INT. APARTMENT COMPLEX – JACKSON HEIGHTS, NY – NIGHT
Jai stands near the entrance by the intercom. Light snow amasses upon his green plaid pajamas and navy blue t-shirt. Farah stands on the sidewalk in front of him, smiling in a winter coat over an elegant purple dress, with newly done hair, and holding a small white rose in her left hand.
“Well, don’t I feel under dressed,” he starts, arms folded, and leaning against the glass.
“What the hell, why aren’t you ready yet?” she begins to make her way towards him, “If we don’t get there early, we won’t find seats.”
“She’s your roommate,” he gives her a smug smile, “if she didn’t reserve you a table, then I think it’s time to seriously reevaluate your friendship.”
“I hate you,” she stops a few inches from him. A smile escapes her lips. “Can’t you just let me be mad at you?”
“Not when you look like that I can’t.” He waves his hands over her hair. “Wouldn’t want to mess up this Anastasia look you got going on.” She grabs him by the arm, and drags him into the lobby.
“Get up there, put on a suit, and meet me down here in ten minutes.” She does a miserable job of pouting, yet is quick to push him into an elevator. He stops the door from closing with his foot.
“Aren’t you coming up? Plenty of room.” He gestures towards the empty elevator space like a magician’s assistant.
“Do you need help picking out a shirt? Because I’m not your mom.” She pushes the up button. He lunges forward and stops the elevator with the side of his arm.
“Just for that remark, I will not be matching my tie to your dress.”
“Okay. Don’t. Now go.”
They slowly back away from each other; he to the far end of the elevator, and she towards the reflecting wall behind her. The elevator door closes.
Lit my first cigarette; got choked by my own second hand.
I read my own shit and laugh, because I am my biggest fan.
I am my only critic who’s worth it and/or gives a damn,
yet I still write myself hate mail, with death threats and stalker spam.
I watched it burn out beneath my feet; I sympathize, it used to be me.
If love is truly blindness, then I’m going to need an organ donor.
Forget human interaction, nowadays it only takes a computer.
I think 21st century American Lit should thank me for not drinking,
or else I’d Hemingway this shit; no disrespect, but I’ve been thinking
that young and beautiful were never really my adjectives.
They were always yours to represent, and for me to bask in.
All it ever took from you was a “how are you doing?”
I should’ve stopped you [and me] right there with a “thanks for asking.”
Yes, my hear’ts a mess, but you’re getting harder to miss;
in the lost cause of hopelessness lies the source of my anonymous failures.
Pillowcase dreams ruined by bedsheets’
ghosts from the past that we can’t repeat;
offenders of time, we never had a chance to meet
the parents we’d become if we ever got some sleep.
Walking by, stealing glances, and breaking hearts weep,
while distant eyes painfully continue to seek
affection not limited to everything we read
in chapters bleeding indigo tears so sweet;
hereafter, the future looks bleak without your smile as my peak.
My Nissan uses a push button to start, but I miss turning the key.
I keep looking back in the rear view, and your face there seems like a distant memory.
Believing in that green light goes against all that’s in my red,
to never feel yellow about expressing being blue forever in your head.
We are not together Nick Carraway, you’re full of shit.
West Egg went ahead and cracked into a self-made Gatsby omelet.
My dreams are now more ambiguous; why do you think I’m writing this?
Horoscope told me to indulge in simple pleasures, and I was clearly not listening.
Told me to accept the inevitable, when it was just an abandoned script I wrote.
Now I’ve got writer’s block after sixty pages, and this is on the cutting room floor?
Jai strains his eyes staring into the metallic control panel of the elevator, trying to loosen his purple tie. He finishes tucking in his shirt. He reaches into his suit’s pocket and pulls out a pack of gum, taps it on his palm three times, before lifting the tab and pulling out a stick of gum with his teeth. He lets it linger on the tip of his tongue before withdrawing it between his index and middle finger. He unfolds, puts the piece in his mouth, and crumples the wrapper into a tiny ball. The elevator door opens before he has a chance to flick it away. He steps out, notices a trash can, and tries to toss it, yet even from a short distance, it’s an air ball.
“I hope you’re happy,” he bends down to pick up the wrapper and throws it away properly; underhand. “You know how long it took me to tie this? Why do I even have a purple tie?” He turns around and notices Farah fixing a tie of her own; it’s Zakhir’s, and it’s yellow. When she sees Jai, a smile escapes her lips, causing Zakhir to turn around and face him.
“Well aren’t we all just dressed to impress today?” Zakhir tightens his tie.
“I’d say you have me beat there sir.” Jai makes his way towards them.
“No, I’m actually from Jersey.” Zakhir smiles, and points to Jai’s tie. “Oh, right. I don’t know, it was probably made in like Sri Lanka. What ever happened to clip-on’s, am I right?” He raises his hand midway for a high five.
“Zakhir, this is–” Farah manages to step in.
“Jay.” He turns his failed gesture into an extended handshake.
“It’s nice to meet you Jay.” The two shake hands. “How do you know Farah?”
“I live in the same apartment.” Farah eyes widen, making a ‘go die’ face, as Jai continues to smile at her. “The floor. I’m in 1212.”
“That’s great. Where are you headed tonight?”
“Just a small party up in the East Egg.”
“That’s great. I’m pretty well connected up there. What do you do?”
“I’m a comedian.”
“Oh, that’s rich. Are you performing for them?” Farah runs her hands over Zakhir’s shoulders, clearing some leftover lint. “Right. We should actually get going; running a little late for this reception, but it was nice to meet you Jay. Hopefully we’ll cross paths again. You could even MC our reception if you’d like.” The two shake hands. “Honey, I’ll bring the car around.” Farah nods, as Zakhir makes his way out of the lobby.
“So, yellow, huh? Bold.” Jai strokes the purple silk on his chest.
“Shut up,” she lightly flicks the tie out of his hands, “yellow compliments purple.”
“And clearly purple hits purple.” He fixes the tie, closing the buttons on his coat. “Make sure you let me know when you’re on your way back, and I’ll try to be out by then.”
“Out? Come with us. Tell him your party got cancelled, and I’ll suggest you come along.”
“You know I can’t do that Farah. Didn’t you hear? I’m performing there.”
“He didn’t mean it like that, and what am I supposed to tell Alice?”
“It’s okay, she’ll understand. Besides, I already got to go to her wedding with you.” He gives her a wink and a light nudge. “You’re going to be moving into a full-time job, and I’ll rent out a place closer to the club. We always said this would only be an arrangement of a few weeks. I’d say this is end of the line.”
A car horn honks twice from outside.
“I guess it is.” She smiles, and closes are coat by wrapping the buckle around her waist.
“You should tell your folks about him. Yellow tie aside, he’s quite the catch.”
“Yeah, he’s great. So, I’ll see you tonight?”
“Something like that. Have fun.”
She gives him a hug, and hands him the white rose. They slowly back away from each other; him towards the elevators, and her towards the lobby doors. The elevator opens, and he enters, never glancing back to see her drive away.
She asked me why I was smiling.
I told her, it’s been a good night.
She said it still was, and could continue to be.
I told her, it’s been a good night.
I’m finally going to see Cloud Atlas.