And all this goes on...
“It's called sleep paralysis,” I was told then, and it was explained to me.
I loved hearing those perfect “hard science” explanations. They gave a sense to everything. It wasn't anything wrong with the house. It was something wrong with me. What a relief, really!
It was the stress. It was the sleepless nights. It was the overworking. It was being tired and jetlagged after this constant switching between the States and Europe and all the way back. It was everyone having a personal theory about such things.
But what I wasn't telling anyone was the thing about him. His black hair, his extremely white skin and his eyes – dark, as if one could sink into their night like into an endless Universe. It was him, I was sure of that, the guy from my street.
So, while in Europe, there was this sort of secret restlessness in me to finally get to return to my home, my street in New York, in the hope that maybe, maybe I would see him again.
Oh, yes, I was thinking of him, I was playing in my mind with the image of him. And, an extremely important detail for me, as I was aware that I could have been wrong, I was dead sure that his eyes were dark. Not black, not simple plain black, but dark. Like the void outside the atmosphere of our planet. A deep darkness, not full, shiny black, but a hollow darkness.
He didn't visit me in my dreams either, while I was in Europe. I was hoping for him to do that. I knew it was silly. Then one day, as I was walking on a street, I leaned my head and looked toward the skies, and I knew it in that moment:
I was missing him.
Then, back home.
I didn't dream of him. I saw him.
Rain was pouring, cascading down the glass of my windows, covering them like a curtain of water. I had to go though, I was late and the cab was waiting for me in the street. I ran down the stairs, almost jumping every other step. Then, in front of me, the exit door.
I opened it wide and stopped, struck by the sharpness of the cold and wet air outside. The roof of the entrance created a small space, near the wall, where one could take cover from the damn rain. I knew somehow that someone was there, but I was focused more upon the silhouette of the cab waiting for me. I was hoping the driver would see me and not leave, tired of all this waiting.
I took a step into the rain. Then, a second one. I turned my head then, to see who was standing there, near my door. A guy. Dressed in black. Black hair, pale white skin. Him. I took my third step as I was almost running toward the car. Yes, it was him! But I couldn't... I just had to go! So I only smiled at him shortly. Then turned my face to see the direction I was running. Few more jumps, and I was in my cab. I wanted to look at him again, but the curtain of water running over the windows, distorting the images of the objects outside, prevented me from seeing him.
Of course, all the way I kept wondering if he saw me, and then I was cursing myself for being such an idiot, for.... The last thing I needed was to pick up guys living in my neighborhood.
Why, of all places, did he choose my door?
When I got back at night, the rain had stopped, and everything smelled of fresh grass and leaves. While I was looking for my keys to unlock the door, I recalled that morning when I went down the street for a coffee and I saw him in that coffee place. I recalled how the coffee machine in my kitchen wouldn't work, while all the other appliances did, and I went there because I was so cold and desperate for my daily drug. But then when I got home, I was so tired, I just collapsed in the bed. One cup of coffee couldn't make up for a few sleepless nights.
Then I woke up, and decided I was rested enough to do some work. So I went, made myself some coffee and...
I froze with the key in my hand.
Yes, I made myself some coffee with the same machine that hadn’t worked in the morning.
Weird. Maybe some wires inside it didn't connect right. I shrugged and unlocked the door. I stepped into the house, but I didn't turn on the light, I just closed the door behind me. I knew the house with my eyes closed. And besides, there was this breech in the clouds, allowing a full moon to be seen. A full moon that shone like a cold, frozen sun.
It cast a long wide trail on the floor in my lounge, through the window, like a path waiting to be walked on. I had this weird feeling. Again, all my insides felt as if liquefying. But I knew that this was for real. I wasn't asleep.
Then, on the bright stripe of light on my carpet I saw like a flicker the shadow of a silhouette. A man. Fuck!
I touched the wall, feeling with my fingers for the switch. I turned my head again, but the impression of a shadow was gone. Yet, I knew I wasn't alone.
I turned the lights on.
The room welcomed me, silent and calm. Only a bit cold. Then, a window slammed by the wind, in my bedroom, perhaps. What the hell?
I motioned to go to the bedroom and close that window. But then, the door to the street was slammed really hard, with a thud, making each bone in my body shiver.
I thought I had closed it.
It felt as if someone was playing with me. I was starting to get annoyed.
I walked toward the windows in the lounge. The street was glittering wet, silent in the cold, silvery light of the moon. Only someone walking, a guy dressed in black, that had black short hair. A familiar dark silhouette, almost mingled with the nighttime background.
Then I realized that it could be any other guy, that he didn't even turn for me to see his face. Maybe it was only me wanting so bad to see him again that every guy with black clothes and black hair looked to me as if it was him.
