Saturday, December 25, 2010

Monochrome: 42

Finn walked home from work on the second of March. His surroundings passed by him unnoticed as he waded through his thoughts, his feet taking over navigation.

I can’t tell him. Not yet. I don’t know how he’d react.

He buttoned his jacket and stuffed his hands in his pocket.

I mean, he said there was someone he liked. It’s not like anything would happen. I’d just be troubling him. But, still… I want to take the chance. Maybe he’s… he doesn’t…

Finn’s mind reached another question. Does this mean I’m… gay?

He wondered about it.

Kieran is the only guy I’ve ever liked… and the only person I’ve ever liked. What does that mean?

He stopped walking, for a moment, his head ticking carefully.

I should stop worrying about it. Because, all I know is… I love him. That’s good enough.

He soon reached the apartments, still mulling over his options. He took his coat off, carrying it, and went up the stairs to the third floor, his travel a distant thought. As he approached his door, he stopped, his thoughts interrupted by something. He turned around, realizing Kieran’s door was open.

This is a familiar situation…

Then, he noticed the light in the hallway, as well as the breeze. Gazing up at the staircase, he realized the door to the roof was open.

He’s not…?

Finn’s heart sunk, and he dropped his coat, running up the stairs.

“Kieran?” he shouted, looking around. He caught sight of him on the right side of the roof, standing a small distance from the edge. Finn’s heart raced as he ran towards him. “Kieran! Don’t!”


Kieran stood on the roof, staring at the distant buildings at the farthest reaches of the city. The air was bitterly cold, seeping through his clothes. He didn’t mind, since he’d only be out for a moment. Things were starting to look up, lately. He looked to the city for some inspiration, breaking in the middle of his painting.

As he stood, clearing his thoughts, he suddenly heard a shout. He started to turn, seeing Finn running at him. Quickly, he threw himself back, knocking Finn down with him. After regaining his thought, he picked himself up off of Finn. He was about to turn and yell at him when he felt Finn’s arms lock around his waist. He paused in surprise.

“Kieran, don’t kill yourself! Please! You told me you weren’t going to!” Finn shouted, his arms locked around Kieran’s waist.

“What…? No, I wasn’t going to kill myself…” Kieran said, looking over his shoulder at Finn.

“I don’t know what’s wrong, but, please, just talk to me… don’t do this,” Finn said, starting to cry.

“Whoah! Hey!” Kieran said, surprised. He turned himself, pushing back Finn. “Hey, look. I’m fine. Why are you freaking out so much?”

“Because I love you!” Finn shouted.

…what?

Finn’s face changed, suddenly alarmed at his own declaration.

“I… I mean, I didn’t mean to say that. I’m just… I was… oh god…”


Finn panicked. That was not supposed to come out. Shit. Shit, shit, shit. What now? He’s going to hate me. Why did I have to say that? That was stupid! That was so dumb! How did I screw that up so badly?

His thoughts sped by in mere seconds, when he suddenly snapped back to his senses as Kieran’s lips met his own. Everything stopped, for a moment. His head slowed down and his eyes widened. It felt like a decade. He felt jolted, shocked, paralyzed. He realized Kieran’s hand was on his face. It felt warm.

Just as suddenly, Kieran started to laugh, breaking away from Finn. His laughter got louder and stronger and he fell back, bracing himself with his hands. Finn stared at him in confusion.

“Why are you…?” Finn started to ask, his voice quiet and broken.

“Sorry, sorry, haha… I’m just really happy,” Kieran said, smiling wide. “I’ve never been this happy before in my entire life.”

Finn’s heart raced again. Everything went by so quickly, he couldn’t tell what was going on anymore.

“Why?” he asked, still dumbfounded.

“Haha, maybe I should’ve explained,” Kieran said. “I… wow, it’s still tough to say after pulling that stunt, huh?”

He regained himself after a moment and stood up, offering his hand to Finn.

“I love you, Finn,” he said. He smiled wide again. Finn grabbed his hand, and Kieran pulled him up.

“You okay?” Kieran asked. “I thought you were going to throw us both off the roof, so I kind of fell on you. Sorry about that.”

“No, it’s fine… I wasn’t really thinking straight…” Finn said, still in a daze.

“Heh. Seems like it,” Kieran said. They stood still for a moment, Finn’s hand still in Kieran’s.

“Oh, today’s your birthday, right?” Kieran asked. He reached into his jacket pocket for a plastic bag.

“I didn’t wrap it or anything,” he said, taking a book out of the bag. It was Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. “I noticed your copy was really worn out, and you seem to like James Joyce, so I thought I’d get you a new one. Plus, there was that time I was drunk and I kept calling you Finnegan… I thought that would be funny.”

Finn held the book, staring at its cover quietly.

“I’m also trying to work on that painting I owe you! I was having some trouble figuring out what to paint, but I think I have it now. I’ve done a bunch of preliminary sketches…” he said, scratching at the back of his head awkwardly.

“Thank you, Kieran…” Finn said. His eyes started to tear.

“Hey, you okay? I’m not gonna kill myself.”

“I know. I’m happy.”

“Ahh. Good,” Kieran said, smiling. He put a hand on Finn’s shoulder.

“Happy birthday.”

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Monochrome: 41

Finn sat at the table in his apartment, his head in his palms, staring at the wood grain. Bianca sat in a chair across from him, a cup of coffee in her hands.

“I just… I’m sorry, I shouldn’t talk about this with you when… what happened with us… but I don’t know who to talk to. I don’t think Gavin would have anything helpful to say,” Finn said, sliding one of his hands off of his head. He turned his head to look at Bianca. “What do you think…?”

“Well, it does seem like you’re in love,” she said, smiling.

“Yeah…? Gavin thought I was for a while, I guess…”

“So did I,” Bianca said, taking a sip from her cup.

“What? So am I the last one to figure it out?” Finn asked, exasperated.

“Well, I don’t think Kieran knows.”

“Really?” Finn asked, his tone perking up. He calmed down and said, “Actually, I’m not sure if I’m relieved by that.”

“Why’s that?”

“Well, what if he finds out, and he hates me or something?”

“I don’t think he’ll hate you,” Bianca said, her smile a little wider.

“Okay, but like… what if it got weird between us…? Ugh… I feel sick thinking about it.”

“Hey, hey, calm down. I’m sure it won’t turn out as bad as you think.”

“Shit,” Finn mumbled, setting his head down on his arm. “How did I not realize…?”

“You’ve never been in love before. You said so, yourself.”

“Yeah, but, still… it seems… so obvious, now,” he said, turning his head to face down. His breath bounced off the table and back at him.

“I’ve never seen you act so shy,” Bianca said.

“I don’t… know how to act. My thoughts are all jumbled. I feel sort of frustrated and happy and afraid.”

“Yes, that sounds about right.”

“What do I do? Do I tell him? Do I wait…? Or…?”

“I think you should tell him.”

