In the early morning silence I can hear the water run in the pipes. He must be in the bathroom. I blush at the thought and stare down at my coffee.
It's still early and I think he was planning to leave without me knowing.
I take a sip of my coffee, this time burning my tongue.
The pipework has stopped. Now I can hear the sounds of him trying to open the bathroom door.
Another sip of coffee.
Wait, I gave him Alex's old room to stay in. The lock to the en suite bathroom is stiff. I put down my coffee and get up. As I climb the stairs, I hear him again, this time trying to shove open the door.
The noises have stopped as I open the door and I find out why. He's broken the door apart.
His hair looks almost black when wet and water drips on to his top. He's picked up one of Alex's tops - a black tee depicting Daft Punk as Mario characters. It was loose on Alex but fits tightly on him, revealing his left arm to be metal.
He's surprised at my appearance, he must've assumed I was still asleep. It's such an odd look - I had only seen him angry or threatening or...bullet ridden.
I'm so taken aback that I can barely think of what to say. Do I mention the arm? Do I make a snarky comment? It takes me a minute before I speak. "First you destroy my car, then you take my pizza and now you break down a door?" I pause, unsure of what else to say. "Get those splinters out of your hair, and I'll go make you some breakfast."
"Who was that in the photo?" He's not looking at me but at the pizza box from last night that I've left on the worktop.
"Hm?" I've finished my breakfast but he's barely touched his. I get up to abandon the dishes in the sink.
"The photo. In the other room. You said he was an old friend. That he's gone now." He looks at me this time. "Where's he gone?"
I bit my lip. I don't want to talk about this. Not to someone I barely know.
"I don't- I had a friend..have. I have a friend. Who thinks I'm gone." He stops talking, as if thinking what to say. It's strange to hear him have trouble with his sentences. He seemed so calm, so in control.
I sit back down in my seat, swiveling the chair slightly as I think about where to start. "Er, my friend, his name was Alex. He was this..lame," I put a hand to my head, trying to think about how to describe him to a stranger. "This lame guy who could make anyone laugh. Who got along with everyone and was liked by everyone and I- er." I pause again, taking a deep breath. "We were close. We were happy. And we... Everything seemed great. Life was finally going..great. But then, whenever you think you're finally happy, something always comes along to ruin it." I make a fist with my right hand and slam it into my left palm, mirroring the car slamming into Alex. "He got hit. And he died." I stop talking and blink. I blink again. And again. Trying to hold back tears.
He's looking at me, and this time I can't read the expression on his face. "You couldn't help him?"
I shake my head. "I was at work when it happened."
"What if you could save him? What if you were there and you could save his life? Would you?"
I frown. "Of course I would."
"What if it meant going against your instincts? If Alex was a stranger, who held a book in his hand about your life, and you see him about to get hit, would you save him?"
I don't answer. My answer is obvious. But I don't answer. "You still haven't told me your name."
For a moment he looks angry - angry that I didn't answer his question. He then goes back to that face that I can't read. "I don't have a name."
"That's stupid. Everyone has a name. You can give me a fake name if you want to. I need call you something."
He stares down at his breakfast. He still hasn't touched it. He pushes it away and then pulls it back, taking a bite of the toast. "I think. I think my name was Bucky."