There was a man that died in the street today.
'That is a great start for a story,' she said, 'not a conversation.'
He stared at her wondering if she will ever know the seriousness of his situation.
'Why do you never let me complete my point?' he grumbled.
'Why are YOU being such a girl?'
Her laughter tinkled through the glass cups and fell in with the ice cubes. 'Is this about your latest crush?' For a moment, her eyes paused on the question her lips had formed.
'Maybe. If only you'd let me talk'.
'You are not really serious about her? I mean she is so not you..'
'Maybe I am. Does that bother you?' He was beginning to get annoyed.
'No. Why should it? Weren't we talking about a story?', she fumbled,'Are you going to write it down or will another one be lost amongst the shadows of your diary?'
'Look at you forming big words. You should have been the writer, not me.' He laughed mixing the drink. The whiskey was clear and so was his head. He had been long waiting for someone to have a conversation with.
'Do you even remember how we met?'
'No', he said,'Does that matter? I have a bad memory anyways. I often forget my birthday'
'7th of April'. Her reply was matter of fact. No suggestions. No pride at remembering the right date. Just plain fact. As cold as the ice cube in the glass.
He hit the shot and stared at her. The seat next to the window was perfect. The mid afternoon sun was drawing her silhouette against the window frame.
'Yes. It is me', she said,'Stare all you like. It ain't gonna change. Its not gonna be her.'
'My eyes. My view. I will stare as much as I like'. He was burning from the inside. The whiskey had hit the spot. Someone had picked the sore scab on the inside of his stomach. 'I've spent 20 years confined within 300 sq foot of bad wall color and peeling plaster of paris. The only way I travel is with my eyes.'
'And that is why you are the writer and I am not'
The afternoon chores next door had begun. Neighbors were out talking. He never spoke to them. They hardly saw him. Theirs was a unspoken, discomforting truce. The 'No Ask No Tell' Policy. Visitors to the place were pointed with the courtesy that neighborhood demanded. Nothing more, nothing less.
'It hurts. Everyday. I just can't find a way out. It hurts.' he said
'You should see someone about it. This is not healthy. You look crazy, you know?'
'Well, I am. Isn't that one reason why you hang out with me? I thought that was a prerequisite with you.'
'So much for the inspiration and intellectual discussions.' she huffed and went back to staring at the street outside.
'So why are you still here?'
'Do you want me to leave?'
'No, its just that I am not used to having someone else sitting beside me during my silence. It is weird.' he hit the shot again. The bottle was halfway through.
'Don't bother about me. I am perfectly fine. Catch your train of thoughts and go back to la la land.'
'I can't. Not anymore. Not with you around.' he replied.
'Ok, then I am leaving.' She stood up.
He watched as she stood up. The table was littered with books, writing paper, a couple bills and the last dregs of whiskey in his glass. The bottle was still on the ground. As dead as his last train of thoughts.
'I know you love her' she said softly as she moved to the doorway.
'Love is too strong a word'.
'...then you definitely more than like her.' She just can't let go of the topic, he thought.
'I don't know what love is.'
'You are just afraid. That is why you never tell her.'
'Maybe.' He thought out aloud.
'She is not your type, however.'
'And you are?' He smirked.
'Yes. Absolutely. I am perfect. So why not me?'
He smiled. He knew it was right. The sounds were beginning to return. He could hear the parking music by a car outside in the complex.
He leaned to touch her skin. The last drink had done him in. His fingers disappeared through the wisps of smoke drifting in the doorway.
'You are perfect. Yes. But you are not real.' He smiled as he turned to the sheaf of papers on his desk.
He was still stuck at the first line. ' There was a man that died on the street today.'