There’s this story I’ve been waiting to tell you for awhile now. It’s a love story with no ending, only a beginning.
It’s about two people. Two boring people in their mid twenties, they aren’t in shape, they don’t have any money, and they both drive 1999 Grand Am’s. His is blue and hers is red.
The guy is Cyrus. The girl is Melody.
Cyrus has been bored lately, since his girlfriend left him for a taller, less educated guy. His name is pointless to mention. Even when Cyrus refers to him, he pronounces it wrong on purpose. It gives him pleasure to fuck up his name. That’s something he can’t take from him.
Cyrus has been so bored lately that he’ll stay up late staring at the ceiling. He turns off all the lights in his bedroom and draws the shades just enough so passing cars will throw pillars of light on the wall. He’ll watch them, as hours past, he’ll watch them cross his ceiling, forming and then disappearing. There’s something about this transition. It gives him perspective and pleasure in knowing that things are changing, that again, he won’t feel so bored.
Then one night he was so bored he found a piece of paper and wrote something down. He wrote: You don’t really know yourself until you’re alone at 3 am staring at the ceiling. The next morning he woke up with a different outlook. He was bored of being bored.
While Cyrus was watching the lights cross his ceiling, Melody was getting to know her neighbor, a guy whose name is also not worthy of mention. He was tall with a half beard and a big Adam’s apple. He always kept his chin high to show it off. Melody had just moved to the area and he helped replace a light bulb in the kitchen that began to flicker the third day she moved in. The next day they passed each other in the hallway and he ended up on her couch. They made out to info-commercials because she couldn’t afford cable. He was a bad kisser, so when he wanted to see her bedroom, she said she was tired. He went home.
Like Cyrus, Melody was bored. The neighbor was a nice guy, but mostly a convenience to her new surroundings. The next morning, she woke up, also bored of being bored.
It was Monday afternoon and the first humid day of the summer. Cyrus had the day off and so did Melody. They did what bored, lonely, twenty-year-olds do on Monday afternoons.
They do laundry.
Cyrus’ day didn’t start well. He noticed a stain on his favorite pair of jeans. They were his go-to jeans as he referred to them in his head. They were the ones that didn’t ride high on his waist, the ones that added weight where he didn’t have it. These were also the jeans he wore when he went out to meet friends for cheap beer. The stain ate him up inside and with this new outlook on life, he decided to do something about it.
As he was dumping his clothes in a washer, she walked in. He didn’t turn, she passed him without him noticing. She went to the next row of washers. Cyrus closed his now filled washer and realized he forgot his detergent. He did what he always did when he forgot detergent — he asked the closest person for some.
Melody turned around and she told him sure. He thanked her.
Cyrus closed the washer and it started to tumble. He twiddled his fingers and looked over at Melody. She looked bored.
Cyrus eyed the stack of board games in the corner near the vending machines. He saw one he knew how to play.
“Hey, you want to play chess?”
She hesitated with her eyes on his. “I don’t think I know how. I’ve never played.”
Cyrus had no problem teaching her. In fact it wasn’t his first time teaching someone. He once taught his ex-girlfriend. Melody took his chess lessons well. She moved her bishop and took out his queen before he could realize his mistake. Was it her dark mascara that was evenly placed around her blue eyes that drew his from the board? Or perhaps it was the way she covered her mouth when she laughed after he made a joke, or how she picked at her cuticles when she was thinking of her next move.
Whatever it was, it cost him his queen.
Eventually, all Melody had left was her king and a lone pawn. The washers sounded off.
They got up without saying anything. They hauled their wet clothes to dryers next to one another.
They went back to the board.
“You give up?”
She shook her head no and he continued to chase her around the board until the dryers finished.
“Okay, you win,” Melody pushed her king over in defeat.
He was relieved. She smiled, her eyes penetrating his, and then down to his lips and then away when he noticed.
He got her phone number that day and they went home to fold their laundry.
When Cyrus got home, he realized the stain on his jeans was gone.