Flash Fiction: Luke’s Renaissance

Six months ago, Luke would have had easily shaken off the feeling that comes with being looked at, appraised by a moment’s glance, priced highly by the determined stare: the feeling of knowing that you can capture a man’s eyes and hold them, and not the other way around. Six months ago, Luke would have had ignored the possibility that he was worth looking at, that he can be beautiful. Six months ago, he would have had walked away. Today, the stranger searched Luke’s face with a delicate wanting that was about to ensue to an unattractive greed—the beginning of lust—and Luke let him. He would not ignore the guy at the perfume section.

The rain no longer had the melancholic effect used as a cliched atmospheric device in romantic movies. As Luke opened his umbrella and braved the rain-sodden street, and embraced the wind’s angry howls, he knew that even the storm could not extinguish his own personal renaissance, lit bright, small, but steady. He was oddly reminded, however, by the stream of people rushing to and from places, of the color of grey. Perhaps because they walked past him in such a dizzying blur? Faceless? He felt the silent seed poking through his chest, shrinking now, but which had previously swelled inside him. It was a seed that made him slit his wrists three times, which made him feel revolted by peoples’ hushed voices, echoing “You’ll feel better” “Feeling better?” “You look better”. It was a seed that took root from the nagging feeling of his own purposelessness. What was he to do in this life? Only one: be forgotten.

Today, he would have none of that. He was going home with a shirt that he was not brave enough to buy months ago. He was going home with the guy’s number. He was going on a date. It made his heart flutter, and felt like a silly schoolgirl. Luke was fantasizing how his date would go, the guy’s lips on his, the texture of his hair against the palm of his hand, and was wearing a small smile when he passed the barbershop that cut his hair. He had donned a hair past his shoulder for many years, disregarding the rules of his school on proper haircut. He was made an exception, of course, after the wrist-slitting incidents. Luke, as if in a romantic movie he so despised to watch, decided to cut his hair after the sudden realization of what he needed to do in life. It came to him while he was staring at himself in the mirror. The blades, glinting and waiting to break open the skin, were held by his fingers. Luke whispered to himself, “I am ready.” And it struck him. It came to him like an old song he knew as a child, as if it had always been with him, and carried it with him always, buried under memories and memories of discontent. As soon as he would arrive home, he would tell his mother.

Luke was having a hard time finding a tricycle under the strong gush of rain, but managed to hail one after a good twenty minutes. The driver grunted when Luke gave him the address. He expected this as his neighborhood stood in a far corner of the subdivision. The tricycle zoomed immediately, slipping in between cars in an attempt to escape the traffic. Luke paid no attention to the driver’s recklessness, focusing only on the raindrops spattering coldly on his face. The tricycle ignored the deep hollows on the streets and splashed the grey muck on Luke’s legs. They made their way through sidewalks, the driver honking frantically at the people walking, and entered into a narrow bumpy street, which snaked its way to Luke’s house. He saw the basketball court, and saw his sister playing a one-on-one game with her boyfriend, Michael. He was near, he thought. He wondered if the guy he had just met was also athletic. The question hanged on his head as they collided against the car in front of them, and he was thrown off the tricycle and his skull was cracked open as he hit the nearby post.

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