by Kyle Joseph Hopkins
It was the day. It was the day I’d been dreading and hoping for. Ever since I learned of this power I knew that this day would come. I finally figured out all of the kinks and glitches that came with this power and had to use them to my advantage.
I stood up in the middle of the meeting which met with stares and orders to sit down, but I wouldn’t listen. Instead I pointed my hand out and swirled the other until everything slowed. No one was the wiser as they began to become stuck with their faces frozen with shock and awe.
The only people unaffected by the freeze were me and the girl I was aiming for.
The clock stopped, a dropped pen sat motionless in the air as if it were stuck in ice. Time and space had vanished. My heart thumped and filled with sharp anxiety as I walked over to the very confused girl. After two quick gulps I said the following…
“No doubt, I understand, you are wondering what the fuck is going on. Let me explain. Have you ever seen Saved by the bell?”
She nodded, still confused and frightened. What possibly could a 90’s Saturday morning teen dram-com have to do with mystic powers?
“You know when Zack says ‘freeze’ and everyone stops, dead cold, as he spits some cheesy lines to the audience?”
She nods, casually wrapping her mind around the phenomenon.
“I’ve been able to do that for years. Nobody would believe me because they’d be frozen, of course, but I started learning recently how to trap…that’s a terrible word…how to catch another for the moment. I’m doing this because at every meeting we’ve had since you started working here, I’ve frozen it. Before you were around, I would use it to take a nap or get all my freight ran to meet with this company’s insane demands. But ever since I saw you I’ve been freezing the meetings and talking to you. Nothing more. I give you my word. I finally caught my cat about a week ago. Three days ago I caught my best friend and we used that time to iron out all of our problems. I think we spent about a month, just hanging out, crying, fighting, and building upon our relationship. Then we came out of the freeze and resumed our lives, with a big hug and tears. But I’m not going to keep you here for that long; I only need the length of this speech to tell you everything I need to tell you.
Please let me do this.”
She looked like a shocked animal, a majestic deer. She wasn’t staring into headlights, but into a stark revelation, from a guy she doesn’t know. She pulled out a cigarette, her hands trembling as the lighter sparked and then engulfed the tip; her chest filled with smoke. She exhaled as her ruby red lips formed a small circle, expelling the cloud. It floated into the air. A small puff came into the first cloud and danced about as it framed her. The cloud stood dead in the air, slowly fading, as she felt the tension points on her head, never looking away. A fluttery note of a cough came out; she sat back in the chair, flicked some ashes on the floor, and nodded.
“I’ve rehearsed these lines…that’s a terrible word, this soliloquy in my head over and over again, and it was never quite perfect. The…no, it’s a monologue. A soliloquy would mean I’m talking to…you’re smart, you know what I mean. It’s a lot harder actually talking to you about these words that make my chest ache so. But I don’t need to act like an English teacher right now. I’m so goddamn stupid. But I don’t mean to frazzle you… I’m already about to drop. I’m sure this whole experience is…fuck it, I have to get into this, now or never. “
I exhaled and found the strength. She trembled and nearly spoke but would just raise her finger for a second, breathe, and then would lunge back in her chair. When she did this I tried to coax her to talk. I’ve been dreaming of a real conversation ever since I’ve seen her. Alas, she couldn’t.
“I don’t know you. You don’t remind me of anybody I’ve ever met before or will ever meet. But I want to change all of that. Today. For better or for worse. I just want you to know that you are the only thing on my mind these days, that doesn’t anger me.
Even when you don’t talk to me, even when I try to make contact with you. My heart tears, tears roll down my cheeks, and I continue on with the day, devastated, but with beautiful sadness. The way ‘tears’ and ‘tears’ are spelled the same way is gorgeous to me. They have two different definitions in a dictionary, but they are the same to me. English isn’t the most beautiful language, but that word is among the most beautiful. And…I have to talk in this language to tell you how I feel, because it’s the only language I know, and I have to know that you understand every single word.”
Tears developed on his cheeks and heart. She stared. Her soft green eyes with those beautiful gray lines, artfully crafted were fixated on me. Her soft white looked irritated not with anger, but with heaviness.
“You’re much more than what’s on the outside to me.
I know I don’t know you, this must be the millionth time I said this in this conversation, minus the conversing part. Jesus, why won’t you talk?”
