I realized I was heavily inebriated. Fear rushed through my body. I anxiously scanned the place for signs of others. But there was only him. And then, our eyes crossed. It seemed almost magical, and somehow, he put me at ease.
Relax. I won’t hurt you.
He smiled and tapped the high stool next to him, summoning me to join him. I obeyed, as if in a trance. I moved closer towards him, my heart beating louder with every step. At an arm’s length, I admired his deep blue eyes. His short hair was greased back to reveal a widow’s peak.
“J.A. Pleased to meet you. What’s yours?”
J.A.? As in the letters?
“Uh, hi. I’m Natasha.”
What followed was dancing and some words strung together. I’m not sure what we talked about but we hit it off. And we kept going until it was dawn, our feet hurt and we found ourselves asleep. After that first night, we met up a couple of times. But then, J.A. began to go off on longer travels, until I lost track of where he was, and he became a distant memory.
Fast forward two years later, it was Christmas Eve and he showed up at my apartment door. I was alone.
Don’t be lonely.
He felt my loneliness. I let him inside and he pressed me to the wall, caressing my neck. He gazed at me, seeking consent. I smiled. He kissed me, slowly unbuttoning my shirt until I remember him inside myself.
A storm swirled up later that night, and we curled up under the blanket, staring into one another’s eyes, our naked bodies caressing one another.
Where had you gone?
He smiled, and slipped his hand into mine.
Nowhere. In another world, we’ll be free of these limits of time.
I paused. And then it hit me. That J.A. had been there beside me. He’d spent an entire life with me. But where? Perhaps, the future? Perhaps another universe?
We stayed up in bed, warming one another, without speaking but knowing of the truth, thinking no more of where and when we would meet again. And somewhere in the night, we fell asleep in one another’s arms.
When I woke up, J.A. was gone. I had a strange feeling in the pit of my stomach. Let him still be here. I searched the apartment, hoping he’d come out from the corner of the room and kiss me. But there was no sign of him. Was last night real or a dream?
Damn you, J.A. Stop fucking with me.
And then, I remembered something.
I walked back to the bed and saw it. The heart-shaped photo necklace of us. And below it, in italicized writing, was an inscription.