“Are you sure?” Finn asked, picking his head up. “I don’t know. I don’t think I could handle that. I feel like my chest is going to explode, just thinking about it.”

“Do it when you’re ready,” she said. “I know you can do it.”

“You think? I don’t know.”

“What happened to your usual confidence?”

Finn stared at the table again.

“I don’t really know…”

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Monochrome: 40

Finn quietly returned to the apartments, wondering about his conversation with Gavin as he walked up the stairs. He stopped in front of his apartment door, reaching for his keys. Changing his mind, he turned, approaching Kieran’s door. He knocked, and waited for a response.

Kieran came to the door, hands covered in paint.

“Hey.”

“Hi.”

“What’s up?”

“I wanted to ask you about something.”

“Sure,” Kieran said, walking away from the door. Finn entered, pushing it shut behind him.

“So, this is probably going to seem kind of weird,” Finn said.

“Eh, probably not. What is it?” Kieran said, returning to his painting. Finn stared at it for a moment, before he remembered why he was there.

“I thought I’d ask you, since you’d know…” Finn said. Kieran continued to paint.

“What is it like… when you’re in love?”

Kieran halted. Neither of them said anything for a moment.

“Just, you know, if you’re comfortable…”

“How much do you want to know?” Kieran asked.

“Whatever you can tell me.”

Kieran waited a moment, taking a breath.

“You’re confused. Afraid, even. But, you get used to this,” he said, dipping his paintbrush in a cup of water. He swirled it around and took it out, wiping the water off of it. “The idea seems foreign. Maybe even incorrect. You’re not sure. But, part of you knows.”

He continued to clean his brushes.

“You think about them a lot. Sometimes, it’s hard to think of anything else. You think about sacrifice and change. It could be anything, it doesn’t have to be big,” Kieran said, wiping off another brush. “The idea of being apart is painful. Even for a short time. You worry. About yourself, about them. There’s a lot of worrying.”

He put away his brushes in their case.

“Your heart speeds up. So does your head. There’s not a lot of coherent thought, sometimes. Just a feeling. But it’s strong. It grabs you. Pulling. It’s a tension that seems almost physical. It’s inescapable,” Kieran said. He stopped. “Does that help?”

Finn stared at him, eyes wide and searching. His chest pounded as he realized.

“I… I have to go,” he said, quickly heading towards the door. He fumbled with the door knob for a moment, his hand slipping on the paint. He opened it, quickly returning to his own apartment.

As he entered, he shut the door behind him, pressed against it. He looked at the paint on his hand and exhaled.

What do I do…?

Monochrome: 39

Finn sat at the diner with Gavin, sipping his coffee as he waited for the check to arrive. His free hand lightly drummed on the wooden table. He set his cup down on a coaster. Gavin stared at the back of the diner, where a waitress wiped off the counter.

“Oh!” Gavin said. “It’s your birthday tomorrow, isn’t it?”

“Ah, yeah. I forgot, for a moment…”

“You forgot your own birthday?”

“People don’t really make as big a deal out of it when you’re an adult.”

“I guess so. I still haven’t grown out of that.”

“You haven’t grown out of a lot of things, Gavin,” Finn said, stirring his coffee.

“Ouch, harsh,” Gavin responded.

“Haha. By the way…” Finn started. “There was something you said around when Kieran was released from the hospital around two weeks ago.”

“Ah, yeah? I say a lot of things.”

“True. Well, I think it was like… you said I care a lot about him? And that you were thrown off at first. I still don’t get what you were talking about.”

“Oh, my god, are you serious?”

“Huh?”

“You don’t get it?”

“What am I supposed to get? Was it a joke or a reference or something?”

“No, no… I’m more than just jokes, you know. Anyways… I thought you liked him.”

“What?”

“Kieran. Like… uhh… you know,” Gavin said awkwardly. Finn stared at him for a moment, processing.

“Wait, what? You think I like Kieran…?” he asked, surprised.

“You mean you don’t?”

“I…” Finn began. He thought about it.

“I don’t know.”

The waitress came by, placing the check on the table. Gavin and Finn stopped to pay their bill.

“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Gavin asked.

“Errr… well, I don’t think I’ve ever actually liked someone like that,” Finn said. “I have no idea what it’s like.”

“Huh. That’s a bit uncommon. Well, hey, I gotta head off. I’ll talk to you later, or something.”

“Yeah. Alright. See you later,” Finn said.

Gavin headed out the diner doors as Finn sat in the booth, thinking as he waited for the waitress to return.

Monochrome: 38

Kieran woke up with his face buried in the couch cushion. He groaned sleepily as he rubbed at his face, feeling the imprint of the fabric on his skin. He could hear voices in his apartment as he slowly lifted his body off of the couch.

“Hey Kieran,” one of the voices said. He realized it was Devlin.

“What are you doing here?”

“Liadan let me in. How long have you been passed out on the couch?”

“I don’t know.”

“It’s around 3, I think,” Devlin said.

“3:12!” the other voice said. A girl with purple hair sat next to Devlin.

“Who the hell…”

“Oh, yeah, this is my friend, Tabbi.”

“Hello, Mr. Sullivan!” the girl said, waving.

“…why did you bring your friend?”

“We’re just stopping by for a moment; we came to check out the city a bit. She wanted to meet you, for some reason.”

“Err… hi, I guess.”

“Hi! Devlin talks about you a lot, and I know how much she worries about you. I thought it would be cool to meet you.”

“What--”

“And she said you’re a really good painter, and I really want to see some of your paintings,” Tabbi said, smiling as she sipped from a juice box. "I love art. I do fashion, and I get a lot of inspiration from art... like nouveau and deco!" Kieran stared in a mixture of disbelief and horror.

“…Devlin, why are you talking about me with your friends?” he asked.

“Oh, Mr. Sullivan,” Tabbi started. He winced at being called ‘mister’. “She was just stressed out. And then I kept bugging her about you! It’s not her fault.”

“Sorry, Kieran.”

“Eh… it’s fine. Just… unexpected.”

“Oh! Good luck with your neighbor!”

Kieran froze for a moment.

“What?!” he shouted.

“Errr… yeah, I’m sorry--”

“Why does everyone have such a great time talking about my personal life?”

“Kieran, relax.”

“How am I supposed to relax when I tell someone something that’s SUPPOSED to be a secret, and then, of course, they tell all their friends?!” Kieran shouted, panicking.

“Whoah. Okay. Calm down. Tabbi’s not gonna do or say anything to embarrass you, okay?”

“What--?” Kieran began. He stopped as he heard a knock at the door. He looked at Devlin and Tabbi, then walked to the door, opening it.

“Uhhh, hey,” Finn said, standing at the door.

“Hey. What’s up?” Kieran asked, still sounding agitated.

“I wanted to know if we were still catching the game later with Liadan?”

“Oh, shit, yeah, I forgot about that.”

“Is that his neighbor?” Tabbi asked in the background. Kieran’s thoughts went back to his previous problem.

