Thursday, March 2, 2017

something from the archives: say goodbye - part 9

parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 at the links. part 9 follows the jump.






Part 9



Sunlight filtered in through the window illuminating the darkest corners of the small bedroom. The bright warmth slowly brought Liz to wakefulness as she luxuriated in the soft cotton covers. Gradually she became aware of her surroundings, which were startlingly unfamiliar. Her desk and vanity were missing and the windows instead of being at the foot of the bed were off to the side, allowing the morning light to bathe her in its glow. Abruptly she sat up in bed before remembering the night before.

*****

Liz and Michael watched the movie to its dramatic conclusion. As Michael rewound the tape while he sat on the couch, Liz stood by the kitchen sink, washing the bowls they had used for popcorn and the glasses they had dirtied. Both remained silent, deep in thought as they processed the movie's underlying message.

Liz felt that this was the perfect movie to have watched with Michael. Although he wasn’t exactly like Ricky Fitts, there was that edge, that distance from the world, the mysterious air that surrounded them, it reminded Liz of Michael. Michael’s own insecurities forced him to push others away. And yet she knew why he did it. She saw the beauty within him, she knew that there were depths to Michael’s persona that even he had yet to discover.

Michael was awed by the amazing artistry of the film. Though not his standard fare—he preferred the old-fashioned action flick without the unnecessary touchy-feeliness. This movie was smart. It caused him to question the definitions of life, of beauty, of love, of what was valuable and what wasn’t. For some reason Michael was surprised to find all his answers in Liz.

And the very thought of that frightened him.

“You said you’d lend me a shirt?” Liz asked as she quietly sat down next to him on the couch.

He refused to look at her. And grunted a reply. “Yeah. Hold on a second.”

Michael suddenly remembered why it was that he was bare-chested that evening. He hadn’t been able to find a clean shirt before. He had just planned to sleep in his boxers. Running into his bedroom he began searching through his piles of clothes, holding up the shirts he found in front of him before deeming them too dirty. Finally he stumbled on one he was sure he had only used once for a little bit around the apartment before changing, shaking it out he hoped that Liz wouldn’t notice that he had worn it before.

Silently Michael headed out into the living room, giving Liz the shirt without saying a word, merely waving her into the bathroom.

A second later she popped her head out and asked, “Michael, would you mind too much lending me you toothbrush? I know it’s a lot to ask but—“

“No, it’s fine. Go right ahead.” Michael ignored the little thrill that went through him at the thought of such intimacy between him and Liz. He shouldn’t get thrills. Ever.

Disconcerted he set about straightening things lying around the apartment before looking for an extra pillow and blanket in his bedroom. He made a makeshift bed in the living room couch and was just plumping his pillow when Liz stepped out of the bathroom.

She looked adorable.

A faint blush tinted her cheeks, as she tugged self-consciously on the ends of the shirt. It only reached halfway down her thigh, and she felt so naked. As she had slipped the shirt over her head she had caught Michael’s scent surrounding her in the folds of the cottony t-shirt.

Liz was embarrassed. She’d never actually stayed over at a boy’s house. Even her friendship with Alex had never involved co-ed sleepovers. Shifting on her feet she tried to hide her discomfort.

Michael couldn’t help but stare. The thought of Liz sleeping on his bed in his shirt no less was oddly exciting, he felt the slight surge of response as she walked towards him asking if he needed any help.

“No it’s okay. Let me just…do you want new sheets or are mine okay…let me—“

“Michael it’s fine. You don’t have to go through any extra trouble.”

“It’s okay, I don’t mind. Let me…” Michael set about moving things around in his bedroom, shifting the stuff on the bed onto the haphazardly stacked piles that lay in almost every corner of the room.

“Here that’ll be alright. Um. I’ll be on the couch. Don’t hesitate to call me if you need me for anything at all.”

“Okay. Good night Michael.”

“’Night Liz.”

They stood in the doorway of Michael’s bedroom, staring at one another, frozen, unsure of what they should do. After a few moments Liz breached the distance between them and gave Michael a hug. He returned the gesture tightening his arms around her and placing a kiss on the top of her head. Liz stepped back and turned to close the door, leaving Michael staring at it bemusedly.

*****

Liz was shaken from her reverie by a sharp tap on the door.

“Liz.” Michael called out softly. “Are you awake? Can I…do you mind if I come in?”

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