REAL ART

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The Psychology of Love

I couldn’t get to sleep that night and I kept picturing Alice’s sparkly eyes. They were like diamonds.

“You’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky!”

Suddenly, that song was trapped within my brain.

I even had a dream about Alice. She was bending over me and telling me that everything would be all right. I think I had fallen on the ground and she was helping me up. Her sparkly eyes were so spectacular that I remember being hypnotized by them. Then I woke up and “Diamonds” by Rihanna was playing overhead.

I turned to the desk that was across from my bed and saw Joe sitting there with a bowl of cereal. The song was blasting from his speakers.

“Mornin’” I said, rubbing my eyes. I felt like I hadn’t slept at all.

“Morning, latecomer,” said Joe as he shoved another spoonful of Cap’n Crunch into his mouth. “You missed Psych.” A spittle of milk and chewed up Cap’n bits sprayed out when he said it. “But don’t worry, it was good that you missed it. I got Alice’s number and a date. We’re meeting up Friday.”

Suddenly, I was fully awake.

“Early bird gets the worm,” he chuckled.

It was one o’clock in the afternoon and, yes, I had missed Psychology. I had “English: An Introduction” at two-thirty so I had plenty of time to basically do nothing.

I wandered into the cafeteria, paid for a plate of scrambled eggs, and brought them to the lounge. Once I was sitting down, I hoped I wasn’t red in the face but thankfully no one else was in the lounge.

Why was I so angry? Joe had beaten me. I wasn’t even sure if I was going to ask Alice out, but now I couldn’t. I was wondering exactly who I was to Joe. Was I some guy he could use to get to the girls I liked or was I just a friend he just thought was like him? You know, fucked girls and basically behaved like every stereotypical asshole any woman would soon regret dating years later.

But I wasn’t about to go up to Alice and tell her that she was making a bad decision by dating Joe. Hell, they weren’t even dating yet and as far as I knew Alice was just humouring him. You know, make him think he’s in her pants until she strangles him with them. But isn’t that how guys think when they want the girl their friend has won? Oh, he’s an asshole because...and then you list all the reasons.

But I really was beginning to think Joe was an asshole and even if I also liked Alice, I didn’t really believe that my liking her was skewing my thoughts of Joe. But as I tried to focus on my chewing I could not stop thinking about Alice and Joe. I kept picturing them kissing each other, their arms wrapped around each other, and I was about to picture Joe on top of Alice when Jake came through the door.

When I got back to my room, Joe was gone. I checked the digital clock on my bureau and read, 1:00 P.M. I sat at my desk and opened up my iTunes. I pressed ► and the first song that began playing was “Already Gone” by Eagles.

I found it kind of ironic given that I had an hour and a half before my class started but then again, maybe the song meant something else. But I was never a guy to think about these things. If God was sending me a message, why couldn’t He be clear? Right, because God is mysterious like the essence of “God” itself.

As “Already Gone” played, I decided to get dressed and have a shower. I went through my shirts that were hanging up in the closet behind the desk and decided to choose a Ralph Lauren red plaid shirt. You can never go wrong with plaid.

I grabbed some black jeans and some black socks to complete my outfit and laid them all on my rumpled bed so I knew what to change into after my shower. Then I drew the curtains, stripped off my pyjamas, and headed for the shower.

When I walked into the shower room naked, I noticed that there was another door beside the shower stall. This other door would lead me into the room adjacent mine because, yes, we shared a shower stall with another room. U.O.K. was such a cleansy place. If Abbot was the oldest dorm on campus, maybe it was also the dirtiest.

But I didn’t contemplate this too long and just locked the door just in case someone decided to have a shower or use any of the other facilities that were in here. I turned on the showerhead and waited for the hot water to pour out before stepping in.

Once I was clean and had dried myself with a towel, I stepped out of the shower and wiped the fog away from the mirror. I brushed my teeth and noticed that I didn’t have enough hairs on my chin to shave.

When I was changed, “Beaches” by Tokyo Police Club was playing. For some reason I pictured Alice and I lying on a beach. We were wearing RayBan sunglasses and she was smiling at me. Her brown hair was sparkling in the sunlight. You could hear the waves as they crashed upon the shore, carrying remnants of the sand with them.

Then the song stopped. Actually, my whole computer shut down. At first, I thought that was just the song but then I noticed my MacBook Pro screen was black. Maybe I had used Joe’s by accident, I thought.

From what I could remember, Joe had his speakers connected to his computer while he was eating his breakfast. But then I noticed the large scratch across the apple symbol and knew this MacBook was mine.

The I.T. building was located in Otunhim, which was just across from Abbot. But when I arrived at the desk, I was told that my computer would take three days to get fixed. I was pissed but tried not to show my frustration and just thanked the guy and started heading for the stairs. How was I going to work without a computer? I headed back to my room in hopes that Joe was back. He was.

“Yo man, can I borrow your computer?”

“I don’t know, can you?” I glared at him. Joe chuckled. “Sorry man, it’s just what my dad would always say to me. I just thought of using it once and seeing what it sounded like.”

“It makes you sound like a prick.

Joe’s eyes widened as I still glared at him. “Buddy, calm down. Rough day? Why do ya need my computer anyway?”

“Because mine’s busted.”

“Too much porn?”

I looked at my bedpost as Joe chuckled again. “Sorry, sorry. That was uncalled for. You do look like a mess. Um...I guess. When’s your next class?”

“Two-thirty.”

