After eight years I had accepted the fact that I would never see the one known to me as Mr. Dwicky ever again. It was something disappointment and age had let me bury in the back of my head. I had given up trying to find signals from that strange ship he had taken. I had given up sitting on my roof hoping that the one who lied about believing me would come back sometime soon and apologize for ever doubting me. After awhile I finally had to just tell myself it was hopeless and let the memory from that night die.
Imagine my complete surprise after all of that time, and all of that hope just to find him knocking on my door at three in the morning on a Thursday.
I should have been ecstatic. I should have been jumping around asking him all about space and telling him how I had always hoped he would come back. It wasn’t at all like that though. Those days were gone. For some reason I just couldn’t feel anything as I stared at him. It was as if he were just another passerby come to sell me useless junk. I could tell by the look on his own face that he had been waiting for this moment for awhile. The words that came from my mouth changed that expression quickly.
“What are you doing here?”
It was a simple question, but such a simple question caused him to look confused for so many moments. It didn’t take long for him to sober up though.
“I finally came back and wanted to see you. I remembered your address from your file, but your father said you no longer lived there. So, he gave me the address to this apartment. He told me you were sharing it with a friend.”
I couldn’t help it. That one small last sentence that came from his mouth caused a twitch on my lips. It didn’t really surprise me very much that my dad actually remembered where I moved. A lot had changed over the years and so had my relationship with him. No, that wasn’t what I cared about. It was the fact the person I lived with was called a friend. Weird how that would have bugged me a long time ago. Now I just didn’t care.
“I guess you could say something like that.”
It was all I could say after that. Not without confusing him even more. The silence after that wasn’t nearly as uncomfortable as it was before, but it wasn’t pleasant either. It allowed me to get a better look at what had become of him over the past years. He seemed the same to me which wasn’t an amazement considering the stories I’ve heard. Stories where a person’s appearance never changes in space. We were about even in height with the exception of him being a few inches taller. It made me glad that I could finally look someone in the eyes. Everyday of looking down at someone can be a blessing and a small curse.
“I’m sorry for what happened.”
Those words had me shaking myself out of my lost thoughts. Despite trying to keep a cool and emotionless mask the scowl still showed up on my face. I didn’t even realize it until I saw the bit of hurt come over his face. I tried to calm myself down once again, but it wasn’t going to happen.
Millions of built up emotions from years ago were trying to come out. This wasn’t how I wanted it to happen. Things were supposed to be different. I couldn’t stop my voice from rising.
“You’re sorry?! After the worst night of my life, after the worst lie you could have told me, you come to my place after eight years just for a simple sorry and to tell me you wanted to see me?”
I was beyond angry and all he could do was stand there and stutter. I wanted to demand he give me better answers than what he had given me so far. I was the one that had gone through so much, not him. Sadly, everything that I wanted to scream at him for was halted by the sound of a door and footsteps on hard wood.
“Why are you shouting at this time of night, Dib-worm. Its not that horrible woman with the felines again is....it?”
As the words slowly died that’s when I turned around to face the one I now shared the small apartment with. The one I had hated for so long, but yet now respected after learning so much.
“Go back to bed, Zim.”
The words had come out even and I turned around after they were said to deal with Dwicky. So easily forgotten in that one small moment. He looked so horrified. I don’t know whether it was because Zim was out of disguise or because it was actually Zim sharing the apartment with me. If the situation were any different I would have laughed I’m sure. The feeling of cool arms wrapped around my stomach clawing at the waistband of pajama bottoms and alien teeth near my neck caused the thoughts to flee my mind.
That one word meant Zim was staying as long as he wished. I couldn’t stop him and so I defiantly wouldn’t try. Even as I pretended everything was normal again he still clung to me and watched.
“What is he doing here? He’s the one you wanted to expose. Dib, what’s going on?”
I could only stare after the questions were asked. It was hard to answer them. I could always try to tell the whole story. Every detail of how I slowly lost interest in believing. About how I just wanted to forget ever believing anything existed. That it had hurt too much to never get the recognition I wanted, so I just gave in. I could tell of the day I learned of Zim’s own hardships and that our planets would never need either of us. Instead of all that I said something that summed it all up much better.
“We came to a common ground.”
I didn’t have to see the grin on Zim’s lips. I could easily feel it against my skin.
Dwicky shifted a bit at those words while looking down at the carpet under his shoes. Once again there was silence and I wondered if maybe that was the end of it. Zim had taken to becoming lazy and was using me as more of a pillow than just a body to cling to. I could tell he didn’t find the situation interesting anymore and personally, neither did I. Just as I was about to end the whole thing and teach myself to forget once more that’s when Dwicky decided to speak up again. It stopped my hand from reaching for the door before it even started.
“The truth is I came back for you. I knew how much you loved space and everything that existed in the universe. Your file only mentioned it enough times. I wanted to show you everything. I asked them to bring me back so that I could show you every single planet we had gone to and planned to see.”
That’s when it happened. The feeling of lips against my own, but this time they weren’t the ones I had grown used to over the last few years. I wasn’t bending down to make it happen and I wasn’t responding. My eyes were wide open and I could see Dwicky so clearly in front of me while behind me I could feel Zim’s claws trying not to tear the man apart by digging into my own skin.
Trust had become a big part between us and it was suddenly being tested in a big way.
The feeling finally left after what was only a few seconds and I could see him standing in the same spot he had been in just before.
“I wanted to show you the universe.”
Those words had me startled out of the trance I had found myself in. The universe. It was such a pleasing concept. To see so much. The old days of my childhood and wanting to fly in space just came back to me. It was the tightening grip of the Irken behind me which had the thoughts freezing and reminding me of why I just didn’t care. One of my own hands moved up to grasp at a smooth green claw to reassure the body behind me while at the same time I spoke to Dwicky just as I had when he first showed up.
“I already have a piece of the universe with me.”
The disappointment was obvious in his eyes, but I felt no guilt for that at all. It was his turn to feel the same things I had felt. It could have been different, but too many years passed and lives changed. My free hand had finally found the will to move to the door knob through the last bit of silent tension that was left.
“I’m sorry, Dwicky.”
The same words he had spoken to me were echoed from my own lips back to him. I only got a small quick nod in response. I didn’t think he would actually move even with the threat of having the door closed on him, but after just a few seconds he finally turned away. He didn’t even give us a last glance before he walked down the dirty hall towards the elevators. I refused to watch him go down and closed the door as quickly as my tired mind would allow.
It was all over once again.
All I could do was stand there for so long. I completely forgot Zim was behind me until the alien retrieved his hand. I didn’t pay the action much mind until I was turned around by that same green claw so that I was looking down into red eyes.
The next time lips were on mine I easily fell into the feeling. There was so much relief and emotion in the one action it was hard for me not to pull the other body closer. Trust that could have easily been broken was made stronger and old memories were brought back to life.
All in one early morning.