Music Monday: Until The Night Is Over by M83

She smelled like smoke.

But not any kind that could be inhaled willingly from pipes or rolled up sheets of paper. It was the kind that came from barbecue pits and campfires. Her mascara was streaking down her cheeks like demonic claw marks, and her dark hair was a wild mess of curls tied back and slung over her shoulder. She was wearing a long, red, sleeveless blouse, and black, shiny leggings pasted to her legs. 

She wasn’t wearing shoes.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t know where else to go.”

He thought about asking where she came from, what she was doing here on his porch at four o’clock in the morning, or perhaps even her name, but he didn’t. He simply rubbed his eyes, and opened the door a little wider to let her in, as if strange girls showed up on his doorstep all the time.

“Water?” he asked her, though he was already walking toward the kitchen to get a glass for himself.

“Yes, thank you,” she said, following him. He handed her a water. “You’re very kind.”

He didn’t say anything. He drank his water, and put his glass in the sink.

“I didn’t mean to intrude. I just…” she said, and then she started crying.

He stayed awkwardly rooted in place, watching her cry. Comforting girls while they cried had never been a strength of his. He never knew the right things to say or how to say them. And he was much too grossed out by bodily fluids to offer up his shoulder. He didn’t even know this girl. Who knew what diseases she could be carrying?

“I’m so sorry,” she said, sniffling.

She finished her water, and held out her glass. He took it, and immediately washed it, scrubbing vigorously. Then, so she wouldn’t think he was rude, he washed his glass too. When he was finished, he noticed she had left the kitchen. Panicked, he rushed to his bedroom where she was curled up atop his bed, clutching a pillow the way one might clutch a small child.

He considered asking her to leave or to please refrain from crying on his sheets, but he supposed it was already too late for that. So instead, he sighed as he grabbed a blanket from the bed, and prepared to sleep on the couch.

“Please stay with me,” she said as he was walking out the door.

He paused, considering the implications of staying in his bed with a stranger. A crying stranger. She looked harmless enough, but how did he know? Still, it was his bed, and since she was asking him to stay it would probably be rude of him to ignore her.

He made sure a whole foot of space was between them when he got into bed, giving her a majority of the covers, but taking the blanket for himself. He could hear her crying beside him while he stared up at the ceiling and wondered how he ended up in this situation. He’d never had a girl in his bedroom before. Girls often exhausted him with all their emotions and endless chatter about meaningless subjects. And they seemed to always want to be touching.

Sure enough, after a few moments of ceaseless crying, the girl rolled over and curled herself against his side, hugging his bicep like she’d been hugging the pillow. He froze, debating whether he should roll over and shrug her off or leave the room entirely. He didn’t know her. She was crying. This wasn’t happening.

But it was.

“I’m so sorry,” she said. “I’m so cold, and I don’t want to be alone. It’s better when I’m not alone.”

He didn’t respond, and after several agonizing minutes he could tell she had fallen asleep. Her breathing slowed, and her grip on him relaxed. Knowing she was asleep relaxed him, and soon enough he was asleep as well.

In the morning, she was gone.

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