Gasping for breath. Bathed in cold sweat. Throat hoarse from screaming (presumably, since I can’t hear myself when I’m sleeping). This is how I have been waking up in the mornings for the past week, inclusive of this very moment. I cannot remember the nightmare, however. Just like all the other nightmares. And each time I try to recall, I draw a blank. They have been getting worse as time passes, and I have been waking up feeling more and more afraid each time. I’m not sure if I should see a doctor for this because at this point, I’m not even sure if the cause of my nightmares is supernatural or not. It’s a good thing Sunny is away on a holiday with Summer. I don’t think I would be left alone otherwise.
Dragging myself out of bed, I wash up, head to the kitchen and make breakfast. The usual—cereal and milk poured over. It’s not much but it fills my stomach and gives me strength to get through the morning. Strength. Cereal? Who am I kidding? Cereal doesn’t cut it. I’m like a robot, chugging through the cereal on autopilot. The only thing that is keeping me going is a pink-eyed princess vampire who decided to up and disappear from my life sixty days ago.
I drop my spoon in the bowl of cereal and dash back into my room to check the calendar on my desk. I flip the months, noting the dots over each date and stop at today’s little box. There it is, circled in five shades of pink. Day Sixty. The nightmare must have taken a lot out of me because I had gone to bed earlier than usual last night, in hopes that Ms Pink might return to me a little sooner. Speaking of Ms Pink, where is she? The clock tells me I am ten hours into the sixtieth day but my princess vampire is nowhere in sight. The apartment’s windows are closed but they have never stopped Ms Pink from entering before so that can’t be the reason why she isn’t here yet. What if the whole two-month-break thing is just a way for her to break up with me? What if she never meant to come back to me?
Cold, slimy dread takes root in my heart. No. She has to come back. She has to. This break has done nothing but break my heart. I cannot forget her, no matter what I do. I think about her all the time, even during my job interviews (yes, I’m job hunting right now). What if Ms Pink is waiting for me to make a move? What if she’s waiting for me to call her? But what if I call her and get rejected? The scenarios that fill my head make me lose my appetite for breakfast. I return to the kitchen to drain the milk and dump the uneaten cereal. I’ll just try to have a bigger lunch later.
“What do you think of our company?”
It isn’t all pink like her. I meet the woman’s friendly gaze with steady eyes and try not to grin. “The work this company has done speaks to me. I aspire to impact through my designs and this company had done just that.”
The man with hair that has been lavished with swaths of gel taps his pen on the papers in front of him. “What’s your greatest accomplishment thus far?”
I saved Ms Pink from dying. I survived multiple vanguard attacks. I killed Praneso. I had sex with Ms Pink in front of a live audience. I got through sixty days without Ms Pink. “Winning the award for best logo design in the recent design competition—Big Green. I included the design in my portfolio.”
The woman picks up her portfolio and opens it.
“It’s the second one.”
“What was your inspiration for the design?” asks the man.
Ms Pink’s eyes. Ms Pink’s lips. Ms Pink’s scent. “True love,” I reply with gravel in my voice. Shit. Do not cry. Do not cry. Do not cry.
“Abstract. But not too abstract.” The woman nods. “And perhaps a story to be told?”
I nod, tight-lipped.
“Don’t worry. We’re not going to pry. We like people who can inject a piece of themselves into their creations.”
“What’s your greatest weakness?” asks the man.
His gel-saturated hair is getting on my nerves. “I can get too emotional at times. But I am learning to manage my emotions better.” And I have Ms Pink to thank for that.
The rest of the question go by and before I know it, the interview is over. We shake hands and my fate is left in their hands.
I walk out of the building, realizing that it has been three months since the interview I did with Ms Pink. The interview that started everything. Funnily enough, three months later, I am the one being interviewed. I’ve been to six other interviews this past week and out of all the applications, this is the one I want the most. I was not peppering them up with praise when I said all those things. I actually do like the designs and products this company has done in the past and being part of this company would really make my day—my year, even.
But nothing can make me happier than Ms Pink’s return. Which I am still waiting for. The ache of losing Ms Pink is no longer as sharp and crippling as before. But I am still yearning. I am still longing.
Max calls me as I walk towards the administrative building and we enter together.
“How did the interview go?” he asks.
“It went well, I guess.”
“You guess?” Max puts his arm around me. “I’m sure you blew them away with your talent.”
“Every other applicant is probably equally, if not more, talented than I am.”
“Yes, but you are the one they want. You have to believe that.”
“It will be great if I can snag the job.”
We submit our documents and walk out together. He invites me for drinks but I’m not up for it today. Not today.
I end up going home alone but it seems like the right thing to do. It seems right to be home. I sit on my bed, looking out the window. How many times had Ms Pink entered through my window? How many times had she sneaked in and got intimate with me? I close my eyes and will her to appear in my room. Eyes open. No Ms Pink. It’s been this way for the past sixty days. What will I do if this goes on forever?
