When she opened the box, she would find his gift. This made him happy for all the reasons one would expect him to be happy. He loved her, he thought she loved him, he was giving her his most precious possession, and he expected her to realize what it meant. Yes, this gift would cement their relationship into historical records with Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet, and every other cliché relationship people thought of when they needed to think of romance. Yes, soon, their relationship would be on the lips of generations.
James and Sarah.
He had chosen a special tie for this day. It was brown, with red stripes. His mom always told him the red brought out his eyes, but he wasn’t sure what she meant by that. His eyes were blue, as were hers. Blue eyes ran in his family. In the corner of his room, his bird chirped excitedly, bouncing around its cage.
“Yes, Sam, today is a day to be excited,” he said, moving to the bird’s cage. “Today I’m going to tell Sarah how I feel.”
He brushed a piece of lint off his shoulder, or maybe it was dandruff (!) and looked at himself in the full-length mirror. With his hair parted on the side, and slicked over, he looked like a nice, upstanding boy. Any woman would be proud to have him. Sarah would be proud to have him. He studied his hair, for only a second, noticing a strand out of place. With the care of a surgeon, he gently combed the rough spot out, leaving nothing but perfection on his head.
He smiled and winked at his other self, before turning and walking to the desk. He grabbed the box off the dresser, and his suit coat off the back of the chair. He slung the coat over his back, opened the door and headed out toward destiny. In the corner of his room, his canary chirped a series of high-pitched squeals.
The traffic was a nightmare, but he made good time. The brick building rose high in front of him. It was where Sarah lived, from where he would someday take her away. He had spent hours upon hours of each day standing outside this building, smoking cigarette after cigarette, hoping to catch a glimpse of her, but she never came out. That was okay. She was a private girl; he understood that. Today, he would be going to see her.
He clutched the box in his right hand, making sure to not jostle the contents too badly. He needed it to be perfect when he presented it to his love. In the distance, he heard a boombox blasting Peter Gabriel. Perfect, he thought. That’s like a sign from God.
He walked up the steps, to the building, and went inside. He walked past the mailboxes. He had no need to check for which apartment was hers, he had been there before. Plus, he had spent a good deal of time watching through her windows. Had he needed to, he could have found her door with his eyes closed. He rounded the corner, and headed up the stairs. Two flights of stairs take me to the third floor, he thought. She lives on the third floor.
He opened the third floor door, and turned to his right. Underneath his shoes, he could feel the soft, plush carpet. It felt spongy with each step he took. It might have also been the spring in his step. Maybe. He mentally counted down the doors as he got closer and closer to her apartment. 315. 317. 319. He stopped in front of door 321. He smoothed his hair down once again, before knocking on the door and heading in.
The smell was overwhelming. It was getting worse with each passing day. It didn’t matter, though. The smell was a part of her, as much as this apartment was. It might be a problem soon, though. Her neighbors might start to notice. That would be a bad thing. He would have to move her soon. Or maybe buy an air freshener. That would probably work.
He moved through her apartment, knocking away flies that were buzzing around dirty dishes in the sink. He entered her bedroom, where he had first met her, where he had first been with her. That night had been magical and though she had initially resisted, her will eventually broke, and she became limp in his arms. It had been the first moment he felt love, and it was beautiful.
“I brought something for you Sarah,” he said, walking up to her. She sat upright in the bed, her skin blue and rotting. Flies buzzed around her head, and maggots had begun consuming her flesh. He pulled the box out and opened it, revealing two white spheres. “How do you feel about blue eyes? Mother won’t miss them.”