Tyler spun gracefully upon his heels, greasy hair landing in a wild mess upon his shoulders. And all I saw was a silhouette.

We were both blinded by an extremely powerful flashlight. I blinked it off, and the blurs faded from my retina to reveal the true nature of our surroundings.

The room blossomed with passionate colours. Over old furniture and broken walls, I saw the paintings of many. Many who painted as one. There were innocent nymphs and open flowers, deepening darkness and wild demons. It was a great juxtaposition of art, as if the room was at battle with itself. A messy battlefield of colour. I gripped my pencil and pad of paper like a sword and shield.

I was overwhelmed. I didn't even react as the train finished thundering past, shaking every window's pane.

And what about my own pain?

We stood upon a blank edge, amidst the chaos. I could smell incense and turpentine. Somewhere, amidst the silence, was the familiar hum of a laptop computer.

The man on the staircase, still threatening to blind us lest I turn to gaze upon him, bellowed again; "Be polite, Ty. Introduce the newbie."

Tyler closed his eyes and opened his smile, looking towards the man on the stairs, "Is Shana up there tonight?"

The man with the light went from stern to monotone, deep, "Don't overwork that crush, Tyler. She's a dancer, y'know."

Overlit and blushing, I saw tears break past his shut eyes.

My senses returned, and then the light clicked off. I saw nothing, as the man's feet creaked upon the stairs. Then, there was silence. And in that deprivation, I could feel cracks at the edge of Tyler's heart threatening to break.

Empathy surged within me.

I leaned against him and gave him a hug. There were tears on my shoulders and within my hair; for a first, they were not mine.

He smelled of a flinty sweat.

Then, with utter abruptness, I felt him back away.

"C'mon," he whispered, "we have to be polite."

He said the word with such contempt.

I followed him towards the stairs.

The End

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