, he would stare at her while she was moving carefully and precisely. It was as if he was watching an angel move, it felt so heavenly, yet there was a sense of sadness in all of it. As he watched her flush her pale cheeks with some bright pink blush and put on a flashy red lipstick on, he thought to himself over and over again "God, she’s beautiful!" Yet, he never gathered the courage to tell her that.
And she never gathered the courage to look up at him, to look at his dangerously glassy eyes that always seemed hungry, they were screaming for more, but she knew not what more to give him. She was broken inside, but he, he seemed so fierce. His gawking almost made her question her existence, it felt as if it all was so surreal, but it wasn’t. As she put the final touches on her makeup, he sighed, a long deep breath, and she wondered what he was thinking of. She wanted to take his head on her hands, look into his eyes, stare into his soul, and ask him, ask him about his thoughts, about the thing that had taken over him, but she was too weak.
So she stood up from the wooden white chair, walked away from the mirror, and approached him. Her knees felt shaky, as if the world beneath her feet was crumbling away. Then, she took a deep breath, put on her sad smile, and stopped at the doorway. “You’re ready?” he whispered away. She nodded and placed her fingers on top of his outstretched hand. Instantly, her heart fluttered, but she didn’t dare to look up. He hadn’t taken his eyes off her, and for a moment, just for a split second, he noted a flash of happiness making its way through her face, her eyes seemed to light up in an instant, but then it all went away. The gloom fell back on her face, the shades hiding her true self from him, but he knew, he had noticed. He finally took his eyes off her, straightened up, and put her hand on his arm.
For a moment, a little smile shone on his face, a smirk, then he leaded her towards the front door. “You’re ready?” he muttered lightly, the words almost inaudible, just loud enough for her to hear them. She shook her head slightly. “Well, here we go,” he threw the door wide open, and as they stepped out of the house, the blitzes of the cameras were blinding them, as the paparazzi were trying to get a hold of the two. They smiled, their faces perfectly in tact, almost too flawless. As they made their way to the car that was waiting for them, they seemed perfectly happy, yet their souls were crushing slowly inside of them, but no one had noticed it, not yet.
They didn’t speak a word. The silence was killing them both slowly as the seconds ticked away. There had distanced themselves, a heavy height lay in the air between them and they knew not how to reach out to the other. From time to time he would look at her, take her in as if he couldn’t have enough of her. She seemed so innocent, so tranquil, and yet there was something off. He could sense it. She was staring out the window again, as if she was trying to take in the whole word, being careful that not a single detail slipped her sight. At times it seemed as if she was dozing off, she looked so lovely and pure, but then she would stir lightly as if she was trying to make him not stare at her.
The golden crisp leaves that flew by seemed to remind her of something, something old, something painful. He tried to decipher her expression, but he was left puzzled. Her face was blank, white, and emotionless like a ghost. All he could do was wonder, wonder where her mind had flown to this time, wonder when they became so distant, wonder when it would all end. He knew, he knew it was all holding together by a string, and someday they would be separated forever, lost in their own thoughts and memories, but he knew not how to save them both.
They were falling, falling so fast inside a dark pit, they could see no light at the end of the tunnel. It was so cold, it was always so cold in there. She wondered, wondered if there would ever be some warmth, a beam of sunlight, a hint of hope, but no, there was nothing. It all felt so empty, and yet it felt so heavy. He finally gathered the courage to talk to her, he spoke softly, “You okay?” She didn’t look at him, she didn’t take her eyes off the world out there, she just stopped for a second, nodded slightly, and then went back to that distant place.
The silence grew heavy on them, it cloaked them with its presence, it dominated in every corner of the car. It was another kind of beautiful, this silence was another kind of beautiful. It was so silent yet so loud. Their hearts were screaming for one another yet they couldn’t speak. Every time he tried to say something, nothing would come out. His tongue was tied up, his vocal cords blocked, at times he tried so hard to say something, no matter what, but he just ended up puzzled once again. And she, she tried to find the words out there, in the busy streets full of loud people, in the peaceful wilderness, but she was lost. She kept on searching and searching, looking and looking, but nothing. Like him, she was left puzzled. And so their hour drive came to an end. Like always, no words were spoken, they were afraid, afraid of saying something silly, something stupid that would ruin the whole thing. They were never courageous enough to say a word, even if it was the last word they could say to one another. And so the minutes rolled one after the other, they slipped from their hands while they were trying to hold on to each other. The time was failing them, so were their hearts.
As they stepped out of the car and approached the party, they once again put on their fake smiles, kept on pretending as if they were fine. They were not fine, but then again they could not fix it. As they walked hand in hand, their hearts beating uncontrollably, their breath was heavy. They were caught in this moment as if it was all they had. Finally, their hearts beat to each other, perfect synchronization, as if they were made for each other. As they danced, a heavenly and sad waltz, their fake smiles were thrown away, their masks were taken off, only to reveal their true self, their true form which was the most stunning of them all. For the first time they were being their true selves, they were allowing themselves to be in the presence of the other. At first their steps were shaky, but one after the other, they because strong, making the two inseparable.
She was shivering under his look. She didn’t dare to look up even though she could feel his gaze insist more and more, until she could no longer take it anymore. She took her hand off his shoulder, her fingers off his hand and slipped away. For a moment he couldn’t make out what had just happened. As she disappeared in the crowd full of couples dancing, it suddenly clicked to him. He followed her, he pushed and pushed past people, his eyes frantically searching for her, but it was hopeless. Finally, he made it out of the packed hall, ran out to the street and watched her leave in a taxi. He breathed heavily, his eyes full of sadness and sorrow, they were fearful, scared that they had once more lost her.
As he struggled to comprehend, he crashed down, his body gave up on him, and he fell. He fell and fell until he hit the cold, hard cement. He stared up, looked at the deep blue sky and the lonely moon, searched for his muse in the stars but he couldn’t find her. His eyelids felt heavy, he felt so weary, his body started to shut down and he let it happen. He let go, his eyes closed slowly and he lay there. He lay there until they all came. A few dozen people were gathered around him but she wasn’t there.
She wasn’t there.