It was two in the morning. She knew he would still be up. She told herself that going through that door meant telling him about it all. She grasped the handle, felt the metal in her palm, and lingered in that moment as if trying to memorize the entirety of that sensation, the cold, the smoothness, the tension and click as it turned, and she thought, this is it.
When he heard the door, he knew it was her. She hesitated in her first steps and he said nothing. She sat next to him on the sofa. She said hey, and he mumbled something. There was music playing. The TV was on mute.
It was the only source of light.
He took a bong rip. She looked at her phone for something to do. He exhaled and gave her a nervous smile because all he could think of was how they’d known each other for six months and had known each other like this for at least two and still hadn’t fucked.
She took her turn, almost burned herself with the lighter, and thought that maybe this wasn’t the right time to tell him. He began telling her that this was his favorite album. Rubber Soul. Because it had a thick layer of enchantment over a deep sea of bitterness. This was not the right time, she thought, and asked what he meant. It was the thing most people didn’t get about The Beatles but what made their music so great. This song was the best example of that, he said. I’m Looking Through You.
He replayed it from the beginning. For the most part, the instrumentals are light and uplifting. Taken on their own the song sounds like it’s about someone falling in love. But the lyrics are bitter. They reveal a disenchantment. It’s really a break up song. It’s about someone discovering a deception. Each verse is carried through by the cheerful acoustic guitar but ends in the harsh electric. Most people don’t notice any of this. They want to live in the top layer of the delusion.
Was he still talking about the song? she wondered and said that she had always preferred Abbey Road.
Next: Girl—the song about a girl who embarrasses a guy in front of his friends.
Next: Run for Your Life—the song about a girl who is threatened with her life not to leave.
Next: Norwegian Wood—the song about a girl who brings a guy home and after she withholds sex he burns down her house.
She held back tears, but he said nothing about them.
I was – – – – – when I was eleven. That’s why this is so hard for me. I want to tell you but you just sit there with that face as if you’ve been wronged, and I’m the one who has come here to apologize. How can you not fucking get it? I am not being cold to you. I am suffering. Fuck your fucking resentment, she thought.
He kept talking in Beatles trivia. She pretended to listen.
And they sat there for a long time in the dark with a fire of images as their only warmth, and no matter what colors flickered through the glow, their faces stayed blue.