“Sure, man. I mean, I guess we could share a computer. Do ya have a U.S.B.? If you could, could you save your files on that and then work in the library? I mean, I’ll give you my computer for class but that’s it.”

“Sure.”

“How long are you gonna be without a computer?”
“I don’t know, maybe three days.”

“What happened?”

“I don’t know. It just went black.”

“What were you doing?”

“I was playing music.”

“What song?”

“‘Beaches’ by Tokyo Police Club! Why does it matter? Are you telling me that some songs are rigged with viruses?”

“No but—”

“Jesus Christ!”

“Yo, calm down, Spazzy McGee.”

My hands were still in fists and I was close to hitting him. I was already picturing my fist smashing into his perfect nose.

“Listen, I know you’re pissed off that your computer’s getting fixed but don’t take it out on me. I was just curious as to why your computer may have crashed but, honestly, I have no fucking idea.”

“O.K.,” I said trying to calm down. I knew I needed to hold in my hostility. Everything just seemed to be going the wrong way. Joe had Alice and would probably nail her and now my computer was in repair. What else could go wrong today?

English. My professor was extremely late and when she did finally show up, the class was beginning to leave.

“Sorry, traffic was a mess.” But when she set her briefcase down on her desk and stared up at the chairs, all she glimpsed was I walking up the aisle. “Are you my only student?” she joked.

“No,” I said. “The class left because of your tardiness.”

Excuse me?!”

I gave her an exasperated sigh. “The class left because they didn’t think you were coming.”

“You called me tardy, didn’t you?” She had piercing black eyes and reminded me of Madame Hooch with the posture of Miss Trunchbull.

“I’m sorry.”

“Young man, I don’t know how you were raised but I suggest you speak professionally especially when speaking to professors. Don’t let your brain run away with your mouth.”

I’m sorry,” I said again. “I’m just having a shitty day.”

“Excuse me?! You know what, forget it. You kids are all the same. It’s disgusting.” She then grabbed her briefcase and left the classroom in a huff.

Great. What’s next?

“Back so soon?” asked Joe as I came back into the dorm. He was seated at our desk writing on a yellow pad of paper with blue lines. I guessed that he was writing out his notes now that he didn’t have his computer.

I removed his MacBook Pro out of my backpack and handed it to him. “Class was cancelled.”
“Why?” asked Joe as he took my computer from me and placed it on top of the pad of paper. Was this guy always this inquisitive? He then turned it on and soon the vibration and loud recognizable dinging sound of the MacBook hummed to life.

“My professor was late and so everyone left,” I said as I sat down on my bed. “But lucky for me, she caught me leaving and then decided to teach me what discipline means.”

Joe grabbed his sub sandwich that had been on the desk by the notepad, which was now where the computer was. As soon as he bit into it, I noticed that it seemed to contain turkey and tomatoes. There were crumbs all over the spot of the table where it had been removed from and soon there were crumbs all over his lap as he took another bite.

The desk he was sitting at faced the front wall just to the right of the end of Joe’s bed so his back was now facing me as he created his mess. But when he was satisfied with only have eaten half of his sandwich, his sweatured back turned to my left so his back was angled towards me and not the desk.

God, this guy’s a slob, I thought as I saw the crumbs on Joe’s face when he turned towards me. I was just hoping that the next time I used Joe’s MacBook that the keys wouldn’t be covered in mayonnaise or something worse.

“Did you show her The Art Way?” asked Joe as some of the crumbs leapt off his face.

What?!” I cried.

“You know, did you give her the finger, tell her to ’fuck off’? You know, that shit. I said ‘The Art Way’ to give you your own title.”

“No. I basically took it.”

“Why would you do that, man?” He looked at me as if I really was the stupidest specimen on the planet.

I glared at Joe’s almost black eyes. “Because I don’t think fighting with the woman would’ve been smart.”

“I see.” But I knew he didn’t. “So no more classes today?”

“Nope.”

“I got one at eight P.M. so I’ve got jackshit to do. Wanna grab dinner?”

I checked my watch. Four o’clock. “It’s four o’clock.”

“So?”

“Well, I just usually eat dinner at six.”

“What, is this some routine you have to follow or you die?

No. I just usually have dinner at six.”

“Well, you cool with eating dinner two hours early?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

“Man, what’s wrong with you? You’re so antsy and I swear it’s not because of your computer.” Then his back turned back to the desk.

It’s because you have Alice and I have no one. I don’t know man, I guess I just miss home.”

“Dude, you’ve been her for, what, a day?” This time I was again looking at Joe’s back as his display screen appeared. It was one of the standard displays that came with Apple computers but I wondered if when he was alone if he changed it to some scantily clad woman or maybe she’d be naked. I knew his phone would have some picture like that on it.

“Two actually.”
“Whatever. How can you be homesick now?”

I knew it was the wrong thing to say. I was in a corner and was struggling with what I should say next. “Um...”

“You’re not homesick. I know what’s up.”

“What?”

“You’re in love with Alice.”

What?! No I’m not. I barely know her.”

“Yeah, you are. I don’t know man, you’re fucked up. You know that?” This time he didn’t apologize. “You look at girls, I don’t know, weirdly like they’re...”

“Diamonds?” I offered. That stupid song was still playing in my head.

“What?” This time he turned towards me. “Actually, yeah, I guess that could work. Like they’re special, but they’re not. They’re just people like you and me. People who need to be fucked.”

I hated him. I really hated him, but he was my roommate. What was I supposed to do, kick him out? I kept my hands flat on the bed and tried not to ball them into fists.

“I guess I have a lot to learn.”

“Yeah man, you do.”

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