Why was I having, then, this strange sensation that he had just been in my house, in my lounge, and ran away?
I didn't tell anyone anymore about these encounters. But I was wondering what might happen, when, for a short while my house had been really animated, as I had different visitors. Nothing unusual happened. The house felt warm, welcoming and like a nice place to live.
And it stayed like that even after my visitors left. I hadn’t spotted my guy either, neither on the street or even in the coffee place. I went there, even if it wasn't my usual place, to look for him. After a while, I was starting to feel the urge to see him.
I was thinking of different ways to trace him, to ask the people living in my neighborhood about him. Stupid!
Then there was that night when I came home, a bit too drunk. I paid the taxi, got out of the car and started to walk those few steps to the entry of my building. My head was buzzing, and I think I was chuckling at some thoughts that seemed extremely funny at the moment. I wasn't paying attention to the road, I was staring at the tips of my feet as I was walking, sunk into the animated world inside my head when I bumped into someone.
“Oh, sorry,” I mumbled and lifted my head to see who that was.
My glance met the look in those dark eyes of his. His eyes weren't reflecting the light cast by the street-lamps; it was as if they were absorbing the light, like a black, mysterious sea. He was standing there, smoking.
“Listen, how come you're always in front of my house?”
But only when I finished pronouncing the last word of the sentence did I realize that I had actually asked that, without even any introduction, as if I had been pals with this guy for 20 years or so. I realized it was too late to take it back, as if I were on the edge of a crevasse and the words slipped out of my hand, and there was no possibility to catch them back anymore. They were falling free into the abyss.
The guy smiled and lifted the hand he held the cig with.
“I can't smoke inside,” he answered on a warm tone.
Hearing him speaking, for the first time, silenced that buzzing in my head. I felt these sweet shivers starting to insinuate themselves through my fibers. Why did he have to stop talking? No, no, no, please, say more. Anything, anything you want...
I swallowed the lump in my throat.
“Sorry, it's none of my business. I'm... I just got back from a party and I'm a bit...”
He only stood there, looking at me as I as if I was the only thing existing in this Universe. A shadow of a smile gave his face, otherwise extremely pale, this allure of gentleness and warmth.
I had to turn my glance away. I realized I couldn’t stand to be watched like that. So, to get myself busy with something so I would avoid looking in his eyes, I brought out my pack, took out a cig and lit it.
“I always see you standing in front of my house...” I said on an unsure voice; I was attempting an explanation, something. “That's why...”
I didn't look straight at him, but I could sense he was smiling as he was answering. There was something that really unsettled me in that smile filled with such warm kindness.
“I'm not allowed to smoke in the house,” he almost repeated what he had said before.
I refrained from asking who didn't let him to smoke in the house; I thought that it would have been rude to ask such a thing.
“You're allowed to smoke in my house, if you want to.”
I bit my tongue.
This wasn't me being drunk. This was me being a complete idiot.
“Is this an invitation?” He asked with that soothing, calm voice of his.
I dragged another smoke from my cig.
“Yes, I guess,” I replied shortly, looking at the empty street, on which the dark layers of night were interrupted, here and there, by bright patches of electric light.
He didn't say anything for a while, and neither did I. We just stood there, smoking, on the sidewalk in front of my building. I was starting to feel the cold of the night creeping through the fibers of my flesh, under my skin, to the core of my bones. My thoughts were silent, except for this whisper in my mind telling me what an idiot I was for inviting a total stranger into my house, someone whose name I didn’t even know.
“I accept then,” he answered, more like a whisper in the night, on the completely empty street.
I inhaled the last smoke, and then I threw the rest of the cig. I turned and walked to my door; I knew he was following me, but I didn't want to actually see that. My intoxicated mind was trying desperately to find a solution to get me out of this.
I unlocked the door and turned toward him, to let him in. He stood there, wearing that start of a smile on the corners of his lips, and I had the sensation that he was waiting there as if asking me if I was completely sure about this.
I entered and he followed. Then, I passed by him to close the door, locking outside the last trace of light. I turned again; I only guessed where he was, I latched myself onto him, my mouth finding his instinctively. His skin felt so cold, the flesh on him made me think of a stone, a graveyard stone in a mercilessly heavy and gray winter. His lips were also cold, yet soft, velvety at touch.
I was kissing him!
I tried to pull myself away, but his arms embraced me, making me stay, as his lips responded to my kiss. I pulled him even closer; I was rubbing myself against him. I was drunk, and wanting him badly; I was fully aware that I was acting foolish, yet I didn't care. I was only sinking in the pleasure of kissing him, of feeling the coolness of his face skin against mine.
To be continued...