Take Me On
It was getting late, but he wasn’t tired. He stared up at the street lights, circled in halos like little angels floating above the surface of the earth, waiting to be given a chance to touch someone’s life. Moths and other insects flitted around them, glowing like fairies, waiting to sprinkle their magic dust on unwary passers-by. Luke sighed, and closed his eyes for a moment, before staring up at the sky.
“If you’ve got anything to touch me with, do it.” He said softly.
He was scared to go back to his apartment. The place was a mess, and he was worried that the door was broken where he’d kicked it, and it had struck the table beside his bed. One thing, at least, he was grateful for, and that was the fact that he’d unclenched his fist in time to keep his knuckles from breaking on the brick wall.
He’d never felt himself like that before. As he looked back through his memories, it was like he was watching a movie. He’d stood up from the computer, throwing the chair across the room, punching the desk, and screaming at the top of his lungs. Tears had barely been held in check, before he threw himself on his bed and simply screamed into his pillow in frustration. He didn’t know what to do. It scared him to have to look back and see himself like that in his memory, to know that he had the capability of really lashing out.
He’d screamed, sworn, and then finally walked out of the apartment and gotten into his car, where he proceeded to thrash the engine. Usually driving calmed him down, and as he drove through the streets of the city – perhaps a little too recklessly – he didn’t feel any of the steam coming out of his body like it normally did. He had gone to his parents house, they weren’t home, but there was a twenty dollar bill sitting on the table. After a short moral dilemma, and a repeated self chastisement, he had taken it, and driven to the nearby store to buy a new packet of cigarettes. It stung him to think that he felt so hopeless, he’d promised her over and over that he would give up, and he’d tried over and over, but he simply felt so useless, so hopeless.
Driving some more, and chain smoking while doing so, had eventually calmed his nerves enough to call a friend, and ask if he could come over to talk. The talk, the company had helped him to calm down and get over his frustration, which was fine until he had had to leave.
Now he walked through the streets, smoking another cigarette, still not wanting to go home. Tears were close to his eyes, as the pain set in. He could only hope that his friends hadn’t thought that he was the innocent party, because he knew that he wasn’t.
He’d become more independent, stronger within himself, or so he had thought. He didn’t know who was right, and who was wrong. Part of him wanted to believe that he was right, but he knew that a lot of that was his own ego, and his own self-comfort trying to pass the blame from himself. He had faults, he was ready to admit that, but didn’t everyone?
Nothing that he said to try and comfort himself worked.
All night, he stayed out, walking the streets of the city.
The next day, he was still in the same clothes, sitting in a small cafe. He’d been there for half the morning, drinking cup after cup of coffee, staring into the froth and cream, still feeling so helpless. He opened the packet of cigarettes, there was one remaining. He’d smoked the entire packet over the course of the night and day, and as he lit it, he stared back into the cup of coffee.
He felt so useless, so helpless. He wanted to cry, but couldn’t, especially not here, not in the middle of a city street. He loved her so much, that was the simple truth, he knew. He had always sworn that he would never change for anyone, what he hadn’t realized, until her, was that the person who wasn’t going to change, wasn’t him in the first place. It had taken so much, to find himself, but he’d gotten there.
He was beginning to wonder if she really wanted the person that he had found, though.
He didn’t need her anymore. He knew that he could survive without her, but that had only made the love that he had for her, stronger. His love wasn’t about him having someone by his side anymore, the love that he felt now, was about wanting to be with her, pure and simply. He wanted to be with her as two human beings who were in love, not as a man who needed someone to stroke his ego anymore.
That only made the pain worse. He wondered whether he had changed after all. If he didn’t need her, then why did it hurt so much?
“Hey.” A voice distracted him from his thoughts.
He looked up, and behind the pain on his face, a smile was hidden somewhere. Leesah was the only person he wanted to see right now, if only they could talk long enough to not end up in an argument again.
“Hey.” He said softly.
“I thought you’d quit?” She said.
He sighed, “So did I.”
“Mind if I take a seat?”
He didn’t say anything, simply gesturing to the chair opposite him as a waitress came over. She took their orders, looking at Luke as though to question if he was ever going to leave the place, but he didn’t notice it. He was busy staring across the table at the woman who had his heart. Whether she wanted it or not, she had it, he couldn’t ever deny that.
“I’m sorry.” He said, after a long silence.
“You should be.” She said softly, looking across the table at him seriously. “It really hurt me, what you said last night.”
“I know.” He said, “I was insensitive and…you were right, I’m too arrogant. I’m not perfect, and yet, I seem to expect everyone else to be.”
“So what are you going to do about it?”
“I don’t know.” He said, now really fighting back the tears. “You already know that I’m working on so many changes, trying to make things right, trying to be a better man. It’s hard, though.”
“No one said that it would be easy, Luke.” She said, “But you have friends around you to help you through it.”
“I’m so scared of losing them.”
“So do you really think, then, that you don’t need me as much as you say you don’t need me?” She asked, drifting into silence as the waitress brought their coffees to them and placed them on the table. She gave a smile, and then stepped back, leaving them to their own conversation.
“I don’t think I know too much at all. I might be good at sounding smart, but you’re the one who seems to know about the emotional stuff. The real emotional stuff. I’m just a voice, a character, but I don’t think I really understand that,” He answered.
“Then you need to learn.”
“I need to learn a lot of things.”
“We both do.” She said, reaching across the table and placing her hand over his.
He looked at her hand, up her arm, and finally his eyes met hers. The pools of blue and grey in his eyes gazed into the sweet shades that he had fallen in love with originally.
“Do you think we could learn them together?” He asked softly, but with determination.
“I don’t know. It’s a long road.” She said, “But I’m willing to try.”
“Are you sure?”
“Take me on.” She said, with a soft smile.