I offered an open door. You, dressed in drab yellow (accenting your olive skin), tight leather boots, and your sickly sweet friend (denim skirt, faded baby blue blouse and mouse brown hair), are all smiles in the hallway. I stand to the left and let you in.

From the table, smells of cooked flesh, foreign spices bring you closer, almost tripping over boxes on the floor, a scattered game of RISK (never to be finished) and empty drinking glasses, once filled with sweet wines and other dark liquids. You eat with your fingers while your friend, call her Misunderstood, stands in the center of the room. She fiddles with her hands, feigning smiles and laughter, clever as she is, in spite of her silence. She is forgiving, Misunderstood, to the point of forgetting. She loves me intently, all the while knowing I only see your dark brown eyes, Mediterranean skin.

The ocean crashes and churns outside in evening hues. It is this that has brought us together, a night of waiting and watching to witness a last sunrise (for who among us is promised any more), together before it ends. A chance to watch the day, a last day, begin.

A rented beach house, rickety, worn by the elements.

The fourth, tall, blonde, slender (call him Catalyst), sits drunk in the dark green chair. His eyes, once deep blue, now cloudy, almost sea gray, dart from you, to me, Misunderstood, and the space between his knees. Effortlessly, almost silently, invisibly, he stands. One step and he takes you by the hand, then me, while Misunderstood, shifts nervously, her hands still fidget, wring themselves over and over. Her lips part and she inhales. She moves forward takes your other hand, rather than mine. Is it defiance or fear? I am careless, intrigued by the callouses Catalyst rubs against my palm in deliberate semi-circles (up and left, down and right). I reach out for Misunderstood, completing our circle. And we sit, the four of us, on the worn wooden floor while the wind rises unnoticed outside.

Catalyst has turned on the music. He sings along, pitch perfect (which I hate about him).

Hours slip by, our hands locked, then unlocked; sweaty, thigh-rubbed-dry, then locked. Our conversation, one dishonest story after another. The lies bringing us closer, making what must follow a certainty rather than an act of courage or will.

At 4 A.M. the circle breaks. Catalyst leans forward, whispers in your ear. You smile. A breathy laugh sneaks between your teeth. From the bedroom, he retrieves three large blankets, throws them in haphazard piles.

On your stomach, one arm under your head as a pillow, face turned to the right, Catalyst rubs your shoulders while my fingers trace your eyebrow, then over your cheek and chin; your lips. Someone kisses someone else. Sitting with her back against the wall, Misunderstood weeps. The room blurs and darkens, while outside, the sun rises certain and inevitable. Irrevocable.


About Ryan Carty

There are some who call me, Tim?

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