I’ve never been too fond of love.
Never have been, doubt I ever will.
I guess the idea just gives me the heebeebajeebees.
I mean, who wants to be dependent on someone who might go ahead and step on their heart?
Well, there’s that reason, and many others.
For instance, you might fall in love with a total bum, who’s only occupation is wasting himself away on alcohol.
But I may be wrong, that might be a good thing…
Who am I kidding?
That would be terrible!
See why I don‘t like it?
Endless reasons to hate love.
I scuff the wall as I try (emphasis on try) to kick my boots off.
After multiple tries I manage to get them off.
My body aches, and my brain feels like it’s leaking out of my ears. I walk like a drunk to the kitchen and pour myself a glass of water.
I guzzle it all down in one pull, and wipe my mouth off with the sleeve of my hoodie.
I then fumble my way into the living room, grabbing the remote from the coffee table. I change it to my favorite show: House.
His snarky know-it-all attitude, reminds me of myself.
I’m brutally honest, and never sugarcoat.
I sigh as I plop into my olive green suede couch.
The fabric amuses me, and I can’t help but draw patterns in it. I draw a smiley face.
I hear a knock on the door.
Not so smiley anymore.
Ugh, why can’t he leave me alone for one measly second?
I feel lightheaded from getting up to fast, and I have to brace myself against the hallway wall.
When my head doesn’t feel like it’s about to fall off, I tipsily walk to the door.
It takes me several tries before I get the door open.
“Man, Aislynn you look like the living dead!”
“Thanks.” I shoot daggers with my eyes.
“You know why I’m here.”
“Mhm.” I say lazily back. I examine my cuticles in a manner that suggests that I’m bored.
Which I suppose I am.
But I’m also afraid of getting kicked out.
“Are you watching House?”
“Yeah. What’s it to you?” I say. I raise my eyes slowly to his. He has one of those stupid looks on his face.
I want to knock it clear off.
“I don’t know. You just don’t seem like the type to watch House, I suppose.”
“I can watch whatever I please. I pay for it after all.”
“You should be putting your money to better use. Like, say, your rent? You can watch T.V other places. You’re welcome at my place.” Ugh, what a flirt.
“Um, no thanks.” I say, giving him the most disinterested face I can muster up.
“Well, whatever. It‘s obvious people aren‘t buying your art. Find more money quick, or you’re out. Capiche?”
“Ouch. Not much of an art lover are you?”
“No. Well, yours is a little weird though…” It gives me a little pride to know that my art interests him. Don’t ask me why.
“C’mon. You haven’t seen the latest.” He gives a little humph and follows me into my studio.
I turn on the bright fluorescents and blink for a couple seconds. Then smile.
My latest canvas sits in the corner, covered in a white sheet.
Somehow, I just can’t come up with anything when I look at it.
So I keep it covered, then it just flows out.
Reverently, I lift the sheet off.
I can hear Blain’s quiet intake of breath behind me.
That just makes me smile wider.
I close my eyes and move my hands to the paints on the tray of the easel. My fingers move over the tubes of paint, I randomly pick one. It is yellow.
I slowly bring my eyes up to my painting.
At the left side of the canvas is a girl with blonde hair. Her eyes are wide, staring at the things across the page.
Which are a scramble of words.
Masochism, lovely, she, fly, hell…lots of words with no relation to each other. All in different colors, sizes, and writing.
I look down at the tube of paint in my fingers.
For some reason the word Russia pops into my mind.
I squeeze I miniscule blob of the paint onto my pallet.
I take one of my detailing brushes and dip it into the paint.
First, I outline the word. The letters are bold, and bright.
I decide not to fill them in, so as to leave the bits of words underneath to show.
It has a cool effect.
I sit back and look at it.
I tap my chin with the paint brush (stupidly).
I get a fluorescent yellow dot on my upper lip.
My eyes go wide and I quickly glance back at blain.
His face is a mirror of mine…well, minus the yellow dot.
We bust out laughing.
He walks over to me, and reaches out his hand.
On impulse my head leans back, away from his touch.
“I was just going to wipe away the paint. Seriously, you’re so odd.” He says, giving me that look again.
I bite the inside of my lip, and wipe at my upper one.
It won’t come off, so I go into the kitchen. I turn on the tap, and grab one of the few clean dishtowels in the drawer.
I dampen it with water, and go after my lip with it.
After countless minutes of scrubbing, I go to look in a mirror.
“Damnit!” The stupid yellow spot is still there.
And to add to the annoying-ness, my upper lip is now raw and red. So I grab my concealer, and smother the damn mess with it.
I look somewhat normal.
I traverse my way back to the studio, but am stopped by Blain’s body in the doorway.
“What? Wait, oh. That just came into my head. That’s what I do.”
“I’m going on a trip to Russia soon.”
“Yeah? Good for you.”
“You can come if you want.”
Holy shit. Is he serious?
“That’s not nice. Don’t mess with lowly artists like that.”
“Dude, I’m serious.”
“Oh, really? Prove it.”
“Well, I’ve been looking for someone that I’d like to take with me. I’ve got two tickets, you see.”
He takes two plane tickets from his pocket.
Damn, he is serious.
“So? What do you say?”
“Maybe? How can you pass up a trip to Russia?”
“Don’t know how I’d like a really long plane ride with you.”
“Fair enough. I plan on going in two weeks though. If you want to go, you should let me know soon.”
“Bye.” I say, and I look at him, letting him know he needs to go.
He walks away, brushing against me sonorously.
Really who wouldn’t want to go to Russia?
I can understand why he asked me.
He comes over here everyday practically.
And not just to tell me to pay the rent.
I guess you could call us friends.
Just wow, Russia.
“Hey, Blain.” I say, as I walk by his propped door. I knock on it lightly. He gives a groan, and sits up.