Her lips shook like a jigsaw cutting but she gave a quick hand motion that just seemed to say “go on”. She looked completely exasperated.
“Underneath all of your physical beauty is a goddess hiding below. Under those silky black bangs and elegance that, I’m only guessing, feel as soft as down is flowing acres of the softest fur that I want to lay in for ages. Behind those vibrant gray-green eyes is all the intellect, humor, darkness, love, fear, and desperation that could overflow all the libraries in the galaxy. Under your pointy little nose are all the scents. I imagine it’d smell like freshly dead flowers that are giving off their last aromas, but they stay like that, never fading. Those lips, those goddamn lips I’ve wanted to kiss from the moment I’ve seen you, under those, is something I’m not yet ready for, if only because I don’t have you. If I could have all of you I’d live in your universe, forever.
I know that last part sounded lazy, and fuck, this whole thing sounds lazy…because I’m so goddamn stupid.”
I slapped myself.
She flicked her ashes.
“I’d go on but I’m not making War and Peace here, I’m just trying to tell you everything that I possibly can. I know I have technically forever to tell this, but I don’t want to keep you here. I mean, I do, but it wouldn’t be right, you know? It wouldn’t be right if I couldn’t have you, one hundred percent of you with me on this. Like the way you just won’t talk to anyone unless you’ve known them. I’ve known about you for only about a month, and I think we’ve exchanged about sixteen words. Fifteen have been from me, and one was from you. It was actually a noise. A sweet little noise I don’t even know what to classify. It could have been a burp or an attempt to say ‘hello’ back. Either way, that made my year. You may laugh because it’s only January.
You make me feel like a cartoon character doing his funny little routine when he sees the girl of his dreams for the first time. I’m not saying this to cheapen anything; it’s just how I am. I get the bugged-out eyes with valentine’s hearts. My own heart takes the form of those valentine’s hearts and pounds until the blood flow floods my brain and I garble words like I just had a stroke. My tongue falls out of my head and rolls ten feet on the floor. It’s felt real several times. “
She trembled for another cigarette from her red pack. Puffed in the same fashion as before…and stared. Those cold dead stares had more emotion that day then I give them credit for. She was on the verge of crying, laughing, going batshit insane, all at the same time. I didn’t realize I could strike this kind of emotion in anybody before.
I almost grabbed for her cigarette lighter, but stopped myself cold. I hadn’t earned the privilege to light her cigarettes yet.
“If we ever got to that point, fuck, if you even say anything after this solil…monologue, devastating or otherwise, I’ll listen. Whether it makes me die or live, I’ll accept it. I know that before you, you see an ugly, balding, crass, jackass with bad skin, a gut, and just enough underneath to keep me from jumping off a building. You see an incompetent dork that’s pleading to the fucking gorgeous heroine like in every romance. Only this dork actually adores, treasures, embraces, cherishes, and worships you. I don’t want to idolize you because I want to find out your flaws and do the same to those. But you should know I also don’t love you.
I feel all of the above but I can’t love you, not yet. I need to know you. Obviously, I want to love you, but you’d have to say yes, let me in, and we’d show each other the pits of our very beings. I always thought these feeling were trite and annoying, but it’s because I never met you.
I only had to see these sequences in bad movies and poorly written novels, and I would always roll my eyes. I hope my version is better, but then again, well you know.”
I took a breath, followed by her. For a moment, all is right.
“Now I’ve said my piece. I’ll accept anything you tell me. If you say no, I’ll unfreeze everyone else, quit this job, and drop from any plane of existence. If you say yes…well that’s another monologue. “
She began to speak, with heavy eyes and bewilderment. Her tongue was reaching up to the top of her mouth to enunciate the first syllable. But I froze her, with a simple wave of my hand. I couldn’t dare hear her refusal or acceptance, because the depression and realism in me knew better. I was about to leave when I suddenly kneeled down and hovered right by her cheek. My lips plumped, ready to soil her soft, perfect white skin.
“Goodbye sweet Jessica.”
I stopped, turned away, turned back, took the cigarette from her hand and the few that fell on the floor. I almost smoked the half-smoked cigarette just to get a lingering of her lips, but if I can’t kiss tender flesh than I don’t deserve her saliva. Then I walked out, waved my hand and unfroze time. As I left I heard commotion. Amongst the ruckus, a pen clattering, intakes of breath, and screams of “What the fuck? Where’d Roger go?”
I tore from every angle.