on the way out (moving day)Posted: May 27, 2010
Music is playing softly in the background, the composition swelling subtly. “Am I thinking too much?” Simon asks.
The lighting is dim, bright enough to read a book comfortably only to fall asleep a few pages in. He is sitting cross-legged on a scratchy cushion laying on the floor. The surrounding floor is cold, a shade of brown reminiscent of sand. The eye perceives it as wood, the feet, on the other hand, do not. The air is stale, stagnant, and carries the stench of fresh cigarette smoke. Menthols. Ashes fall lazily from a faint orange glow across the room, one that brightens for each passing breath. A pair of manicured fingers, nails painted a shade of purple that’s reserved for dinosaurs, draws the light away from a tired face. “Yeah, you’re thinking too much.” Robin replies. Her eyes, normally bright, were as dim as the room the two were in. She sat next to him, a foot away, staring at him with those same eyes. “No, I’m not.” He says, more as a knee-jerk response then an actual argument.
“Yeah, you are.”
Simon repeats himself.
“Yeah, you are.” Robin repeats herself. “For christ’s sake, why is it then that you just spent the last five days talking to every single person you trust and asking them to chip in their own two cents not five minutes into every conversation?” Her back is against the wall, seven lipstick-stained cigarettes were smashed into a makeshift ashtray crafted from an unneeded piece of cardboard, the smoke from the eighth meandered around the room like a pop culture reference lost in translation. Her legs, those legs that went on forever, were outstretched on the floor. There was little furniture in this room, only boxes marked hastily with permanent marker. Simon had outgrown his apartment, and it was time for him to move on. “That proves nothing.” He finishes his sentence with an outstretched hand reaching for the Marlboros and lighter placed on the floor. “It proves everything!” She exclaims, quite loudly. There is knocking emanating from the floor below. Someone could hear her. “People don’t normally freak out this much.” She says, quieter.
“I thought we’ve long established that I’m hardly normal.” Simon responds, placing a cigarette between his lips and lighting it.
He inhales. “You don’t normally freak out this much.” Robin elaborates. “You don’t smoke, either.” He coughs as soon as the nicotine and tar reaches his throat.
“I wanted to try it, for once.” Simon replies, crushing the bad idea with the seven testaments to a nicotine addiction. “And well, she’s… Different.”
“That’s what you said about the last one.” Robin chuckles, nudging him with her elbow.
“Then she’s more than different!” A knock from the floorboards. “She’s special!” The music cuts out. Either Robin’s phone, the source of it, had died, or the playlist came to an end. Soon, another song begins to filter out from its speaker; played any louder and there would have been much less to talk about, and much more to listen to. “Isn’t that what you said about the one before that?” She turns to him. He’s looking at a speck on the wall. “I don’t know, alright! For fuck’s sake, I have no fucking clue what to think about this one except for the fact that I can’t stand not knowing if she’s going to eventually break my heart.” Simon clears his throat. He’s clearly worked up. She takes a breath, exhales, and exudes a three second long plume of smoke from her lips, barely visible given the lighting. “They always break your heart. Eventually.” She finally says, enjoying her succinctness. Simon’s eyes dart towards hers.
“I don’t want this one to!” Robin chuckled at his emphasis on the words “this one”. Simon scratches the back of his head frantically. Force of habit. “Look, for once I’ve gotten emotionally invested in someone, to the point that I’m physically scared at what would happen if she broke my heart. It’s taken me so damn long to get over the last time that happened. And now, I’m with someone who I think is absolutely perfect.”
“Oh you poor, poor, deluded child…” She chuckles again. “That perfect girl still might.”
Simon’s eyes widen. “Jesus! What the fuck kind of advice is that?” For the first time in his life, he’s at a loss for words.
Definitely not for the first time in her life, Robin has had enough with feeding men bullshit. “It’s the truth. If she doesn’t break your heart within the next week then she could break your heart within the next month. Or the next year. Or maybe longer.” She smashes what was left of her eighth cigarette onto the cardboard ashtray and instinctively grabs the Marlboro box. There would have been another waiting for her if Simon wasn’t being a complete idiot five minutes ago. Robin knew to never take a smoker’s last cigarette, but Simon didn’t know that rule. She stands up, and looks down on the buffoon sitting on his spare cushion. “People leave. Shit like that happens whether you like it or not, and it’s up to you to decide whether or not you’re willing to put yourself out there and enjoy yourself a little; ignore the fact that things eventually end, and I don’t know… Live a little? Man, I feel like such a cliche.” She starts towards the door. “Listen, I’m going to go grab cigarettes and a coffee. We’ll finish with the other boxes later, if you want to come with.”
Simon takes a second to respond. Robin’s already reaching for the door handle. His eyes once again dart towards her, looking not at the back of her auburn hair but more towards her feet. Red sneakers. “You know, I think I’m in love with this one.” She exhales loudly, and opens the door. “That’s what you say about all of them, kid.”
She hurriedly begins walking towards the stairwell.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Robin!” Simon yells, quickly getting up, running after her, and locking the door behind him. “I fucking hate it when you say something and then just walk away!”