As he turned the cream page, Toliver Spoon looked up from his book. It was there he saw Allison cleaning the counter in the kitchen. While he didn’t really want her to clean anything, she insisted because it calmed her, gave her time to think and work through anything that bothered or excited her. He didn’t know what bothered her, but he knew she would come to him when she was comfortable enough to do so.
The champagne sun poured through the window and glazed her skin with a brilliant sheen. Her soft blonde hair reflected the sunlight, giving off an aura as though she were an angel hiding among humanity.
Indeed, Toliver believed her to be just that. An angel. He wasn’t religious, but that didn’t matter because it was the association, how being a seraph aptly described her existence rather than as some supernatural being from heaven.
He thought this because she’d saved him. Before he met her, he lived as a broken man that time and loneliness had destroyed. He had been living in the shadows of his past, his emotional state deteriorated by his inability to find happiness.
In this lonely place, in that dark corner of his life secluded from the world and drowning in the lives of others around him, he thought it would all end the night he gazed down at the polished blade in his hands. He thought that his life couldn’t get better, and he feared that life would only get worse. He knew he was already at the edge of sanity, teetering at that penultimate moment before something would tip him into madness, and he wanted to end it all before it happened.
At the time, he hadn’t realized that he had already plunged into that black abyss. When things are at their darkest, when one can only quantify happiness by faded memories, something takes over. Something not outright understood, but unfortunate, solid in existence. Toliver had come to that point on the night he planned to kill himself, and he was fully ready to leave this world for the next.
That was when Allison de Plate came to him. Truthfully, she had been in his life before, but he never noticed. Even on that night, the night his dark half whispered into his ear, daring him to fade into the darkness, she came out of the shadows and into his life. Perhaps it wasn’t as symbolic as that because it had played out much more mundane. She merely knocked upon his door, and he answered, thus changing his life forever.
However, it wasn’t just his life that changed that night. Allison had changed, too. She was his neighbor, an unknown face among the crowd. That night, she was more than just a regular face hiding with all the others. She was a pretty face distorted by the wretched man she once called her husband. She was somebody he could see, and someone that could see him.
Standing in front him beyond that opened door, she nearly doubled over in pain. Her lip spilled blood onto the floor, her eye purple and inflamed, her left arm slack and motionless from when her husband yanked her too hard and pulled it from its socket. The man with whom she’d giving her live to through marriage had pulled a fistful of hair from her skull, leaving a large bloody patch above her right ear.
Looking at her that night as she shied away from the door with the expectation that he, too, would hurt her, he didn’t see himself the same anymore. In fact, he didn’t see himself at all. He only saw the woman before him, damaged as much on the outside as he was on the inside. While he couldn’t relate to the physical pain, he knew what she knew—likewise, she knew what he knew. They knew this because all broken people can see others who are also broken. They can feel each other. On this connection, they had immediately built a relationship more powerful that either had experienced.
Throughout that evening while he tended to her wounds, they talked about each other. She told him about her life in that apartment, about her husband, about how her father used to treat her behind closed doors. He told her about his life, about how he wanted to kill himself, wanted to end all the pain he was feeling. He told her things that happened to him, too, when he was little, but that no one else knew about or could even understand. In that, he was no longer alone. Neither of them was alone now.
In a hasty moment of rash judgment, they decided to run. They both needed to get away from their lives, and find new hope among the rotting stars. Maybe they would find those beautiful twinkling stars that everyone always talked about but that they had never seen. Maybe they wouldn’t. They didn’t know, but they needed to try.
Now, ten years later, they lived together. They never took to a relationship, but it didn’t matter. They loved with a love that was more than either of them could describe, more than anyone could understand. They found their stars, ones that shined bright within each other, brighter than the ones shining down from the heavens. It was brighter than the sun, hotter than the light shining through that window as she gently wiped the counter clean.
She finally looked up, and smiled. Warm and beautiful, timid and loving, he reciprocated with one of his own. When he returned to his book, he felt his chest tighten, his heart dance, and his emotions sang a song they both could hear. A song they both sung. A song that would last an eternity and more.