Funny how even your heart could lie to you.
There was no way Dan was going to figure out the Rubik’s Cube with his brother yelling at him from the bathroom to grab him a beer while he was ‘thinking’. He dejectedly put it on his coffee table for a later time, although when that later time would be was anyone’s guess.
Since his brother had moved in with him, it seemed Dan never had time for himself. He never had the time to relax and drink a glass of wine while listening to Miles Davis. He never had time to watch an episode of Star Trek without interruption. Never had time to watch the Food Network and eat a sandwich without Kevin saying “What’s up bro? Gimme some of that.” No. All of Dan’s previous indulgences had been set aside to make room for Kevin’s workout bench, bad 1980’s posters of women on cars, and his beer stein collection.
Six months ago, Kevin had given him a story about the housing bust. He financed mortgages and when no one bought houses, he made no money. Now he was faced with the horrendous prospect of moving back in with their parents, and Dan had mentioned that, of course, he could stay with him until he got back on his feet. Kevin was more than on his feet now, but he was still living in Dan’s spare room and taking over his whole house like a slow creeping virus. In fact, Kevin was bringing home new DVDs, exercise equipment, had just installed a computer desk and home office in the spare room, and bought a new bed. On top of everything, Kevin didn’t even offer to pay rent.
Still, God, it was better than living alone.
Dan sighed and thought about Kim again. He still carried her picture in his wallet, the one of the two of them on the beach at Lake Michigan. His family’s cottage. They stood by a bonfire with the sun setting in glorious colors behind them. Dan had his arm draped over her blade-like shoulders. In the picture you could see he was losing a little of his red hair, and had a bit of a sunburn, and even a bit of a belly. Kim looked gorgeous. Hair pulled tight and perfect in a slick ponytail, dressed entirely in some kind of brown, like the color of sand.
He had the picture memorized.
He didn’t need to look at it.
Still, sometimes, when he was alone, he pulled it out of his wallet, smoothed out his creases and remembered. In the picture, you could tell he was happy. You could also tell that Kim’s smile was as breakable as glass. He’d never noticed that, never thought he was in love with her and she felt nothing. Funny how even your heart could lie to you.
“Dude! Get your ass off the couch and bring me a beer. The exercise will do you good.”
What could Dan do? He went to get his brother a beer.