Something weird happens when you like someone. You think you know them. You think you know how they’re gonna act, what they want with you, how they’re gonna treat you. That’s what you think. What you feel is an entirely different matter. At a certain point you can control what you think. You can convince yourself that something like love isn’t for you. Yet, it’s hard to ignore when there’s butterflies burning inside your stomach. When words tumble out of a dry mouth. When the rush of blood seems to centre around your ears, sucking in every syllable and laugh they make. That is the conflict Silas faced. After he denied how he felt because of what he thought, there was only one remedy to the situation:
In the comfort of an envelope, Silas posted his thinking and his feeling. He walked home feelings a weight off his shoulders but ready for the earth to swallow him hole. Lying in bed, he couldn’t fall asleep to music. He muted every notification but David’s and sat staring at a ceiling he had seen a hundred times before, but not like this.
David awoke to dried saliva and compression marks on his face. He’d become entangled in the two blankets he used to stave off the chill that frosted his window. He glanced at his phone to see no notifications from David.
It was 16:45. Nothing.
He took a deep breath. It was the SnowBall. He remembered the promise he made to himself after previous exes and knew what he had to do. He turned off his phone and made his way to Cara’s room.
Silas realised in his late-night letter writing that Cara saw exactly what he was missing. Sure, she could have spoken to him before but how could he stay mad when she tried to play matchmaker. She had nothing to gain but him being happy and she tried it. He couldn’t stay mad. He knocked, heard the pause of an episode of The Office, and walked in. Cara was tucked up to her neck, laptop under her neck like an iPad kid.
“If you’re gonna yell at me for playing cupid then don’t! I’m sorry I got it wrong! Leave me alone!” her brow was furrowed like an angry toddler. Silas chuckled and sat on her bed. Cara softened, moved the laptop and let Silas get under the covers with her.
“I’m sorry.” He said. Cara eyed him.
“For being a dick.” He sighed. “Guess what I did last night.” Cara’s voice picked up.
“What? Oh no what did you do.” Silas rolled over to catch her reaction.
“I put everything in a letter. I told him I liked him. Get this,” Cara’s hand was covering her mouth in shock as he spoke. “I said he was the sun.” Silas gulped. Cara let out a snort that reverberated around the house.
“You gays! I don’t get it one day you call each other names then talk fucking poetry. I can’t.” she looked at him, waiting for more information- any more updates.
“That’s it. He hasn’t messaged.” They both sighed.
“Well, not to worry. We’ve got shit to do anyway.” Cara shuffled on the bed, pulling the laptop between them. “But first…” and pressed play.
Silas was standing in the mirror. He looked good. His hair had settled after a long shower, he’d had enough shots that his vision wasn’t accurate enough to see any acne and his suit had been freshly ironed after living in a black bag due to mould growing on his wardrobe. He looked great. He’d ran upstairs to grab his phone that had remained off the entire day. He sat on his bed and turned it on, feeling the world wobble a bit.
He put the phone in his pocket. It was time to go.
The journey to campus had been uneventful bar Cara running back to the house to light her menorah.
“I promise you I’m good, I just need to say a few blessings then I’m good to get absolutely smashed tonight.” She kissed Aeesha and Silas on the cheek. “If you don’t hear from me, I’ve set the house on fire so go home with a complete and utter stranger!” were her last words before she ran in high-heels to get home before midnight.
The queue passed through quickly. Aeesha talked about politics as usual and how one of her lecturers matched with a student on tinder whilst the security guard smiled and let them in. When they were inside they met with some friends. George screamed and ran up to Silas when he saw him, rambling about how he hadn’t seen him ‘in years!’ and they needed to go for a drink soon. Iris mumbled a hi and Raf waved before the motions of the crowd separated them. Silas turned around to see Raf talking to a fresher, grabbed a drink, came back and found Aeesha making out with another fresher, assumed so because the guy Raf was talking too was screaming and shouting about how his friend had found “the one”. Silas couldn’t help but look around and at his phone. There were no notifications. He turned off his phone and closed his eyes and swayed to the music.
It had been an hour. Aeesha was going back and forth between the bar and dancing with Aaron who she introduced after a half hour of going at it. George had disappeared after Iris and Raf. Silas thought about going home when he remembered Cara. He pushed through the crowds into the Parade and tried calling Cara. It failed several times. He left two voicemails asking where she was. A voice called from behind him.
“I think it’s really adorable how you worry about me Si.” Cara, drink in hand, walked up to him and grabbed his hand. “You’re gonna miss it.”
“What?” Silas was being lead back into the arena.
“Did you forget my boyfriend was part of the band tonight.” Cara smirked. “Plus, I think you’re gonna want to see this.” Cara grabbed Aeesha as they walked to the barrier. One of the SU officers, Rowanne, walked onto the stage.
“We have a very special band for you tonight! All the way from Bristol we have the Third Knives! Let’s hear it!” the stage went dark. Cara screamed with the force of an entire one direction concert.
Silas heard the voice first.
It was only a small role. Third Knives had their own front man, two bassists and Cara’s boyfriend Max on the drums. For tonight, they were singing rock versions of Christmas classics. For this they had a few background singers. The first few chimes of Mariah Carey played out on the bass guitar and Silas fell in love with the song all over again, staring at David as one of three background singers. David’s voice was horrible. The croaks at the high part made Silas’ chest ache with laughter. Finally, the song ended and David ran off stage-left, jumping over the barrier and making his way towards him. The band kept playing.
“I guess you got my letter?” Silas shouted.
“Yes. What did you think about my singing?” David put a hand under Silas’ chin, bringing him to lips to his ear.
“It was horrible!” Silas laughed. “I loved it!” Silas cupped David’s face, forehead to forehead, eye-to-eye. “Are you gonna kiss me then?”
David smiled. The lights in the arena burned bright. With their eyes closed, Silas and David felt the shining reds, flashing yellows, deep greens and blues washes.
“I can’t believe you don’t like my singing.” Silas was being held up by David. Both were drunk. “I liked your singing even though you’re not really good!” Silas laughed. They crashed through Silas’ door and David chucked Silas onto his bed.
“I take a huge offence to that!” David said between kisses. He sat up. “I should get back.”
Silas grabbed swung his arms under David’s, pulling him down.
“No. Stay.” Silas said, David looked up at each Silas. “I want you to stay.”
They kicked off their shoes and fell into each other. All through the night, through the snores and rolling over, the lights on the Christmas tree stayed bright.