I woke up suddenly, as if an electric charge had traveled through my body. But there was nothing electric there with me. Only he was there, breathing softly, very close to me. It was still very late at night as it was pitch black outside and the only object producing light was my cellphone, on the nightstand just behind me. I sat down on the bed, trying not to move too much. I went through my cellphone and erase every notification, in order to make the light go away. I saw some pictures of us together and then decided it was better to go back to the world of dreams. I left the cellphone facing down and just slid down the covers and hugged him softly. His body moved a bit but he didn’t do more. I fell asleep some minutes later, hugging him a little tighter.
In the morning, I realized I had maybe slept too much as the sun was rather intense on the outside. He had been kind enough not to pull up the blinds in the room. He was not there with me and I couldn’t hear him in the bathroom. A bit reluctantly, I went to the living room and the kitchen, and he wasn’t there. Apparently, he had taken everything and just left. I felt abandoned, even if we weren’t really a couple and he wasn’t living with me. We had been going out so often, I just assumed he would say something before leaving like a whirlwind. As I was already in the kitchen, I decided to make some breakfast. As I cooked, I couldn’t get him off my head. That was probably the reason why the eggs almost burned and I poured orange juice on the floor.
Trying to leave last night in the past, I decided to work. Normally, that would make my mind so busy, I wouldn’t have time to think of anything else. It did work, as I had to grade several papers on Stanley Kubrick’s films. Some students had obviously not seen the movie they had chosen, as they repeated words and sentences often and used words, you know the kind, that make anyone sound smart but do no really mean anything. Some other works were better or at least not as offensive. I surprisingly took an hour and a half doing that and when I was done, he was there again, on my brain. Why couldn’t I just let him go?
The rest of the day was about me trying not to think too much about it all and succeeding for a small amount of time, then my head would go back to the same thoughts all over again. I decided to watch a movie and order pizza and beer. I would not let him run my Sunday. But when they rang from downstairs some time later, it wasn’t the delivery guy nor the one that had left me alone on the bed, it was someone I hadn’t seen in a while. And I say “someone” because right then I didn’t know him very well and just recalled him from high school. I had no idea how he had gotten my address, as I didn’t speak to anyone from high school. But there he was, knocking on my door some minutes later.
I remembered him as one of the few people that didn’t make me want to kill myself in high school. The rest were snobbish little rats, but he was all right, not a great person but not a bad one either. His cousin, a guy who had gone to the same high school with us, was a successful artist although I didn’t remember what it was he did exactly. Singing or something like that. I told him to sit down on my sofa and offered him some orange juice, as I had nothing else to drink. However, he said he wasn’t thirsty and that he had come only to deliver a message. “How mysterious!”, I thought. I mean, I didn’t really knew him but he had never struck me as the kind of guy that had any mystery in him but here he was.
He had a backpack from where he took a envelope from. He gave it to me and I took it, as it was a bomb. The situation was not normal, at all, and I didn’t want to further spoil the only day I was really free from any commitments. He just told me to open it and read it, talking in a very hush voice, as if someone was hearing or as if he was afraid of talking too much or too loud. I opened the envelope and took out the letter inside. It was from his cousin, who apologized for stealing one of my ideas. I had no idea what it was all about and the letter didn’t really explain. He said he was sorry, very sorry, and that he just wanted to make things right for everyone involved. So he had included something else, for me to be compensated for what he had done.
Inside the envelope, there was another paper. I had not seen in before. It was a check for several thousands of dollars and it had the signature of the deliveryman’s cousin. Then my patient just disappeared. I asked him what kind of joke this was and why they had to do it on Sunday, when I just wanted to be left alone. The poor guy, who had turned some shade of green, tried to speak and to explain himself but he couldn’t. That made me so angry, so I told him to please stand up and leave my apartment at once. I pressed the envelope, all papers inside, to his chest and told him to take all of that and go away. The doorman downstairs rang: it was my pizza, finally.
I told him, again, to leave. He tried to speak but he just couldn’t and gave up. He left almost running and I saw him all the way to the elevator. When the door opened, he crossed paths with the man delivering my pizza, to whom I smiled and thanked deeply. I gave him a small tip and close the door, in order to enjoy my afternoon. But as I saw the movie and ate my pizza, I had that check and the letter on my brain. What the hell was that about? What did that man’s cousin wanted to give me money? Was it to bribe me? No, I didn’t even remembered his name… Maybe it was just a stupid joke, some kind of prank based on a dare they had done to one of the other idiots they knew well.
The rest of my Sunday was pretty good. I drank several beers and watched movies I hadn’t seen in a long while. At night, I ordered another pizza, not caring at all about my body. I loved the taste of pizza and beer and if I had to pay with a belly in my future, I really didn’t care. No one had ever looked at me looking for a swimsuit model. Well, to be honest no one really looked at me… Well, except him. Again with him on my mind and with that stupid envelope. As I waited for the second pizza, I browsed through the local channels on the TV in order to check out the news. I stopped when I saw a familiar face: it was the guy’s cousin. And the news said he was dead. Apparently he wasn’t a singer but a filmmaker and he had died in a car crash in France.
The news was shocking but it was even more shocking that his cousin, instead of being in France or at least mourning him, had decided to pay him a visit with a check. On the other hand, I realized I had never seen a picture by that man. And I should know, being a teacher to future filmmakers. Maybe one of my students had mentioned him once but I just couldn’t remember. I decided to look for him online. Must of it was about his tragic death, apparently a very shocking scene to witness, but I also found his filmography and had no idea what to look for. The buzzer interrupted my thoughts. Five minutes later, I had a slice of pizza on one hand and an open beer can in front of me.
I stopped reading about the poor guy and decided to let it go for the day. Granted, it was something very strange but there was nothing I could do now. I started watching another movie when the doorman called again and told me I had some mail. I told him I would pick it up in the morning but he said something had just been delivered and that it was probably urgent, at least judging by the expression on the mail guy’s face. That was weird enough to go downstairs and grab my mail. Most of it was junk and a couple of bills but the letter that had just arrived was another unmarked envelope. I went back home and read it there. This wasn’t from the cousin but from the delivery guy.
In the letter, he explained who he was, thinking I wouldn’t remember. He said we had been brief friends for a time when we were really young. I didn’t recall that. He also explained that the first movie that his cousin had made was base on a short story I wrote in English class. He actually copied it and made a movie version of it. He wrote that he had always felt bad for that and had begged his cousin to acknowledge that what they had done was wrong. Months before his death, he convinced him and the cousin wrote him a check to compensate. He was sorry for everything and apologized more. The check was, again, inside the envelope.
I took him on my hands and, only doubting for a second, I tore it apart into little pieces and through it all to the garbage. I didn’t need the past to compensate for something I didn’t even recalled. I grabbed a slice of pizza and ate, a bit more angry than usual, and then my phone rang. It was him. He wanted to come up and chat. I couldn’t stop smiling and, hours later, I had to ask him to stay and never leave.