This short story is very special to me. It came easily, naturally, and effortlessly. I like the difference between the person depicted in the story and the one who actually inspired it.
In a dark corridor, in the middle of the night, he was waiting for the right time. The distraction, which would allow, the chink of the door opening, to go unnoticed. He waited, his heart pounding hard against his chest. He didn’t want to fail so close. He fought for this moment, that’s probably what kept him alive until now. He was alert, waiting for the right time…and there it was, not what he was expecting, but something equally as useful to him. Someone in an adjacent corridor opened a door; the sound was loud enough to drown the chink of the master keycard being swiped and the one of him closing the door behind him. Once inside he got wary for a split second, wondering if the door was rigged to send a signal to those he knew were watching the place. But that was unlikely.
Sweat, cigarettes, and an alcohol stench filled the room. The smell was kind of reassuring and familiar but the intensity of it let him know that the person sleeping on the bed – that he was just starting to make out in the dark – was not well. The intensity of the smells told him how sad and depressed that person was. This knowledge gave him a pleasant warmth in his chest. He walked soundlessly the short distance separating him from his goal, taking in the messy state the little room was in. He grabbed the pen and the notebook he saw on the desk by the bed then knelt by the bed looking at his target’s face for the first time. His boxer-like face seemed puffy and angular at the same time. The skin under the eyes was so intensely dark that they looked like two black eye, making the reddish skin around the eyelashes look bright red. With the notebook on his lap he carefully wrote something on it before poking his friend on the ribs with the pen.
David jolted awake, as soon as his upper body was up he had the pen to his lips to silence him. David didn’t know what had just happened but he knew to shut up. David’s eyes widen at his assailant’s face, he looked on his right and saw the notebook his friend held. On it, was written “Fucking nightmare!” in big enough letters for him to read in the dark. David’s eyes were wide with shock, grief and disbelief but he kept quiet.
“Fucking nightmare!” David said aloud then looked at his friend who punched the side of the bed right after David had spoken while turning a page of the notebook that now rested on the bed. David looked at his friend’s face and mouthed “Paul”, he could not believe his eyes but the hand Paul, now placed on his reassured him that this was not one his drunken dreams. Paul lifted his index finger between them as a warning to David not to say a word. Paul gently tapped his ear then made a circular motion with his finger. David nodded his eyes filled with tears he was trying to hold.
David then took notice of his friend, his ragged clothes, his hallow cheeks, the dark bags under his eyes, and wondered what terrible things had happened to his best friend.
Tears were running down Paul’s face as he scribbled on the notebook.
“I had to see you,“ Paul wrote, “I might not have had the chance if I had let them know first.”
David read the words and grabbed Paul’s arm. Paul threw his other arm around David’s neck and they held tight, silently crying. Once they parted, David opened his palm, asking for the pen.
“I thought you were dead” David scribbled, tears dripping on the page. “I didn’t know what to do.” Then he looked at Paul and mouthed something intelligible. Paul guessed what it was but pointed to the notebook for his friend to write it.
“I’m sorry” David wrote, “about before, you were right”
“I know” Paul mouthed. “It’s ok” grabbing the pen back from David.
“I wish I hadn’t been so pig headed and scared. The truth is that I love you so much that I would rather have you in my life as a friend if not a lover. You mean so much to me that the thought of losing you is killing me.” Paul wrote and gave David space to read.
Paul’s heart was tight, he has never had the guts to admit it to his best friend. At first because he thought it was so cliché, the gay friend in love with his best straight best friend but enough time had passed for Paul to realize that David just happened to be his best friend. Even if, they hadn’t spent so much time together, live through so many things during their teens, he still would have fell for the tough guy that’s nicer than he seems.
After David read the note he was about to speak but Paul’s hand came right up to cover his mouth to prevent him to make a sound. So David grabbed the pen and wrote, for what seem impossibly long to Paul – who couldn’t bear to watch what David was writing or David’s eyes. Paul had come here to tell his truth, no matter what David’s was. The end of the pen poking Paul’s forearm brought his attention back to David, who was handing him the notebook. Paul took a deep breath and read.
“When I first met you, you intrigued me. You were different and it bothered me. But for some reason I wanted to get to know you. Once I did, I liked the annoying little prick that you were and still is.
When you were hurt, I was hurt and wanted to make things better for you. When you were happy, I was happy.
I hated it when you left a few years ago but kept in touch.
To me there was nothing to it, but every time it seemed that you were in a serious relationship, I felt threatened, I told myself it was because I was afraid that life would pull us apart.
But that was not it. My heart broke when you said that you’d choose Christian over Allan. It made me angry, that is why I was so awful to you before. I considered Allan as a real threat, I knew that if you ended up with him I would lose you. Realizing this, it became clear to me that you are not my friend or my brother from another mother. You are a guy that I fell in love with. And that was extremely hard to wrap my head around.
I AM IN LOVE WITH YOU.”
Reading this both pleased and broke Paul’s heart. His mind was racing thinking about what to do next. A last surge of hope. Paul Stood up and grabbed the remote and turned on the small T.V. that stood in the left corner of the desk then went to the small kitchen sink and took a glass bowl. Paul went through David’s jean pockets until he found a lighter. The notebook in hand he gently ripped most of the pages of it and put them in the glass bowl.
David’s tears were running down his checks harder than ever. He knew what was to follow.
Paul carefully lit the written pages first and put the blank ones over for good measure. He covered the growing flames with the notebook while maintaining enough air to keep the paper burning completely. Once it did burn completely and the fire was out he walked to the sink, poured a little bit of water in the bowl and threw the ashes in the drain.
Paul knew that to anyone listening in it would sound like David got up, turned on the T.V., lit a cigarette and took a glass of water. When he walked back to David the pain in his teary eyes were unmistakable. Putting one knee on David’s bed, Paul bent over, his checks brushing against David’s. His lips to David’s ear.
“I love you, too.” Paul said in a low voice, strained by pain. When he pulled back he gently brushed David’s checks then they locked lips. Kissing for the first time ever. Paul then got up and backed away his eyes locked on David’s. his hands to his head kneeling down he said “I’am here.”
Less than 30 seconds, was all it took for the door to blast open, for a gun to be put to the back of paul’s head, while another armed man knocked David out. Losing consciousness, blurry vision, the last thing David saw was Paul being dragged out of the room.
So what did you think?