The Life Delusion by Gilroy Van Wyk

She burst into the room and I jumped up as she slowly strolled in and surveyed it; she had a bag as big as mine the only difference that mine wasn’t bigger than me. She was a stout blonde with short boyish hair, a ring in her nose and a long red rose tattoo running down the length of her leg. She unpacked and I sat up nervously thinking of what to say but knowing I wouldn’t say anything, the self loathing was strong in me at that point. She finished and walked over to my bed stretched out her hand and introduced herself as Sara. We spoke and I found out she was from Dortmund traveling the garden route – just like me. I only knew one thing about Dortmund so I casually brought it up so as to give her the idea that I knew much more about her hometown than I actually did.

Sara giggled after everything she said which at first I thought – was a nervous tick but later realized it was a sincere showcase of her joyful spirit. She asked if I wanted to go out and have a beer with her, I could think of nothing better than to spend the rest of my night with her but I didn’t want to step out of the room with her either. I didn’t deserve to be seen in public with her, she should be with one of them, pseudo L.A’s other Gods and Goddesses. After coming to the conclusion that she only asked because I was her roommate I grabbed a handful of money from my bag – the money I was saving for home.

Despite all the hatred, for me, the situation, and Sara’s interest in me I was determined to impress her. I bought a cocktail which was the theme at these Friday night gatherings which hosted the open- mic nights we were attending. Before I could pay one of the attendees told the barman to give Sara a Cosmopolitan and he then put some notes in the tip jar, he invited her to their table then left. I paid for my drink; put some coins in the tip jar as she suggested we join him at their table.

A little table stood at the wall with a perfect view at the stage and I saw us standing there with our drinks, I saw her laughing at my jokes. I was funny I would show off and she would love me for it, I saw her playing with her hair, bending her head to slyly smile at me – all the indications for me to lead her back to the room but what I see and what truly happens is always two different things. She was new in town and there was a table full of locals that could teach her so many things that was beautiful and could tell her so many stories, I said yes and had her lead the way.

We passed a door and I snuck away from her and through it, the door lead to a different section near the stage and I stood at the back against the wall and watched an old Irish man play the guitar. The Irishman made jokes in between his songs but his accent was too thick I couldn’t make out what he was saying. I peered through the crowds at Sara, I saw her next to him laughing while one of the other guys in the group amused her, sweet Sara I knew they were better for you. She was a tourist and they were the locals she was meant to meet. The old Irishman finished his set and the crowd made their way closer to the stage.

A man with a ponytail and a full beard picked up a guitar and sat on stage. He was in the group from before but they all stood around the stage. Sara saw me in my darkened corner and stood next to me, she smiled and spoke, and above the tuning of the guitar I could hear her giggle her sentences to me. The man serenaded us and I saw us talking amidst the music, I saw myself buy her more drinks, I saw her open her heart to me – I was a trustworthy guy and she would see it, she would see me but as soon as the pony-tailed singer started another big Neanderthal came up to Sara and asked her if she wanted to play Foosball. She looked intently at me then asked if I wanted to join. It was a sign from on high that she belonged with them and I said No and turned my head toward the stage. For the second time I had deserted my sweet Sara and fed her to the wolves, if she would be devoured tonight then let it be by the handsome, full bearded and square jawed men and not the traveling bum.

I watched some other artists perform their sets and after a while Sara came back. She took my hand in the corner and said “let’s go sit in the front.” I didn’t want to do that, it drew too much attention to me but she insisted and I had her once again so I thanked god and followed her to the front. They all stared at me, every man and women in the place and she smiled, she giggled her words to me and I sang along and she sang along and we sang along oblivious.

I got up to get us fresh drinks and as soon as I got up a group of women had surrounded her, I handed Sara her drink and she was too engrossed in their company to really take much notice. I got up to leave and saw her look at me, begging me not leave her again. I saw myself shove the groups of women and take her away, I saw myself leave that dull place and go back the room, our room, I would make it heaven, I would give the room everything it needed I would give her all she needed for the one night we had together.

I turned away from Sara’s pleas and walked back to the room. I took off my shoes and got into bed fully dressed, I would be leaving tomorrow for a town full of ugly women that would worship me and the sun will shine and I’ll pick up lost money and karma will turn around to give me a long, full and wet kiss. Not long after I heard the door open, a few steps and silence. I knew she was standing there looking at me lying under the blankets my back faced her way. I saw her get into my bed, I heard her whisper into my ear, I felt her breath on my cheek, my sweet Sara after all the disappointment I had beset on her.

I heard her get dressed, I didn’t turn around, she did not turn on the light, how very considerate of her, I knew she was wonderful, she read with a flashlight I heard the click, sweet Sara I am undeserving. For a long while I listened to her read, I could only hear the pages turning then I fell asleep. The next morning I awoke long before her, I finished up, packed my bags and sat on my bed watching her sleep. I was waiting for her, to say goodbye to her, to hear her giggle, to see the morning crust in her eyes, to see her pleading for me but ultimately to hurt her one last time.

When she woke up I hastily said my goodbyes, I did not give her a chance to speak, and she was still dazed. I could only see confusion on her face; the realization was still to come. I walked out before she could say anything and for the third and final time I had deserted the angel, the goddess, My Sweet Sara. A few hours later, after arriving in the new town on my route I booked into a hostel, put down my bags on two dead cockroaches and watched the rain outside my dirty window.

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