Julian was young. His greasy hair framed a kind of chubby face with a faded jawline, against his discolored skin. He wore white-collared shirts and grey suit-pants; flask with a cap screwed on loosely in his back pocket. His voice was unremarkable. Not many paid attention when he spoke.
When he was five, his father threw him a penny and said, “kiddo, work this penny into a dollar and you’ll never go hungry.” He ran into the workshop in the garage and molded that penny into a glowing medallion and stitched it into his chest, “J.C” carved onto the frame. He ran outside, shirtless, and screamed into the rain: “I’m fucking starving!”
Julian was older. He was in jail. He’d been pissing on a cop car in downtown Manhattan and they found him unconscious, spread-eagled across the hood, cuffed him and took him in. He was whistling into the wall, forehead scraping against the bricks. There was a stern blonde sitting at the desk. He hummed, “I don’t want to change the world. I don’t want to change your mind.” He chewed through the nail on his pinky finger. She stamped the date on his imprisonment report and chewed on her tongue.
On Sunday morning, tracing a circle around Sara’s bellybutton, Julian stared at the ceiling. Sara’s legs wrapped around his. “Are you coming home to me?” came in whispers from her mouth. “Will you stay?
Julian closed his eyes and, speaking to just about anybody that would listen, replied “I would cheat and lie and steal but now I’ll stay at home and kneel for you.”
She lay back on the pillow, sweat simmering in the sheets, and stared at the ceiling. For a long time, she didn’t say a word. And when she did speak, it wasn’t that he wasn’t listening or what she said wasn’t important. It was just that it was for the two of them, and it’s none of your business.