By Paradise

When he found her she was laying on her back crying naked above the covers. She looked at him and smiled and said “hey sweetie”, and then rolled over on top of the man besides her and kissed him on the cheek and closed her eyes and must’ve just gone to sleep right there. The guy looked at me and I don’t remember if he said anything but I laid down right there on the ground and looked out the window watching the midday sun not move a bit. I could see parts of the valley, the ugly parts, where it was dry. My head found a nice corner of the mirror my back had been laying against and I fell half-asleep right there and heard them shuffling as I found my way to somewhere quiet.

The door shut and I felt her get next to me and then the door opened and he said something and she said back “okay cutie, get outta here”. Her cheek found my lap and I felt warm and then her hands found my leg but it was the wrong leg so she grasped at nothing until she was too tired and fell asleep, as i’d been.

“Why were you crying?” “Oh, nothing bad, it was just him”. “Did he do something to you?” “No, no… not like that, I mean, yes, but nothing bad”. “Oh I see”. “Are you okay?” “Yeah yeah, just, um, I’m just tired.” “Then go back to sleep.” “Should we go on the bed?” “Here, you go. I should go anyways” “Oh okay. Will I see you soon?” “Course. I’ll be busy tonight and you know the trips coming up so I’ll probably be busy for the next couple days getting ready to pack” “Yeah okay. Hey.. hey, can I ask you something?” “Mhm” “Do you think about the summer at all?” “What do you mean sweetie?” “Like… do you think about how we were?” “…All the time” “I’m so sorry darling” “I know, I know you are. But its okay, I’m happy, and its a lot better just knowing.” “I was just afraid” “You always are” “Not with everything though, just some things”

The door shut and she walked down the narrow steps and out the front door and stretched when she went and saw the neighbor who she had a better relationship with than the boy who lived there and she got in her car and went back to where she lived. As she drove she saw something pretty along the horizon but couldn’t make it out because she hadn’t washed her windows and the bugs had gotten to them. The windows came down and she turned on her music and the car took her through the small streets past endless construction till she parked somewhere new as she always did and felt herself walk to her door and she shut it and that was the end of what he could see.

He laid alone but not for long and watched her cry and wondered what the hell everyone was crying about but didn’t ask her and just thought of the girl who’d been with the guy in this bed. The summer was on his mind and he thought of how he’d liked looking at himself in the mirror and even sometimes laughed at himself and now he had a full mirror from wall to wall and he’d duck his eyes not to see. He’d told his mom he was damaged and back then he could say it and now he couldn’t.

When he said he loved her he meant it and he meant it so much. And he’d decided never to say I love you too, only I love you. But she loved him too. He thought it’d be best if she came in but he couldn’t ask her anymore so he put his head on the girls chest and felt it rise and fall till that’s all there was.

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