I don’t really know how I picture Max. Actually, I do, but I’m going to leave it up to the reader to interpret his physical appearance. Because everyone has their own significantly older man crush.
I finished the first draft of my college entrance essay and I actually love it.
And I love my new showcase. You lovely people should check it out.
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After a long yet uneventful day at work, I was more than ready to unwind. And I knew just the place to do exactly that. I leave my most recent drafts in my apartment and step across the hallway. I give the old green door three rapid knocks.
I lean against the door’s frame as it opens.
“Is this, by any chance, the home of Max Kent?” I quietly ask as I avoid the glance of the man standing in the doorway.
The moment I raise my face to meet his eyes, Max smiles and pulls my hand, leading me into his apartment.
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It was early evening and the sky had darkened. The rain was beginning to pour. Max and I were lying in his bed, somewhat covered by his white sheets. My trousers were on the floor and my shirt was in another room altogether.
“Tell me something your past,” Max asks while I lie on my back as he draws abstract figures with his hand across my stomach, “you know everything about me. There isn’t much to tell. But I know next to nothing about your life prior to New Orleans.”
“I don’t like talking about my past, Max. You know that,” I say, exhaling heavily, “Especially not with you. I can talk to you about anything…”
“Not about anything personal,” he cuts me off.
“You really want to know?” I ask, looking straight up at the ceiling.
“Sure,” he says, “I think I can handle it.”
“Well,” I begin flatly, “My mother was the only daughter of Welsh immigrants in Cincinnati. She became pregnant with me at eighteen. Her parents gave her no support. For the first eight years of my life, it was just she and I. We had hardly any money. I imagine I was a strange child, and she was an inexperienced yet nurturing mother. That phase of my life came to an end on my eighth birthday. We had just gone to bed when I heard a commotion. Our apartment wasn’t exactly the most secure, as I later found out. Someone had broken in—presumably petty robber, according to the authorities. My mother was awoken by the noise, and he panicked and shot her four times. Also awoken by the initial clamor, I had sleepily risen from my bed, and passively witnessed the entire thing. I made eye contact with the man that shot my mother before he abruptly fled, with a few heirlooms and the latest child-support payment in tow. I watched her die that night. He was never found.”
“My god,” Max whispered, “I’m so sorry. What happened next?”
“My father—rarely a presence in my life prior to the tragedy—was immediately notified and I was sent to live with him in his Victorian mansion just outside of the city limits. It was like a tragically ironic fairy tale from hell. He tried to be a good father, but his job was simply too demanding. For the first few years, I was looked after by a series of nannies. The only one I clearly remember was Fatima from Egypt. She helped me pick up Arabic so we could communicate secretly. I spent most of my adolescence in my father’s expansive library, filling my memory with pointless facts and images. He had a film library as well, and a small home theater. By my senior year, I knew I wanted to study film, and I applied to Tulane University.”
“Which brought you to New Orleans…” Max interrupts.
I continue to stare straight up at the ceiling. “Yes. My college years were filled with some of the stranger experiences of my life, but I met some of the most influential people. By my sophomore year, I had made three decisions—I wanted to remain in New Orleans after my graduation, I wanted to pick up a double major in journalism, and I wanted to be completely independent of my father. I achieved all three. I was henceforth offered a job with the magazine, so I took it. And here we are…”
Max cuts me off for the third time. “Did you ever fall in love?”
Well that caught me off guard. “I’m sorry?” I ask, facing him for the first time in what felt like an eternity.
“Love,” he smiles just slightly, “were you ever in love?”
I roll back onto my back and face the ceiling. “No.”
I reach for my lighter on the nightstand and light a cigarette.
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if you read it all, type ‘love?’