As I stand there chatting with my best friend, I look over to see him. Standing and talking to her. He’s tall and dressed like such a chill hipster. He reminds me of Shaggy from Scooby Doo but black. He wears worn out skinny jeans and a t-shirt with a button down over it and old Chuck Taylors. He fiddles with his camera as he talks to her, looking so happy to just be around her. She’s tall too. Maybe 3 inches taller than me. She always wears tank tops and pants that make her small butt look bigger and some torn trainers. They look so happy talking to each other. Her name is Kayla and his Daniel.
I stand there from across the room pretending not to notice the way he leans into her. I fiercely tell my best friend just how crappy my life is. I never made a stand for him to notice me because I knew that my friend Kayla, his best friend, had a thing for him and he felt the same for her. How could I push myself in between that? I mean, I could but think of the consequences if things don’t work out. I could lose a friend and completely embarrass myself.
I’ll just stand from afar and watch as THEY happen. He doesn’t really know me like that. Really, we hardly talk. For all I know, he could hate Beyoncé or hate Harry Potter and we really can’t have that. It’s just a crush, right? And all that other stuff, like soulmates and destiny. Isn’t that felt on both sides and not just one way?
Kayla says that she likes him but all I see is her hurting him. She doesn’t do well with monogamy. I can see him hurting but really, who am I to intervene? I’m just the quiet girl he sees a handful of times each year. I’m not someone he notices. I can handle just watching from afar. Right? Kayla always talks about her crush on him and the things he says and does to her that makes her really think he likes her. I got to sit there feeling hurt and wondering why can’t I just like someone else. Someone who is simple and less involved.
I’ve had a crush on him since I first saw him. Though I knew he had a girlfriend at the time, I thought he was tall and cute and the more I saw him and chatted with him, the bigger my crush got. Now I think and daydream about him all the time and scold myself for each time because I know that this shouldn’t happen. I shouldn’t be crushing on him. I hardly know him and there are too many complications. Too much of the unknown. I decide not to give up and not to try. Kayla and Daniel would make a cute couple. Right?
I rush out the party exactly two hours later, (I checked. I had to see how long I lasted). Kayla was telling me about this other guy she was seeing and she was going back and forth between Daniel and this other guy. Talking about how great they both are and that she didn’t know who to choose or what to do. It was all just too much so, I excused myself and left the party. I couldn’t hear another word. I faked a panic attack and said I needed fresh air, alone. I felt one coming but I pushed it down.
It’s terrible liking someone you can’t have, someone who doesn’t notice you. Someone who you really don’t even know. It’s confusing and so stressful and Kayla telling me all about him just makes it feel even worse. I need to get home.
My train ride was a mental blur of daydreaming about Daniel and vague acknowledgment of showtime dancers (which I hate). I can’t wait to get home. I need to paint something.
I start envisioning what I will be painting as I storm up the stairs leading to the station’s exit. I was so engulfed in my thoughts that I didn’t notice the man bustling towards me. We collide with such force, my shoulder started throbbing. In a second, instead of yelling at this man, I decide to apologize. He and I both weren’t paying attention so, why not? But before I begin to apologize I realize how stunned and confused he is. He looks utterly shocked.
“Are you okay?” I ask.
“You can SEE me?!?!” He replies.
“Of course I can see you!. I just bumped into you! Look, I’m sorry. Goodnight.” I turn and start heading home. This night feels like it’s getting even longer. I do not want to deal with some loony guy. I make it two steps before he’s grabbing my arm and turning me towards him.
“HOW can you see me?!?” He yells at me with a mix of terror and confusion on his face. At that moment, I realize that he doesn’t look looney. He’s wearing an all brown, milk chocolatey suit. His clothes are spotless with no wrinkles anywhere. He looks more put together than me. So why is he talking like a crazy person?
“Do not put your hands on me, sir!” I yell back at him. Now that I know he’s a crazy person. I’ll just yell and get everyone’s attention so that I’ll have witnesses.
“Oh! Sorry. It’s just that you’re not supposed to be able to see me. No one ever does. People just can’t see me and you see me threw me off guard.” Says, the crazy strange man.
“Well, I obviously can. I see everyone. But I do need to go home, sir. I hope you have a good night.” I respond, turn around and head home.
When I get home, I eat, maturbate and shower. Today has been weird and intense. I needed my favorite relaxers before I start painting all night.
