Her eyes opened up to the bright blue sky, puffy white clouds scattered through the atmosphere. She felt the rough blanket beneath her bare legs and arms, and his fingers brushing the back of her hand.
She turned it over and they laced fingers together loosely. Too hot to hold tightly, but she was addicted to the burst of electricity that surged from his fingertips into hers and up her arm, all the way into her ear.
She felt the buzz from the whiskey they shared at lunch, relaxed into its warmth. She turned her head and met his eyes, already staring at her. She blushed, turned back towards the sky, grin spreading across her face.
He made her feel wanted. It was a heady feeling, more intoxicating than the liquor. She heard him roll towards her, felt his other hand tracing her jawline. He pulled her chin with one finger, turning her face into his, her lips parted and-
“Sarah, you doing ok?” Someone handed her a drink. Automatically, she pressed the cup to her lips and sipped. She drank it all, not registering what it was.
She stared blankly at the crowd milling slowly through her living room. She was sitting on the piano bench, unmoving, except to tip the cup repeatedly, even after the liquid was gone. Someone took it away. She stared on.
“Where are you taking me?” she laughed as he pulled her along the sidewalk. They parked in an underground lot in the city and had already walked a couple of blocks. “It’s a surprise,” he said, grinning back at her. “You’ll probably hate it.” She rolled her eyes.
“Are you going to murder me or something?” She saw his shoulder shrug a couple feet ahead of her. “You’ll see.” They turned another corner and she gasped with childlike surprise. “It’s fantastic!” She looked around at-
The casserole dish held in her face let off steam, and she blinked her eyes. “Sarah, I’m going to put this in the kitchen. Do you want me to make you a plate?” She shook her head dumbly, not looking at the person addressing her. She thawed enough to sense her body again.
The ice cold rock in her belly, the shaft of twisted welding fire running between her lungs, the pressure cooker behind her eyes. She closed them again.
Lying in bed, light from the television filling the room, she mindlessly scrolled through the apps on her phone. She heard him rustling around in the kitchen, popping sounds from the microwave, opening and closing the refrigerator door.
He walked in a few minutes later with a bowl of popcorn and cans of flavored seltzer water. “Does liking these watered down sodas mean we’re old?” he asked in mock sincerity.
She reached for the popcorn. “I’m done being young. Come vegetate with me, old man.” He dropped onto the bed and handed her a drink. She leaned into his shoulder, pressed her knee against his thigh, and pushed play on the remote. Canned laughter filled the room as they snacked and sipped.
She felt the warmth from his body seep into her. Just being around him helped her unwind. His calm temperament complimented her high energy. She motivated him, he kept her grounded.
They made a perfect partnership - as perfect as it could be. She looked up at his face, discolored from the television reflection, distorted by the shadows, disappearing-
Someone bumped her knee as they passed from the table with refreshments to the table with mementos. She shook her head slightly, dismissing the memories from her mind.
White hot lead pooled in the corners of her eyes. She squeezed them shut, forcing the molten metal back. She clenched the fabric from her black skirt with both fists.
A whirlpool of acid spun in her gut. A blizzard kicked up behind her heart, forcing it to beat off rhythm, choking her, pushing the air out of her lungs.
She gasped - a sudden, sharp intake of breath.
People near her turned, watched, witnessed her crumble, an ancient ruin, wind blowing dust and eroding her cement, taking off the varnish, grinding away the stone, leaving a shapeless lump lying on the floor, sobbing loudly and violently, tears soaking the rug, as the observers looked on.