Filled Spaces

We met on a Saturday.

Did you know we’re moving through space at five-hundred and thirty kilometres a second?

It was an odd pick-up line, though in retrospect I question if that’s even what it was. His eyes were incandescent, gazing at me from an open face. He clasped my hands and anxiously waited for me to answer.

I fumbled over my reply, very conscious of how dull I sounded. No, I didn’t know that. I may have learnt it during school, I explained, but it wasn’t really something I retained.

Nevertheless he nodded fervently, jumping slightly on the balls of his feet.

Yeah – the Milky Way is spinning at two-hundred and twenty-five kilometres per second and then the galaxy is travelling through space at three-hundred and five kilometres per second. Don’t you feel that overwhelming motion? Like you can’t sit still? Like you can’t do anything because too much is happening but you want to do everything at once for the very same reason? Fuck!

I was in a perfectly intoxicated state, where all the sharp edges had been sanded off of everything around me – I drank in his nonsense like it was gospel. Obediently following him as he lead me out of the bar, I felt bile rise up in my throat. Almost like motion sickness. Without filtering myself, I turned to him and said exactly that.

See, you get it. You totally get it.

He placed a firm hand on my neck and guided me out the door. My lungs opened appreciatively at the first hit of fresh air. I hate smoke.

We met on a Saturday. He moved in on a Sunday.

—-

It was a Friday.

He was staring at the blank canvas leaning up against the wall.

It’s to cover the space above the fireplace. I explained this to him.

What…just blank?

No, I laughed. I had this therapeutic notion that I should learn myself by painting myself. I’d bought the paint and the brushes; I just hadn’t gotten around to actually painting it.

I heard the other day that the Andromeda galaxy is gunna collide with Earth in like…4 billion years or something. Did you know that?

I nodded, even though I hadn’t.

We both stared at the canvas, consumed in its imposing nothingness. It’s kind of like a black hole, I offered. Almost, I added hurriedly.

He smiled wryly.

Almost. Not quite.

—-

I didn’t have work on Wednesdays.

I dug my heels into the top edge of the bathtub, trying to bring my body to the surface of the water. I watched my arms lazily waft around the currents I’d created. Kind of like I’m on the moon, I quipped at him.

He smiled serenely at me from his perch on the toilet seat and then leaned forward, taking a long drag from his cigarette.

You know, they say the density of Saturn is so low that if we were to put it in a giant glass of water, it would float.

I recoiled. So I’m the size of a planet?

He squeezed the bridge of his nose and exhaled, the cigarette smoke rose up, waltzing with the steam from the bath. I hate smoke.

No. I’m talking about Saturn.

I sank to the bottom of the tub.

I don’t work on Wednesdays.

He stubbed his cigarette out on the freshly mopped bathroom tiles.

He doesn’t work.

—-

It was late on a Wednesday.

I closed my eyes, the heavy air and the steady thump of the music weighing my head down. I never liked clubs.

I turned and watched him as he spoke animatedly at an enthralled group, his hand clasped firmly around my neck with his free hand. Most of his soliloquy washed over me in a familiar drone. One of the girls in his entourage made some quip about Earth being a carousel, fervent nods and smug laughs followed. I’d heard that one before. She hadn’t come up with it.

Past their eye-line a man was being escorted out by security. He was drunkenly warbling at the bouncer about rights. The tell-tale trail of sick oozed down his beard and onto his already stained singlet.

I poked my elbow into his chest and pointed. Looks like this guy wants to get off the ride, huh?

—-

There were bits where the colours had interacted too much, causing them to form a murky brown paste around the obnoxious swirls that permeated my once blank canvas. Still wet, there was evidence of the foreign kaleidoscope from where it had carelessly been spread over the living room floor.

It’s Andromeda and the Milky Way colliding.

This wasn’t my painting.

I asked him if he’d heard about the meteor that streaked across the sky in Russia on Friday. They say it exploded with the force of thirty Hiroshima bombs. Twelve hundred people were injured from the shock-waves. Countless homes were destroyed. Isn’t it amazing, I wondered aloud, how something can come and forcibly alter your entire reality without your consent?

He shrugged, propping the canvas vertically above the fireplace. Globs of paint yawned south in droves. Lighting a cigarette, he sank back against the couch.

I hate smoke.

Unable to look at him, my eyes sunk once more to the rainbow seeping into the carpet.

The floor offered itself up to your vision as well, I observed.

He squeezed the bridge of his nose and exhaled.

—-

I kicked him out on a Sunday.

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