Fictional places, characters and events. Written for a college writing class.
I sat down at his kitchen table and made a point to stay as close to the exit as possible. I kept my purse in my lap. For shoes, I’d opted for simple flats, the easiest to run in. You have to stop worrying so much, I thought, he’s been sweet… so far.
I’d met Jason two weeks prior at the gym near my apartment. We ran into each other a few times before he introduced himself. We talked for a few minutes and he gave me his number. I was on the fence about whether or not to text him. He looked like he belonged in the gym. He looked like the models on the bus stops advertising the gym. No, he looked like they paid him to come to their gym. Eventually my curiosity won out and within a few days of chatting, he invited me to his place.
Now, he was hunched over the counter, making us his ‘signature coffee’ as he put it. He opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of creamer that I’d never seen in the local grocery store. The kitchen was completely quiet except for the sound of cabinets closing and bottles being set on the marble countertop. I played with the strap of my purse, feeling the tension in my chest grow. Is this a mistake? I wondered.
Looking out the kitchen window, the trees from the street were visible and bright with autumn colour. Browns and oranges littered the ground as more leaves fell. By next week the trees would be bare. And next week would mark eleven months since he left.
I watched the muscles flex in Jason’s arm as he opened the different bottles of liquid and bags of coffee beans. The aroma wafted around the room, reminding me of a coffee shop. His hand shook as he poured milk into a mug. I pursed my lips as the bottle missed the mug completely. Jason cursed under his breath as liquid splashed all over the counter.
I laughed, and by laughed I mean snorted. And by snorted, I mean the most undesirable hiccup-snort-laugh anyone has ever heard. My hand shot up to cover my mouth, but it was too late. I saw a blur of dark hair as he turned to face me.
My ears went red and I cleared my throat uncomfortably.
“Did you just…” he started.
“Uhh, I’ll help clean this up.” I said, setting my purse on the table.
I grabbed a cloth lying near the sink and started wiping the counter.
I felt his gaze on my back. Scanning the counter frantically, I looked for a distraction. My eyes landed on a book, 13 Ways to Impress a Woman. I bit the inside of my cheek to stop from laughing, again. On top of the book were a pair of reading glasses. My body went hot at the thought of this guy in glasses. I picked them up and turned around slowly.
“Mind if I try these on?” I said, eyeing him through the lenses.
He nodded, his eyes glinting in curiosity. I watched his features as I slid the glasses on. His brows furrowed and he leaned closer. I rested against the counter behind me and looked up at him.
He towered over me. I felt a lump forming in my throat and my palms grew sweaty. Bad-idea-bad-idea-bad-idea, I chanted to myself. I held my breath as he tucked a lock of hair behind my ear and pulled off the glasses in one fluid motion. I hadn’t seen his eyes this closely before, they were mesmerizing. Golden and rich in colour. Shades of brown and gold swirled into a stunning concoction. I stared, captivated by their beauty, feeling weak in the knees.
He put on the glasses and rested his hands on the counter on either side of me. I’d almost forgotten about his clumsiness earlier, when he spoke softly, “Only people who don’t snort laugh can wear these.”
My face went hot and I looked away. My biggest insecurity was my laugh. All through school I was teased and bullied because of it.
I was thinking of excuses to leave, when I saw it peeking out behind a pot of plants. I hadn’t seen it earlier because it was behind the table and my back had been to it the whole time. Without thinking, I pushed off the counter, bumping into Jason’s chest I blurted out, “Is that a lightsaber?”
I reached over the table, picked it up and turned it over in my hands, looking for the ‘on’ button. It was heavier than I expected.
“No- That’s not-”
Kwishuuuuuuuuuu! It lit up bright purple and I’ve never laughed so hard in my life. I twirled it and turned around. Just like that, the roles reversed and Jason blushed all the way up to his ears. I observed closely as he put his head down shyly, dragging a hand across the back of his neck. All I could think was, Wow. A million more layers to this man were revealed and how many more were hiding from me? It’s true what they say, boys are like onions; they make you cry, but if you can see through the tears, you’ll notice their layers.
“I didn’t know you were a nerd,” I said, listening to the faint synthetic hum.
“I’m not a nerd, I just…” He trailed off.
“I like it.”
He paused, meeting my eyes.
“What I don’t like is you making fun of my laugh,” I said, crossing my arms across my chest. The saber hung loosely in my right hand as I looked at him accusingly.
“Wait nono, I love it. Truly. I really… I’ve never… It makes me smile.”
I toyed with the Star Wars prop and contemplated. Could it be true? Could he be different from what I expected? Could I open my heart one last time? Time would have to be the judge of that.
I pointed the lightsaber at his chest.
“Care to duel?”