“You know what, let’s go,” Kieran said, pushing Finn out the door.

“What? Where? You don’t have any shoes or a coat.”

Kieran quickly turned around, grabbing his coat off of the hook and putting his shoes on his feet.

“There.”

“Err, alright, where are we going?”

“I don’t know.”

“Okay…?”

“Devlin, I’m heading out. Lock the door when you leave.”

“Alright.”

“Have a nice day, you two!” Tabbi called.

“Urghh…” Kieran grumbled, shutting the door behind him.

“Who was that?” Finn asked.

“Just Devlin’s friend.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monochrome: 37

Kieran stood in his apartment door, holding a cardboard box of his personal belongings. Finn stood behind him with another box.

“It hasn’t been that long, and I wasn’t very far, but it still feels weird to come back,” Kieran said. “Also, it’s really cold in here.”

“Yeah, you can just feel the cold air pouring out the door.”

“Will have to get the heat back on, soon…” Kieran said, walking into the apartment. He set his cardboard box on the floor, beside the counter. Finn followed him.

“So, why are you coming back already? You haven’t been paid yet, right?” Finn asked, putting his box on top of the counter.

“I’m not completely out of money,” Kieran said. “I just couldn’t afford to keep paying my rent. But now that I have a job, it’s fine.”

“Ah… it is good to have some money for emergencies.”

“Yeah,” Kieran said. He sat on one of the stools and grabbed at the box that Finn set on the counter, sliding it towards him. He pried open the flaps, and took a few objects out, setting them on the counter.

“Want me to help?” Finn asked.

“Sure, there’s not a whole lot though.”

“Still is faster when there’s someone helping you,” Finn said, picking up a box of cereal from the cardboard box. They put away Kieran’s few groceries.

“I should really go buy some food after I’m done putting this stuff away. All I have that I can eat is… cereal or crackers. And chocolate milk powder. Well, not that I haven’t eaten nothing but cereal and crackers before…” Kieran said.

“Yeah, that’s a good plan. Want help with that?” Finn asked.

“What? I can go grocery shopping by myself.”

“Look at that, you’re all grown up.”

“Shut it.”

“Haha! Come on, let me help you.”

“You need something better to do with your time.”

I'm up in the woods





Monochrome: 36

The next week went by quickly as Kieran steadily searched for a new job with Finn’s assistance. Between this, the two talked and learned more about each other. They talked about their families (Finn had two older sisters), things they liked (Kieran often went jogging), and things they disliked (Finn was a vegetarian). Kieran started to improve, putting Finn in high spirits. He found himself sitting at work, missing Kieran.

Finn leaned against the counter, his arm supporting him. He tapped his fingers and stared off as he waited for customers. As he watched the people passing by the windows, his phone buzzed. He checked the screen, seeing a message from Kieran.

“got a second to talk?”

“Yes,” he sent back, signaling to his boss and ducking into the back room.

“So, what’s up?” Finn asked.

“I got a job,” Kieran said.

“What? Really?” Finn said, almost shouting.

“Hahaha, yeah. Record store. It’s actually in the same area as that book store you work at.”

“Oh! I know that place. When did you interview?”

“Just now.”

“You didn’t tell me!”

“I thought it’d be more amusing if I surprised you.”

“Well, anyways, that’s awesome! When are you starting?”

“Tomorrow.”

“Great! We should celebrate later!”

“Haha, alright. I’m gonna talk to Liadan about moving back in.”

“Okay! I’ll see you later.”

“Bye.”

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Monochrome: 35

“Well, that went pretty fast,” Finn said.

“Yeah, I didn’t have to bring much; Liadan’s letting me keep my other stuff in there for the next month. She’s cut me a lot of breaks on this…” Kieran said, poking through a cardboard box.

“That’s alright. She wouldn’t do it if she couldn’t.”

“Yeah.”

“I hope you don’t mind the crappy inflatable bed.”

“Haha, it’s fine. I’ve slept on worse. Like… the floor.”

“You don’t seem to take very good care of yourself.”

“I was never concerned about that,” Kieran said. He looked at Finn, who seemed disappointed. “Hey, I said ‘was’.”

“I just… don’t see why you hate yourself.”

“There… are a lot of reasons.”

Finn sat down beside Kieran.

“Are you okay talking about it?” Finn asked.

“…yeah. I can give it a shot,” Kieran said, picking up a pencil case. He turned it in his hands. “I feel like… I’m not any good. I’m a screw-up. I’ve got too difficult of a personality. Like I’ve messed up my whole life, and I’m just going to keep going downhill until I finally end up killing myself. I’m… kind of afraid of myself.”

“Hey, come on. I thought you said you were done with that?”

“It’s… a work in progress.”

“Now you’ve got me worried again.”

“I’m… sorry,” Kieran said, wincing. “I’ve just… been like this for years. It’s hard to change.”

“I know. I’m glad that you’re trying, though.”

“Yeah.”

“Anyways, I get how you feel, but… I think if you try to be at least a little more confident, you can really make a positive change in your life.”

“Yeah. I’ll do that.”

“Oh, also, I wanted to ask… if it’s okay… what about that person you said you liked?”

Kieran remained silent for a moment, absently fumbling with the pencil case in his hands. He took a deep breath an exhaled.

“That’s… it’s…” he said, trailing off. He shut his eyes, then opened them. “That’s not a problem, anymore.”

“What do you mean?”

“I can accept that I am alone in my feelings. That’s fine. I don’t need anything more. As long as they’re happy.”

“That must be tough. Are you sure?”

“Yes. It… is tough. But, I’m okay with it, now,” Kieran said, tossing the pencil case back into the cardboard box. “Anyways, let’s talk about something else.”

“What do you want to talk about?”

“Errr, I dunno. What’s… stuff you like…? I guess?”

“Hahaha, well, obviously I like books.”

“Yeah, you have… kind of a lot of them,” Kieran said, poking at a bookcase beside him. “Do you write or something?”

“Ah, yeah. Non-fiction. Book reviews, articles, stuff like that. I post them on my blog.”

“…what’s a blog?”

“It’s like… okay, it’s like a journal that you can post on the internet for people to read.”

“…why would you do that?”

“Well, mine’s not literally a journal. It’s just a series of reviews. You can get feedback from people, and you can get more reception. They have stuff like that for art, too.”

“Huh. Interesting.”

“It’s so weird to me that you don’t use computers.”

“They’re a bit expensive.”

“Yeah, just, most people our age do.”

“Sorry.”

“No, no, it’s fine. Just uncommon. If you ever want to try using my computer, you can.”

“Alright.”

“Okay,” Finn said, standing up. “I’m gonna make some food. How’s pizza?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“What do you want on it? Mushrooms? Peppers?”

“Anything’s fine.”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monochrome: 34

Kieran stood in the lobby of the hospital, his phone at his ear. He stared out the window at the hospital parking lot. His phone hummed patiently as he placed a hand against the glass.

