The sunlight peering through my bedroom blinds wakes me, my eyes burn which makes opening them difficult. My linens and bed sheets are in bundles, half hanging off my bed and the other barely covering my soiled body, tossing and turning in my sleep again is to blame. The usual smell of coffee and sex in the air no longer linger in my bedroom, but the overwhelming aroma of body odor and cigarette smoke has taken its place. When I open my eyes, I unfortunately realize I am alone and I hate myself all over again. I once had someone special, the one person I wanted to wake up to for the rest of my life, but now cigarettes and copious amounts of alcohol fill the void in my life.
I lift myself onto my hands in bed and look around my bedroom. Clothes litter my floor, I barely see the carpet and even if I could it would only display various stains of carefree loser existence. The cigarettes on my nightstand call to me and I answer to them by sucking in its deathly relief of sorrow and despair. I donât bother to open the window and smoke slowly starts to haze in the room. Stumbling out of my room, I trip on clothes, empty bottles and take-away cartons. Placing my foot upon a bundle of soiled shirts, a cracking sound rings out and gets my attention. The picture frame holding a photo of Liz and I is caved in and glass is cracked all over making it difficult to see our once happy faces. I stare at it intently, almost trying to look into it for the answer to the question spinning in my mind, what happened to us?
The rest of the apartment lies in shambles just like the bedroom. The blinding light from inside the fridge almost deters me from grabbing a beer. Not much of chef so the contents of my fridge can be summed up to: Condiments, beer and ice, it never used to be like this, I used to be so put together, I donât know how much more I can take. If only I knew why and when this happened, I could at least try to do damage control of some sort instead of piss my life away. My lack of appetite has helped me to lose weight and develop somewhat of an eating disorder. Staggering into the bathroom, I stare into my medicine cabinet mirror; I donât even look like me anymore. A skinny grizzly looking man with a pale face and bags around his eyes has taken my place.
I lay back down onto my bed and stare up at the ceiling when I hear the phone ring. Ring, Ring, Ring, I donât move. Ring, Ring, Ring and I am still laying there motionless staring at the imperfections of the ceiling. Ring, Ring, (click) the answering machine turns on and a male voice calling from my living room fill the apartment. Sounds like my boss, I bet heâs pissed; I would be too if I hired someone and they didnât show after a week with no notice. After finishing my beer, I carelessly toss it across the room into the hamper, 3 pointer, Shaq would be impressed. How did I get to this point?
I place my hands on my face so I canât see any light. I remember the days Liz and I would lay here naked in each otherâs arms, just in silence staring into one anotherâs eyes with such love. Where did it all go wrong? Suddenly I feel myself tingle and humming rings out in my ears, I ignore it as I reminisce about her and our relationship. I can feel a huge weight on my body and it seems as if I am melting into my mattress. I am immobilized and stuck in place, I feel my physical body drift away and I feel light. What is happening? Before I know it I pass out and drift into darknessâŚ..
* * *
Mike and Liz lay in their bed with the sunlight shining down onto their faces. Liz nestles in her head deep into her loverâs chest with her left hand placed on his chest. They both have smiles from ear to ear. Liz slowly opens her eyes and looks at Mike, he appears to be drifting in dreamland and in a deep slumber. Cautiously stepping out of bed, she throws on her pink kimono and makes her way into the kitchen to start a pot of dark roast coffee. The sound of running water and dishes clattering in the kitchen sink awaken Mike and his eyes slowly open. The sunlight burning down on makes him utter a swear under his breath. The glorious sunshine makes him turn over onto his stomach; his gaze is fixed on his night stand. Noticing that his cancer causing death sticks are no one to be seen, he raises his head and his eyes grow wider. With a confused expression on his face he sits up in bed and looks around the room. âWhat the fuck is going on?â Mike says aloud to himself with groggy voice.
The sound of footsteps near the bedroom and Mike directs his attention to the doorway, he quickly gets to his feet and stands on the bed, almost in a fighting stance. At that moment Liz appears around the corner with a big smile.
âHey baby your up finally! Last night was amazing! Listen I got the coffee on, would you like anything for breakfast?â Liz asks. Mike looks shocked and bewildered at the sight of what he thinks is his ex-girlfriend standing in his bedroom and with a smile, this is strange to him. âWhat are you doing here? Mike asks.
