might be continued, who knowsPosted: June 13, 2009
The three sit, surrounded by almost too humid air, on a bench and two patio chairs held six inches in the air by a fifty year old patio.
“I don’t know, Steph, it’s ten minutes to three in the morning and I really don’t feel like thinking introspectively right now.” Marshall readjusts himself after his statement, the metal patio chair scraping the wooden porch as he makes his imprecise movements. The sound of it grates Stephanie’s eardrums. The porch is lit by a paper lantern, positioned so that the three sitting on it see each other without revealing their physical imperfections. They are surrounded by darkness, the tension of it all cracked by the cadence of conversation and the concert of music drifting from the indoors. Marshall takes a drag from a cigarette that has been lit for the past five minutes, the ashes of it falling lazily, partly onto the ground and partly onto the armrests of his chair. He takes a breath. “I’m pretty sure Tim has some bullshit answer to that, though.”
“What?” Tim replies, snapped from an eyes-open slumber. “My greatest flaw?”
Stephanie nods in agreement as Marshall looks out onto the expansive, almost foreboding darkness. He takes another three-second drag.
“I fall in love too easily.” Tim responds, with the air of someone who knew, or at least convinced himself in knowing the feeling.
“Pansy.” Marshall jabs.
“What am I supposed to say? That I can’t bench press anything but the bar? I’m horrible at anything involving balls?”
Marshall chuckles. “Too easy.”
“You know what I meant.” Tim defends, at his verbal misstep.
“No, I really didn’t.”
“I actually have a story about that, the whole easily falling in love thing, not the whole machismo or whatever the fuck is up with you two.” Stephanie interjects, in an effort to return the mood of the night to that of a strangely serene set of conversations. “But! I’m not quite sure if I should tell it.” Tim and Marshall set aside their inane squabble and begin a half-assed attempt to convince her into telling her story. They are cut off before Tim manages to eke out the first sentence. “Well, it isn’t much of a story about falling in love too easily, it’s more about me being desperate enough to want to fall in love.”
“What the hell does that mean?” Marshall scoffs.
“It makes sense in my head, alright? So, I spent the better part of a year thinking this guy Mia knew from a past life, who she subsequently introduced me to at some bar, was a complete douche.” Tim asks her to explain further. “We had drinks. He wouldn’t stop saying lame pick up lines and try to get me to sleep with him. But a few months after that passed. And then,”
“You got horny, and decided to give him a call.” Stephanie shoots a glare at Marshall, whose attempts at chuckling towards his own quip were thwarted by a cigarette filter and about a centimeter of nicotine nestled between his lips.
She clears her throat. “Then, we started talking. See, I started running into him. Coffee shops, bars, the Schezuan Garden,”
“That place has horrible food.” Tim adds, “Went there with Robin the other week.” He pantomimes gagging.
“Dude, Robin is a fox. How have you not gotten any of that?” Marshall tosses a cigarette butt into the ether, and within fifteen seconds began smoking from another. Stephanie stares at the two, with an intensity mastered by the female gender. Her eyes conveyed a sense of annoyance to two oblivious talking heads. The concert of music filtering in from the house rises in an unusual crecendo, a song that disagreed with the moment.
“You guys still want to hear this story?” She interrupts. The men feign interest; Tim glad to avert explaining his dynamic with Robin, and Marshall playing along.
“Maybe soon, maybe tomorrow, maybe never,” Marshall responds, while standing from the metal patio chair. He stretches, and checks his wrist. “Jesus, it’s almost time for the morning news.” He takes three five-second drags from a shortening cigarette, and throws the still lit remains into the dark. The dim ember floats like a firefly into the approaching dawn. “I’m off to bed.” His voice fades as he makes his way inside, the fifty-year-old patio creaking from each step.
“So, let’s hear it.” Tim starts, leaning back and looking at a cloudy expanse of sky. The Moon peers ever so dimly from behind the black, its light wavering as if knowing that it was soon the Sun’s turn to take the sky.
“How about I give you the moral of the story and wait for another time to tell you it all?” Stephanie pauses, “Maybe over tea, because I know that’s your scene.”
“Go for it.” Tim replies tersely, ignoring the jab at his apparent pretentious air.
Stephanie takes a breath. “Damn, I wish I had one of Marshall’s cigs, because I would look like a total badass right now.” She clears her throat. “Anyway, the moral of the story is: Don’t ask people what you should tell your perfect match. It should come naturally if they were, you know, actually your perfect match.”
“Good to know.” Tim replies. “I guess we’ll have to exchange stories, because I have at least five of that sort.” Stephanie chuckles, with a slight yawn. The sky turns from black to a dark shade of aquamarine in a matter of thirty seconds.