I wake the next morning feeling groggy. I spent most of my night painting my stress away. As usual, my clothes are covered paint. At least last night was a success. I think my painting looks exactly like the strange man from last night. His wide dark green eyes, the way they jumped and moved, observing everyone else around him before focusing on one thing. His nose starts off thin between his eyes and then expand into two large nostrils. These lips were full and plump and though his face seemed to be open and bright. There was still a nervousness about him. His face looked like he worried so much over his year which made his face age before it should. I tried to make this painting look like Picasso’s starry night and used waves all around but instead of giving my work a soothing effect like Picasso’s does for me, I made it more manic and panicked by using strong colors like fiery red and orange and blue. I really love this painting. I don’t think I’ll sell it.
Today I have a meeting with my manager to figure out where my new paint series will be displayed in the modern art museum. I quickly get myself ready for the day and zoom out of my apartment. As I open the door, I find a long rectangular black box right outside my door. When I open it, I find one black rose. No card or anything. Just a black box and a black rose. I take the flower with me and head to my meeting, wondering who the hell would’ve given me a black rose.
“Who the hell would give you a black rose?” Ryan, my manager asks.
“I have no idea. I’ve been trying to figure it out. Is this a death threat? Isn’t a black rose a symbol of death?” I respond.
“Don’t be silly. It’s not a death rose. The color black is beautiful. It’s pouring and calming. It’s like rebirth and starting new.” She says.
“Well, what am I starting new? Besides the part series. I didn’t tell anyone about it because I wanted to make it a huge surprise. No one knows but you and you didn’t give me a black rose. In a black box. This is weird. I should’ve thrown it out. Right?”
“No. What if a secret admirer gave it to you. Like that cute girl who works downstairs. You know she likes you and she’s like a cool hipster. She’s into that stuff. OH! It could be Daniel!” She says, giving me a wink and a dazzling smile. “ Or that other guy… Ummm… Isn’t he like the assistant something. He always checks you out when you’re here. I don’t know what he’s into. He’s kinda weird but…”
I let Ryan go off into a rant about who could’ve given me the flower while I choose which pieces will be going into my display. My display is all about victims of police brutality. I’ve made portraits of 10 victims. It’s about who they could’ve been. Where they could’ve gone. Who they could’ve met. I notice too late that Ryan was talking to me. I completely zoned out. Lost in thought. I turn around to talk to her, feeling drained and sad and disgusted about all the useless violence in this world.
“You okay?” She asks
“Yea, I was just thinking how terrible it is that I have a whole exhibit of my artwork only because all these men and women were murdered.”
“I know. I know” she says as she pulls me into a hug. “I know that I can never feel your pain but I’m here for you. .”
“Thank you,” I mumble into her shoulder.
After a few minutes or hugging and mourning. She and I return to all of my paintings and start deciding which ones are the most powerful and grab the most attention.
My manager took me out to dinner after we made our choices, afterward, I went to buy art supplies and headed home. The whole time, I felt like someone was watching me.
When I return home, I notice a piece of paper attached to my door. I quickly grab the paper and see that it reads “COME”. I storm into my apartment feeling frustrated and confused wondering who the hell is doing all of this.
When I walk into my apartment, I notice that my apartment looks like someone else has been here. I drop all that I’m holding and grab the bat that I keep next to the door and begin searching for the source of this chaos. When I finally make my way to my bedroom, I notice a man staring at the painting I made last night.
“Who are you and why are you here?!” I yell to the man
The man remains silent
“I called the police. You should leave before they get here!”
“Is this supposed to be me?” The man replies calmly and turns to look at me
He’s the same man who bumped into me last night.
“Yes,” I say dumbly. “How did you get- Wh- How did you get in here?”
“I came to speak with you”
I wake out of my daze and the anger I have set in.
“Was that you sending that flower? Are you this strange gift giver? Why the hell is you in my home?! Get the hell out! That’s it. I’m calling the police.”
“I just needed to talk to you. You-”
“Get out! Now!”
“Look! You’re not supposed to see me!”
“Not this shit again!”
“Yes. No one here is supposed to be able to see me. Look. I’m from-”
“Please. Leave now.” I say while grabbing my phone from my pocket and dialing the police.
The strange man finally starts walking to walk towards the door and stops right in front of me and says quietly.
“My name is Harrison. I am the leader of a tribe. We are having trouble protecting ourselves. I was searching for someone from a prophecy.”
“Hello, There’s been a break-in…”
“I was searching for someone, a creator. Someone who can see the world differently than others. The one who can see our world. I think that person is you.”