Liz looks confused, she propâs a hand on her hip and studies Mikeâs reaction. âAre you ok? Did I knock something loose last night? Look, put on those PJâs I got you for your birthday and lets talk it over a little breky.â With that said she leaves the room and clatter in the kitchen drowns out her voice while singing a Lady Gaga song. Mike is still standing on the bed frozen in his stance with a wide eyed expression on his face. Liz shouts something from the kitchen, most likely yelling for Mike to get his ass out of bed.
Mike gets off the bed and begins getting dressed, but he appears calmer to the situation than before, he believes that he probably fell asleep and this is a dream. After a quick look into the bedroom charisma mirror he makes his way to the kitchen, he doesnât bother to notice his youthful appearance. The floor is spotless of debris of any sort and stains are nowhere to be seen. Various vacation mementos and photos line the corridor wall and Mike stops to look at them. Pictures of their European excursion, Asian journey and U.S.A adventures litter the wall, each one showing Mike and Liz smiling or waving. This feels all too real and vivid for this to be a dream Mike thinks, he tries to assure himself by pinching his arm rigorously. Mike swears aloud in pain and Liz pokes her ahead around the corner appearing concerned. âHunny what are you doing?! Are coming to eat or what?â Liz complains. Mike is startled and nods rapidly; Liz scoffs and goes back into the kitchen.
The apartment looks tidy and put together, a clean and organized state that Mike couldnât do alone. Walking into the kitchen, Mike seeâs Liz slaving over a hot stove top, the aroma of eggs and bacon fill his nostrils, the smell makes his mouth salivate. Sitting down at the dining room table he is still speechless and eats in a peaceful silence. Mike canât remember the last time he had eaten a meal like that.
âSo. How are you feeling sweetie? Your acting a little weird today, I know last night was kinda hard, but we both want different things. Itâs probably for the best that we just stay where weâre at.â Liz says as she gingerly cuts her meal into symmetrical portions.
Mike smirks and clears his throat, swallowing his mouthful like a hard pill. âI am fine Liz, thanks for breakfast, butâŚâŚâ
âBut? Was there something wrong with it? Tell me what it was and I will fix it. Just tell me baby, tell meâ
âNo, no the food was great! Itâs just after our talk last night I thought you wouldnât be here right now.â Mike says while shaking his head.
Lizâs once cheerful and lovely face turns bright red and devilish looks manifest in her expression. âI thought we were over this Michael! I am not moving! Your career is your fucking problem, not mine, so deal with it or I will.â With that said she storms off into the bedroom and slams the door so hard, that photos fall off walls.
Mike is bewildered, but has an overwhelming feeling of deja-vu, he has experienced this before. The breakfast, the morning talk and unusual friendliness was all too familiar, Mike realizes this was no dream, this was his memory. Standing up from his seat, Mike tries to recall what else he did that morning, he begins to walk towards the bedroom door to talk with Liz, but he canât. He is stopped by an invisible force holding him back in his tracks after the first step. He never went after her, how could he walk towards the room if he didnât remember doing so. Standing in the kitchen emotionally defeated, Mikeâs memory world starts to melt before his eyes. The maple stained cupboards start to blend in with the beige walls, along with everything else. It is slowly fading away as Mike stands there watching it cave-in on its self. A whirlwind blows through the room, dishes and house hold knick-knacks start to cyclone around Mike. The vigorous winds pull the apartment into pieces that only debris remains flying around him. Everything is a blur around him and suddenly it goes pitch black.
* * *
The room is still in a haze when I awake from what I feel like was a dream, but too vivid and realistic to be so. My cigarette burns slowly by my night stand, only a quarter of it has burned, it had only lasted minutes. There was no way it was a dream, I was seeing into my past like a movie or something. I stand up in my bed confused and disorderly, what just happened? I dart out of the bedroom and survey my apartment, looking for any sign of recognition of what I had just seen. Nothing has changed since I laid down on my bed. Everything seemed so real, this was no dream, I must have somehow relived my memory or something of the sort. I had to call someone to assure my sanity.
