First Date is not over. I'm taking a short hiatus from it because I liked the idea I had for this.
I present now to you the beginning of a short, few chapter fiction. Originally written on my iPod.
I hear the soft crunch of the gravel under my shoes as I walk, my feet rhythmically hitting the ground over and over. I don't walk because I mean to. I feel as if my body is moving of its own accord; I feel like my mind is a prisoner in my own body. The cold winter wind bites at my cheeks, and whips my bangs into my eyes. I find a strange sense of loneliness as I weave through the crowd. I know that sounds odd, but I'd be telling an untruth if I said otherwise. My hands are numb from the cold, even though they are buried in my coat pockets. It's a long walk to you. Some people tell me that it's not worth the effort. I still have trouble trying to believe that someone like you could want to be with someone like me.
And yet here I am, walking through the busy city, weaving through this ocean of flesh, this jungle of bodies.
I wait at the metro station in the cold morning air this January. The skies are gray and clouded, the sun an impossible dream. I pull my coat tighter around my thin form, shivering as the wind torments me. I have no belongings with me. All I have are the clothes on my back and the metro ticket clenched between my frozen fingers.
I wonder to myself if you remember me. It has been years, after all. And yet.. Not a day has gone by that I don't see your face; hear your laugh. I've thought of you every day since.. since it happened. It's funny.. You never knew how much you meant to me, and I was always too scared to tell you.
I wonder if you would recognize me after all this time. I haven't grown any.. Still pretty average height.. My hair is a little bit longer.. not much, but maybe a noticeable amount.. I dye it now and then, too.. You'd probably still know it was me.. You used to tell me my eyes would give me away. I guess it would be weird seeing me without my uniform though.. You saw me in it so often. Would you look the same? Would I be able to recognize you? Would you have changed that much?
I draw in a deep breath and lift my head, breaking free from my thoughts. I strain my neck to search for a glimpse of the metro in the distance. A man walks up to me and asks if I have the time. I just shake my head in silence. I never could stand wearing a watch.. you knew that though. You knew more about me than you thought. I never told you that you were the only person I ever confided in.
I break free from my wandering mind just in time to board the metro before the doors slide shut. There are no free seats in this car, but that's fine. I don't mind standing. My eyes find their way to a boy sitting in one of the stupid orange seats. Again my thoughts drift to you. You always sat backwards in those seats when we rode the metro. It was like going backwards in time, you always said. You were such a kid back then. I guess you never really did grow out of that though, did you?
The car lurches forward as the metro leaves the station. I look out the window, but what is there to see? Grey skies over a snow covered industrial wasteland?
You would find beauty in it. I know you would. You would always get excited and point out to me how lovely things were. I guess I never could see it, myself. All I ever drew from anything was cold indifference or bitter cynicism. But why didn't that ever bother you..? You would always just laugh and show off that goofy grin.. You never let it get to you. But why? I think these things with an empty look, my facial features like stone.
You stupid idiot.. you just didn't care, you never let my hostility bother you. You would never let up with your relentless attempts to make me smile at your sophomoric humor.
I exhale slowly. It is as cold in the metro carriage as it is outside. I see my breath lazily curl before my face, fading into oblivion after a lingering goodbye. It's like when we used to sit by the window in the winter, blowing on the glass and drawing into the frosted coating it left. But it's been a long time since we did that.. it's been a long time since we've done anything together, hasn't it? I never did tell you how much I enjoyed spending time with you.. I know that you knew it, but deep down, I always felt guilty for never saying it.. There are a lot of things I would change if I could do it all over again. You used to tell me there was nothing we could do to change the past.. You were big on living in the moment. I, on the other hand, do wish that I could go back and change things.. Fix my mistakes. You and I both know I made more than my fair share of them.
The metro comes to a stop. The doors open up and people crowd around the entrances, clamoring to exit or enter the car. A glance around my surroundings reveals that a seat has opened up. I take my pale hand off of the metal pole and take a seat on the faded orange bench. A window seat. A few years ago you would always beg me for the window. You loved to watch everything go past. I never understood how that didn't get old to you. But each time you were more excited than the last. You would always jab your boney elbows into my side to point out something outside as it passed us by. I would admire it to humor you, never letting on that I wasn't really interested.. One of the things I would change, I suppose, would be to try and show genuine interest in the things that mattered so much to you.
The carriage starts moving again. I sigh, looking at the metro line map. It's still a long while before I reach you. Several more stops. Perhaps an hour more. I realize how long the trip is, but.. something inside of me just knows that I should be making this journey. I could have taken a taxi I suppose.. maybe even the bus. But whenever we went places, we took the metro. I guess deep down I hang on to the memory of being with you through this form of public transportation.. I know, it's stupid.. But I feel like if I stopped taking it, I'd betray the good memories we had together.
