The soft click and whirling of the disk let him know it’s working. The screen flashes white then crescendos to a glaring baby blue. When did he become like this? Staring at the screen, hunched forward, hands folded in his lap. Sometimes he forgets to blink, sometimes he forgets to take the suggested breaks. Bathing in blue, he feels and thinks nothing: never aging, never growing. One day he forgets to close the curtains, and the sunshine blots out the screen. He is annoyed, and gets up to shut the curtains on the rainbow hues outside. He returns to the desk and loses himself in the ocean. He feels nothing, and does not grow.
Today, as usual, he was behaving as a proper prima donna.
“Steph!” He called down from the bathroom. “Where did you put my hair die?”
“It’s on the top shelf!” I called up from the main floor, where I busied myself setting the table.
“It’s not there!”
I rolled my eyes. “Yes it is. I just rearranged the cabinet this morning!”
“How early do you wake? And it’s not on the top shelf.”
Here we go… “Yes it is! Look again!”
“It’s not here!”
“Top shelf to the left…”
“Still not seeing it…”
“Look behind the hair gel!”
“Oh! There it is.”
I had to fight the urge to storm up the stairs and break a plate over his head. Instead I laid down a napkin for each person. “Harvy, you need to hurry!”
A few light steps later and he was standing by my side. “How can you expect me to rush beauty?” Looking primped to the T with every hair and skin follicle in place I couldn’t help but admit he looked good. He certainly told the truth when he said he didn’t waste even a minute in front of the mirror. “So what’s for breakfast?” He asked heading towards his chair at the head of the table.
“The same thing we always have for breakfast,” I couldn’t remember the details of how I had come to live in this house with this man. Maybe it was for the best. Most speculated in whispers that he’d cast a love spell on the eve of a new moon. I knew that love spell part wasn’t true. However I could remember than he had indeed come to me on the eve of a new moon. Standing on our family’s balcony, I had been staring into the starry night like an idiot. Suddenly a shadowy figure had dropped from the sky to rest gracefully in front of me. Shocked I’d run to the glass door but was caught midstride. I remembered clearly the feeling of his chest as he embraced me as if it were his last night on Earth. Whispering sweet nothings into my ear he literally swept me off my feet to his castle.
Little did I know he only wanted a cleaning lady. Admittedly, perhaps I’d let my imagination get the best of me. But who kidnaps a young girl, in such a grand show no less, to be his cleaning lady? Seriously?
Setting prettily in his chair, high backed and carved with the most captivating designs, he unfolded the napkin I’d just folded minutes ago and delicately draped it over his lap. “Steph,” I looked up from the mound of eggs I’d been dishing out “You look like you’ve lost weight. Have you been eating well? Working too hard?” He looked at me innocently.
“Working too hard?” My voice cracked. I wanted to backhand that pretty mouth of his. He knew good and well that “working hard” barely covered the every expanding list of chores I did day in and day out. “Why, I have been hardly working at all!” I bit my tongue. “I have so much free time throughout the day it’s a wonder I don’t die of boredom!”
“Indeed. But I can’t have you perishing on me. Sit.” He patted the seat next him. “Eat with me today.”
I rocked back on my heels. Harvy, asking me to eat with him? Silently I set the bowl of eggs down and took my seat. I wasn’t quite sure what to do then until Harvy picked up his spoon. “So, my dear,” He looked between his bangs in a mischievous manner. “What do you do with all your free time?”
I felt my heart melt under those eyes, the same eyes that had captured me all those months ago. As long as I glimpsed that look, even just once in a while, maybe being a cleaning lady wasn’t so bad.