Love of Insanity.
“Let me help you with that.” Said a stranger in a mall. The girl took the Rubix Cube from Noah and turned it in her hands. It seemed to just slide into place for her. Unlike Noah, who had fiddled with it for hours since buying it. Each square turned and twisted back to their rightful positions.
“Good as new.” She said, placing the cube back in his palm. She grinned up at him. She was far shorter than him, although he himself had stilts for legs. Her thick hair was tied into a pony and her shoulders slumped forward unnaturally. Maybe from the weight of the black backpack hugging her tiny body.
“Thanks, but. Isn’t the whole point of a Rubix Cube to do it yourself?” Noah couldn’t help but say that. The girl had managed to make him feel like an absolute fool in a matter of seconds.
“I couldn’t take anymore. Watching you. It was driving me insane.” She said. She didn’t seem at all embarrassed to admit to watching him. “I think it’s almost been an hour of you twisting that thing.” She added, raising her thick eyebrows. Noah smiled. He must’ve looked quite pathetic, standing in the food court, an upright skeleton of a man wasting his time with something that was a losing battle from the start.
“Yeah, almost an hour.” He replied, his lip curling up. It had been more than one hour. The Rubix Cube twirled in his fingers, but he dared not screw up the colors again.
“Hi, by the way.” The girl said, jutting her tiny hand toward him. A handshake. Seemed so formal. He shook it nevertheless and felt her palm was cold against his long fingers.
“Noah.” He said.
“Huh, you struck me as a Benjamin.” She pulled back slightly, examining his long limbs. “But, Noah will have to do. I’m Gus.” Her response was odd to Noah. How the hell did he look like a Benjamin to her? What do Benjamins even look like? Then, there was her own name.
“Gus? Isn’t that a guy’s name?” Noah asked, by the looks of it, she had this question her whole life. She smiled and tucked a piece of brown hair behind her ear.
“Do I look like a guy?” She said, smirking at her witty comment. Noah smiled and shook his head.
“Of course not.” But she sure does dress like one.
“Good,” Gus said, biting into her lip. “I’m guessing you like games. Huh?”
“Yeah, sure. But, as you can see I’m not very good at them.” He said, trying to make light of his inability to fix a Rubix Cube. Gus chuckled a little.
“Wanna play a game?” Her weight shifted from one foot to the other. Nerves? Noah thought. Probably not.
“I should really get going.” Noah didn’t feel like being even more humiliated if he lost, never mind the “wanna play a game?” coming from a stranger didn’t sit too well with the moral book. Still, Gus was cute, even if she looked ten years younger.
Gus shifted her weight and raised her eyebrows once more.
“You had an hour with your cube. C’mon. It won’t take too long. Besides, we are in a food court. You can’t say no to butchered coffee beans drowning in milk and sugar.”
Noah laughed nervously. He liked Gus. She was funny. But there was something off about her, there had to be. He couldn’t just ditch his prior engagement for a stranger who helped fix his Rubix Cube. Could he?
“One game.” He said.
Gus promised it would be one game. But she never even brought up said game until after the coffee was gone.
“You’re insane,” Gus said after Noah felt the last bit of his coffee slide down his throat.
“Black coffee? How can you live with yourself? Not even a grain of sugar or a drop of milk.” Gus swirled the cream around and around the glass cup until plopping it into her mouth.
“Well, then, I love every minute of insanity,” Noah said. He noticed the coffee shop’s clock reading 12:15. He was fifteen minutes late for his appointment and could already feel his phone vibrating in his pocket.
“You gonna get that?” Gus asked, licking the teaspoon’s creamy contents.
“Nah, you still got a game to show me,” Noah said. Anything to keep him from his appointment now was welcome. Even if this girl was strange. Gus smiled at him and put her cup back in its saucer. She leaned over the table, coming close and spoke in a steady, concentrated voice. This game seemed to mean a lot to her.
