A spinning helicopter seed miraculously drifts in through the tiny gap at the top of Alix’s cracked window and lands on their forehead, but that’s not what wakes them. Their phone is buzzing with notifications. Alix sits up in bed, ignoring the helicopter seed, and checks their phone. There’s a missed call from Hana and some questions from Pilot.
- A ticking clock
- For sure
Rain is coming down in sheets outside. Alix had forgotten to close the window, and now there’s a good puddle or two on the floor below the sill. Alix’s tea is cold and the sun is gone. A record, having reached the end of its final track, spins aimlessly in the other room, filling the house with a rhythmic crackle.
- I do
- I don’t
“Alix,” a desperate voice shouts from outside.
Alix pushes the window open, letting even more water into the apartment, and pops their head out. Hana’s standing in front of the apartment building, three stories below, their denim jacket raised above their head to shield them from the rain.
“Hey,” Alix mumbles, half asleep still.
“You never replied to my email,” Hana shouts.
“I’m still thinking about it.”
The patter of rain fills the silence.
- No way
“Can I come up?” Hana yells, as patiently as humanly possible.
Alix snaps out of their fog. “Sorry, yeah.” They fumble around the bed sheets, finally locating their house keys between the pillows.
Alix drops the keys out the window. They fall with the rain, collecting droplets as they cut through the air. Hana catches them, the impact of the keys stinging the palm of their hand. Alix watches Hana scramble into the building and slams the window shut. Still discombobulated, they float through the apartment, which is sparsely furnished and littered with knick knacks they are unable to let go of. They land in the kitchen.
- Replace it
- Fix it
- I don’t mind
Alix puts the chipped enamel kettle back on the stove and plunks down on a stool, imagining Hana climbing each flight of stairs before entering the door. Lost in thought, their eyes wander over the faux-stainless surface of the fridge. Letter magnets, spelling nothing at all, pin up a tiramisu recipe, a picture of Hana from 1998, a sunbleached postcard depicting the Los Angeles skyline that they bought for themselves long ago, and a junk mail advertisement featuring a dog cuddling with a cat. The ad says something about unlikely friendships. Hana is taking their time. Alix goes back to their phone.
- Something else
Alix hears the keys turning in the door and it swings open. It’s Hana.
“Yes,” Alix says before Hana can close the door.
Alix smiles and shrugs. Hana struts towards them, soaked from head to toe, reaches for Alix’s hair and runs two fingers through it. Alix closes their eyes. When they open them again, they see Hana holding a helicopter seed inches away from their face. Alix squints at it, confused.
“It was in your hair,” Hana explains.