F I F T E E N
Mia awoke in her small room in her small flat, feeling much too big for the constraints of the four walls. She felt as if she had eaten something that had made her grow three, four, five times her size. Her heart was too big for her chest, it was as if she could hear it thumping madly inside of her. Her arms were draping off the side of her bed, her legs popping out from beneath the covers. She needed to get up, to get moving. She needed to escape the entrapment of her tiny flat before she grew so large that she popped out of the roof and wore the building as a dress.
Today was a day Mia felt as if she had so much to look forward to. She was finally big enough, strong enough, to move forward. So big, in fact, that her once comfortable and homey flat now felt claustrophobic.
Of course there were days that Mia awoke with a crippling loneliness that consumed her body entirely. Those were the bad days. Those were the days she most dreaded, the days that she remembered that her mother was no longer near her, the days that she remembered she was all alone in the world.
But today was not one of those days.
Today Mia awoke and immediately got dressed, feeling as if she needed to leave her flat immediately, feeling as if she spent another moment within these four constrained wall she would truly go mad.
Today was a good day. Today was a day that she realized she was no longer alone.
She looked up at the ceiling as she finished dressing and smiled. She felt as if she could almost touch the white surface, as if she were almost that tall.
And as she took one last look in the mirror, she hoped that there would be more good days than bad.
She couldn't handle the bad anymore.
Down a couple of roads and into the forest, Mia found her way once more to her beloved field. She couldn't remember herself being so pulled to that place, she had not even visited once since her mother had died. There were neighboring farmers that would take care of the crops, knowing Mia's situation and knowing that perhaps she wasn't quite ready to come back yet. So it struck everyone as odd when she had come back one night and began watering the strawberries. It was a humid summer night, the night she had first met Harry. She felt herself wanting to come back, ready to come back.
And now, she couldn't imagine being separated from it. In this field Mia now felt relief. Where her own flat was claustrophobic, the strawberry field was an enriching life force. And of course, Harry was as well.
As she spent the morning watering the sweet strawberries, she couldn't help but hope that one day Harry will ask her how strawberries came to be so that she could tell him the same story her mother had told her. She thought he would like that since he was, in reality, a collector of stories. He was not simply a writer, he was a recorder. And she loved the very idea of that. It made her remember a class she had taken the previous year, where they talked about Shakespeare and how he believed that his writing would make his lover immortal. As far fetched as it may have seemed, she believed that Harry was making her immortal through his writing.
And what better way to live than through the beautiful words of a lover.
"I told you to use a glass." Mia chides before Harry even lifts up the carton of orange juice.
Almost immediately his lips kink into a smile and he leans over to grab a glass off the counter, "So, darling. What do you want to do today?" He asks, making a show of pouring the juice into a glass.
Mia looks up at him from her newspaper and smiles, "Does it matter?"
It had been a long time since Harry had truly found someone he could connect with. Other than Bukowski, no one ever understood him. Although, of course, his mother, his sister, his friends, they were all understanding. They cared for him, he knew that. But that doesn't mean they got him.
Harry shrugs. Never had he met a person that was perfectly fine with staying put. Usually, whether it were his sister or Niall, they were constantly on the move. It was never okay to be standing still for even a moment. With Mia, it all felt so slow, so utterly magnificent. It was exactly as he wanted it to be.
"Should we just stay in?"
"You know I'd never say no to that."
"I have to work at three though." Harry says looking at his watch and grimacing. Barbra had been reducing his hours slightly, the older woman knowing that summer was the season of love and her dear Harry being in love was a true rarity. She wanted him to enjoy it.
"What about afterwards?" Mia asks.
"Well, if you like, you could come to dinner with me..."
"With you where?"
Mia pauses and looks up at him blankly. She knew it was too soon, but she couldn't help but be excited. She wanted to be a part of a family so badly that her voice went up two octaves and she nearly shouted, "Yes!"
Harry laughs, "I'll pick you up at your flat then? At eight?"
"That sounds good." Mia says excitedly.
"Now what should we do about lunch?"
Harry walked home after his long afternoon at work, slightly excited and a tad apprehensive about bringing Mia to meet his mum and sister. He hadn't told them that he was planning to bring her, and didn't think it necessary. Though he knew they would make a big fuss over Mia, he believed that it would be something Mia would quite enjoy. She just seemed so lonely, a little bit of family couldn’t do her any wrong.
“What are you doing home? Thought you were going to your mum’s?” Niall says as Harry walks through the door.
“What are you doing home? Isn’t it some kind of special night at the pub?”
“No point in going to open mic night without Mia.” He says with a shrug. “Anyways, I thought you were going to Anne’s.”
“I am, just came home to shower and change.”
“Shower and change? You’re just going to your mum’s- Wait.” He looks Harry up and down as he walks towards the bathroom, “What is Mia doing tonight?”
Harry mumbles incoherently, not wanting to admit he was taking her to meet his family.
“What?” Niall says stepping closer to him.
Harry sighs loudly, “She’s coming to dinner with me.”
“Amelia? Amelia Murphy?”
“You’re bringing a girl home!?”
“Yes.” Harry says tiredly stepping into the bathroom.
Harry attempts to close the door, but Niall blocks it with his foot. He steps into the doorway and leans against the frame, “So Mia gets to meet your family after what, a month? I didn’t get to fucking meet Anne til after a year.”
“Wasn’t very fond of you.”
Niall simply smirks at him, “You really like her huh?”
“My mum? Yeah, she’s a fine lady.”
“Don’t be a twat. You know what I meant.”
Harry flushes, thinking of all the days they had spent together already. He could only think of one response, “Yeah.”
“Bloody idiot’s fallen in love.” Niall says, murmuring to himself as he walks away, leaving Harry to do what he needed to.
As Harry begins to strip, throwing clothes into the hamper and turning on the water he feels as if this was all very right. Something about this was all very right. And when everything was going just right, it was just begging for something bad to happen.
But he hoped it wasn’t so. It had just been so long since he had felt anything.