“It’s preferable to have your eyes closed, but we don’t want people to think you’re weird, now, do we?” She said. Noah shrugged.
“People already think that. Continue?”
“Picture this. What if_” Gus started. “Let’s say, you’re in the mall, sitting drinking your black shitty coffee and you have the chance to change your life right now. You can forget about whatever you were needing to go to minutes earlier. You can just leave. Where would you go?”
Noah couldn’t help but smile a little. He knew exactly where he would go.
“The South Pole, there’s no one there.”
“That’s awfully peaceful.” Gus surprised Noah by saying that.
“Yeah,” He continued. “But I’d have to hide somewhere else because my whole family knows I’ve been dying to go there. That’s the first place they’d look and inevitably they’d find me and_”
“Game over,” Gus interjected, pointing her hand at him in the shape of a gun. Noah laughed.
“Exactly, so my ideal option would be Chile.” He said, not knowing why he blurted that particular country’s name out.
“Why Chile?” Gus looked confused, like her high hopes in him had popped.
“First place that came to mind.” He shrugged.
Gus folded her bottom lip and pointed the teaspoon in his face. “I like the way you think. Okay, part two of the game; if I came up to you and sat down, put my hand in yours_” She said, sliding her tiny fingers between his. Noah flinched slightly. “_displayed the mounds of cash I had in my bag and asked you to run away with me to Chile, what would you say?” Gus’s face had grown anxious, her eyes had widened. Why Gus would be asking these questions of Noah was beyond him, but the idea appealed to him, even knowing how fake it was.
“To tell you the truth, Gus, I’d probably go in a heartbeat.”
Noah watched Gus’s face grow even more serious as she pulled her hand from his and reached for her black backpack beside her. She tossed the bag on top of their table with the zip open, so that Noah could see what was inside.
“What the fuck! Where’d you get all that cash?” Noah could only see pages upon pages, all resembling the one thing everyone wants more of.
Gus’s bag was full of it. He rose from the table, sending eyes their way.
“That’s none of your business where it’s from. And sit down, before you draw attention to yourself.” Said Gus. Noah sat down, awestruck by this girl who had probably just finished high school. This girl who wanted to run away from…what?
“You said it yourself, Noah. You love every minute of insanity.” Gus was serious after all. The game wasn’t a game to her.
“Why me?” Noah said. “Why ask a complete stranger to run away with you?”
“I needed company for the road. When I saw you. You, you seemed nice.” Her hand found the zip and closed the bag, pulling it to the chair beside her. “I really do need company for the road, Noah; that’s if you still wanna come. I’ll give you one hour to decide.” She got up from the table and paused, looking down at Noah’s vibrating pocket, where his previous appointment was still calling on him to answer.
“Either you,” Gus continued. “Answer your phone and go on with what life you have here, or climb into a car with a stranger and just drive.” Gus slipped the bag over her shoulders. They slumped forward once more. “I’ll be in a black Jeep if you decide to come. Entrance 4.” She added, then stretched her short legs into long strides across the mall. Noah watched her figure disappear, still feeling the buzz of his phone against his thigh.
He couldn’t wrap his head around what Gus had said. Why him? Why a stranger in a mall? She said she just needed company. But why?
His leg had begun to tingle from the amount of buzzing; he took his phone out and saw his appointment called him more than twenty times. He supposed it was quite bad that his Ex-girlfriend had sent so many missed calls. He was over an hour late and whatever she had wanted to see him about, made this appointment serious. But Gus. What of her? He thought. Wasn’t his fault she was fucked up in the head and wanted to go on an adventure with a man she had just meant.
Sounded like something the girl would’ve read out of a romance novel. Noah got up from the table, phone in one hand and his other rubbing his brow. He had one hour before Gus’s Jeep left the mall. Why was he even contemplating it? He shouldn’t. He should just leave it and go home.
But his legs didn’t move. Noah just stood there, by the coffee shop. He shouldn’t be contemplating this. Why was he, then?
To be continued…
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