Edited by: Kuro
A tall, handsome man with black hair and brown eyes stood by the window. His once tan skin slowly turned pale from the lack of sunlight. Heavy eye bags sat under his slightly red eyes, resisting the urge to close them. He wore a simple white t-shirt and blue striped boxers. His facial hair was prickly and unkempt. The only thing that seemed to have some life in the room was the flowers that he was holding in his hands. They were freshly cut flowers, ones that would look more beautiful when carefully placed in a vase.
The man’s name was Cole. The flowers were for his partner, Zain. However, his partner was nowhere to be found.
He forgot how long he had been awake, forgot when he last ate, forgot when he last showered or brushed his teeth. It was like the days dragged on and on, hours and hours, but he still felt empty. It was as if something was missing; like someone had gouged his heart out leaving behind a large hole, painful.
He stood by the window for a couple of hours more but didn’t feel the protest from his eyes or his legs. He just persisted until he felt a bit warmer.
When he finally turned away from the window, he saw Zain, standing by him, smiling.
Zain was beautiful. He had light brown hair; hazel eyes that seemed to look like ambers. The man was a head shorter than him, but somehow, when Cole brought him into a hug, he felt that Zain fit perfectly in his arms. He didn’t know if it was just him, but the way Zain smiled lit up his whole world and brightened his whole day.
Cole mumbled to himself, “Zain…”
“Cole, why do you look like that?” Zain asked him, head slightly tilted, but he still kept the smile on his face. “Go wash up and shave your beard. Don’t you remember what today is?”
“That’s right! It’s our anniversary? Did you really forget?”
Cole looked at his phone. May 19th. It really was their anniversary.
“I’m sorry, I forgot. I will get ready now!”
Cole put the flowers on the window sill. He stumbled across the room, tripping on empty bottles and scattered clothes.
Zain looked around the room and shook his head. Without him, Cole was a mess.
After shaving his beard, brushing his teeth, and showering, Cole walked out of the bathroom. He looked through all of his clothes, some scattered on the floor, others on his bed or office chair, and finally found a set of clean clothes. When was the last time he wore clean clothes?
He put on a white dress shirt, no tie, a navy blue blazer, some slacks, and a brown belt that matched his shoes. He put his watch on and grabbed his wallet and keys before finally walking out the door.
Ah, He forgot the flowers.
He sat in the car and Zain was already there in the passenger seat, waiting for him. He was wearing a tight-fitted black shirt, khaki pants that fit his legs, and black shoes. The same ones when Cole saw him in the room. There were a couple of bandaids on his arm, but Cole knew what they were from.
Cole asked, “Where are we going first, Zain?”
Zain replied, eyes sparkling in excitement, “Let’s go to my favorite food truck at the park. It’s only 10 AM, so it should be open.”
“Okay, are we sharing food again?”
“Of course, you know I can’t eat a lot.”
Cole, ignoring the tiredness in his eyes, drove to the park near their house. He parked the car in the free parking lot and walked to the entrance.
It was a small park designed for people to walk through. There were park benches scattered around. There were a lot of bushes along the brick pathway; trees every few bushes as well as solar-powered lamp posts for when it got dark. Near the entrance, there were three food trucks.
The one that Cole and Zain liked to go to was a nacho taco truck. As the name implied, they put loaded nachos into taco shells. He got three tacos, two for him and one for Zain. Zain couldn’t eat a lot, but he insisted on eating these nacho tacos.
Cole found a nearby picnic bench and put the food and drinks down. Zain was already sitting at the table, staring at the food with drool in his mouth. Just smelling the food made him full.
“These look good as always.”
“Then let’s eat.”
Cole downed two of the nacho tacos but found the third taco still on the tray.
“Are you not going to eat?”
“I can’t eat.”
Cole forgot that Zain was ill.
“It’s okay, I will eat it for you.”
“Thank you, Cole. You always finish my food when I can’t eat it. I always feel bad.”
“It’s okay, I have a big appetite, so another taco won’t hurt my stomach.”
After eating the last taco and drinking the large soda they always shared, Cole sat up and decided they should walk through the park. They usually did this after eating.
The weather wasn’t too hot, around 60F (15C), and there was a nice breeze that went through the park. The temperature was always like this at this time of the year. When it got a little warmer, he knew spring would end.
Zain grabbed Cole’s hand. His hands were cold so he liked how warm Cole’s hands were. “You need to go outside more. How long has it been since you have gone outside?”
“I don’t know. I lost track of time.”
“That’s not good. Doesn’t your job nag you to come out?”
“No, they gave me a month off.”
“Why did you get a month off?”
Cole looked over at Zain a little confused. Why did he get a month off? Since Zain was right next to him, he should be fine, but he wasn’t fine and he didn’t know why. He felt the same again, he was missing something.
“Well, since you have a month off, you need to take care of yourself more.”
Zain seemed happier to hear Cole’s promise. There was a slight skip in his steps, his arms swinging back and forth, and a grin on his face.
Cole felt happy seeing how happy Zain was. His lips lifted up unconsciously when he saw the brilliant smile across Zain’s face.
Zain was his happiness.