‘Um. Do you, I guess ever wonder why we’re here? Why we’re alive, I mean.’ He says, leaning on the balcony rail, staring out into the distance to a setting sun.
‘To live. To love. To fuck.
And then to die, isn’t it? Or have I missed a step?'
The girl replies, taking a drag at the cigarette clasped tightly between her lips, exhaling smoke like a model on TV would; looking sexy with her lips puckered, the breath drawn out,
almost like the smoke killing and infecting her lungs was a bubbly treat she’d waited her whole life to devour.
Adam turns, head sinking to one side, taking in the girl who sat in his deck chair, denim shorts hugging her thighs, a loose white t-shirt over her torso, tight enough to accentuate her breasts.
He doesn’t know what to make of her. Or why she was even here. You know why she’s here, don’t be stupid, he thinks to himself.
One vague ad on craigslist later, and the awkward call that followed, then here was a girl; beautiful, sexy, completely out of his league.
And now he was going to have to deal with trying to talk to her.
‘No,’ He says, moving to the other chair across from her. ‘I think you got it. Live. Love. Fuck. That’s about all there is to life.’
She smiles. ‘You forgot death. The most important part of life, really.’
‘And how is death the most important? Enlighten me?’ Adam says, smiling. Good, he thinks to himself. I’m making good conversation, I’m keeping it light.
She might actually be enjoying my company. That’s all he really wants this evening. Company. He’s tired of going through the same routine, mundane evening—today is a day for change.
The girl leans forward, purposely or accidentally revealing her cleavage, and takes another drag.
‘Well, I mean. Without death, there would be no point in life. I know everyone dreams about living forever, like it’s some grand desire, the best thing in the world.
But living forever would be a curse, don’t you think? That’s just my opinion anyway.’
Adam tries to keep his attention on her words, but he can’t help but stare down her shirt, glancing up every few seconds to make sure she doesn’t notice. He’s not doing a very good job.
Her eyes light up when she looks at him, and he gulps down the spit in his throat. She plays with the fabric of her t-shirt, and then a finger massages the skin next to her neck.
She tilts her head to one side.
‘Sorry, am I distracting you somehow? Didn’t mean to draw your attention to anything other than our titillating conversation?
’ She leans further, now placing her hands on the glass table between them, smile widening. ‘You did call me here for a reason, didn’t you?’
He tries to keep his eyes on hers now, glancing away when he can’t, a rivulet of sweat drip down the side of his forehead. ‘Um. I don’t know. Did I?’
She laughs, a small laugh, almost childlike. Innocent. ‘You don’t have to be so nervous. This is your first time with someone like me, I can tell. Don’t worry. I only bite a little.
’ Her hand presses down on his thigh, and that’s all he can take.
He bolts up, knocking over the chair as he does. He’s breathing hard, chest rising and falling in heavy succession, heart running away in his chest. She's not shocked or confused.
Her smile has even gotten wider, as she stands from her chair, flicking the cigarette away and over the balcony.
‘Well you’re a nervous one, aren’t you? Don’t worry, I think I have a way of calming you down.” The girl approaches, one step, then two, her hips swinging side to side, eyes locked on him.
Adam pushes his back against the rail, gripping both hands tight on the metal, and stares opened eyed at the girl. ‘Wait! Wait! This isn’t what I want!’
And so she stops, frowning. One hand goes to her hip, head tilting to one side, face curious. ‘So why did you call me over?’
‘Because I just...I just wanted some company, that’s all.’
He was expecting to get laughed at, for her to call him weird or strange, or whatever name she could come up with.
But instead her smile brightened, and she takes a step back, sitting on the edge of the table, studying him more intently than before.
‘You just want my company? Nothing else?’
Adam nods vigorously. ‘That’s right. Yes. That’s all I wanted for tonight.’
After rolling her shoulders, and rolling her neck, her eyes settle on him again. ‘Then that’s what you’ll get. You should’ve told me before.’
‘I know. But I think I was just...too scared.’
A shrug, eyes glancing at the floor. ‘I thought you might judge me.’
She laughs again in that same way; sweet and innocent. The girl takes another cigarette from the packet lying on the table behind her..
‘Why would I judge you? Believe me, there’s a lot more crazy shit other people want to get up to then to just sit down and share my company. Anyway, sweetie. What do you want to do then?’
‘I was thinking maybe, um. We could go to my bed. Not to do anything, of course. But just to lie there. And be together.
