Sincerely, Vintage (Part 9)𝕝𝕪𝕟𝕘𝕓𝕒𝕜𝕣𝟠𝟚
On Tracey's birthday, the two of them had walked back to her apartment, swinging their hands between them as they wandered through the streets. By the time they’d climbed up to her roof, the sun was setting over the city, lighting up the glass windows of the few remaining skyscrapers and painting the clouds brilliant colors. They were still nervous around each other, skittish in a way typical of new love. Tracey’s heart had almost leaped out of her chest when Vince put his arm around her. She’d leaned into it, resting her head on his shoulder. It felt like the sunset had been poured into her heart, illuminating her from the inside. One by one, stars came out. The two of them laid there for hours, looking up at the sky as they talked. Tracey remembered thinking there was nowhere else she’d rather be.
Old blankets shrouded the furniture they’d pushed to the middle of the room. The two of them had spent the better part of the day painting the walls. That was a lie. They had spent just as much time dancing around the living room or painting on each other. Tracey had been balanced atop a stepladder, straining to reach a spot above her head. Without warning, Vince snuck up behind her and picked her up. He twirled her in a happy circle, and she tilted her head back, laughing, then turned to face him when he put her down. An old piece of tech appeared from his pocket, a pair of earbuds dangling from it. He fiddled with the device for a moment, then handed her one of the earpieces. The noisy city faded into the background, replaced by the piano intro of an old song. Vince placed a hand on her waist, smiling softly at her, and she took his hand, lacing their fingers together. The two of them swayed across the room, lost in the music. Neither of them spoke. With all traces of real life tucked away, that moment felt like dancing on clouds. When the song ended, Vince reached out and tucked her hair behind her ear, letting his hand rest on her cheek.
“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
As the weeks went by, Central Park began to push its boundaries, growing wilder and wilder until the boundary between city and park blurred. The two of them liked to go for walks, getting lost in the maze of towering trees. Once, they had stopped to enjoy the afternoon, sitting on a grassy hill. Tracey closed her eyes and turned her face to the sun as it washed over her. A small click brought her out of her lazy daydreaming. She opened one eye to glance over at Vince, suspicious.
“Did you just take a picture of me?”
“No.” His response sounded convincing enough, so she shut her eyes again.
Only to open them when she felt him kiss her on the cheek.
“I couldn’t help myself. You just looked so beautiful.”
Sunlight poured through the windows onto the couch. Tracey had curled up in Vince’s arms, listening to his heartbeat. When she looked up, she saw that his eyes were closed. He had fallen asleep. He looked so peaceful, worry lines smoothed over, that she couldn’t bring herself to wake him.
The neon lights on the tattoo parlor wall sent Tracey’s heart to dancing. Vince held the door for her, shaking his head and laughing at her excitement. One of the artists looked up as they came through the door, a smile spreading across her face.
The young woman wore a black crop top and leggings, bright blue hair finishing off the look. She stood and hugged Tracey, and when they separated and stood next to each other, the resemblance was striking.
“Vince, this is Kira, my sister. Kira, this is-”
“Vince.” Kira strode forward and looked him up and down. “Tracey’s told me a lot about you.”
Vince turned and grinned at Tracey, who looked like she wanted her hoodie to swallow her whole.
Tracey quickly got over her embarrassment, digging a folded napkin out of her pocket.
“Here’s the design.”
She’d sketched out the two halves of a yin yang symbol. Kira took the napkin and studied it, looking up at them after a moment.
“Of course.” Vince took Tracey’s hand, smiling down at her.
“Alright then.” Kira shrugged. “Who wants to go first?”
That night at the movie, they’d barely spoken to each other. Vince’s face was unreadable as the changing lights and colors danced over it, and when Tracey reached over to take his hand, it felt cold. The silence continued through the walk home. Tracey rehearsed the conversation in her head, but when they stopped under the streetlight outside her apartment, the words still came out all wrong. She could see Vince’s heart breaking as she spoke, but he didn’t say much, just nodded like he understood, like this was okay. When he turned to leave, she wanted to go after him. Instead, she held herself back, watching him walk away until her tears blurred his form into the dark, and he vanished around the corner.
Tracey licked her thumb and scrubbed at the inside of her wrist, presenting the tattoo to Hrida. Hrida took it all in without speaking, her eyes glancing over the museum exhibit laid out on the floor around them, the two of them seated in the epicenter of it all. As Tracey had gone on with her story, her voice deepened, growing more gravelly until she stared at the floor, struggling not to cry. Hrida gingerly pushed aside the objects in front of her friend then scootched forward to put her arms around her, holding her tight.
"You are so strong. That’s one of the things I admire about you.”
Tracey hugged Hrida back, tucking away her words for later. She would never admit it aloud, but those simple words meant more than Hrida could ever know.
“Can the therapy circle be over now?”
Author Notes: made a soundtrack for this one. for the best experience, listen to each section's song as you read it :)
Slowdancing with headphones: https://youtu.be/ZdGbcTNs-KU
Walk in the park: https://youtu.be/XIn8uq_f_5A
Falling asleep: https://youtu.be/ibFmi8AO7FQ
Tattoo parlor: https://youtu.be/58BhspyMvGw
The last movie: https://youtu.be/FUWswKax2wE
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