“Hey, Kieran!”

“Hey.”

“Were you released from the hospital?”

“Yeah. I need a ride. Do you know someone with a car?”

“Liadan, she’s busy though. And Gavin.”

“Alright, I’ll call him.”

“Oh, you have his number?”

“Yeah, I got it around a week ago.”

“Ahh, that’s great! I’ll start getting ready.”

“Alright. Thanks, again.”

“Yeah! Seeya!”

Kieran looked through his phone and called Gavin. He traced his finger on the foggy glass, drawing a bird.

“Yo! K-dog.”

“…what? K-dog?”

“I should really stop trying to give people nicknames.”

“Yeah. Hi.”

“Hey.”

“I need a ride from the hospital, and Finn says you have a car.”

“Yep. It’s not free, though.”

“What?”

“It’ll cost you… YOUR SOUL.”

Kieran paused, groaning in annoyance.

“…I’m really starting to wonder what happened to your serious side.”

“What, you didn’t think that was funny?”

“Never.”

“Alright, alright. I’ll be up there in a bit.”

“Thanks.”

“Learn to appreciate my comedy while you’re waiting.”

“You would need to be funny, first.”

“Hey, th--”

Kieran shut his phone, ignoring Gavin’s protests. He found his way to the lobby seats, dropping himself into a chair. He stared out the glass doors again, then picked up his sketchbook. He opened the cover, where Finn’s note was still stuck (which made him smile), and slowly went through the pages. Messy pencil sketches covered the first five pages.

He took out his pencil and began to draw. Ten minutes later, the page was covered in a light sketch. His phone buzzed in his pocket.

“hey jerkass i’m here”

Kieran put away his sketchbook and stood up, walking towards the door. He walked outside and looked around, heading towards the patient pick-up area. A car horn suddenly honked loudly beside him, surprising him. He noticed Gavin in the car, laughing.

“Hilarious,” Kieran said, setting down his bag. He approached a bush nearby, scooped snow off of the top of it, and started to wad it in a ball. He threw it at Gavin’s windshield. Gavin rolled down his window.

“Hey, come on.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Monochrome: 33

Finn made his return to the apartments, opening the double doors and wiping his shoes on the floor mat. The temperature change was dramatic, and his body was still shelled in cold. He went up the stairs to the his apartment, and looked for his keys. He placed his key in the door, which suddenly pulled away.

“Hi Finn!”

“Whoah!” Finn shouted. He stared at the man in the door, who was laughing. Gavin stood with a bag of chips.

“What are you doing here?!”

“Haha, I stopped by to see how you were doing, but Liadan told me you were still at the hospital. I decided I was going to wait, so, she let me in. Also, these chips are really good. I kind of ate all of them,” Gavin said.

“Holy crap, give me a little warning next time.”

“I didn’t intend to eat all of them, it just happened…”

“You know that’s not what I meant.”

“Of course,” Gavin said, smirking. He stepped out of the way and let Finn into his apartment.

“So, how’s the big guy doing?”

“Big guy?”

“Kieran. I mean, okay, he’s not that big. That was kind of stupid,” Gavin said. Finn stared at him. “Just… tell me what’s up before I keep rambling like an idiot.”

“He’s good. Doing a lot better,” Finn said, taking off his coat. “We talked. I think it helped him.”

“Ahh, that’s good. I know you were really worried about him. It kinda threw me off, but I get it now.”

“What?”

“You really care a lot about him,” Gavin said. He looked at the clock. “Oh, shit! I have to get going, Jenny’s going to be pissed.”

Gavin ran into the other room and grabbed his coat.

“Wait, what did you mean?” Finn asked.

“I gotta go, we’ll talk later or something!” Gavin said, and quickly ran out the door.

“Huh?”

Monday, December 6, 2010

Monochrome: 32

Kieran opened his eyes to a room filled with white. For a moment, he was lost, but he soon realized he knew that room. He had been here several times before, and as his memory slowly came back to him, he knew exactly why he was there. He sighed, his chest tight again.

A small television was jammed in the corner of the room, sports news playing in silence. He looked at the table next to him, and noticed a bag. He took it off of the table and examined it. A note on the bag said “For Kieran Sullivan.” He reached inside and pulled out a sketchbook. Checking the bag, he also found a few pencils and an eraser. He laughed.

I bet Finn did this. He looked at the sketchbook. It was the one that Finn bought him, still unused. He opened up the cover and saw another note. “I spent a while picking this out! Don’t just let it sit and collect dust.”

Laughing again, he thought, Yeah. It was definitely him.

He sat quietly, drawing while he waited for something to happen. An hour passed, and a nurse came to check on him. After she left, he heard the door open again a moment later. He looked up from his sketchbook, seeing Finn at the foot of his bed.

“Hey,” Finn said.

“Hey.”

Finn took a seat next to his bed, quiet for a few minutes, while Kieran continued to draw.

“Why did you do it?” he asked, quietly.

“What do you mean?”

“You know what I mean,” Finn said firmly. Kieran continued to draw. “Kieran. Please answer me.”

“What do you want me to say? That I’ve ruined my life? That I have no reason to live? That I’m just… a worthless person? And that, because of it, I’m always going to be alone?”

“That’s not true,” Finn said.

“I’ve felt this way for years. I know it. It’s not just some split second decision. And things are only getting worse.”

“You’re wrong,” Finn said. “You haven’t ruined your life. You’re only twenty-seven! We’re young. We always think our lives are blowing by at this age. But really, we’re just at the start. Whatever you’ve dealt with, there’s always a way. People have gotten by with less.”

Kieran stared down at his sketchbook.

“And you’re not worthless! For one thing, you’re an amazing artist. I mean, look,” Finn said, pointing at Kieran’s sketchbook. “Stop for a second and look at that. That’s really good. And you can’t have been at that for long. And, besides that--you’re a really nice person. Sure, you have trouble communicating with people… but you can get past that. And you’ve been doing well, lately.”

Kieran looked at Finn.

“And you’re not alone. You have me. And Liadan, and Devlin, Bianca, Gavin, Jenny. They’re all worried about you. They want you to be happy. I want you to be happy. And we’ll support you. So you don’t have to hide away or keep quiet about things. We want to help.”

Kieran narrowed his eyes and took a breath.

“Thank you,” he said.

“Now, tell me what happened.”

“What?”

“What got you so upset?”

“I… it was a few things. I don’t like… Liadan. She’s not the person I was talking about. I only tried to date her because I was mad at myself. And I was upset because I can’t… be with the person I want to be with.”

“Why?”

“I can’t tell you,” Kieran said. “Not yet.”

“Alright… what else?”

“You’re apparently familiar with Devlin?”

“Yeah.”

“She’s not supposed to visit me. Her dad found out. I don’t know what happened, really, but… her dad isn’t exactly a nice guy.”

“She’s fine,” Finn said. “I’ve talked to her. Was there anything else?”

