- under the bridge by red hot chili peppers
“I can’t do this…” I raked my hand through the blonde curls tumbling down my shoulders, feeling an immense need to disappear right at that exact moment, at that very instance, at that very second. My chest hurt, drastically so, almost as if my heart was going to collapse in on itself, implode right inside my rib cage with one last and violent final palpitation. And that would be it. That would be the end of me.
Sounds easy, right?
My reflection stared back at me painfully, an empty expression written over my green eyes. They nearly looked brown in the current light. Dark. Wide. An expanse of dirt, I analyzed. A barren, empty field. Unblinking. Waiting. Waiting for the crops to come in, waiting to be plowed, waiting for the rain. Waiting for something, anything, to save it from the desolation it was heading for. That was my subconscious, screaming for help, fists banging on the glass of my iris. But no one could see, I duly noted. No one could save me.
I glanced over my shoulder at the couple walking behind me, seemingly oblivious to the world, or at least the girl staring at herself in a hotel hallway mirror for absolutely no logical reason. I didn’t mind it much, really. I was used to being ignored. I would ignore me too.
I bit my lip and turned back towards the elevator bank, though I was still unable to force myself to actually walk over there. That meant admitting defeat, giving up and going to the girls only tourist excursions with Courtney Blythe at the lead. The more time I spent around the bubbly blonde, the more my dislike grew for her.
Maybe that also had something to do with the conversation I had with Johnny earlier, but whatever.
He was the only person of actual substance I had met in a really long time. I thought about him and our effortless conversations before I went to sleep and his face was the first thing that came to mind when I woke up.
I guess you could say it was an obsession.
I wrapped my arms around myself and felt embarrassed. Embarrassed that I was here, in Indonesia, in Bali, in this hotel. Embarrassed that I was Athena Chamis and not someone better, right? Why couldn’t I have been born as someone better? Embarrassed that I was stuck thinking about Johnny Blythe and couldn’t get him out of my head.
It was almost as if thinking about him was some wicked form of voodoo and instantly conjured his presence. Johnny stepped into the hallway I had been standing in for the past 30 minutes – I didn’t even realize that that was his room and that this was his floor. He wore a pair of darkly colored pants, a simple tee shirt advertising some beer company, and his signature sunglasses slumped over his eyes. He appeared either hung over, exhausted, or both. Probably both.
“Oh,” I murmured lamely, tossing my hair over my shoulder. It was causing my neck to get hot and itchy; why couldn’t I just cut it? “Hi…”
“What are you doing today?” He leaned against the doorframe of his hotel room casually, allowing his shirt to rise up slightly, enough for me to catch a forbidden glance at the skin above his pelvis. He had a small patch of hair and the easily detectible “sex-lines”, as Uncle Terry had once called them. I realized I was staring and looked up suddenly, though without going unnoticed. He wore a confidently proud grin.
“Nothing,” I lied. He probably knew that Courtney had planned some disastrous bridal party event but he also probably knew that I had no interest whatsoever in actually going.
Johnny was a smart man.
“Want to do something fun?” He smirked.
I couldn’t help but to smile back in response. Something fun. It had been a long time since I had done something like that.
Eight hours, two plates of salmon sushi, three gin and tonics, four Coronas, and a basket of sweet potato fries later, Johnny led me inside the packed Indonesian club by the hand. Just the simplistic touch of his skin against mine sent a ravaging shiver up my spine, an endless dance of hypnotic chemistry and Goosebumps. It was such a shame that he was married. Why did he have to be married?
“This place is great! It’s my favorite in Bali,” He cried back to me over the pounding beat of the loud dance music. I usually hated the sound, the machinery, the endless repetition of it all, but something about it tonight felt right, the way it resonated in my bones and submerged itself to the raging hormones that being with Johnny came with. Everything felt right, from the salty scent of the sea in the air to the musty smoke drifting throughout the ceiling of the room, so dense I could barely make out the figures in front of me. An endless ocean of gyrating bodies.
“You already have a favorite bar?” I asked loudly, feeling as if I were yelling. Well, I was. “We’ve only been here for three days!”
He chuckled, running a hand through his messy tumble of hair. “A good bar is the first thing I look for when I travel.”
Johnny Blythe had the right mentality.
We headed straight for the bar and ordered another pair of beers. I had never fancied beer much but being with Johnny and drinking beer felt all the more exhilarating. Maybe that’s why guys drank it. It was intoxicating in the right moment.
I took a swig of the alcohol before turning to eye Johnny once more. My heart was beating loudly, so loudly that it’d probably actually implode now. I could imagine it happening too – the tearing of my flesh and the way my knees would buckle. I’d fall forward and Johnny would catch me, a worried expression written on his face. He’d scream for help except no one could hear him over the loud throb of the dance floor.
That was the thing about being depressed.
The constant mental images of dying were never fleeting, even when you felt okay.
“Let’s dance!” Johnny cheered before grabbing my hand and pulling me out towards the center of the room. I hated crowds but for some reason, finally felt like I was apart of it. The entire room was one entire entity of limbs and vodka shots and belly-button piercings and wedge sandals and sunglasses and dress shirts. We were all one creature, a monster, swaying in perfect time.
A timeless dance of life and death.
Johnny pulled me closer and it felt almost as if the lights dimmed. The entire world slowed down, which seems utterly impossible looking back now as I write this, but the locals next to me froze in time, almost as if my eyes were capturing each second as a frame, moving slowly from still to still. Johnny’s face was so close to mine I could feel his scent on my tongue. He tasted good.
It was then he grabbed my head and with a reverent passion, our lips collided like two electronically charged atoms dying to meet the other in order to become that perfect molecular compound. To become one.
(type 'together we cry' if you read it all)