I have developed the curious new habit of reading in bed, for seven or eight hours a day, six days a week. Suppose it is not so curious for someone with a bad pair of legs.
But I used to wheel myself around, before my lungs started bleeding and I'd cough out a thimbleful of blood each morning. It got cold outside which made the coughing worse. Soon I got used to confining myself to bed, and watching youtube while reading.
Michael knocked on my door on Monday asking if I needed anything. I didn't give him any valentines, so at first I was scared. But he just wanted to see if I wanted any groceries since he was on the way to the store. I didn't know what to say, so he just stood there staring at me for a while. Finally I said please get me some juice.
He said OK. Then, anything else?
I said, maybe some cakes.
He smiled, then he said I should eat some fruit too. Maybe some bananas?
I said OK.
He left. I couldn't read so I watched a movie about this guy who decided to kill himself by jumping off the building. Then he saw three or four other people on the top of the building, thinking, talking and trying to do the same thing as he. They decided to go out and get something to eat instead. It was a nice movie, even though lots of it felt made up. In real life, no one ever run into the love of their life just before they decide to kill themselves, just like that.
Michael came back in about an hour. The movie was almost finished but he decided to help me put things away. I asked him to help himself to some cake and juice. He cut me a slice too. We sat on my bed watching the two main characters walk closer and closer to each other, one year after they met, on that same building top. It was obvious they were going to kiss, and normally that was my favorite part to watch. But since Michael was there, I didn't want to watch, and gobbled my cake instead. He was shifting around and turned to me to say the store was crowded at this hour, there was a long line but luckily he didn't have a lot of stuff, so he got to use the express line.
I said yes he got a lucky break. From the corner of my eye I could see the main characters were merging into one dark blob. No kissing sound but I bet that was what they were doing. I showed Michael that the cake had some hazelnut inside, even though they were crushed into tiny pieces of triangles and had the same color as the inside of the cake. You can still tell because when you bite into it, you get this rich and nutty flavor, with a chocolate kind of flavor, except that it was better than chocolate. I pointed to a few crumbs on my plate to show him a crushed piece of hazelnut so he leaned over to look.
All of a sudden I realized Michael's face was less than an inch from mine. I could smell his shampoo and whatever he used to shave and what not. He also smelled like cake, butter, sugar and hazelnut, a hint of cream. His lips were moist, slightly open, an invitation. I just had to lean forward a little to catch, a few millimeters maybe. I couldn't feel my legs.
Look it's the closing credit. I pointed to the screen rolling so fast with letters no one could possibly read. When I did, my plate tumbled over and I looked like a kid who shouted at any shiny moving thing and couldn't hold anything steady in her hand. Michael grabbed my plate and put it on the floor, then he turned back to me. His eyes were so close I had nowhere to hide. I wanted him to lean over now, and kiss me, but I didn't know how to do it so I closed my eyes, like I did just before Space Mountain swallowed me with its dark embrace. I felt Michael's lips on my forehead, then nothing for a while, until the door clicked close.