âWhat are you talking about?â Dave said through the greasy telephone receiver. Dave is my true and only friend. Iâve known him since my earlier influential years, so to speak.
âLook hear me out, I was laying in my bed and all of a sudden I passed out and I lived through my life again. I could see Liz and how my apartment used to look like. It wasnât a dream. I swear. It was different, like the sensations I felt for the minute I was consciously gone from this reality, it was out of this world.â I plead, trying to describe the situation as best as possible.
âWell of coarse she was in it! Itâs been months man and you still havenât got over it.â
After peeking into past, I realized there must have been more for my relationship to have derailed as bad as it did. I donât know how I dove back into my mind; I am determined to go back again, but how? It has only been twenty minutes since I got back to this realm of consciousness and nothing else has changed, I am still in the same shit hole as before. Finding the trigger that lets me dive into memory is key to my revelation to the downfall Liz and I. Pacing back in forth in my apartment doesnât help my cause and I am becoming frustrated with myself, until I have an epiphany, the BEDROOM. Stepping into the bedroom, I look over my room for any clue or lead. Everything is as it was before; nothing has changed besides the cigarette haze is nowhere to be seen. In spur of genius I jump onto the bed in a superman pose, I knock my skull off the head board when I recoil off mattress. After swearing out loud and calming myself down, I stare up at the ceiling like I did before, nothing. The sun is brighter than before and I cover my eyes shielding myself from its piercing rays. Minutes go by slowly and it seems hopeless, itâs not working, fuck.
The bedroom seemed like a good lead, but no luck. My kitchen is dull and lifeless since she left, itâs a beautiful day outside, but I cower in my dark and barren kitchen. For once I have an appetite, might as well eat something while I am here. I finish my meal as quickly as I prepared it, microwave soup, breakfast of champions. I sit at my kitchen table staring into space, I am lost in so many ways. I drop my head into my hands and close my eyes. I desperately try to recollect what happened after our first fight. Now that I think of it, it was such a watch of time, no point at all. I still love her, but maybe this was bound to happen sooner or later. Why do all good things have to come to a bitter and sour end? While wallowing in my depression, I start to feel light and my mind is clear. My body starts to tingle, but I am paralyzed, all I can do is go with the flow. Is it happening again? Everything is getting darker and darker in my mind, as I am continuously diving into black holes, until I suddenly pass outâŚ
* * *
Mike awakes to find himself sitting at the kitchen table with a computer in front of him; his surroundings have changed yet again. The room seems a lot brighter than before and Mike squints when he looks towards the patio. Everything seems familiar just like the last time in dived into his memory. Mike feels irritable and fatigued; itâs as if he had spent the entire night working on his lap top. Liz can be heard in the other room, from where Mike is sitting, it sounds chaotic in the bedroom. It goes on for several minutes; Mike feels glued to his chair and doesnât investigate the commotion. Liz soon appears and she looks distraught. Liz looks different now, the vibrant life force was gone, but a drained and miserable individual stood in her place. Mike sits there in silence observing Lizâs frantic and erratic behavior. Mike wants to say something, anything to console her or comfort her, but he canât. Mike remembers this happening in the past and how he just sat there and worked away in silence. It is helpless; all he can do is watch her and their relationship crumble before his eyes.
With puffy red eyes and a moist face, Liz searches through kitchen cabinets and places random household items into cardboard boxes. This was her way of saying she was leaving him, but it looks like an act. Overdramatic and deceiving were Lizâs main personality traits, she could put on many faces for any present audience. But today, she was broken and Mike finally noticed it, he had been too oblivious the first time.
âIs that all you do? Sit on your computer and fucking work?â Liz says, wiping away the tears rolling down her cheeks.
Mike wants to tell her how sorry he truly is and how much he loves her, but he canât utter a single word. They stare at each other in silence until Mike gives in and his memory plays out. âThis is important! I canât concentrate with you nagging me all the time. My work is all that matters now, why canât you understand that?! If you want to go, go. I am not stopping you.â Mike canât believe the words coming out of his mouth, so much resentment and disrespect.