Maybe you could run your hands through my hair? My mother used to do that to me when I was young.
’ He doesn’t know why he says this, maybe it was because of the way she said “sweetie”, but he immediately regrets the words as they left his mouth. But she doesn’t seem at all perturbed.
She takes it in stride, actually, and nods. ‘Sounds fun. Which bedroom? I saw you had two in there. Very impressive for the price around here, I must say.’
Head on her lap, lights down to dim, her hands running through his hair, eyes staring up at the blank ceiling,
Adam and this girl he’s only known for an hour are discussing all the problems in his life, nothing left to hide. It’s been awhile since he’s talked to someone. Truly talked.
And been this intimate. So much is rumbling in his mind; he doesn’t know what to pull out first.
He adjusts his head a little in her lap, staring hard at the ceiling, before saying, ‘My mom died when I was little.’
The stroking of his hair stops for a moment, and her eyes gaze down at him, lips slightly pouting.
‘That’s just awful.’ She says, then continues to run her hands through his hair, in a soft and calming rhythm.
‘Yeah. I guess. I don’t know. I didn’t know her that well, I think I was only six or seven when it happened, but I guess it affected me. To this day I still think of her.’
‘Well of course it’s going to affect you. Your mother died, Adam. So why do you sound like it shouldn’t?’
‘That’s probably because I just think it happened a long time ago, and I shouldn’t be so...traumatised by it all.
I mean for christ sakes, I got you here running your hands through my hair just ‘cause it helps me remember her.’
‘I don’t mind though. As long as it helps.’
‘Well I do.’ He doesn’t know why he says it like that, like a child. But the words are out there, and he can’t take them back.
‘Do you want me to stop then?’
Silence. A pause.
‘No.’ He shakes his head lightly, and looks up at her. ‘No, I don’t.’
‘Then I’ll keep going then.’ She resumes her methodical process of combing his hair with her hands, it feeling like she had done this before. For a moment he has the fleeting idea to ask.
To ask if she’s done this before with any of her...clients. But the moment to ask such a question flees quickly, and soon they settle into a comfortable silence.
Adam even closes his eyes, only now able to hear the softness of her breathing, and feel the steady rhythm of her heart, his ear pressed against an artery.
And then she whispers, ‘Are you afraid of death?’
His eyes flutter open, and he thinks on the question for a moment. ‘I’m not sure. I guess so. I mean, isn’t everyone?’
She shakes her head, lips curving down slightly. He notices something sad in her eyes. ‘Not me. Life is but a stepping stone. There’s so much more after this, don’t you think?’
‘Well, I don’t know. No one does. That’s why everyone’s scared, isn’t it? Because no one knows.’
‘But isn’t that exciting? That no one knows? Everyone likes to believe they know everything; about themselves, about their environment, about the people around them.
But what no one can convince themselves into believing they know is what happens after they die. And isn’t that wonderful? Life has so many possibilities, billions and billions. But death.
Well, death must have even more.’
He nods a little, not quite sure what she’s trying to get at, but doesn’t want to seem stupid. ‘Right. Right. I get it. Lots of possibilities in death. I guess that’s true.’
Her hand glides through his coarse black hair, and she smiles down at him. ‘No. You don’t get it. Do you?’
He can’t help but smile with her. ‘Okay. Maybe I don’t. I was never into philosophy much.’
‘What about experience then?’ The words are delicate, light, like a soft breeze.
‘What do you mean?’
And then her other hand moved swiftly across his throat. He hadn’t seen her move her hand into her pocket.
He hadn’t seen her clasp the hilt of a switchblade firmly in one hand, slowly pulling it out. But he sees it now, the blade now bloody, raised in the air, glinting in the light.
Adam struggles to breathe, and he goes to scream, but she pushes a hand down on his mouth, and then sends the blade back down, straight into his heart.
The pain explodes through his chest, and racks his whole body into spasming.
She shushes him, like a dog, the whole time, still running a hand through his hair, the other hand firmly gripped on the switchblade which now impaled his heart,
blood pumping out the wound and running down the white dress shirt he wears.
The girl looks down at him as his eyes search hers for an answer; her lips pouted slightly, head tilted to the side.
She regards him almost like an owner regards their pet as they are getting euthanized. An expression of, this is sad, but it’s for the best.
‘I’m sorry,’ She says, softly, as she did before. ‘But this is good, I promise you. You’re going to a better place.’
Those are the last words he hears as the light dies from his eyes, and his heart stops beating, body already starting to go cold.