The 15th of November

by AFR

And the spell was broken. All night the two had lain as lovers, hands and feet intertwined, with their bodies pressed together. The urgency of the kiss, the quickening of the breath; all that was gone now, replaced by small talk and bad hair.

It had happened so suddenly the previous night. He had known that she was in town, had taken her to a football game. But afterwards they had parted ways, and he did not hear from her until, on his pathetic way back from a lame party he received the text "Come get me". Suddenly his world was in chaos. After their parting of ways he had been depressed, in turmoil, and had sworn her off, yet here was her clearly drunken plea to rescue her from some plight. It had not been his intent to allow her to do this, yet the knight in shining armor sparked within him, and instead of getting off at his bus stop with his friends, he rode his mighty steed to the damsel in distress.

On his way he cursed himself, cursed her. The two of them had a history, and "It's complicated" had never been a better explanation for anything. He had wanted to cut her out of his life. Earlier that day he had wished that they had never met. His life would have been so much simpler. He was a terribly carefree individual, to the point of detriment, almost. But she was the one thing he could not help but take terribly seriously.

And there she was. The vision of loveliness that had tormented him for so long standing unsteadily by the curb. Her cry could be heard from across the parking lot "'ey yo boi!" He walked over quickly, playing the role of the concerned friend that he had been called in to be. She was chilly, and that warranted his pullover, but it was not that cold, and it was clear that this action was merely a formality. The walk back and the ensuing bus ride were uneventful, but for the occasional drunken antic, which they could both laugh at.

It was back at his dorm that his vague plan came crashing down. He was sober, thinking to clearly, his mind racing down so many variable pathways. In the back of his mind he was thinking, planning. There had been a party, some six months ago, that had started all this, where the two of them had spent a rough-and-tumble night on the floor of a friend's apartment. He wanted that back, but he was scared, so scared. Worse, even, then this state of limbo, with his desires undeclared, was if he made an inappropriate move and was pushed out of her life forever, despite what promises he had made himself earlier. He knew, somehow, that she wanted him to try something, even though it had been so long. But he needed courage, in liquid form, and he knew where to get it.

Up the stairs they went, until they arrived at the dorm of the friends that he had abandoned. But they had lost their hard-won liquor. Stolen from the lame party, it had been spotted by an RA and dumped down the drain. She met his friends, and her drunkenness did nothing to aid her in her pursuit of looking like a normal human being. Time dragged on; it was clear this trip had been worse than meaningless, it had been a detriment. So they left, back to his room, in the hopes that his roommate and a friend who had been there earlier had left.

Now both roommate and friend were gone; the room was theirs.

"Where are my boxers?" she queried.

He laughed. They were in his boxer drawer, of course. A reminder of a few weeks ago when she had lent them to him after a night in a Halloween costume that would have been awkward to walk around in, the morning after a purely platonic stay in her house. Down went her pants and up came the boxers. He would remember that with a mixture of fondness and sorrow the next morning when she would leave the room to change, instead of doing it boldly in front of him.

"Muse" was her only words.

It took him a minute to realize Muse was a band, and that he was expected to pull them up. The ensuing search lasted a bit, and when he was done, she lay in his bed, ostensibly asleep. He slipped in next to her, and she started to get up, but only to lean across him to change the song. He stared, he could not help himself. When she came back down, he wondered if perhaps he should have slipped his arm around her. When she did it again shortly thereafter, he did.

Now her fingernails traced patterns on his forearms. He reached across with his other arm, grabbed her hand. Their digits danced with each other for a time, until he realized what was happening.

"Dammit" he growled. Her confusion was understandable.

"I haven't been able to get you out of my head for the last six months." It was true. He had tried everything; even the tramps at the bars that he had sworn were not for him. The torture increased and decreased with the amount of contact that he had with her. And now, lying next to her, breathing her scent, he knew that the next week was going to be rough, one of the roughest he'd endured since the semester started.

"Ditto" was her answer. Now his heart soared; she felt the same! But the jubilation was to be short-lived.

"I can't let myself be close to anyone I care about." A blow to the jaw.

"I hurt some guys my freshman year, and I don't want to do it again." Didn't she understand? Every moment that he knew she was out there and he was not with her was pain for him. He wanted nothing more than what he had now, her body pressed against his, the two of them, alone. He knew not what to say.

"Tomorrow, you'll go back to school and I will be miserable." He declared.

"Don't say that."

"It's the truth."

A moment passed, then another. Her fingernails traced their patterns. Their hands clasped, unclasped. He found himself kissing the back of her neck. Her head turned and for a brief moment he feared a reprimand, a reminder that she held all the power. But their lips found each other, and every feeling from those last six months came rushing back to him. The urgency overwhelmed him, overwhelmed them both, until she broke off and laughed at him. She did that from time to time. It was her way, and it only made him want her more. She flipped over and seemed to go to sleep, but he knew the game. He waited, stroking back her hair, until she was ready to come at him again, with the ferocity of the tigress that she was.

She got up and went to fiddle with the music, where he joined her a moment later. She found an appropriate song, and they stood, holding each other, kissing, until they collapsed back to the bed. The cycle repeated.

This carried on for a time, minutes, hours, days, who could tell? He knew what would creep on him tomorrow and the ensuing days, the depression, the anger. But for now he could be naught but happy. Finally, the time came when she said goodnight. Their passion would overwhelm them twice more before this would take hold, but he knew it was coming to an end. They fell asleep, their hands in each others, their bodies pressed tight.

When he awoke the next morning she was with him, still. Her head rested on his bare shoulder, her hand on his naked chest. He lay there, savoring the moment, dreading what was to come. He had been here before. And sure enough, he went to the bathroom, and when he returned, she was sitting up, her phone in her hand. Her friend had arrived to pick her up. She took her pants, and went to the bathroom to change. Her shirt, the one that she had lent to him along with her boxers, left with her as well, another memento of her that he would miss.

They walked to where her friend was together. She talked the whole way, about nothing and concerning no one. Her statement from the night before stood. She cared for him and so she would not be involved with him. He could not get a word in edge-wise, and did not try to. She did not want to talk about last night. He would not force the issue.

"Cya" said she. "Thanks for housing me last night." He could not even crack a smile.

"No problem."

They hugged and he turned, quick-stepping back to his dorm, fearing the crushing emotions that he knew would overwhelm him. The need, the want, the desire, he could not escape them. But the funny thing was that he was not sure if he wanted to. "To live is to suffer" quoth Roberta Flack, and so live he would, in order, as the rest of the quote says, to survive and "find meaning in the suffering."

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