The Calm After the Storm

→ A Storm from the Past

She’s standing on the balcony, looking over the party. Wine’s pouring, feet are dancing, high-heel shoes are being thrown to the side; everyone’s having a good time.

The sound of footsteps cuts through the noise and she turns her head as they approach. Syl stops next to her, looking down at everyone as he lights up a cigarette.

– We gotta stop meeting like this.

She doesn’t move an inch and continues to look out at the party.

– Nothing?

She breathes in.

– “Don’t ever speak to me again, Liz.” That’s the last thing you said to me.

– Ah, yes. I did say that, didn’t I?

– You did.

– Took it to heart, did you?

– Wouldn’t have had a reason to speak to you, anyway.

– Ouch. As true and understandable as that is, I can’t help but feel you put a little bite in that.

– Maybe I did.

He leans on the railing and takes a long drag off his cigarette as the screams from the party get louder.

– Fucking Tommy, hasn’t changed one bit.

She doesn’t say a thing. After a minute of silence, Syl takes another drag.

– I think about you sometimes, you know.

– And what do you think about?

– I think about how I’d like to talk to you.

– Well, here I am.

– No, I mean the real you.

She frowns.

– I’ve only ever caught glimpses of the real you – I think. A heart-to-heart, I guess you’d call it. Or what’s left of them.

– What do you mean the “real” me?

– The you that doesn’t think about consequences; the you that’s honest and doesn’t play any fucking games; the you that would admit everything.

She breathes in and doesn’t say a word.

– I’d ask you “why”.

Silence.

– And in this fantasy, what do I say?

– I don’t know. You were such a mystery that I can’t even imagine what your reasons were for anything.

She gives him an angry look.

– Give me a cigarette.

Syl scoffs.

– Since when do you smoke?

– Shut up and hand one over.

Syl complies. She puts the cigarette between her lips and turns to Syl. He covers the cigarette with one hand and lights it with the other. For a second, they stare straight into each other’s eyes and for that brief moment, it’s as if they’re alone in the world. She turns back toward the party.

– There was no secret reason, no hidden agenda. I wish it were that simple, but it isn’t. I was just who I was and I did what I did. I was young. I didn’t know anything.

– You didn’t know compassion?

– I knew compassion when I recognized pain.

Syl laughs.

– Oh, you didn’t recognize any pain?

– I was fucking stupid, Syl, what do you want me to say? I was a dumb kid doing dumb things that after all this time, I can’t explain. Don’t tell me you don’t know what that’s like.

Syl sighs and takes another drag off his cigarette.

– You fucked me up real bad, Liz.

She rolls her eyes.

– I felt like I could move mountains with you. Every fiber of my being was telling me that nothing else mattered, that we were put on this Earth to be together. I felt like you were the only girl in the world, the only person who could make me happy. Then you took all that away from me. You poisoned my mind and my heart and the shit you put me through still haunts me to this day. It’s been so many years and the stabs in my heart still haven’t healed. You have no idea how much you’re a part of who I am today and sometimes I hate you so much for it. Other times I wonder if it isn’t actually better this way. Who knows what would have happened to me if you hadn’t been there to destroy me first.

She sighs.

– You know I would do anything to change things if I could, right?

– I do.

– Do you really?

Syl looks into her eyes.

– I do.

She looks up at the full Moon and Syl can see its reflection in her eyes. He sees her eyes tearing up.

– Do you think things could’ve been different?

– Different how?

– Do you think there’s a specific point in time where one of us could’ve done something differently that would have changed everything?

– I don’t know…

– I think about that sometimes. I wonder if instead of living life after you, I could’ve lived life…

Syl stops. He looks out at the party and sighs. After a few seconds, she breaks the silence.

– Maybe…

She takes a long drag off her cigarette.

– Maybe in another life.

She leans on him, grabbing his arm and putting her head on his shoulder. Syl thinks for a moment.

– Maybe…

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