“I’m out of money. I’m not going to have anywhere to live…”

“You can live with me.”

“What?” Kieran asked.

“You could’ve just asked, you know. You’re welcome to stay.”

“Are you sure…?”

“Yeah. And I’m going to make sure we find you a job.”

“Hah… alright. Thanks,” Kieran said, smiling.

“That’s what I like to see!” Finn said, laughing. He stood up from his chair.

“I have to head off, but I’ll be back later. Tell me when they’re going to let you out, if you find out.”

“Okay.”

Finn walked around the bed.

“I decided…” Kieran started. Finn looked at him.

“I’m not going to kill myself… I‘m done with that. I‘m… going to live.”

“I‘m looking forward to it!” Finn said.

“Thank you… a lot. I don’t know what would’ve happened to me without your help.”

“Don’t worry about it. Everything’s going to be fine.”

Monochrome: 31

Finn stood in front of his door in the hallway, staring across the short distance to Kieran’s door. He thought about what he was going to say and took a breath. He approached the door, exhaled, and knocked. There was no response.

“Kieran?”

He waited.

“Are you there?” he started, and the door clicked open.

“Hey,” Kieran said.

“Hi… do you mind if I come in?” Finn asked.

“Sure…”

Finn stepped into the apartment as Kieran opened the door and walked over to the counter.

“What is that smell? Paint thinner?” Finn asked, overwhelmed by the chemical odor.

“Yeah… was paintin’ earlier…”

“I’m going to open a window. Breathing that stuff in can be really bad for you,” Finn said, walking over to the windows.

“Yeah.”

He flipped the latch and pushed open the window, a cold breeze flooding in. He noticed Kieran’s coat on the couch and tossed it to him.

“Thanks…” Kieran said, putting the coat on.

“Hey, uhh, I’m sorry about the other day. Liadan told me you two broke up and you weren’t feeling well or something… and I figured, maybe you were stressed out, and maybe that was my fault. And then, you know, Bee and I broke up again. It was weird. I feel kind of relieved.”

Kieran stared hazily at him.

“Are you okay?” Finn asked.

“Yeah, ‘m fine…”

“You seem really out of it…”

“Uhh, yeah, it’s probably just…” Kieran said, trailing off as he fell back against the counter.

“Whoah!” Finn said, running over. “What’s wrong?”

“I’m sorry… I…” Kieran said, starting to cry. His eyes shut as he passed out.

“Kieran!”

Monochrome: 30

Kieran sat on his bed, half-dressed with his shirt laying beside him. He stared into the mirror in front of him (which he usually covered with a sheet). What am I doing?

His phone, sitting across from him on the bed, started to buzz. He ignored it, for a moment, then reached for it. Finn was calling him. He answered it.

“Hey.”

“Hi! How are you?”

“Fine.”

“I’ve been trying to reach you for a while.”

“Ah, yeah,” Kieran said. He could vaguely remember how many texts and calls he ignored.

“Anyways, do you want to hang out or something? I’m off work.”

“I… have a date,” he said, uncomfortable with the phrase.

“Oh. Want to make it a double date?”

“What?”

“I bring my date, you bring yours. We go as a group.”

“Oh,” he said. He stared at himself in the mirror. “Sure.”


Kieran and Liadan walked into the noisy restaurant, looking for Finn. He emerged from a group of tables on the right.

“Hey guys! We’re over here,” Finn said, waving his arm towards the right.

They followed him through the chairs and tables until they reached a booth at the back. Bianca sat on the inside, and took notice of Kieran and Liadan. She got up from her seat to meet them.

“Kieran, I didn’t expect you’d be bringing Liadan!” Finn said with a laugh.

“Yes…” Bianca said, staring at Liadan.

“Er, yeah,” Kieran said, awkwardly.

“Do you mind if I talk to my sister for a moment?” Bianca asked.

“Sure!”

“Okay.”

“Thanks,” she said, taking her sister off by the arm. Kieran and Finn sat down at the booth.

“Bee seemed a bit mad. Wonder why that is?” Finn said.

“Hm.”

Kieran stared at the menu in front of him, silent, waiting for Liadan and Bianca to return. I thought this would help. It’s just making it worse.

“Ah, there they are.”

Liadan and Bianca returned, and Kieran stood up to let Liadan into the booth. Kieran sat facing Bianca, who stared at him for a moment.

“So, when did you two get together?” Finn asked.

“A few days ago; Kieran asked me out when I came home to watch the Bruins game,” Liadan answered.

“Ahh. So, things worked out for you after all, Kieran?”

“Huh?” Kieran said, looking up.

“That night, you said there was someone you liked.”

“Oh. Yeah,” Kieran answered.

The conversation drifted around, held mostly by Finn and Liadan, with the occasional input from Bianca. Kieran focused his attention elsewhere, his chest tightening. His head pounded faintly.

“I’ll be right back,” he said, standing up from his seat and heading to the bathroom. A man walked past him, and he pushed open the door of the men’s room. He walked to the sink, placing his hands down and staring into the bowl. He ran the water and splashed his face, staring down as it dripped.

He took a breath and looked up into the mirror. His hand reached towards the glass, resting on its cold surface. I just want to break it. He exhaled and slid his hand off, turning to the dispenser on the wall. He dried his face and left the bathroom. Liadan stood outside the door.

“What?” he asked her, standing in front of the door. A man walked toward him, and he stepped out of the way.

“You don’t have to do this.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I know you don’t like me,” Liadan said. He had no response.

“I’m not offended or anything. I just don’t think you should do this to yourself.”

“What am I ‘doing’?”

“Lying. And, don’t get me wrong, I know I shouldn’t have agreed to it in the first place…” she said. “But, let’s just quit while we’re ahead.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You don’t know what I do and don’t know,” Liadan said, firmly.

“Then, what? What do you know?”

“I know about Finn.”

“What?”

“Bianca told me, unintentionally.”

Kieran froze. His heart rate quickened.

“I… have to go,” he said, walking off towards the exit.

“Kieran!” Liadan called. He moved faster. He threw open the doors, and felt the cold wash over him as his feet took him away.

Monochrome: 29

Finn walked down the sidewalk, his shoes sloshing through the wet remains of snow and ice. He quietly hummed a tune he couldn’t remember well as he approached the distant apartment building. While he drew nearer to the apartments, he passed by a pair of figures walking down the sidewalk beside him. He double-taked, and turned around. Watching as they walked off, he realized it was Kieran and Liadan.

Heading up the stairs and into his apartment, his mind wondered about what he saw. It was slow to process. Were they holding hands? He recalled it carefully. Huh? Are they dating or something?

He leaned against the door to his apartment. It just didn’t click in his head.

That’s… weird.

He sat down, still thinking. Is that what Kieran was talking about the other day? When did they get together? Why didn’t they tell me?

He stared off into the living room, then he took his phone out of his pocket. Staring at it for a moment, he typed out a message.

“Bianca - want to try going out again?”

