Daniel Rosso

Steam Train

Have you ever watched the ones you temporarily loved die? For that moment they are your life. Everything is in them, and everything seems to die with them. Time will pass regardless how you use it. People always say Live to the fullest, and appreciate the time that’s passing, but to me it’s a reminder of how everything will one day leave.

One day:

She was happy when I told her about vacation. Was it because she had a week of absolutely no work? Was it because it was a full week of spending every day with me? Was it because she has never been on a cruise before or that she has never left the country? I don’t know. I never asked.

I borrowed luggage from my parents, who left the door unlocked while they were at work. I won’t say the word home because that house was never a home. I told my boss that this was my honeymoon because taking a week off work when you’ve only been there a month isn’t the greatest idea. It wasn’t that I hated my life, or that I needed some change, I just wanted to make her happy.

Her:

She always told me that she used to dream of guys like me; she also thought she would never date those guys. What I wanted to say was that I never wanted to date her either, and that I was tired of waiting for the girl who would make me forget to breathe.

She did make me happy sometimes, and she made me forget that she really wasn’t my type, at first. When we kissed it was like an old car almost starting. In my head I heard that sound, inside of every goodbye that followed my scrap-yard heart.

I let her do everything she wanted on the first day of our cruise. We tricked ourselves into thinking that we had been together forever, or that we would be…it didn’t matter to me which way that feeling went. She laid out on the deck, getting that tan stamped on her skin, proving that she went somewhere better then where she was going back to. I sat in the shade of the ship and watched her sleep.

Sleep:

We slept in the same bed for the first time that night. It was one of those awkward moments at first that seem about ten times longer than they are, but we were in the dark. We didn’t even try to turn our drunken lullabies into drunken kisses. It seemed that the boat was mocking her words: “I’m just not ready…” with the motion of the ocean. I slipped into sleep like the end of a long day. I was falling into a cloud.

I was standing in buckets of broken pieces of wood. At the end of the hall, water began to fill up other buckets that littered the floor all the way to the door of the upper deck. I was wearing a crown of fingers from hands that were searching the dark for light, or anything to grasp. I know those hands were on the floor. Where I was, was the dark. Who I am was the light.

Who I am/was:

The rest of the days have no real bearing on the ending. I would love to build up a romantic plot between her and me, but that isn’t what happened.

We started out at the bar. I bought two drinks but neither of us touched them, and they sat there like two pools reflecting light. She said she wanted to do something that she has never done before. She said she was ready, in more ways then one. I looked at her, and through her, and felt badly for that moment. I’m sure she wasn’t a virgin, but I was still going to participate in something that would mean so much to her, and absolutely nothing to me.

Nothing:

On the way to the room, I noticed a black stream of clouds against the sun, settling down. She grabbed my hands like you grab the chains on a swing, holding on for dear life. We opened the door to our room. We undressed ourselves and the bed. She became one. I became nothing.

I thought we fell to the floor caught up in the moment. When I heard screams I imagined steam releasing against hot flesh. She was holding on again to my chains with her face stuck shut.

Stuck:

We jumped back onto the bed when we felt the water. At first it was only little coming from under the door and then it was a stream. We put our clothes back on, left the bed naked, and opened the door. Water was ankle high and the hall was at a terrible slant. I grabbed her arm and told her to never let go regardless of how high she was; the jump was never safe.

At first it was hard making our way up the hall. She climbed up me when I was secure and then I climbed up her. We almost made it to the stairwell when the stream turned into a river. I held on to her wrist like a rope. I gave her arm a tug, she pushed off, and we fell into the doorway. She barreled into my chest and we fell onto what should have been the wall but was now the floor. The angle of the room hung the door dangerously close to being closed and I tried to prop it open. I tried.

Close:

The river turned the room into a puddle that held no possibility of fun. She began to cry and say things about not being ready to die. I began to think about how someone could be ready for death. I held her, in our pool, her still crying while I was still thinking. She asked me if I loved her then, and although I said that I wanted to build some credibility, I did love her. Temporarily.

She said that this was the nicest thing any guy has ever done for her, and that I reminded her we probably were going to die. The surface of the flood that grew to eat the air in our room was two rooms down the hall. It was like a slow moving train made of icicles and steam, and passed by only once in your life. She was still crying. I was still nothing.

Still:

The train came to take us to the sky. She began to scream when the door opened; the dark blue stranger making itself at home slammed into us; separating us in this time of need.

I found her pressed up against the wall. The emergency lights lit the room in a fashion like a ballroom. I grabbed her hands and I did the first thing in my life that I knew I meant. I kissed her good-bye.

I couldn’t tell for sure at that point, but I imagined she was still crying. Her eyes were open and locked with mine in the cage of love. What she didn’t know was that I had the key. She put her hands on my face. I put my hands on her hands. She moved her legs around my waist. I let my legs pull with the strangers’ will. She mouthed I love you. I mouthed it back. She meant I love you. I meant I love me too.