Breakfast at Supper
By Becky Alice Coe
Eden was dreaming. It was a most lovely dream full of the technicolour eyes of pretty girls with the softest skin he’d ever touched and the irritating habit of fading right through his fingers whenever he managed to get too close. He had almost worked out the best directional flow to carefully arrange all of his limbs around his next victim for a subtle kiss on the lips when a SHRILL buzz filled the air. BEES, he thought in his dream brain that was prone to intense hyperbole and a heightened dislIke of repetitive and overly loud sounds. But it was just the doorbell.
Who pressed a doorbell like that? He thought. Loudly and to himself, as the remaining visions of his wonderful dream woman popped out of his head one by one like weak soapy bubbles. Squinting at his watch, he saw that it was 22:22. A most curious time for a caller. Then realized his watch hadn’t worked since a serendipitous meeting in a fountain with some random girl some weeks prior.
Caring less for the time and for the sake of his remaining eardrum. Eden threw on a waistcoat and a pair of steampunk glasses over his boxers. Pressed the button beside his door that would send a clear signal to an equally unassuming button on the downstairs floor and subsequently open the big door. Leading to a ceasefire in the battle of the buzzer and the bees in his head. Then he plastered a disdainful look on his overly handsome face and headed to the top of the spiral staircase to look natural.
A GIRL had entered into the foyer. Breezing in like a cotton ball on a breeze. A casual air of grace about her person as if she went about alarming strangers at ungodly hours of the morning all the time. From this angle, all he could see of her was her shockingly vibrant shade of orange hair under a pair of very large sunglasses. She seems to be stashing a large bag of what looked like Kinder eggs behind the pot plant in the corner of the room. Eden found himself drooling like a school kid over the banister and was horrified when he noticed a drop break free from the barracks and lunge at top speed in the general direction of the vision below him.
He was mopping up his mess when he noticed her turn upwards and lower the arms of her sunglasses to look at him. He first noticed the same brown eyes of the particular goddess he had been dreaming about not minutes before. Had he seen her before? What was this stroke of fate? Had he manifested her himself? His mind was still boggling over existential questions of indeterminate origin when he found the girl now standing directly in front of his face and smiling at him. The way that the heroines did in old Hollywood. In that soft-focus way as if someone had rubbed Vaseline on his eyeballs to make her seem glossy and dreamy.
‘ I lost my key.’ She said.
He just stared.
‘ I lost my key.’ She said again. Louder and raising her eyebrows a little. Though not in the animated and charismatic way that he could.
‘Oh.’ He managed to finally answer. Mortified that words had apparently failed him. They had never betrayed him before.
‘Can I use your phone?’
‘Sure, it’s er... it’s just inside somewhere.’
He gestured for her to enter into his apartment ahead of himself. He might have lost all manner of his usual syntax but he was still a perfect gentleman and knew how to treat a lady in accordance with traditional social etiquette. Even if it was his apartment and she was a strange woman who had just wandered in from the wastes.
His apartment was full of very intriguing things, and she began looking around. Setting her eyes curiously on this and that. She was currently admiring a particularly elegant poster of stars and planets featuring a lyric from one of his favourite songs by the Waterboys.
‘Is this it?’
She was holding an old set of antique tin can telephones he had picked up at a flea market somewhere in Berlin after a particularly long and intense night of partying with a group of fellows he had met that very evening. But by the end had vowed they were the very best of friends and they all thought that trick he’d pulled of lining up all the champagne glasses along the bar and knocking them all down like dominoes until they all rolled off and smashed into pieces on the slick, boozy floor; was the finest they’d ever seen. The tale had nothing to do with the tin can telephones. He just liked them.
She passed him one end and he put it to his ear and stretched the string that joined it to the base of the other.
‘There are thieves among us.’
She had the dulcet tones of a girl who could pull off a fringe with a 1960s bouffant.
‘I know. I saw you stash a bag of kinder eggs behind the plant. Did you burgle a sweet shop?’
She placed her end of the tin on his guitar stand and continued to assess the room.
‘Oh, not at all. A man was harassing me in the street. He would just not take no for an answer. So I promised him he could take me on a date if he brought me three dozen kinder eggs.’
‘I see you received them. What ever happened to the fellow?’
‘I’m not at all certain, but I assume he’s still lingering outside your front door.’
She rolled her eyes in that suggestive way that women sometimes do.
‘Men are a complete bore.’
‘I’ve noticed. I try my best to counteract their most barbaric traits when I’m offered the opportunity.’
‘Oh, not you my dear.’ She said sweetly. Reaching out to put a hand on his face unexpectedly. It felt gentle and small on his beard.
‘You’re simply a darling. Letting me into your place like that. Most people would have simply ignored the doorbell.’
As she spoke she had moved closer to him and removed his goggles. She handled them with great care and he caught the scent of something wonderful on her. What was that? Lavender? Lemongrass? Vanilla? He couldn’t place it but could have sworn he’d had the pleasure of it before.
‘You were making it a little hard to ignore.’ I first I thought it might be the fire alarm.’
She wasn’t listening. She had now taken it upon herself to sit on his bed holding his acoustic guitar in her lap. In such a natural and perfect way that it was like she’d been there all along. Like this was where she was always meant to be.
She started playing Moon River and sang in a voice so sweet and nostalgic that he had to sit down opposite her and calm the sudden urge to take her in his arms right then and there.
She stopped mid stanza. Looking up at him slowly through eyes glazed with layers of a thousand lives. They were so beautiful. He suddenly became acutely aware that his hastily donned attire made him look quite mad, but he hoped also eccentric. Perhaps she hadn’t noticed either way. She was now looking into the distance and he felt an air of melancholy sweep across him. Settling on his skin in a fine spray.
‘Do you ever get the mean reds?’
‘The mean reds. You know. It’s like the blues only a different colour. The meanest of the colours. When all you can think about is blood, and rage, and endless passages full of great red doors that lead to everywhere and nowhere. You’re running, running down corridors and twisting and turning and there’s nothing but doors. You want to go through but you don’t know which one to take, so you just keep running and running until you lose a shoe, or you fall off the edge, or something just horrible happens.’
‘Is that what it’s called? I guess I’ve never thought of it like that before but, yes. I do suppose I have had that.’
‘Oh, it’s the worst. Is it okay if I just lie down here for a minute?’
She wasn’t necessarily asking, and had in fact already laid her head on his pillow and closed her eyes. Her soft, ginger hair splaying out behind her. He looked at her fondly. Thinking of the unexpected way she had entered his life moments ago, and that seeing her now. He didn’t ever want her to leave.