âI thought I was what mattered to you Mike.â
âWellâŚ.things change.â Mike says and his hands are drawn to his computer keypad. The truth is devastating and Liz bursts into tears, while Mike appears unfazed, despite being emotionally crushed upon realizing what he had just done. Lizâs emotions get the better of her and she runs out of the apartment sobbing hysterically. Mike watches her leave and canât so much as move an inch off his seat. The room starts to melt away again and Mikeâs IKEA bought kitchen table set vanishes. Mike tries to run after Liz, but is swept up in the whirlwind of debris and disappears.
* * *
I wake to find my face resting on my kitchen table; I am back to reality once again. Back to the dull existence which is my life. Back to my shitty one bedroom apartment. Back to loneliness and obscurity. In a burst of emotionally rage I launch my table across the apartment, it smashes into the glass patio door. The impact sends glass shards flying throughout the room, I ignore the noise and damage, all I can see is red. I am livid and I only have myself to blame. I can fix this! All I would have to do is find her, apologize and things will go back to normal. How long has it been since we broke up? I have lost all sense of time. I canât stop but pace back in forth in the living room, thinking of a clever plan to win her back. In a spur of genius, I quickly dart into the bathroom to take a shower, I really got to scrub deep to get the horrendous body odor off me if I want to make a good impression.
I must have spent at least forty five minutes cleansing my body of any foul scent, next is a clean cut shave. I wipe away any perspiration on bathroom mirror so I can see my face. My facial hair has fiercely grown and it takes a good twenty minutes before I can see the pale skin underneath it. I look like shit, at least I smell good and I donât resemble a bushman. My wardrobe is limited, but I do believe I still have a decent suit, I need to look my best for Liz or she wonât take me seriously. After getting ready, I look at myself in the mirror one last time before heading out. I am shocked to see myself so put together, then again, I am a man on a mission.
Stepping out of the apartment for first time in days, it takes a couple of moments for my eyes to adjust to the natural light. It feels like forever since I have been outside, the various smells are intoxicating, my senses are tingling. It must be summer, the sun is making me heat up underneath my blazer. I canât stop to smell the roses now, too much to do, in such little time. I must find Liz, but I should probably pick up flowers before seeing her. Luckily for me I remember her favorite flower, orchids. After picking up the flowers, I start calling around to some of our mutual friends. Many of them ignore my call, but I stay optimistic in my cause. I finally get through to Gary, Lizâs co-worker, he tells me she still works at the same old office as always, but advises me only trouble will come of this. Thanking him for the info, I hang up and head to the office, I know it may not be the best thing for us to meet, but I need to try for my mental well-being.
* * *
Mike opens the door to Lizâs office building and heads directly to her cubicle. A few office workers recognize him and watch him as he swiftly walks by them. With flowers in hand, Mike scans the many joined cubicle stations in search of his beloved Liz. Beads of sweat drip off his forehead and hit the floor, he doesnât bother to wipe them away. Mike is determined to find her, his eyes bounce side to side as he passes station after station. Suddenly, Mike sees her sitting in a corner station talking on a phone. She is more beautiful than Mike can bear to remember and he stops in his tracks. Liz smiles while she talks on the phone, she looks so happy, Mike admires her from a distance. Liz plays with the phone cord in her left hand, while she pins the receiver between her ear and shoulder. While running the cord through her left hand, Mike notices a certain sparkle that only a crystal would display. Mike starts intently looking at her finger, until he spots a ring. It sits snuggly on her ring finger. Mike feels crushed and defeated at the sight of this, but also a sense of comfort.
All Mike can do is walk away and let her be. It appears she found someone who loves her and treats her better than Mike could ever. There are seldom second chances in the quest of love and romance, Mike lost his and it is time to move on.
Mike looks at the bouquet of orchids in search of the message card. He removes it and scribbles out his previous message and writes something in its place. After placing it back inside, he asks a worker walking by to deliver them to Liz. Mike thanks her and walks away.
âMrs. Renfry, these came for you.â The female co-worker says while handing the orchids to Liz.
Liz appears confused while examining the bouquet. âThatâs odd; they are not from Frank, where did you get these?â
The worker shrugs and walks away. Liz spots the greeting card and fishes it out. She reads the card aloud. âCongratulations and all the best. I am sorry for everything- Mike.âu