Story by Leila Mekhdiyeva
Illustrations by Mila Khan
Veronica looked at me once again, opened the door and left the car. I was looking at how she was opening the door of her house and couldn’t believe that I had finally gone on a date with the woman of my dream.
Suddenly, I noticed that there was one small black thing left on the front seat of my car. I took it and saw that it was a lipstick. It looked like a bullet. I thought how ironic it was that such a petite woman would carry a bullet with her. Did she need to defend herself? I opened it. But of course, it wasn’t a bullet, it was just the lipstick. It was a dark color, the same as her lips that night. It reminded a dark chocolate. I sniffed it. It smelled like chocolate too. Or maybe even like caramel, sweet and tempting. I imagined her sitting in my car with her lips so close to me, as this bullet-looking lipstick. I closed my eyes, and kept sniffing the lipstick. I remembered her eyes – dark brown eyes. They were sad and melancholic for the whole evening when we were together.
“… So, I really love Italy, you know. Every single city I’ve been to seemed too lovely for me not to stay there.” I said it and looked at her; she looked bored. I was running out of the possible topics for the conversation, so I started talking about things that did not even have anything to do with our date itself. Whatever I was trying to tell her that night she almost completely ignored. Only sometimes, she would smile, looking at me probably thinking I was a complete idiot.
“What about you? Where would you want to move one day?” I asked her.
“I don’t really want to move anywhere. I love Berlin,” she said.
“But why do you want to stay in Berlin? Is there anything holding you in this city?” I asked suspiciously. For a second I had a doubt: What if she had someone in Berlin, whom she didn’t want to let go?
Veronica had been divorced for the last two years. And you could see that with her unhappy marriage she had almost completely lost an interest in her love life. Or maybe she just wasn’t interested in me. Maybe I am just a fool who fell in love with a woman who doesn’t care if I even exist.
“There are too many memories that make Berlin so special for me. I was born here; I grew up here, studied here and…”
“And what?” I asked her, wondering what the reason that wouldn’t let her leave Berlin was.
“I got married here, Ben.” She said quietly.
Of course, that was the reason. How could I be so stupid, not to realize that even though she had been divorced for the last two years of her life, she still remembered him. Frankly, I didn’t know a lot about her past, and I didn’t even want to. Her past didn’t belong to me, and it didn’t matter. So I tried to change the subject of the conversation.
It felt like she didn’t even want to be there, sitting with me in the restaurant, not understanding how long it had taken me to finally invite her on a date and how hard it was for me. How I would think about her every single day, ever since she started working at our office. After six months I was sure I was in love with this woman. Whenever she would be around, I couldn’t help but stare at her, but of course, as a real gentleman, I had to hide my feelings. You never want woman to know that you are obsessed with her, before you even invite her out. But the problem was that she did not care.
I opened my eyes. I felt the deep sorrow. Sometimes, in life you don’t get what you want. I felt the anger. I wish I never knew her, never asked her out, and just never met her. But now it was too late to feel bad for what was done and for what was felt. I was in love with the woman with the dark brown eyes, bullet-looking dark lipstick that smelled like caramel, who probably had zero interest in me.
I looked at her window, the lights turned on. There was a temptation to open the door of my car, to go upstairs, to tell her I loved her and to keep fighting for her love. But I didn’t. Instead I opened the window of my car and threw her fucking-dark-bullet-looking lipstick as far as I could. As if it wasn’t just her lipstick, but were my feelings that at that moment made me feel pain. And I didn’t want pain. I wanted to forget her and that night, and to drive as far as I could from that heartless and dangerous woman, who would never love me. At least, that was what I thought at that moment and how I truly felt. So I started the engine of my car and drove away from her.