He drove so carelessly. Windows down, and music loud. “How long have you been here for?” I shouted over the music, he turned it down and his honey melon voice spoke to me, “About four months.” he took a quick turn in the road.
Why had I never seen him? Why was he such a secret that Daniel wanted to keep in the dark. “Do you know anyone at Queens?” he asked me. Queen’s was a university that the high and mighty attended. “I know a few, only two or three though. They are History majors.” I explained, he laughed at me. “You aren’t like the rest of them.” he spoke.
He turned the music back up then, and I found it hard not to feel warm in his presence.
I turned to see the back of his car which had boxes and boxes of polaroid camera’s, and music sheets scattered. “Do you take pictures?” I asked him, he hummed a 'yes' and the music went back down. “I’ve travelled to take them, that’s why you don’t know me. That’s why my father doesn’t know me.” he spoke, in such a low voice, that I didn’t understand the emotion behind it, was there a lost little boy that was screaming for his father’s attention?
“What do you like to take pictures of?” I asked him, trying to find some way to bring him out. “Beautiful things.” he whispered, and stopped at a traffic light.
“What kinds of beautiful things?” I asked him, trying to bring him out, trying to free him,“Art, Nature… People.” his voice was drizzling all over me, making me never want to leave, was I glued here?
“I’d like to take a picture of you.” he told me, I grinned then cocked my head, “Are you saying I am beautiful?” I teased, he reached over and brushed my hair back from my face, “Darling, you are a work of art.” he smirked, he was serious, for a boy of his character he was far too honest, an honest man was hard to come by. I touched his hand that lay on my cheek, “You can take as many pictures as you’d like.” I smiled, he had me hooked.
“And what about the music sheets?” I whispered, “That’s art too I suppose?”, he smirked at me, and dropped his hand, putting his foot back down on the pedal. “No. Music is more. It’s simple to write a song, you sit in front a piece of paper, and you simply bleed.” he told me this, and I didn’t understand that until many month later. “Not literally, I hope.” I giggled, he glanced across with the devils grin.
The next thing I knew we were standing in his apartment. Bare grey walls, much like his soul. The walls moaned, and howled, looking at me with sad crevasse, did they know our fate?
Nothing but music sheets lay across the white floor. A black grand piano lay in his living room, a small couch, with a black coffee table in front of it. With more polaroids.
“It’s probably not what you’re used to.” he whispered, almost embarrassed, but I shook my head. “I think it’s wonderful.” I said, and walked over to the piano, and glided my fingers across the ivory keys, it was perfectly in tune, “Do you play?” he asked, leaning against the wall, and I nodded, “I do.” I spoke.
I sat down, he sat down. “Play for me?” he whispered, a simple command that I followed. I touched the keys so delicately, ivory running underneath me, playing the softest tune. He knew it too. He placed his large, warm ventriloquist hand over mine, and played me so well.
We moved in a perfect rhythm, so perfect our hearts were almost in time. We were one. For the first time, I was not just a rich girl, I was so much more. I was always more when I was with him.
“You’re good.” he turned, “You’re not only art, but you make it too.” his whispering shook me, “You said music wasn’t art.” I teased, and he laughed, “Well, sometimes I lie.” he told me.
He walked me to his room, just a bare as the rest, but one wall was covered in colourful pictures, I suppose that was his life, sometimes grey, but one spark of colour. He always said that colour was me.
So many times that room had hurt me, so many words would be remembered from that room. My biggest regret is how many times I let you down. I can’t do that again. He lied though, I suppose he warned me of that from the beginning.
So that was our first night together, he showed me his pictures that night, his favourite of that being a dragonfly, he said it was his favourite beautiful thing.
It wasn’t until we woke up the next morning, lying on the wooden floor of his bedroom, with three blankets, all curled up, with crinkled polaroids, that I realised the time. The sunlight peaked in through the window, and landed on our faces, Harry stood his torso covered in ink, and it looked like hell had been thrown on to heaven.
He told me he’d drive me home, and to help myself to food, he was just going to shower.
I sat down on his bed when he left as quickly as he came, and entangled my fingers into the white sheets, letting my legs dangle and not quite reach the floor.