He sat quietly as he waited for his phone to buzz.

“What? Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay”

He sat his chin in his palm. …why did I do that?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Monochrome: 28

“What kind of stupid idea is that?” Devlin shouted.

“I don’t know, maybe it will fix me,” Kieran said.

“Fix you? What’s there to be fixed!? I thought this wasn’t an issue anymore,” she asked.

Kieran stared off, visibly strained. Devlin sat at the counter in his apartment as he sat against the wall.

“You can never look people in the eye.”

“…I know.”

Kieran rubbed his hand against his forehead. “Maybe this will work.”

“And what if it doesn’t?” Devlin asked.

“I don’t know,” he said. Devlin looked at her phone and sighed.

“Look, I have to go. If I’m gone too long, my dad’s gonna wonder what’s up, and I’d rather not deal with his bullshit. Please… don’t do anything drastic. Anything else,” Devlin said.

“Yeah.”

“Goodbye, Kieran.”

“Seeya.”

Monochrome: 27

Liadan walked towards the glass double doors of the Grisaille Apartments, thinking about the hockey game she just missed the first thirty minutes of. She pushed open the door and noticed a figure sitting against the wall in the dark lobby. She took a moment to let her eyes adjust.

“Kieran?” Liadan asked, letting go of the glass door. “What’re you doing there?”

“Sitting,” he answered, not looking up.

“No, I mean, why here?” she asked, walking towards him.

“Don’t know.”

“Are you okay?”

“Not about to kill myself, if that’s what you’re thinking,” he said, staring forward. She wasn’t sure how to respond.

“Sorry, being an asshole. I should stop that,” Kieran said, sighing. “I’m just agitated.”

“It’s fine. Do you want to talk?”

“No, not really. Sorry.”

“Alright,” Liadan said. She walked to her apartment door and took her keys out of her pocket.

“Liadan.”

“What?”

“…would you go out with me?”

“Huh?” she said. They were both quiet.

“…are you sure?” she asked. He didn’t respond.

“…okay.”

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Monochrome: 26

It was late in the afternoon. The sports bar buzzed with chatter. Kieran, Finn, and Gavin met after work. Finn was at the bar, ordering their drinks.

“So, how did you guys meet?” Kieran asked, leaning against the half-wall across from the bar.

“Huh? What, me and Finn?” Gavin asked.

“Yeah.”

“We went to the same college. Shared a few classes. We both thought, ‘hey, you seem pretty cool.’ Good story!” Gavin said, laughing at himself.

“Pft, a jackass like you?” Kieran joked.

“Well, he seems to have no problem with you,” Gavin retorted.

“Oh?”

“Yeah, man, you’re like, the Jack of Asses. That’s how much of a jackass you are,” Gavin rambled.

“That college education sure paid off.”

“You see? This is what I’m talking about!”

“What are you two going on about?” Finn said, handing them their drinks.

“This kid’s embarrassing himself,” Kieran said, taking a sip from his glass.

“Haha, shut up,” Gavin said.

“Nice to see you two getting along, in whatever weird way that is,” Finn said.

“How old are you, Kieran? Calling me ‘kid’. We’ve gotta be the same age,” Gavin asked. They started walking towards their table.

“Twenty-seven,” Kieran responded.

“What? No way. I’m twenty-four,” Gavin said, surprised.

“Heh. Kid,” Kieran joked.

“Three years difference isn’t that big, you know.”

They sat down at the table, placing down their drinks and watching the hockey game. Gavin took his phone out of his pocket.

“Oh, damn. I gotta head off, already,” Gavin said. He threw some money down on the table. “Jenny’s out early. That covers me, and I threw in a little extra. I’ll see you guys next time!”

“Alright! And, hey, by the way; don’t forget to return my book.”

“Oh, yeah! I’ll get that back to you. Seeya, Kieran!”

“Bye,” Kieran said. Gavin left the table and walked to the exit.

“Those two are pretty much inseparable,” Finn said. “Been dating since high school, apparently.”

“Huh… are they getting married?”

“Gavin said he wants to, once they’re more financially secure and they know what they’re doing. It’s sort of weird to see that, to me. I’ve never had a girlfriend for more than three months.”

“Ah, yeah,” Kieran agreed.

“What about you?” Finn asked.

“Huh? Oh. I’ve… never dated anyone, actually.”

“What? You’re kidding!”

“No,” Kieran said, staring at his hands while he crumpled up a straw wrapper.

“Didn’t expect that. You’ve at least liked someone, right?”

“…not until… recently,” Kieran said. He stared at the table.

“How‘s that going?” Finn asked.

“…I don’t know,” Kieran responded, taking a drink from his glass.

“Hm… well, hey,” Finn said, raising his glass. “Here’s hoping you have some success.”

“Yeah,” Kieran said. They both took a drink. The bar lulled for a moment, and Kieran overheard a man speaking, “What a couple of fags.”

“Wow, what an asshole,” Finn spoke up, taking notice of the man’s comment.

“I’ve gotta head off,” Kieran said, getting out of his seat.

“What?”

“Here’s my part of the bill.”

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Monochrome: 25

Finn sat in the small break room in the back of the bookstore, hovering over a tray of microwave Pad Thai and staring at the clock. It was around 1 PM, and business was slow. Mr. Graham, who owned the bookstore, was minding the counter. Finn was thinking about the hockey game later; the Bruins would be facing the Canadiens, and he was hoping to watch the game with some friends.

None of my friends are really into hockey. He thought about it for a moment. Kieran! He likes hockey. And maybe I’ll see if Liadan’s interested, too.

Finn took his phone out of his pocket and hammered out a message addressed to Kieran.

“Bruins game tonight. We should watch it! Thinking of inviting Liadan.”

“ok. we can watch it at my place?”

“Okay! I’ll bring snacks.”

He looked at his phone, checking for Liadan in his contacts. He sent her a message, as well.

“Do you like hockey?”

“YES”

“Canadiens at Kieran’s later?”

“Fuck yes”

Finn laughed and shut his phone, then tossed his tray in the trash and went back to work.


Finn knocked on Kieran’s apartment door, a bag of snacks in one hand. After a moment, Kieran opened the door.

“Hey.”

“Hi! Is Liadan here yet?”

“She’s been here for an hour,” Kieran responded, pointing to her from the door. “Been watching the pre-game stuff, sitting, what… five inches away from the TV.”

“Hahaha, I didn’t know she would get that excited about it.”

“Neither did I. She practically busted the door down, coming in here.”

“Well, this should be fun…” Finn said with a laugh. He walked into the apartment and greeted Liadan, who remained focused on the TV (despite the commercial playing).

“Where should I put these chips?”

“Oh, hang on,” Kieran said. He went over to the coffee table in front of the TV and cleared off some sketchbooks and tools. “Here’s good.”

Finn stuck the bag of chips on the table and set a jar of salsa with it.

“The game’s starting!”


“Aaargh!” Liadan shouted. “I can’t believe we lost again.”

