“Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.” — Kahlil Gibran
Admit it, she tells herself. You are excited to see him. Which is completely understandable. Only, please … refrain from giving in to your impulse to jump into bed with him and have sex like rabbits for 3 hours straight.
It did not quite take 3 hours; considerably less, actually. They were not rabbits, after all.
“So… okay, this is like a one-night-stand,” she said. “It shouldn’t mean anything.”
“Sure!” he agreed.
“Just how many one-night-stands have you had, if I may ask?”
“No, you may not,” he said.
The way she wrinkled her nose, before turning her head so he won’t see her face, showed that he had scored a point. Before this, he kept telling himself that the point of meeting up with Alice was so he could break his all-time record as far as making her wrinkle her nose was concerned. That’s what he kept telling himself.
“If you must know,” he continued because she suddenly went so still and silent. It has always made him nervous when she did that. “If you must know, you may just be the first person I’ve had a one-night-stand with.”
That pleased her immensely. Not wanting him to know that, she changed the subject. “I finally saw my father,” she informed him. “Went to see him and his family in Baltimore. Maybe a month ago?”
He would have wanted to see her face; but the room was dark, and her arms and legs were all around and over him; and it all felt so comfortable that he couldn’t muster the energy to even turn. From his line of vision, all he could appreciate was her hair which, he noticed, was shorter than he remembered. “How was he?” he asked.
“He seemed … happy. Uncomfortable when he saw me but, what did I expect? We were civilized. Civil, even.”
“And your stepmother and siblings?”
“She made herself scarce when I was there. Her kids were in some kind of camp or something, so I didn’t see them that time.”
“What did you talk about with your father?”
“Oh … life — his and mine. And how wonderful the USA is, compared to the country he left behind. How his kids are doing, blah, blah, blah. He gave me 200 dollars for pocket money. Which was great. I tried to buy something from Tiffany’s with it — but everything in that store was so goddamned expensive! I have no idea how Audrey Hepburn could have wanted to have breakfast in there.”
“Did you tell him you love him?”
Long pause. “Yes I did. But it felt … empty. Like I was only mouthing words.”
It took him a moment to realize that she was trembling. Finally, he turned so that he could look at her, face to face. Her cheeks were wet.
“I hate you, you know,” she said.
“I know,” he said. “I hate you too.”