Sunset in New York
Posted November 15th, 2018 by TheGlitterCritter
It was the most beautiful time of day, when the sun was setting and the sky turned the color of a ripened orange. Birds were taking off and fluttering away until they looked like tiny black dots. It was times like these where I wish I was a painter, so I could capture this moment and hang it on my bedroom wall. Too bad the only thing close to artistic thing I’ve done was finger painting when I was four. My hands, having a mind of their own, started unzipping my bag and found the cool cap of the half empty bottle of Jim Beam. My eyes never leaving the bloody sky, I started twisting the cap off.
And just as the smokey scent hit my airways I heard, “Joan? What are you doing up here?” I panicked and quickly stuffed the bourbon under my bag, the glass making a soft clink.
I turned and saw the familiar face of none other than Eddie Horton.
“Why are you up here?” I raised a brow and squinted my eyes, maybe if I intimidated him enough he would leave.
“My Uncle used to take me up here when I was kid to watch the sunsets. Now what’s your excuse?” he sat down next to me. Dammit, I guess he didn’t get the hint.
“ I dunno, just come up here when I want some peace and quiet I guess.” I crossed my arms. He nodded and scratched his neck awkwardly. I glanced at him and realized I’d never been this close to him before.
“ I didn’t know you had freckles.” I blurted out, staring at the coffee colored flecks on his face, it looked like someone sprinkled brown sugar over his nose and never wiped it off.
“ And I didn’t notice your left eye is bigger than your right.”
“Oh shut up!” I smacked his arm as he busted out in a fit of giggles.
“How far up do you think we are?” he asked, our feet dangling off the ledge. A car honked down below, the people looked like ants on the congested sidewalk. The city that never sleeps was glittering in the glaring luster.
“Maybe a hundred feet or something like that, stop distracting me I’m trying to watch the sunset. ” I put my chin in my hands as I stared at the fiery rays spreading across the whole city, enveloping it in a warm glow.
“You know, my mom used to tell me that the horizon line is the spot where heaven and earth meet. And I never really understood it until I came up here and saw the sun go down for the first time.” His eyes looked clear in the orange light, like a glass of water or a pitcher of flat sprite soda.
“That’s very deep.”
“Well, my mom used to be a very deep person.” he said.
Talking about parents made me want a drink. Screw it, I’m doing it. I reached under my brown bag, where I pulled out the Jim Beam.
“Shit, I wasn’t expecting that. You don’t seem like the Jim Beam type of girl.” he shyly smiled. I shrugged my shoulders and took a swig, the liquor tasted like smoke and caramel on my tongue.
“ What type of girl am I then?” I challenged, a smirk playing on my lips.
“I was thinking more along the lines of Hawaiian punch.” I laughed and shook my head.
He looked at the bottle, “Do you drink like this all the time?” his grin grew wider, he looked amused, like someone just told him a corny knock knock joke.
“Only when I’m having an existential crisis.” I took another fast drink.
“And how often is that?” he snickered.
“If I’m lucky only two to three times a year.” I flicked a piece of lint off my sweater.
“But you’re only sixteen!”
“So?” I took another sip, it burned the back of my throat and made my lips tingle.
“Well, if I was having an existential whatchamacalit, I wouldn’t just be drinking bourbon.” he tapped the glass bottle I was clutching.
“What do you mean?” I shielded my eyes from the sun.
“If you were smart, you’d would drinking and smoking that’s the proper way to do it.”
I started to laugh, the Jim Beam sloshed around in my hand.
“Now, what’s so funny?” he leaned towards me.
“I’m already one step ahead of you.” I hiccuped and reached down into my right sock and pulled out a single cigarette.
“What the hell! Are you gonna pull a rabbit out of your hat next?” he clapped his hands together.
“If you stick around long enough I just might.” I said, my voice dripping with sarcasm.
“What about a lighter?” he smiled.
I winked at him and reached into my bag. It was my mom’s lighter, the faded blue looked violet in this haze.
“Well, I gotta say well done. You are now having a proper existential crisis.” he bumped me with his elbow and chuckled.
I faked a bow and lit my cigarette.
The brilliant orb in the sky was now falling fast, the colors of peach and scarlet of the fading day were now fighting a battle with the black and blues of the night. It was like a war between the hues.
“What day is tomorrow, Joan?” he turned to me.
I forcefully blew smoke into the air, “Friday.” Just thinking about it made me upset. I could feel the hot tears coming through as the world turned a bubblegum pink. I didn’t want today to end. I wanted the sun to eat me up, suffocate me with its light so I wouldn’t have to face him tomorrow. To feel all that pain, all those bad feelings back again, I couldn’t do it. It made the bourbon taste sour when I thought about him, his worn hazel eyes, his sharp chin, the smell of his musk cologne, like he just stepped out of a forest.
“Friday. Hey wait, isn’t your dad coming in tomorrow?” he poked my arm.
“Yep.” I took a long drag of my cigarette, the smoke clouding up my mind. My eyes stung as I tried to hold back my tears. I rubbed my eye and watched as the last glimpse of warmth faded below the earth and the sky turned into obsidian. My skin felt cool as the night trickled in, knowing tomorrow would be here before I knew it.
See more stories by Ace