“Well, hey, that was a pretty good game. We came really close,” Finn said.

“Yeah… I gotta admit, I did enjoy it. It just sucks! We were almost there.”

“We’ll get ‘em next time,” Kieran said.

News anchors chattered quietly on the TV about the hockey game.

“Alright… I’m gonna head off. I’m tired!” Liadan said.

“Okay,” Kieran responded.

“Ahhh, I’m still really hyped from that game,” Finn said.

“Haha.”

“Do you want to hang out, still?”

“Sure.”

“I’ll see you guys tomorrow!” Liadan said, heading for the door.

“Seeya.” “Bye!”

The door quietly shut behind her. Finn and Kieran sat, stationary.

“Hmmm, do you watch much TV?” Finn asked.

“Not really.”

“There’s this show I started watching recently, it’s pretty funny. If you want to watch it, I can get my laptop and we can watch it on the TV.”

“What? You can do that?”

“Yeah! I just hook up this cable to your TV and it will display my computer screen… and then I can just play the videos.”

“Is that like… legal?”

“Hahaha, yeah! I’m using this website I subscribed to.”

“Oh, okay. I don’t really get it, but, sure. Let’s watch it.”

“Alright! I’ll go get my laptop!” Finn said, leaping out of his seat. “Be right back!”

He quickly went out the door. Kieran arched forward in his seat, staring unfocused at the television screen. For once, he was feeling content. It had been some years since he could recall when he last felt this way. But, it pushed apprehension forward in his head. I shouldn’t get too comfortable…

The door clicked open again, breaking Kieran from his thoughts. Finn came in, a silver laptop under his arm and a cable in his hand.

“Is it okay if I move the TV?”

“Yeah, go ahead.”

Kieran quietly watched as Finn hooked the cable up to the TV, and then to his laptop. He messed with the settings a bit until the image appeared on the television.

“Here we go!” Finn said. “Where should I start? Oh, there’s this one great episode in the second season that I saw recently… but I don’t want to show you them out of order. But the first season isn’t as good…”

He thought for a bit.

“Okay, I’ll show you that episode, then the first season.”

“Alright,” Kieran answered. Finn stood up and sat next to Kieran, setting his laptop on the floor in front of him.

“The audio doesn’t play through the TV, I don’t know how to get that to work quite yet. So we’ll have to listen to the laptop.”

As the show played, Finn would point out things and explain the show. Kieran watched quietly, hearing more of what Finn was saying than the show. Finn laughed, and Kieran smiled. Maybe this isn’t such a bad thing.

By the time the next episode started, Finn was already starting to lose his steam. His commentary slowed down, and Kieran started to focus on the show. It felt like time was moving more slowly, tired as the night stretched on. He felt a weight against his shoulder. He looked, and noticed Finn had fallen asleep.

Argh… what do I do? Kieran thought. I don’t want to wake him up.

He stared at the television. I guess I just… stay here?


In the morning, Finn awoke as the sun shined on his face. For a moment, he was unaware of where he was. Ahhh, I fell asleep! He looked to his side and noticed Kieran, still sleeping.

Oh no, that’s… really embarrassing.

Kieran stirred, waking up as well.

“Errr… hi,” Finn said.

“…hey.”

“Haha, I guess we passed out.”

“Yeah,” Kieran responded, half-awake.

“I should head back to my apartment.”

“Okay,” Kieran said, stretching and yawning.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Monochrome: 24

Kieran lay in bed, staring at the clock. The blue digits stared back, etching “8:14” into his mind, staying with him as he blinked. I should probably get up.

He sat up, peeling his blankets off and turning himself so that he sat on the edge of the mattress. His head was quiet and lazy, full of disconnected murmur. He stretched his arms and yawned, then stumbled out of the room. His feet found their way to the couch, where he plunged into the cushions. Goddamn, I am still really tired.

He stared off in no particular direction, vision unfocused and unimportant. His thoughts slowly processed information: It’s morning. I’m tired. I’m really tired. I’m supposed to be awake. Are there eggs in the fridge? I could go for some eggs right now. I’m supposed to do something today. I’m still really tired.

His vacant stare continued to pierce some ambiguous space between the TV and the window. No thoughts sustained themselves for more than a few seconds. He yawned, again.

“SULLIVAN!” a muffled voice shouted, knocking rapidly on the door. Ughh… no. I’m not awake. I’m asleep.

The knocking continued, and Kieran dragged himself out of his seat and towards the door, opening it.

“Hi,” Liadan started, quickly. “I really need your help.”

He stared at her for a moment, delayed in reaction.

“What.”

“My parents are running a marathon and I just lost some people who were going to help out and I really need your help,” she rushed.

“Hang on. I’m not awake. What did you say?”

“Can you help run a water table for a marathon my family’s in charge of?”

“You’re doing a marathon in February?”

“It’s for charity.”

“I dunno, I’m kind of… not awake, like I said. I gotta do something today.”

“What?”

“I need to find a new job.”

“I’ll relieve you of a month’s rent.”

“I don-- what?” Kieran said. What did she just say?

“I really need the help. I got Finn, but everyone else has work…”

“…deal.”

“You’ll do it?” she asked, visibly excited.

“Yeah.”

“Thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou!” Liadan chanted, hugging Kieran. What the hell…

“Come outside when you’re ready!” Liadan said, and sped off. Kieran stood still at the door. I should… go get ready.

He stuffed some bread in the toaster, and went to go get dressed. He muttered sleepily to himself about how stupid it was to be awake so early as he pulled his shirt over his head. When he finished dressing, he went into the kitchen and grabbed his toast, quickly eating it. He downed a glass of water, then went out the door.

Kieran walked out to the sidewalk, still groggy and yawning. Finn, Bianca, and Liadan all stood beside a car.

“Alright, now that Sullivan’s finally here, let’s get going.”

“Shut up,” Kieran muttered. He could barely see from all of the light reflecting off of the snow.


“Okay, here is your station,” Liadan said, pointing at a table on the side of the road. “The marathon starts in about an hour and a half. But they won’t get to you for a little while after that. Basically, you’re just filling up as many cups as you can until the runners start coming. Then you’re going to pass off the drinks to them. All of the supplies are there. If you need to, you can stack the cups with these cardboard sheets on top…”

They checked out the supplies.

“…now, if you have any questions, I will be at the finish line. So you’ll have to call me or text me. All set?”

“Yeah.” “Yes.” “Yep!”

“Good. Thanks again!” Liadan said, and headed to her car, waving.

“So… let’s get started,” Finn said. “How about… one person passes the cups, the next fills them, and the last places them on the table?”

“Alright.”

“I’ll place the cups on the table!” Bianca said.

“Okay, then, I’ll pass off cups to you, Kieran?” Finn asked.

“Sure.”

They started filling the cups, and quickly covered a sizable portion of the table.

“How many runners are there?” Finn asked.