Dinner and a movie. In my room. By myself. I don’t even have it in me to focus on the movie, to be honest. I’ll have to watch it again, some other time. The clock is ticking. Time is passing. This day is going to be over. And Ms Pink would still be gone from my life. I dont know how she came to be such a big part of my life but it only becomes clearer with each passing day that she is essential to me. Call me sentimental, call me weak, I don’t care. I need Ms Pink in my life and I’m not afraid to admit it. The credits are rolling on the screen when I look at it again. So much for the movie.
It’s half past eleven.
Thirty minutes to the end of the day. Thirty minutes to Day Sixty-one. This is not right. Ms Pink is not the kind who goes back on her word. She said she’ll return. She should return. Even if she comes back only to tell me we have to break up forever, she will keep her promise and come back. She will come back. She will.
I decide to wait in bed. It sounds mildly erotic but at this point, I’ll be satisfied with a split second glance of Ms Pink. Oh God. I sound so pathetic. Ms Pink this, Ms Pink that. But I can’t help it. Ms Pink is supposed to come back to me today and she is all I can think about.
“Ms Pink . . . where are you?” I ask no one in particular. I miss the telepathy I shared with Ms Pink before she unclaimed me. I miss it so much. “I miss you. I’ve been living my life properly as you told me to. I’m about to graduate and I’ve been hunting for a job. I’m doing everything that I should be doing. I’m living my life.” I close my eyes and squeeze my pillow. “But I still miss you. I still miss everything about you.”
A strange scratching sound disturbs the peace and I open my eyes. For some reason, the hairs on my neck and arms are standing. It’s as though they know something I don’t. Then I see it. A vanguard. I am certain. It is unmistakable. The mess of black. The fangs. It appears outside my window for just one split second but I saw it. Panic almost takes over my mind and breaks it down, but a part of me kick starts into survival mode. I jump out of bed and dash out of my room. All the windows are closed and the doors are locked. A vanguard wouldn’t be able to get in, right? Right? The growl behind me is the undesired answer. Without looking back, I run for it and dive behind the couch. I reach for my bag that is on the floor and dig desperately for the Taser gun I keep in it.
“Oww!” I am knocked over and pinned to the ground before I can use the gun. It clatters away from me and I am barely able to dodge the fangs that come down from above. “No!” I scream and throw a wild punch with all my might. Its fang cuts my skin and blood spurts everywhere. Refusing to give up, I raise my knee and kick it. Twisting my body the other way, I reach for the Taser gun and fire it against the vanguard. It jumps, as though shocked, but unlike a human, it doesn’t curl up in pain. Instead, it growls even louder and I end up using the gun as a hammer on its head. The vanguard doesn’t even seem to notice the hit and I know I am done for. I’m dead meat. This is the end.
Something slices through the air and the vanguard freezes for a second before slumping onto the ground. Only one thought flashes in my mind.
The familiar pink coat appears in my peripheral vision.
“Be quiet, stupid human.”
I could cry for joy. How I longed to hear that one more time! I can only blink my tears away as the vanguard is lifted from my body, freeing me from the deadweight.
“Ms Pink . . .”
Ms Pink helps me up and holds me in her arms. At this very moment, nothing else matters. Nothing. Not even the blood spilling from the gash on my hand. Not even the mystery of the vanguard’s appearance. Nothing but Ms Pink. She’s back. She’s back!
“Ms Pink, I missed you so much.”
I stand with the help of Ms Pink and stare blankly at my hand. There is a bandage on it (when did that happen?) and a blob of green goo is seeping from the sides. Mimea. My favourite green goo.
“We have to get out of here.”
“Snap out of it,” Ms Pink snaps. “You’re in grave danger.” She tosses me over her shoulder so that all I get to see is her butt and we are off at vampire speed. I love vampire speed.
We come to a stop sometime later and I realize we are now in a car. The interior is purple and the seats are black. What happened to pink?
“Put your seat belt on.”
I struggle a little with the seat belt since I only have one functioning hand but Ms Pink does not stop to help me. We speed off and Ms Pink does not talk to me or look at me the entire time. We drive into a purple building and come to a stop inside a garage that is just large enough for the car.
“Get out,” Ms Pink orders.
We stand side by side as the elevator brings us up. There is no indication of the level we are going to within the elevator. I think about asking Ms Pink, but I get the feeling that she is not in the mood to answer my questions at the moment. I follow Ms Pink out of the elevator. There is only one vault-like door which surprises me, even though I should not be.
The interior of the apartment surprises me the most. Glass panes surround us from floor to ceiling and the ceiling is trice our height. The walls are purple and white marble tiles line the floor. Still no pink. Ms Pink puts me down on the softest couch I have ever sat on and I sink into it with a sigh.
“Do you feel any pain in your hand?” she asks, holding it as though it is the most fragile thing in this world.
“No, it doesn’t hurt.”
Ms Pink squeezes my hand and I look into her eyes. Then, without any sign or warning, she leans forward and takes my lips with hers.