It was this room that held us, maybe it was like a boundary. Like as if the moment we both crossed the threshold, we would be forever stuck, here, together. This room would be the only room he’d cry in.
“You don’t have to be scared to have feelings.” I remembered the words coming from my lips, and how he stared straight in front of him, he hadn’t slept in three days, but three bottles of whiskey had disappeared from the cupboard.
I do. He had told me.
I’d never known him not to have anything to say, but for the past three days, he’d only muttered yes or no’s and the odd sentence.
Death is a funny thing. It brings us back to our early stages of life, now dependent on those around us. Harry had always said he needed nothing but me. I didn’t realise how literally he meant this, because when word reached New York that his mother had died in her sleep four nights ago, he needed me like he’d never need me again.
“Why?” I whisper to the boy who had the fragile frame of a ten year old.
Because if I feel, then I start crying, and i’m scared it’ll never stop.
Ghosts from our past live and breathed in the walls of that room, and those poor, sad walls, just got greyer with age.
It was only when I got home that the whole illusion of being with him was ruined. I found it hard to breath when I stepped into that claustrophobic, open planned living room.
Three lectures from my parents about the way I presented myself, who I associated myself with and the time I got home, I was free to sit in my room in an abyss of silence.
My father left at about six, some kind of business meeting that he would have to stay in hotel for, which meant we’d see him at six o’clock tomorrow, with bite marks down his neck, and my mother would nurse the scratch marks on his back. Again, I think that was the third time this month.
I hadn’t really thought about it before, but he was no father, not really. Yes, he bought me things, he bought my affection, that worked at the age of four when I wanted a doll, or nine when I wanted a bike, but when seventeen arrived, I was beginning to see how little I knew, how little he spent time with me, and how much time he spent with another woman wrapped around him.
I despised him, my mother’s whole-hearted love, her yearning, only made me hate him more.
I remember several months ago, I sat on her bed and she braided her hair in her gold framed mirror, maybe it was the way the gold reflected of her cheeks, but her gold was fake, her tears of diamonds rolled down her cheeks, in pure excess.
“He used to bring me flowers, every Friday night. He used to come through the door, and kiss me.” Her fingers ran over her lips, as if she tasted a memory.
“I love him, Sophia. I do, but he’s more complex now.” she sighed, and wiped of her diamonds.
She stood and emptied her jewellery box onto the oak flooring. CRASH. Was that the rubies he gave her that shattered, or what that the sound of her heart?
She began to yell, “He thinks all of this, all of these shiny, pretty things, will make up for the girl in Thailand, or the woman in Rome.” she scooped up one, a small neckless for her agile neck, with a single pearl on the end.
“This was the first. A young Spanish girl, with dark skin, and crimson lips, chocolate eyes, and smooth caramel cheek bones. He wanted her, and he got her. That was six years ago,” she began to sob now, “and I don’t think he is going to stop now.”
I was more attentive after that, I watched him closely. Looked at how he talked, how his eyes would wander on the rare occasion that we did leave the house together, he’d look a young girls behind, or gaze at any chest, plump or petite, anything would serve his appetite.
Serval days passed then. I went to work, I came home, I went to Collage, I came home.
It was a Thursday, about six o’clock. I sat in a corner booth with literature books scattered around, an Latte at my side, glasses covering my eyes, and a warm brown cardigan covering myself, and the wind and rain knocked at the window.
A camera shuttered made me snap from the deep world of papers and essays, and my very own vigilante was stood before me.
“I want you to come over to my apartment.” he demanded, “Well, hello to you to, Harry.” I chuckled, and he smirked at me, “I want to take your picture.” I laughed at him, “You just did.”.
We didn’t really talk more than that, we made plans for Friday afternoon, and he said that I should stay again, because his father was coming over in the morning, and he’d be sweeter if I was there, though he used me a little, I didn’t mind.
It wasn’t taking advantage, if I enjoyed.
I waited impatiently for the days to pass after that. I went out on the boat with Callum, who told me tales of Harry. He’s been in prison, He exclaim and almost knock himself over the edge, Wicked and Cruel. Words like that dripped for about three hours.
