I look up at the stars
They form patterns of my past,
my present, and my future.
and roads already taken.
Pictures of my life,
brightly drawn but cloaked in darkness.
They inch slowly across the sky,
the occasional plane
changing a picture
into something more abstract.
I look up at the stars,
but this time
that's all I see.
I had a dream that night, but it didn’t include him. He was nowhere to be seen, and it was as if he didn’t exist. I wasn’t one to believe in meanings within dreams, thinking that instead dreams were just made up of past experiences and memories, and so was confused as to what had brought this on. In reality, I was as close to him as I had ever been before, but in my mind I was further away than I thought possible.
The next day I woke up and, after thinking over why I had that particular dream, turned to face him again. His eyes were shut and he was breathing lightly, appearing so calm, so unaware. Without his eyes visible his face had lost so much of its usual emotion, and I saw more of a blank canvas within him; maybe with a few lines and colours painted in, but the crux of the picture still in the painter’s mind.
It was late enough in the morning that we should be awake, so I gently stroked the side of his face, lulling him slowly out of his sleep. He rolled over, lay there for a bit, and opened his eyes, blinking several times as the morning light hit him. At last he turned back, and seeing me still next to him, smiled.
“Hey. Good sleep?”
“Yeah it was.” He yawned. “I had a very busy dream though.”
I looked at him intently, curious about whether his dream had been more interesting than mine. “Was I in it?”
“I don’t think so...” I became slightly disappointed after hearing this. “I was a ninja-pirate type thing though, and...”
I had lost interest by this point. He however, was lost within his make-believe world that clearly didn’t make any sense, but he was still fascinated by it. I poked him in the arm, calling him silly for having such a dream, and suggested that we got up.
My dreams had started to become confusing, sometimes including him, most often not. One day I came into college believing that he had disappeared, and to my friends’ amusement started frantically searching for him, unaware that he was actually just late.
It was nearing our third month since the relationship had started, a whole quarter of a year, and I was thinking that we should do something about it. I was under the impression that he had not thought about it, and so decided to bring it up with him at lunch.
We had gone to sit at the spot under the stairs again, and once the silence broke out I figured that it would be a good time to bring it up. He was slightly distracted by a piece of coursework he needed to finish, but I put my hand over it, rendering him unable to see any of the writing, and moved closer to him.
“So, you know what day it is next, Saturday, right?”
“What, this Saturday coming?”
“Erm...” He looked at me, blank.
“Our three month anniversary?”
“Oh right, yeah.”
So much for enthusiasm.
“So...are we going to do anything for it?”
“Well, what would you want to do?” He knew that I hated making choices, yet still asked me of my opinion, instead of suggesting something himself. I was reluctant to suggest anything, instead hoping for a bit of effort from his part, but from his vacant stare I saw no possible entry for this.
“How about we have a picnic or something? I mean, it’s the first month that it’s been warm, and a picnic is fairly cheap, there’s no difficulties with it so we can have it after I finish work, in the park maybe? Plus, we both like picnics.” I smiled at him. He appeared to brighten up at my suggestion and agreed immediately, giving a time when he was around.
“Perfect, I’ll meet you at 4 then, okay?”
“Okay.” He hugged me, and we carried on with our daily conversation.
Whilst at work on that Saturday, I contemplated his attitude, and together with our lack of physical relationship, it felt like something slight was missing. However I dismissed it, blaming it on the situation of being constantly busy. And he was a forgetful person anyway, so him not realising the date wasn’t important. I shouldn’t have expected him to remember things like that without a good memory. Looking back on it, maybe I should have addressed the whole relationship there and then, and tried to sort it out, rather than showing my deluded self so clearly. But I was so eager to please him, that I lost all logical thought.
When my shift was done, I changed back into my regular non-working self, and caught the bus into town. I lived further away than he did, but I didn’t mind the travelling as it seemed worth it to me. I would only be in town for two or three hours, but it was still time, and I was grateful for that.
I got to town first, and so waited for him outside of the bus station, next to a row of shops that had long been abandoned. They made me think of my mind, and how parts of it ended up being abandoned and left to rot, despite all efforts to keep them alive. I had lost parts of my mind due to certain past experiences, parts that could never be reopened like a shop might have been able to. Occasionally, a tumbleweed of faint reminder would drift by, but it was never enough to induce life again.
While my mind was away, I noticed him walking down the road, towards where I was standing. I approached him also, smiling and waving as I got near. He did too, and we met in an embrace in the middle.
“Happy three months.”
“Same to you.” He pulled out something small from his bag, wrapped loosely in what appeared to be coloured tissue paper. “For you.”
“Really?” I took it from his outstretched hand, and opened it slowly. Inside was a silver necklace with a tiny, heart shaped charm linked to the front. I held it up and it glistened in the light.
“Here, let me put it on for you.” He carefully retrieved the necklace from my hand, gestured me to turn round, and placed it over my neck, doing it up at the back. It was cold against my skin, but the meaning of the artefact brought warmth inside me. “Shall we head up to the park then?”
We turned and walked up to the park, talking optimistically. I carried two bags of various types of food with me; he had forgotten most of his , but at least he had remembered the necklace.
When we got to the park, he was the first to sit down, and we emptied the bags and started our celebrations.
I picked up his hand in mine. “Thanks for the necklace, really. I love it.”
“That’s okay, I thought you would.” He smiled that same smile that made me melt inside, and all of the things I had been thinking about before floated out of my mind.
As we sat together I could feel a slight sense of exasperation, but couldn’t pinpoint the reason why. Everything was going well; he was happy, I was happy, and the conversation was far from running dry. There was something missing though, not necessarily just from today, but overall in our relationship. It was like it wasn’t enough, what we had already. I thought that I had been content with everything. Maybe I was just overreacting. He seemed completely fine. And if he didn’t have a problem with anything then why should I?
I’m being stupid. I should be able to just enjoy myself without having to find a fault with everything. I’ll end up upsetting him for no reason, no reason whatsoever. He is perfect for me, and I know that. I will not let myself lose what I have strived so hard to attain.
I grinned at him, trying to cover up the thoughts that were running through my head. He did an exaggerated grin back, obviously unaware that I was thinking such things, despite my meagre attempts to hide them. He started to talk to me again, noticing the silence of my mind at work after he had spoken before. We had had a lot of interesting conversations during our relationship, about all sorts of things, related to us or not. We talked about college, interests, ridiculous things we had heard elsewhere, other friends, and events and situations that we had experienced recently. But we very rarely talked about us as a couple. It was odd, really, that such a huge and important topic to us, that was obviously ongoing, never seemed to reach our mouths and spread its ideas further. It was almost like a banned subject, available in practice but not allowed to be contemplated between us. It confused me greatly, but he had never brought the issue up. In fact, I didn’t think it affected him as all. And so I convinced myself that it was nothing to worry about, and concentrated instead on keeping the friendship within our relationship. I felt that was more important at the time, as It was the friendship that started the relationship, and so gathered from it that only that could properly sustain the relationship to its maximum quality.
As it got darker, and the picnic came to an end, he took my hand again, and pulled me up with him, embracing me loosely before we started walking back to the bus station. I felt that the day had been a success despite my thoughts that I had submitted as false, and so I was happy. Again. Such a continuous stretch of happiness was rare in my mind.
Leaving him again for another weekend was always hard for me, but this time I felt slight comfort as I knew I would be seeing him soon, and so as he left I did not feel quite as much pining after his absence. Either my feelings had been muted, or they had intensified. I believed it to be the latter.