The street lights had just come on as you glanced out the window of the small coffee shop where you worked. You watched the near empty street for a moment as with a sigh as you returned your attention to wiping off the tables and counters around. Your shift would soon be over, and you were graciously looking forward to it. Today had been a slow day, and certainly it had been long. It wasn’t so much that today was any different; you were just eager to leave as soon as you could. There was somewhere you wanted to be, and it wasn’t here.
You finished clearing up the tables of their coffee stains and sugar spills, and as you slipped back behind the counter towards the sinks to clean up, you glanced at the clock on the wall. Only a minute or two before your shift ended. You glanced around the empty shop and smiled. “Hey, I’m gonna get going,” you called to the other barista who was in the back room, a girl name Veronica, as you slid off your apron and gently pulled the hair tie to let your hair fall down over my shoulders. “You’ll be good to close the shop by yourself tonight?”
Veronica peeked her head through the slightly open doorway and nodded. “Alright, I’ll be fine,” she called back. “Have fun with your night off.”
You smiled as you slid your coat on and wrapped your scarf around your neck warmly, and you involuntarily held your breath as you pulled open the door and stepped outside. Though not even officially winter yet, it was extremely cold, and the transition from the warm shop to the biting cold outside wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences.
You slid your hands into your pockets as you walked down the street, glancing around at the quiet city. Though at times there felt to be some life, Detroit was a dying city. It was old, and the people here didn’t show much interest in anything but leaving as soon as they could. Only a few outside of those who had spent their whole lives here felt connected to the city. They felt connected to the age of this place, to all the life that had once been here. Nostalgia was common place. The people, the places, the music…all of it were memories of better times.
One of those that came to mind at the thought of nostalgia was the man that you intended to visit tonight. Adam was a musician, though he seemed to be interested in so many other things, and his interest went far beyond simply a “hobby”. He could very well have been a doctor, a great writer, or a thousand other things, but he had chosen music. There was something more to the songs that he played than just a catchy sort of tune or a bridge that only a master musician could play. Within Adam’s songs, one could see his soul. They could know what his heart was and who he truly was, if a person looked hard enough. Most people stopped at whether they liked the song or no, but some, like you, could see the almost tortured soul in the lyrics, melodies, and harmonies of his songs.
As you walked, you passed by the bar that Adam often played at. That was where you’d first met Adam. It had been a seemingly random choice one night that you had gone into the bar, but when you first heard Adam begin to play, you knew that you would be coming here more often. Adam hadn’t really noticed you that first night, but time after time that you showed up to listen to him he had finally come to speak with you. He’d seemed a little hesitant at first, but it wasn’t long before you would spend hours talking about anything from music to science to literature. You’d never known anyone like Adam, and quite honestly, you didn’t want to meet anyone else like him.
Adam was so unique, and it wasn’t long before you realized that you had feelings for him. There had been far too many times that you would have liked to show Adam how you felt, but anything involving relationships was a very sensitive subject with him, and one wrong word could send Adam into brooding silence for days on end (as you had unfortunately found out in the past).
You slipped in through the door to the bar and looked around. There wasn’t much of a crowd tonight, which at least would make it easier to find Adam. This was where we usually met, though sometimes you would just go walking or something else. But as you looked around the bar tonight, you couldn’t spot the musician you were hoping to see.
“Hey, _________,” Ian called out as he saw you by the door. Ian was Adam’s closest friend, though really other than you, he was his only friend. “What brings you around here tonight?” he asked as he walked over to you and gave you a smile.
“I came to meet Adam,” you replied, again glancing around the place. “I haven’t seen him in nearly a week, but he said he wanted to meet here tonight. Have you seen him?”
Ian shook his head. “He hasn’t been around here in a few days,” he replied with a shrug. “You should stop by his apartment if you’re looking for him. He’s probably just forgotten again. I think he’s been sort of preoccupied lately.”
You gave a quick nod as you were prepared to leave. It wasn’t that you didn’t like Ian’s company, but hearing that Adam hadn’t even been around here for a few days made you slightly concerned. Adam was prone to drastic mood swings from time to time, and if he had hit another low…you tried hard not to think of the worst things that could have happened.
“Thanks, Ian,” you said as you turned quickly and made your way back outside, walking quickly as you headed towards Adam’s apartment. You had only been to his place once or twice when the bar was too crowded of a place to have any sort of conversation, or when you would record songs together. Adam was highly sensitive as to whom specifically he allowed to use his instruments, but you had his trust and often you would record duets when the two of you were bored.
The closer you got to his apartment, the faster your pace became. Even from where you were, you could see the lights were on, which was unusual for Adam to have unless he was not alone. You walked up the steps quickly and were about to knock on the door when you noticed that not only was it unlocked, but slightly ajar. Your heart was beating quickly as you gingerly pushed open the door, peeking inside as far as you could without actually entering. You knew how testy Adam was to unwelcomed guests.
