Sunday, September 7, 2014

Soured Milk, 5

"So are you two dating, or?"

It came out of nowhere; this idea of his. We were bundled up on his sofa, him vacantly watching TV and me on my laptop, when he suddenly asked if I had any friends, and the minute I began talking about this particular friend, he seemed to be infinitely intrigued. I'm not really sure what it was about her that interested him so much, but next thing I knew, he asked me to make plans with her.

And I know this sounds almost unreal, but I swear, he's been on edge since yesterday, fretting about everything and anything, and looking so uneasy and distraught that I wondered if maybe something else was going on.


He simply ignored her, just as he has been doing ever since we've arrived. The moment we sat down and exchanged greetings, he seemed to lose all interest, and proceeded to absentmindedly stare out the window while my friend and I conversed.

"Define 'dating'."

She rolled her eyes, "Do you go out on dates?"

"Not really, we mostly hang out in his place."

Looking over at him, I was taken back by how out of place he seemed to be. He appeared to be so uncomfortable, so self-aware; fidgeting in his seat and looking out the window as if the sidewalk was his salvation. He even looked different; his ridiculous mop of white curls, his dull, black eyes, and the darkness underneath them, his sickly, pale skin and scrawny arms. He looked nothing like he did that very first night I met him; that tall, handsome man with the hateful eyes and wine-stained smile. Did he really change so much? Or has he been like this all along?

"And do what?"

"Well," I smiled, "Enjoy each other's company, I guess."

"Ooh," she leaned against the table, "It's satisfying company, then?"

"Mutually satisfying." he quipped, sounding a bit agitated.

She leaned back in her seat and grinned at him, "And under current circumstances, we are to assume that this 'mutually satisfying' affair will go on in the future?"
The question was clearly directed at him, but he chose to ignore it, taking intentionally long sips of his coffee while staring at her. 

"I guess," I finally answered. 

"And are you exclusive?"

"Not really."

He jerked his head around so violently that I could almost hear his neck snap. He seemed so shocked, so dumfounded by my response, that he kept staring at me, mouth open, for a good several minutes.

"Are you seeing someone else?" he burst, pushing his chair closer to my mine.

"Not at the moment, no, but what I meant was"

"Who the fuck is he?"

"Why are you getting so upset?" 

"Why am I getting so upset! Why am I getting so upset!"

"You do realize you're not my boyfriend," I glanced over to my friend, who had a wide, open-mouthed smile on her face, "Don't you?"

He leaned back, pressing his lips firmly against each other as a dim stillness slowly took over his face, and with it what seemed to be the realization of just how much he'd misunderstood our relationship.

 "Sven.." I sighed, moving my hand towards his, barely even touching him before he pulled his arm away and stood up.

"Okay." he nodded, staring vacantly at the table, "Good-bye, then."

"Nice meeting you!" my friend called out, but he had already left.

"Wow." she laughed, shaking her head, "You sure know how to pick them, huh?"