Yes, I'm vanishing. Yes, life is more complicated than explaining calculus to someone who doesn't speak the same language as you. Yes, Asscat scratched the blood out of my hand last night. Yes, taking three hits of acid on your first time is an incredibly stupid idea. Yes, I'm fine now, thanks for not asking. When Ben asked me to feed Rufus while he went back to New York, he said "And this time, I promise the power won't go out."
Celeste, who I called to keep me company while Lissabelle torments Ben, smiles at me through thirty-seven coats of lipgloss. "The whole arrangement is just decidedly weird." Ben and Lissabelle are in his apartment, packing, unpacking, repacking for their return trip. The acid was so good, Ben's going back to buy one hundred hits. Celeste and I are in the hallway, passing one of Ben's Gauloises between us.
I inhale and then try to flick the cigarette, but the filter catches under my nail. "How so?" Twitchingly.
"Well...." And I hate the way that word hangs between us, as though I'm going to tell you something you already know, but don't really want to hear right now is sandwiched between the e and the first l. And I know what she's trying to say, it's weird how I met and fell in love with Ben so quickly, and then unceremoniously moved into his apartment, even though he doesn't really love me. And it's weird how Ben, who doesn't love me, and who hasn't even known me for very long would let me move in with him. "You know, the whole, uh...living situation."
In the reflection of Celeste's lip gloss, I see Ben open the door. "Hey, hun, you're gonna want to get your shit off my bed, because everything that's on my bed in three minutes, gets put in my bag and taken to New York."
I head into the apartment, collect the notebooks Celeste and I have been writing in, place them on the piano, and then lay across his bed.
"No. I'm not taking you. Nice try." He pushes me off the bed, and begins throwing things from the bed into his bag. "Oh, check these out." He picks up a pair of argyle knee socks.
"Hot." I say, because they are.
"You are sooooo gay." Lissabelle says. And I'm not sure whether she's talking to me or Ben. Sure, Ben is the one who has pink hair, eyeliner, and knee socks, but I'm the one who's attracted to him.
"He didn't used to be gay." Celeste says. So they're talking about me. "You know, apart from the whole sleeping with men thing."
I should be saying something clever and catty, but I have been abusing my brain and body for the past week or so, and they are both decidedly unhappy with me.
"Fascinating as your socks are," Lissabelle says, "we are way late right now, so you need to pack so we can get out of here."
"Bitch, we're only late because you forgot to pack." Ben says, fluffing his hair. "So, no more from you. Shhhh. Shhhh."
And then they are packed and gone. And it is Celeste and I alone in Ben's apartment. She is standing in front of the mirror, "Adam, do my lips look puffy?"
"No." They look varnished like the hardwood floor in a sports arena, but they don't look puffy.
"Ok." But she continues to look at her face in the mirror. This is Ben's apartment. There are mirrors everywhere. "We should go out for a walk. Moving would be really good."
Yes, yes it would. "Where should we go?"
So we head out to the streets of Allston, where the colors are vivid and the wind is a word I can't come up with. We don't go anywhere exciting. An ATM and the ice cream shop. Then we are back in the apartment, and it is time for Celeste to go home. "Bye, Adam. See you later." And she smiles, again. I can see myself in her lips, alone in Ben's apartment, looking at the calendar, trying to figure out how long it will be before Ben comes home.