“See, our families are quite the characters, aren’t they?” he’d raise his eyebrows, “I happen to like your brother, he’s captivating.” I smirked, sipping over priced, cheap tasting wine.
Callum seemed to rush his words then, “Well, we would work, wouldn’t we? Two lost souls in a would of materials and dollar signs, finding solace in each others arms.” he spoke, but all I saw was his flashing rolex, “I am not even sure you have a soul, Callum.”
I experienced three more uncomfortable days within the coldness of my house after that. I laughed at my mother watching day time TV, but wept for her when she’d sob in her empty bed.
I waited for the clock to pass, and the minute to leave. My grandmother was staying on Saturday night, maybe she would enjoy a little unfortunate solitude in the large barren house. The Scott were also to come around on Saturday night, I think that meant, just the Scott no additional add ons, which went by the name Harry, that would cause an inconvenience.
The night would consist of asking my grandmother how Canada was, did she ski? Light hearted business talk, and my grandmother staring at me in a dress, with such confusion, she’d wonder if I was the right person.
Many days when I was younger I would spend at her farm. A farm, yes. The thing that made my father. The barn in which he’d run around, then in later years, fool around with the chickens.
She’d cook stew, and help muck out the pigs before, she’d make everything bearable.
I thought of Harry, she’d love him. She’d remind him of her later husband. Benjamin, he had died three years ago, and he’d always tell stories of how they met.
The memories made me think of long Sunday nights, nights filled with fire places, and laughter. Laughter was something, that was few and far in this house.
However, soon I could escape as noon arose on Friday. My father had told me that he wanted to see me before I left.
“Dad?” I asked walking into his office. “Sophia! You look wonderful, out somewhere special?” he opened his arms for me, “Not really, just staying at a friends.” I shrugged, not needing him to know more.
“I want your opinion.” he settled for my answer. “On?”
“I need someone to come come along with me on a business trip, I was thinking about taking Callum. Considering you two are so close, I thought it would be a nice idea.” he smiled.
“No, I told you, I don’t like him. He’s too consumed.” I sit down at his desk, “Sophia, please, we don’t need bad blood.” he warned me, “Why didn’t Daniel say about his other son?” I query.
“You’re far to curious, you get it from your mother.” he snapped, “I forget, you know her too, don’t you?” I muttered, and he scowled, “It’s just rough at the minute, everything is fine, and I would appreciate you not talking about my business else where.” he snarled.
“Harry, he is complicated. Daniel and his wife divorced years ago, Harry went with his mother, and she remarried, and he didn’t like the guy, look, he isn’t our kind.” he tired to defend.
“You don’t even know him.” I stood up, “Neither do you, dear.” he rolled papers around the desk, a bolt struck.
“I know him. Maybe, he isn’t like us. But, I wish I wasn’t like us either.” I tell him, “You’re a lucky girl, just because he flattered you one time, and took you for some kind of joyride, doesn’t mean you have to defend him.” he snarled, “You’d know about that, wouldn’t you? One time things, joyride. You’re practically the king.”
I left then. He was now going on the trip by himself.
Walking down the cold street with bitter thoughts of my father, the coldness of the weather didn’t show his heart in nearly enough ice.
“You’re early.” a voice spoke, a deep voice, that made every thought disappear.
Stood outside that cafe which Harry had disturbed my comfort days ago. “I like to be on time.” I smirked, and brushed my hair back from the wind, “You’re not on time, you’re early.” he whispered.
Ten minutes later we are sitting in a little bar, it wasn’t exactly what I was used to. Slowly though the four walled room, with only nine table, a small bar, and two pool tables, became us. We sat at the bar, him with beer, and me with cheap wine that tasted expensive.
“What did your parents say about leaving with me?” he asked, as smooth jazz played in the background, “They scowled.” I scowl at him, a lovely sound then comes from his lips, “Why did you, leave with me that is?”
I thought, why did I? Was I just curious, or did I know, much like the walls of his house did. Did I want him to ruin me. If I did, then I was successful in my choice.
“I’m waiting for you to ruin me.” I whispered, and he leant in, and kissed my cheek so softly. “I still don’t understand you. But, if you want me to ruin you, then I will.” he told me.