The first time we kissed was on the metro line. Do you remember that day? I wore a red sweater.. You had on that goofy hoodie that you never washed. We sat across from each other, and no one was in the carriage but us. I remember you cracked a joke about us getting it on, since nobody was around. I wonder if you're done with that juvenile stage yet, but I wouldn't put it past you. You were always a kid at heart.
It was November, and I think we were discussing our plans for the holidays. I don't remember exactly what it was that you said, but I think you mentioned flying to Chicago to see a friend.. you asked what I was planning on doing, asked if I was going to go home to my family. I told you I didn't have any family. You said you were sorry. I stayed quiet for the rest of the ride. I guess I must have looked lonely, because the next thing I knew, you were cupping my chin and closing the distance between us.
I think about the feel of your lips on mine. They were exceedingly soft and delicate.. The taste of your lips, the feel of your warm breath.. I miss it. I really do. I think back on every minute spent together, and I can remember every kiss. You were always gentle and patient with me. Always respected my boundaries. I guess that was one of your redeeming qualities.
My thoughts go back to that first kiss on the metro.. I know it only lasted a few seconds, but it seemed to last forever. When we pulled away you looked at me with that smile of yours. That toothy grin that you always showed off. The one that I've been seeing in my head for the past.. Four years? I don't know if it's been that long.. I can't be sure of how much time has passed.. After.. after it happened, I sort of lost contact with the world.. I stopped caring about anything. The things that used to matter suddenly just.. didn't anymore. And I suppose.. that never really wore off. I still feel like I did that day. Each day these past years has been exactly the same. I wake up alone in my plain apartment and shower. I go to work and come home. I spend most of my day in silence.. I hardly ever talk to anybody.
I don't know if I'll ever break free from this. So I just.. stopped feeling. It's not horrible, I suppose. Everything just becomes routine after a while.
I listen to the wheels on the tracks underneath me, sitting quietly at my window seat. There's an open spot next to me, but no one is taking it. You would almost think it was funny. I guess my radiating waves of indifference were deterring anyone from wanting to be in my company.
It's starting to snow outside. Light, delicate flakes. No big wet ones. They come down upon the city, a peaceful blanket over the world outside this little metal and glass prison. Even with the fresh snowfall happening around me, I still only notice the gray bleakness of the city looming before my eyes. Why is it that we lived in New York..? What did we really have here? I suppose nothing more than a few of our closest friends.
I rarely speak to them anymore, by the way.. I still get calls from Robin and Starfire from time to time, but nowhere as often as I used to. They're doing really well in California. They're getting married. Did I tell you? Robin's got a good job and Star is three months pregnant. She's absolutely euphoric.. They told me to say hi, by the way. They extended an invitation to the wedding, as well, but I don't think I'm going to attend.. I feel that I've grown too far apart from them. I don't know what happened. I guess we just started drifting apart that day. I mean, soon after it happened I moved out, went to Massachusetts and got a small apartment. It's nothing much, really plain, but I think you would like it.
I heard from Victor the other day, too.. He hasn't changed a bit. I mean, he's matured quite a lot in the past few years, but that's about it.. I suppose that's more than you could say, isn't it? You were the same annoying joker from the day I met you to.. well. He sends his best wishes, by the way. He seemed worried when I told him I was going out to see you.. He's still the big brother figure after all these years. If you were to see him again, you wouldn't think he'd aged a day. Right now he's working as a computer programmer.. I don't remember where. He seems happy with it, though. He's living all the way out in Washington now. He's still single, just thought you should know. You'd never pass up on an opportunity to tease him.. He misses you too, by the way. He says he really hopes you're doing well.
The metro comes to a jerking halt again. The doors open and a new trickle of people ooze in as the others spew out. Everyone looks so busy.. Businessmen carrying briefcases talking animatedly into their cell phones, students with heavy backpacks running across the platform to meet their connecting transport.. I feel that pang of loneliness again as I watch them, feeling weirdly out of place. Here I am, merely drifting through life, going nowhere with no ambitions and no real meaning; there they all are, busy, always in a hurry, always working, always rushing to get things done.. I feel like a ghost in this world.. I'm just kind of.. here. I have no real purpose, I have no affect on anyone's life. I'm just here. I confessed these feelings to you on a number of occasions. I always saw how sad you looked when I told you.. You would always try to convince me that I was important, that I was a big part of some people's lives.. I must be honest with you though.. I still never believed it.. Not really, anyway. The only person I ever did feel like I was important to was you.. You made me feel like I mattered. If I could go back, I would change that, too. I'd let you know that you made me feel that way. I'd thank you for that.
Now that I think about it, there really is so much I'd want to do over again. Moments I'd want to try again, things I'd want to take back.. I said a lot of things that I shouldn't have.. Some things that you can't just cover up by saying sorry.. I'd want to try those again; rectify those moments, make them right. Would that change how things turned out though..? Would I be a different person if I hadn't said those things..? Would you maybe still be.. here with me instead of out there..? Could things maybe have turned out differently..?
I lean my head against the window and stare outside, my head full of thoughts about you.
Probably going to be one more chapter.