Nineteen [The Call]

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It was pretty much silent as Harry paced around his apartment in socks, watering his extensive collection of monstera, asparagus fern and english ivy that were scattered about his tiny space. While most people would think that having multiple plants hanging from your ceiling, lining your windows, crawling down your cabinets and even decorating your shower would make your crowded apartment seem even smaller, it actually had quite a snug feeling to it as if you were being hugged rather than suffocated.

They were all brilliantly cared for, not a single dead leaf or droopy stem and although you'd only seen Harry's pottery studio once it was easy to tell that he had crafted each pot that they were rooted into. He seemed to be drawn to cinnamon-colored clay that was naturally colored with manganese and iron, choosing to paint his pieces some of the time and other times opting to maintain its natural hue. You appreciate the varying degrees of personalities each one of his pieces takes on, as though you can watch him go through emotional shifts over time with his art and try to guess what he was feeling when he sculpted each one.

Your favorite one is in the shape of a most exquisite bowl; just about as wide as it is deep, as if a perfect sphere had been cut in half. It hung from the ceiling by three ordinary pieces of rope, the surface painted ghost white with a hundred vertical shocking royal blue stripes that only make it a quarter of the way up the bowl from bottom, the wavy tips from the blue star fern leaves draped over the edges.

Pru had a habit of hiding in the plants while Harry made his rounds to water them, a single furry black paw darting out from between a thicket of leaves to swat at Harry's fingertips when he tilts the glass over the soil. His dimples would appear each time, as if he had been so drawn into his own mind that he'd forgotten time and time again that that was something she had enjoyed doing. Every so often she would hide underneath his dresser or café table just to wiggle her bum and scurry out to sink her claws into his foot. He would tut and scoop her up in one large hand each time, muttering something into her ear before kissing her head and placing her down on the closest surface. She would typically examine for a few minutes before running off to ambush him again or find either his hoodie or his beanie to curl up and watch.

You could tell that this was another therapeutic way of isolating himself, a method of keeping his hands busy and his mind focused so as to not drive himself insane from thoughts of sleeping or lack thereof. He took so much comfort in silence that sometimes you felt intrusive speaking, his inverted energy making your deliberations feel unwelcome at times, especially when his eyes would glass over as some unknown process flitted around behind the scenes. You've often wondered what he's thinking when he evidently struggles to communicate to you; whether or not he's enjoying your ticklish rambling or if he wishes you would stay quiet to let him continue pondering in solace. You've made a concerted effort to both fill the empty space between you and also allow it to suspend hollowly, hoping that with time he will be able to bridge the gaps on his own.

When Harry opens the cabinet above the sink, Pru perks up and jumps down from his hoodie strewn over a chair, slipping and sliding across the floor and mewing at her owner to share whatever it is that she has been trained to desire. He pulls down a pink saucer and a small jar of cream from his mini refrigerator, opening the lid to take a sniff of its contents first before pouring her a couple splashes in the depression of the dish. She squeaks at him in excitement, a few drips of milk splashing onto the counter before he lowers it to the ground for her to drink from. The fur around her mouth and her whiskers turn frosted as she feasts, her head popping up to make eye contact with Harry before she licks her lips and returns back to her treat.

When he leans against the counter, another cutting image of Harry drooping into you as he reached his peak flashes before your eyes. The ends of his curls glued to the sweat gleaming on his neck, his mouth fallen open and lined with two rows of perfectly shocked, magenta lips. You squeeze your legs together to relieve the pressure pulsating at the root of your spine, pulling his comforter up to your chin as you burrow your cheek further into his pillow. His sheets smell just as you had imagined but even finer; crisp and wintry, Douglas fur needles and caramelized marshmallow over campfire, muted and honest all at once.

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