By Tia Ramos
There they stood, holding hands with both each other and the rail, feet halfway-off-halfway-on the ledge of the parking lot’s roof. Their eyes level with the illuminated office buildings and the Rocky snow-dusted teeth of their soon-to-be-ex-home, fifty-two eighty-plus feet above the sea. And there it was—the Pop Rock-like shocks running from her toes, through her belly, and jumping to her fingertips on the subway tracks of her veins. No matter how hard she squeezed, or how powerful the candy-vessels popped, she couldn’t transfer the feeling to him.
He had climbed the roof’s ledge mostly for her. The way her hand always squeezed his to a halfway-off-halfway-on beat rhythm of her creation and how sometimes she would blow on an eye-obstructing curl, pulled into vision by the wind, was reason enough to join her. But he liked the ledge because the nauseous eyelash flutters that often overpowered his insides would match the tempo of her squeezes and if he wore basketball shorts, the breeze would sneak up one leg and turn his slightly hairy upper thighs into non-stick surface areas. And he knew that even if the Pop Rocks didn’t exist, she still would’ve driven 35 minutes to the city’s outskirts so he wouldn’t have to air out his balls alone.
Both of their minds were drenched with thoughts that were amazingly banal yet wholly un-shareable—these thoughts seemingly more meaningful in the proximity of another and while standing fifty-two eighty-plus feet off the ground.
He kept his gaze static on her crescent eyeballs and her mascara-masked eyelashes. From his angle, her irises were half-black-half-white. The moon and the building lights could only overpower her lenses; partly hiding them in its flash, unable to illuminate even the sharp boundary between pupil and deep brown. The wilted flower stems that lined her eyes seemed to have the same construction of what often asked for attention in his belly and if he didn’t feel the need to constantly hold on to the rail, he would’ve placed his left index finger in the direct traffic of her blinking to feel the kiss shared between the top and bottom eyelashes and see how they compared.
They were only a mile above sea-level and sixty feet above the cement. In two weeks, they’d be 9, 343 miles apart. 49 million feet. 800,000 parking garages.
The bank across the street had an electric sign that added neon orange to the sea of subway-car yellow and was two minutes too fast. 1:48 AM. 64° F. According to the bank, she would’ve liked to be home 18 minutes ago, but this was more important than work so she stayed. But if it took her 35 minutes to drive home, and if she had to be awake by 6:40 to leave the house by 7:20—she had to leave soon. When the neon-orange sign read 2:07 to be exact.
He, too, knew they didn’t have much time left. She had told him their deadline an hour ago.
“Nineteen minutes,” he said in hopes that maybe confronting her departure would slow time.
She paused her beat, and squeezing his hand tight in hers, replacing her steely source of stability with his body, she threw a “fuck you” with her now empty hand in front of his chin. He tried to catch her middle finger with his lip-cushioned teeth and enthusiastic tongue, but, fast and ready, she pulled away to rediscover the rail so all he was able to accomplish was a light lick.
The neon-orange sign now read 63° F and the wind had started to pull on a blanket of curls, closing her half-black-half-white irises off from his. Her lightly lubricated middle finger caused the sliver of coldness in the air to stick and penetrate the side of her digit, spreading through the tunnels of her body. She could not transfer the Pop Rocks but she could feel her body transferring the edged-chill into his.
“Fifteen minutes,” he gently said.
She pulled their shared fist to her face and sighed a coffee-breeze onto the j-shaped scar on the triangle between his thumb and forefinger. Pulling their hands even closer, she dragged her bottom lip across the triangle, coating it with her clear paint and tracing the outline of the scar. After the prolonged teasing, she embraced the fist with force, using her flat, foam lips to break the collision. She held them there.
“Twelve minutes,” he whispered.
She bit him.
He had intended on searching the stories below for his neon-orange prophecy but he once again became distracted by her wilted flowers and flash-soaked lenses. All he could see was the very tips of her eyelashes, poking out of her curls as if they were Nazi soldiers, saluting outwards, believing a mere angle change could channel more pious energy. He moved their conjoined fist from her lips and brushed the curls out of her vision, while simultaneously feeling the length of a bundle of her lashes. Then he rubbed the waxy hairs and silky eyelids up and down, and side to side.
“Eight minutes,” he breathed.
She purposefully blinked and rubbed her face along an elliptical track, letting his hand discover the two sight-caves in every possible way, giving him a tour of every hair, every wrinkle, every protruding bone she had to offer.
Her eyelashes felt nothing like those that plagued his insides and he couldn’t decide which flutters he preferred.
The Pop Rocks had dulled but she hadn’t noticed.
He kissed the crossroad of forehead and follicles. “Seven minutes.”
With six minutes left, she dropped their hands, put her nose into his bicep, and, with a little smile, asked the question she always asked.
“Wanna run away to Wyoming?”
And instead of answering like he always he did, he just kissed her, once more.