He was a blue-eyed, blonde-haired, shell of a man. Introverted, even more than I. Eccentric, withdrawn, mysterious in his own rite, and one of the sweetest people I’d met. We were roommates. He was one of several. I overlooked him for months because of his awkwardness, but I began to see the stars around him as we worked on the New York Time’s crossword puzzle every Sunday afternoon. As he was scratching his number 2 against 4 down, I was drinking in the child-like nature he possessed. The world had been cruel to him too, but his eyes still lit with hope.
“Your turn,” he chuckled as he passed the paper to me for the next answer. He put his hand up under his chin, and I smiled when I saw the contrast of his pale skin against the stain of black newsprint on the heel of his hand. He had no clue. He never really did.
He was safe. He didn’t ask questions about the things that didn’t matter - about things of the past. He lived for what was, and I could hide well within that. For the first time, I felt a little more human. I didn’t love him, in fact, this was so very causal that I almost felt like I was using him. I wanted to slurp him from a straw – taste what goodness I could – all without letting him stain my lips. His intentions were much different from my own.
We spent the night at home. I was having a glass of wine and crocheting while he read some obscure science-fiction book. After a small pour of merlot, the room felt like a planetarium. White trails shooting around and about the ceiling, everything spinning into a blurry mass of confusion. My meagre glass gave the illusion that I had been black-out drunk. Revolving in my living room, the rising vomit touched my tongue - bitter, pungent, it went back down. Blue-eyes came to me, held me against his chest and reassured me that I was okay. I eased off the alcohol and fell into him. The following days were filled with excruciating abdominal pain. I figured it was the endometriosis - that gnawing disease that fills a woman’s insides with scar tissue, rendering infertility in some cases. I was never really disappointed with this diagnosis. It really served as a get out of jail free card for my reckless lifestyle.
My pain-management plan consisted of my getting a monthly injection of synthetic hormones into my hip. I quit those after 5 years of asking for a better solution. Birth control typically renders women incapable of having children for a short period of time. For me, they said if conception even was possible, it would take a good year, possibly more. So when I went to a new clinic and they said that pregnancy tests were protocol for new patients, I surrendered my urine care-free.
I watied in that confining office, on the pregnancy test I knew would be negative. Ten minutes later I found out that my life was being recreated; like origami, I unfolded with the news that I was with child. A child I would love, and that wasn't his.
Breaking the news to Blue-eyes wasn’t easy. It felt good to let him know he had no further obligations, even though that's exactly what he wanted. Because he was good. Although he would’ve been a nurturing father, I can’t say I wasn’t relieved still. The fragile strings of my heart didn’t want to make him a more permanent fixture in my life. He was a short-lived sanctuary; a place where I felt safe for a while, where I felt redeemable. But I didn’t love him. So with a snip of the scissors, he fell from my life like a quiescent puppet - broken, used, and utterly disappointed, still donning that empty plastic smile.