She came out of a downtown bar that sold tequila shots for 2 dollars, high heels in her hand, her shoulders naked in the summer dress, the skin exposed to the fresh night air, and I knew I wanted her.
They were a big party, she and her friends, amusing themselves in the cheapest place of the lonely district, and I stood across the street anonymously watching her, as she pressed her body against a man’s chest, as she wrapped her arms around his neck and stood on tiptoes so he could kiss her. She was taken and I was stung by jealousy I’ve never experienced before.
They were loud and drunk; there is nothing else to do in this town except get drunk and fuck a stranger; that’s the reason why this town continue to exist; while it harbors a small population on its own, once a year it grows by a relatively large number, because of the academics and the fanatics, the extremists, the fans and the writers from near states, who come to the conventions and conferences held, to either find sponsors for their projects of research or publishers for their books. They recite abstracts from papers constructed on their obsession with conspiracies and oddities of the world and beyond, to an audience of such, that have mostly and truly come to this town to get drunk for a few bucks and spend the night with someone they don’t give a damn about; that’s also the time when urban legends are invented. This town has plenty of them.
I was driving through, unlike before; my car was parked just down the street. I had stopped to buy a bottle of water and cigarettes and on my way out of the store I saw her. Her hair was short and dark, falling a little above the shoulders, and she ran her fingers through it, then slid her hand down the curve of her white neck, caught in a surreal play of colors by both the street lamp and the bar’s sign, which changed from purple to electric blue.
She was an urban legend too, one which I created to dream of and to suffer after; she was a ghost that I met in the midst of a parade, where good and evil weren’t defining anybody, where sins were forgiven, and I followed her to another bar, proper horror, dim and infested with locals, whose eyes scanned the newcomers and me.
I sat and waited for an opportunity. She came to the bar, ordering beers. I turned to her; she smiled.
We talked about why she’s here and why I’m here, and she said her name is Meg. She told me that her university she worked for was giving a presentation called “Monsters in Modern art”, and explained that the work was introducing young people to their inner fears, and was exploring their lifestyle and studying their past experiences with stress. Her eyes were hazel and they sparkled as she spoke. I knew I could stay here forever if she asked me to, and do whatever she would ask of me.
“Everyone has a monster in them. But the team I’m working with thinks it’s all myths. They don’t think monsters exist. They like…urban tales with gore and hentai”. She waved her hand dramatically and laughed. I laughed too, and she smiled even wider. My heart skipped a beat.
Meg leaned towards me, her breath hot on my face, tequila and lime juice on her tongue. I wanted her. She had wit and curiosity in her yellowish-brown eyes.
“Run away with me”.
And I did.
I kissed her outside, tasting her drunk and salty on my lips. She closed the gap between us, her body warm against mine telling me the need she had. I held her tight.
I spent the night in her hotel room.
We lay on the bed, in sweat and scents, still in euphoria. I kissed her collarbone and listened to the song coming in whispers from the room next to Meg’s. Roberta Flack sang about The First Time… on the midnight radio show, and I thought that if Meg goes away from my life I would die. I loved her, like a fool, like a mad man, desperate for her love back and ill with the thought of losing her. I couldn’t tell whether she loved me too, in this moment, but I wanted her to be mine not just for a night, but forevermore.
Meg lit one of my cigarettes, though she said she didn’t smoke, only when nervous. I watched her take in the smoke, naked and beautiful before me. The odor soon filled the small room.
“Do you think about death?”
Her gaze traced the ceiling.
She replied simply and flatly, no.
We fell in silence, and my chest was heavy with the anticipation of what was to be said next. I was ready to beg her.
Instead she confessed herself to me and I embraced her fragile and damaged self, loving her even more. Her face expressed nothing, but her voice trembled.
“But I fear it; it’s my monster, my own demon. I fear that I will die alone.”
A pause and then “I don’t want to.”
Meg cried silently after that exposure, and I kissed her tears away, knowing I would never leave her, nor let her hurt. She snuggled closer to me, wanting something to rely on.
We were alike after all, broken and living in the periphery of our own existence, without love, without purpose. We wandered for years, false personalities living false lifes of constant emptiness, feeling nothing at all, until now.
“I love you”, I told her.
“I love you too”, she muttered sleepily.
I fell asleep shortly, dreaming of past, present and future.
When I woke up with the sun on my face…
Meg was there.