The writer came back.
Of all people, I should’ve been the one to know better.
I asked him how he was after he already told me. How rude of me.
The caverns under his eyes whispered the secrets of his nightmares while his coffee breath murmured quiet confessions about his drug addiction. Multiple hangnails on his thumbs turned away shyly, dripping evidence of his stress-filled days as the sunshine leaked through the window and splashed across his desk in his tiny NYC studio. Straggling hairs crept out his ponytail, ashamed of their existence that rivaled the tangles of thoughts that bounced – no, pounded – like hammers on anvils in that rugged head of his. The charcoal eyes had lost their spark, and I worried for him as much he worried his lip with those aching teeth that sorely needed brushing.
He smiled. How sad he was.
He reached out his hand.
I was too weak to be his lifeline! Don’t ask this of me. I stared quietly at the fingers shadowed with ballpoint smears, shadows of his soul’s troubles quivering there.
“Two years ago, I thought you were an asshole.”
No, that wasn’t my script.
“For two years, I hated you.”
Well that wasn’t much better…
He laughed. The sound of such an empty emotion echoed as John 11:35 veiled my thoughts.
But this drama was far from over and I steeled myself for the rest of my monologue. My elegy distracted him from his own troubles for awhile and he cried tears – not for himself but for me! – by the time the tale had trickled so slowly from my lips that it reached it’s end. Despite the clownish makeup on my face, he recognized me beyond the costume.
When I bowed and walked away, I thought the play was over. The look on his face made me wonder if there would be an encore.
I will never see him again.
Except when I look in the mirror.