Excerpt 2 – Orange Moon

“Mmmmm…” she hummed, holding a pitchy D-sharp with a sustained smirk and a diminished squint across her eyes. Well, at least it sounded like a D-sharp. She tip-toed in the kitchen like a ballerina, her arms flowing and floating across the room. “I’m an orange moon” she sung. That morning she woke up extra early, wearing her white satin kimono atop her black curve-hugging french lingerie. The beautiful scent of fresh bread from Billie’s Bakery and a full english was swimming through the air.

“I am an orange moon” she continued, skipping past the tall metallic fridge, headed toward the granite kitchen island where I was seated. Behind me was a large bow window that overlooked Kensington High street. The sky was grayscale with a slither of pale sun rays. She took baby steps, one foot in front of the other – almost feline-esque, as if she was preparing to pounce, arms still gracefully waving and flowing. She wrapped herself around me, arms gently around my neck, fingers interlocked, eyes closed and continued “…I shine so bright because I reflect the light of my sun.” By now our faces were touching. The flutter of her eyelashes on my sealed eyelids. The warmth of her forehead pressed against mine. Our lips nervously brushed.

Each kiss felt like the first. I still felt jitters in my stomach like a toddler on Christmas morning. I still felt the tingling sensation of nerves before a live performance. I still felt like two worlds colliding, the amalgamation of universes and galaxies apart, the coming together of two broken souls.

As our lips engaged, I felt a wetness on my cheek. Warm tear drops. “Vanessa… what is it?” I asked. She smiled, slid her index from the contours of her nose to the lobe of her right ear. She pivoted her head and stared at her feet. Her toes were freshly painted. Oxblood Lacquer she called it. I could almost still smell the polish.

“I’m a terrible person” she whispered. She always had a very calm nature. It was almost unsettling. I always imagined she would be the type to whisper and stride her way out of a burning building. I didn’t want to panic but I would be lying to myself if I said my heart was not beating outside my chest. I had a thousand and one possible sins I was about to hear her confess to. Of course, it’s our nature to think the worst of a situation and pray it isn’t so.

“I met Alex last week” she exclaimed. My heart froze. What does that mean? Is this when I kick off and lose my mind? Is this when I ask for an explanation or is this when I grab my plate and ask about her views on Plato and Aristotle’s fashion sense?

 “It was nothing. We bumped into each other in Leicester Square and decided to grab a coffee. A lot of people meet in Leicester Square. It’s normal. We just talked. Talked!” she reasoned. At this point I still had not figured out how to respond. I did not know whether to question the veracity of her account or accept that ex’s can meet and be platonic. I mean, a lot of people meet in Leicester Square, right – I grabbed my plate and quizzed her about Plato’s robes.

I have always been awkward with confrontation. Growing up in a household where arguments and fights were the norm numbed me to the appetite of firing a response. I just wanted it to stop. I just wanted the clouds to clear so we can be happy again.

Vanessa ignored my efforts to sway the subject. “I’m sorry I did not tell you” she responded. The tears continued rolling down her eyes. I remember staring at her thinking the reason those tears flow ever so smoothly must be down to your perfect skin not the sincerity of your heart. See, what hurt was not that she did not tell me, it was that she felt she had reason to keep it away from me – enough reason to conjure a tearful remorse. Was there more to this story?

If a bird flies through your window – Not because he wants to, but he broke his wing and lost his way. You do not know the first page of veterinary but you are determined to fix him because you fell for his pretty wings. Does that make you a terrible person?

I knew she was broken when I fell for her. Something always told me I could fix her. But how do you fix something with broken tools? How do you heal something when healing is a foreign phenomenon to you? How do you save a soul from drowning when you do not know how to swim yourself?

Can love truly conquer all?

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