The stress began to seep in. Sweat and exhaustion seeped through my pores masking the intensity that was my work week. Typing away on my laptop, I tried to examine the legal implications of the text I was currently studying, legal jargon followed by legal jargon followed by a hyper-extended feeling of self-regret. I decided to step outside the comfort of my house and work outside – fresh air apparently eases stress. Sitting on top of a grassy mound I was nestled on a woven blanket surrounded by books and various forms of technology. Hidden by trees and privy to a secluded view of an isolated pond inhabited with small animals and assorted birds. I was coming to the end of my attention span and quickly found myself zoning out. When faced with a pressing deadline I did as I always do: Procrastinate.
Opening my phone, I stared at a stark Instagram grid. Beaches, warm waters, and extra-saturated tans – Xavier’s feed beats the washed up pale mockery that was my social persona.
Xavier traveled the world, he flew from one place to the next with his only goal being exploration. He traded in the city core to place his feet into a soft footbed of sand, and I did not blame him.
I looked up from the grassy null, a mallard bobbed up and down on a rippled pond. Dipping his head into the water, he began to hunt for food. His tail feathers lifted in the air as he plunged his beak into the murky waters. He began to quack. The faint call dissipated across the rippling water leaving an eerie echo to surround the pond.
A leaf cracks and a shiver climbs up my spine. Someone is watching me. I scanned my surroundings and held my breath to listen out for any discrepancies in the wild. The reeds twist in the wind, and birds chirp silently; nothing looked out of the ordinary. Despite examining my surroundings and falling flat, I still felt watched. Who or what lurked in the shadows remains a mystery, but the feeling still remained.
INT – Home : 3:30 AM
The sound of Xavier’s breath matches that of the falling rain. Écoute le son de la pluie. I began to think as I scribbled down some foreign words on a piece of scrap paper. I sat up from the bed and meekly walked into the kitchen. Witches hour. I turned on the coffee machine and prepared myself a cup, it will be the only way to last the night.
INT – Home : 10/15/16 10:45 AM
Xavier lay in bed tucked under the covers. I began lacing up my shoes on the edge of his bed. I glance back at him and his hazel eyes peer out from the sheet. I feel a slight tug on my waist – Xavier has emerged from his Egyptian cotton sanctuary and pulled me onto my back. I let out a chuckle and feel his fingers dance along my neck. How did I get here?
EXT – Alley : 09/30/16 12:45 AM
The heat from my breath shows in the chill of the night. The illumination of my phone lights up the alleyway. Where is he? I wonder to myself as my anxiety kicks in. A couple with a dog passes by, I feebly try to ignore them as I turn back to my phone. Left in the cold and eternally waiting – I could have used this as a warning.
INT – Train : 10/15/16 11:30 AM
The train ride home offered me the opportunity to think. Who was Xavier? The ambiguity played connect the dots with the rain drops as they formed on the window pane. Through fogged covered glass and an autumn palette decorating the landscape, I stare aimlessly into the mid-afternoon sky.
We kept ourselves under lock and key and held the secrets behind Pandora’s box. My baby has a gun and he uses it freely. In the dark Xavier was a dream, yet in the first strands of light, Xavier was my nightmare. As the first rays of sun illuminate the sky, there is no veil left to hide behind. Faced with the facts of reality, the light demystifies the faults and disregards the intricacies of a fallen future. The fundamental differences between Xavier and I were not biology, nor where they as simple as separating a republican from a democrat, they were built up on something much more. Xavier was not an innocent man, he was a habit that I failed to shake off. Xavier was my own cigarette, addictive but nonetheless terrible on the lungs. Everyone knows the dangers of the common cig, but it is in the trying moments that we let our addictions over power our judgement and take control. I was fundamentally indifferent – Did not know who Xavier really was, and I did not think that I cared.
Xavier was not an innocent man, but afterall, maybe I wasn’t either.