“Come in.” I open the door, and walk in on a freaky sight.
There’s Blain, in boxers.
“I can come at another time..?”
“No, no, it’s cool. Want some coffee?”
It’s not cool with me! I’m not used to seeing guys in their underwear! Yipes.
“Yeah, and a couple spoonfuls of sugar…”
“You must not like coffee.”
“No, not really.”
“What kind of people don’t like coffee?”
“People like me.”
“Fair enough. So, why are you here?”
I shuffle my feet back and forth on the floor, looking at the paint stains on my shoes.
“Oh! Great! What do you say?”
“Um, yes. But only for inspirational reasons!”
He gives me a coy look, and I give him a sheepish grin.
“Suppose we could leave today then, whadaya say?
“I say hell yes!” He gives a slight chuckle and walks into the kitchen, grabbing the coffee.
I take the mug in my hands, grateful for its warmth.
“You should start packing soon.” Blain says, blowing his coffee at the same time.
I give a whispered “Mhm.”
I finally quit delaying the inevitable. I bring the steaming cup of coffee up to my lips and slurp a bit. It hurts. A lot.
“Damn it, this is good!” I murmur. I can hear Blain chuckling across from me.
“Seriously. What’s your secret? I’ve never had coffee and liked it.”
“Well, I’m glad to be the first person to make you enjoy coffee.”
He gets up, and gives a gallant bow. I chuckle, and wave him to sit down.
“None of that gallantry stuff, it makes me laugh.”
“You seem like you need a laugh.”
He gives a funny face, and I have to contain the chuckles rising in my chest. I put on the most stoic face I can.
He sees right through it.
He walks toward me, and sits next to me.
I don’t see it.
His hand snakes out and pokes me in the ribs.
I jump and splash coffee on my lap. I yelp and set the coffee on the table. It looks like I’ve whizzed myself.
“How’d you know I was ticklish?”
“Everybody’s ticklish! You just have to know where.”
I reach for his armpit, but he squishes his armpit down fast.
“Uh-uh-uh.” He says, waggling his finger at me.
I give a pouty face and set the coffee on the side table.
“I think I’m going to go pack.”
“Alright. Meet you at four.”
“Stop pinching me! It tickles!”
“That’s the point!”
Me and Blain have been tickling each other for awhile.
The plane ride is almost over, and we have to buckle our seat belts.
When the turbulence starts, airbags fall from the ceiling.
We bust out laughing.
“Okay, okay, we need to calm down. We’re going to get in trouble!”
“Alright, alright.” He says, folding his arms and leaning back into the seat.
I reach out my arm and poke him in the ribs.
Our tickle fight starts anew.
This was our plane ride.
Blain is explaining about how he came here to see his family.
I never knew he was Russian.
He points out all of his favorite landmarks, like the winter palace.
It’s gorgeous, with all of the domes on it that remind me of Hershey’s kisses.
“Everything is so bright and colorful, like art that you live in.” I say, looking around at all the sights. My eyes saucer wide.
“I can’t believe you grew up here, right in St. Petersburg!”
“It’s not as glitzy and glamy as it seems. There’s a lot of bad history here.”
“Yeah, well it’s not like the war is still going on. I don’t think of you badly, don’t think of Russia badly. Why should I?”
“’Cause we’re bad…”
“Sure you are…” I say, smiling lopsidedly, I punch Blain in the arm.
“Hey! Oh, we have to go! Look it’s the summer gardens, come on!” He says, tugging me by the arm to the park.
I cover my mouth, and my eyes go wide.
Seriously, you have to come here.
Just statues and tall, tall trees.
Walkways, full of flowers, and it smells delicious.
The scent is heady, and I have to lean into Blain, because I’m feeling a tad lightheaded.
“God it’s beautiful.”
“I know. I haven’t been here in forever.”
We stop and sit on a marble bench. It’s cold outside, and Blain is oh so the gentleman, so he gives me his coat.
It’s a wonderful day.
“Oh! Look at that bird Aislynn!” He says, pulling me in close. I’m smooshed in close to his side, and his aftershave is the only smell I smell. I nuzzle my face into his neck.
He rests his head on top of mine.
“Aislynn, I really don’t want to leave.”
“We don’t gotta.” I say, munching down on a doughnut.
“Want a bite?” He nods his head, and leans in while I’m still taking a bite, and takes his out of the other side.
I give him a quizzical look, and he laughs.
“Well, we should get going to your parents now, don’t you think?”
“But you said we don’t gotta!” He says, giving me a pouty face.
“I changed my mind.”
We walk out of the café, hand in hand.
“Well, who’s this sweet darling?” Blains mom says, looking at me.
“I’m Aislynn, Mrs. Ivanovits. Glad to meet you.” I say, while I’m embraced in a hug that smells like cinnamon and baking sugar.
“You smell good,” I say, when I’m released from the hug, “like cookies.”
“Oh! I was just making some. Do you want any?”
“Take a seat deary.”
I take a seat, and Blain sits next to me.
“I like your parents.” I whisper to him.
He just groans.
It went well.
“Of all the places for a romantic kiss, I wouldn’t have chosen in front of your parent’s house!” I say, kicking a puddle of muddy water as we walk to the airport. He grimaces, and puts his arm around my shoulders.
“Well ex-cuse me!”
I laugh and lean in closer to him.
Love isn’t all that horrible.
“What are you working on?” Blain says, leaning against the door jamb.
I lean aside, giving him a view of my latest work.
A view of the Summer gardens, above the heads of a blonde girl, and a brown headed boy.
That will always be my favorite memory.
I look back at him with shining eyes.
He wraps me in a hug, and kisses me lightly on the forehead.
“I love you.”
“Never thought I’d say it, but I love you too.”