“Adam?” you called softly as you looked around. All the lights in his place were on, but there was no sign of him. You dared to push the door open a little wider and step inside. “Adam?” you called again, a little louder. As you looked around his apartment, you knew that something was wrong. His place was an absolute mess. It was all the time, but it was usually something of an organized mess. Adam kept things in a way that suited him, but now, things had been thrown to the floor and broken in a variety of places.
You came around the corner to see Adam sitting on the floor with his back resting against the couch. He was wearing a black shirt and black pants, and held a white electric guitar (which you happened to know was one of his favorites) in his arms. He strummed it ever so slightly, seemingly lost in a trance.
“Adam?” you asked again, wary of approaching him too quickly.
Adam looked up at you quickly, his eyes a mix of anger, confusion, and heartbreak. You stopped as you caught your breath, startled to see him this way. You had seen Adam in a variety of moods. You had seen him sad, angry, frustrated, and to what extent of happiness he could enjoy, but never had you seen him this desolate.
“________? What are you doing here?” Adam asked quietly, his tone harsh as he looked up at you.
Relived that he wasn’t going to scream at you to leave, you took a few slow steps towards him. “We were supposed to meet up tonight, remember?” you answered as you knelt next to him and glanced around the wrecked apartment. “What happened here?” you asked quietly.
Adam glanced around with a bored gaze, the state of his apartment apparently not a concern. “A bit of a disagreement,” he answered as he fingered the strings on his guitar.
“With whom?” you asked quietly. You knew Adam didn’t like talking much about his personal life and especially not his past, but really you couldn’t help but ask.
Adam sighed softly. “An old friend,” he replied, his words signifying that he wasn’t going to elaborate any further.
You gave a slight nod, reaching gently and resting your hand on his arm. You immediately felt something wet and sticky and as you looked at your hand, you noticed there was blood. You pulled your hand away slowly and saw the gash on Adam’s arm, which looked to have been caused by a broken glass. “You’re bleeding,” you whispered, a little frightened at the sight of his blood.
Adam made no acknowledgment. He didn’t even look your way. He just continued to softly strum his guitar as if that was the only thing in the world of importance.
“You should tend to this,” you continued as you looked back at his arm. “Adam?”
Adam glanced at you, but remained silent.
“Come on,” you said, pulling his arm gently as you stood.
Adam pulled his arm free from your grip and glared at you. “Do not touch me,” he snapped.
“You want to bleed out then?” you snapped back. You were worried about Adam. He had…suicidal tendencies sometimes, but there was usually enough will in him that wanted to live. You didn’t see that now, and that scared you.
Adam was quiet, refusing to even look at you. “It doesn’t matter.”
“It matters to me,” you replied as you again knelt by his side. “Will you at least allow me to get some things and tend to this?”
Adam shook his head.
“And why not?” you asked, crossing your arms.
“I don’t need it tended to,” He replied stubbornly.
You rolled your eyes, sighing with frustration. “Adam…”
“I SAID NO!” Adam screamed as he turned to you, his eyes blazing with rage.
You jumped back, your arms at your side as your eyes widened with fear. What on earth was going on with him tonight?
Adam, realizing how terrified you had become, stepped back, the rage in his eyes gone as they were replaced by sadness and regret at what he had done. “________,” he whispered, clearly wanting to come close but not allowing himself. “I’m so sorry….I….” he slid back to the ground.
You never really thought that Adam would hurt you. You may have been frightened, but you knew him well enough to know that he would never actually hurt you. “Oh, Adam,” you whispered as for the third time you knelt next to him, your hand gently reaching for his shoulder. “What is wrong?”
“I…I need…” Adam mumbled almost incoherently, his hair covering his face as his whole body trembled.
“What do you need?” you asked softly.
Adam paused, his body still as he lifted his head slowly and looked back up at you. “I need you,” he whispered, his eyes showing desperation as he gently reached for your hand. “I’m lost without you, _________.”
You slid your fingers over his palm and allowed his slender fingers to tighten around your wrist ever so slightly. You shifted your body slightly so that you were sitting on the floor by his side, your other hand moving from his shoulder to his face. “You have me,” you replied with a gentle whisper. “You will always have me.”
Adam stared silent for a moment, a look of surprise in his eyes as his thin lips slowly parted. He moved closer to you, and in a moment your lips came in contact. His kiss was gentle and yet full of tender passion as he pulled you closer to him. You gently slid closer, until his arms were around you and yours around him. It wasn’t lust that brought you together in such an embrace – it was love. You loved Adam and he loved you, and you both needed each other. You knew his soul and he knew yours. You were made for each other, and you had each other.