“Four-hundred… eighty… somewhere around there,” Bianca said.

“We should have plenty by the time it starts,” Kieran said.

By the time the runners arrived, the table was covered with cups. They each stood in front of the tables, passing off cups repeatedly, until the crowd dwindled. They fell back in their seats, and waited for the remainder of the runners.

“That was pretty intense.”

“Yeah.”

A few more runners came by, and they continued the routine. The table still held a large number of cups.

“If it’s okay, and you guys think you can handle what’s left, do you mind if I go to the finish line?” Bianca asked.

“Yeah, sure! We’ve got it,” Finn said.

“…alright,” Kieran said.

“Okay! Great. Good luck! I‘ll send you a message when it‘s over, and we‘ll come by to pick you guys up,” she said.

Kieran and Finn sat in their chairs, the wind blowing at the trees.

“So, hey, good thing it was a bit warmer today than usual,” Finn said.

“Yeah.”

“I was surprised you came to help; I figured you would be busy.”

“Well, Liadan made me an offer.”

“Yeah?”

“No rent this month.”

“Seriously? That’s awesome.”

“Yeah. I feel like a jerk,” Kieran said. He regretted saying it immediately.

“What? Why?”

“Ehh… like I’m taking advantage, or something.”

“Don’t worry about it. She can handle losing a month’s rent, plus, I think she wanted to help you.”

“That… doesn’t really make me feel any better about it.”

“Why?”

“…I don’t want people to help me.”

“Everyone needs help sometime.”

“I’m not…” Kieran started. “…forget it.”

“Well, I’m not going to let you refuse my help when you really need it, alright?” Finn said, laughing.

“Yeah. …thanks.”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monochrome: 23

Kieran found himself stalking down the sidewalk, yet again. The same routine, peering in windows and stopping in stores and businesses in search of a job. Today, he focused on another block. He hadn’t been this way in his search before, but it wasn’t proving to fare much better. As he stared through the window of a book store, he stopped. Slowly, he realized he saw Finn at the counter. Finn noticed him, and signaled for him to come in.

“Hey. This is where you work?” Kieran asked, approaching the counter.

“Yeah! It’s great, isn’t it?”

“Certainly is… a bit old,” he said. The floors creaked as the customers walked around, and the wooden columns looked worn out. The smell of wood was second only to the smell of paper and ink.

“Yeah. I like it. It’s comfortable,” Finn said. “Hang on a second.”

He turned and headed for a door behind the counter.

“I’m going to take my lunch break, is that alright?”

“Go ahead,” a voice answered back. An older man came out of the room, putting on his glasses. Finn walked out from behind the counter.

“Let’s go!” Finn said.

“What? You can just take a break like that?”

“Yeah. He’s fine with it!” Finn said, smiling at the old man. They left the store.

“So, let’s get some lunch.”

“You know I can’t afford that right now.”

“Yeah, so, I’m going to buy for you.”

“What?” Kieran said. “You don’t have to do that.”

“Well, I will. So, you’re going to have to just deal with it!” Finn said, smiling again.

This guy sure smiles a lot.


“So, what are you up to?” Finn asked. He sat with a cup of coffee and a salad.

“Or, were, I guess.”

“I was looking for a job around here,” Kieran said.

“Oh, yeah, have you had any luck?”

“No… I thought I almost found a place that was hiring, but they just got someone. I just barely missed it,” Kieran said, sighing.

“That sucks… I’ve been trying to look out for somewhere that’s hiring, too. When I can. Oh! You know, we could probably look online to see if anyone’s hiring,” Finn said, taking a sip of his coffee.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, there are websites where people post help wanted ads. We could look on there.”

“I don’t have a computer.”

“What?” Finn said, a look of disbelief on his face.

“I can’t afford it.”

“Well, yeah, especially not now… I’m just surprised. You know how to use one, right?” Finn asked.

“Sorta… I only really used them in college,” Kieran explained.

“That’s so weird… well, we can use my laptop. Come over later, after work, and I’ll help you out with that.”

“Alright. Thanks.”

“Hey, it’s no problem. I wouldn’t want you to lose your apartment.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monochrome: 22

Kieran walked along the sidewalk in the cold, his eyes glancing over the cluster of businesses he passed by. He scanned the windows for some sort of “Help Wanted” sign. He had been down this way before -- several times, in fact (though, not all on the same day). There was never anything, but he had to try. Funds were drying up, and soon, he would have nowhere to live.

He sighed, sticking his hands in his pockets to warm them. It was too cold, and it was starting to snow. After checking a few more stores, his phone buzzed. He checked the screen; Finn.

“Hey,” Kieran said, holding the phone to his ear.

“Hi! Are you busy?” Finn chimed.

He glanced at the stores on the sidewalk.

“…no.”

“Do you want to hang out?”

“Alright.”


Kieran entered the noisy sports bar, brushing snow off of his coat and wiping his boots on the doormat. He unwound the scarf around his neck and tucked it into his pocket; then, he looked around. Finn waved at him from a table off to the left.

“Hey.”

“Kieran! Gavin’s here,” Finn said, motioning towards Gavin.

“Uhh… hi,” Kieran said to Gavin.

“Hey, I wanted to apologize,” Gavin said, sticking out his hand. Kieran awkwardly shook it.

“I was being a huge asshole last time we met. Pretty ironic, huh? Well, Finn’s explained to me pretty thoroughly how wrong I was,” he said, laughing. “So, I thought I’d try apologizing and see if we could start over.”

“Alright,” Kieran responded. That’s… not what I expected.

“Well, take a seat!” Finn said. Kieran looked around. Finn’s other friends were there, and there was an empty seat between Bianca and Finn. He sat down, and Bianca smiled at him. He directed his attention to a menu on the table.

“So, I hear you’re a painter,” one of Finn’s friends said. Kieran looked up--the voice came from the woman sitting next to Gavin.

“Yeah.”

“What do you paint?” she asked.

“…dreams. Or, whatever’s interesting.”

“Hmm… that sounds cool! You should show me, sometime!”

“Err… maybe,” Kieran muttered. That’s probably not happening.

“Kieran’s a bit private about his art,” Finn interjected.

“Ah, really? Well, if you ever wanna show me, please do. I’m an artist, too!” she beamed.

“Jenny, you just draw silly anime stuff,” Gavin said, laughing.

“Heyyy! I thought you were on my side.”

“I am, I am,” he said, hugging her and kissing her on the forehead.

“That’s more like it!” Jenny cheered. Kieran winced.

The bar grew noisy. Kieran looked across the room and noticed the hockey game on the TV.

“Looks like the Bruins aren’t doing so well, Finn,” one of Finn’s friends said with a laugh.

“They can turn it around,” Finn assured, staring at the TV.

“I still think it’s weird that Florida has an ice hockey team. Ice. Florida. The two don’t usually go hand-in-hand,” Kieran said.

“What about the Phoenix Coyotes? LA Kings? San Jose Sharks?” Finn asked.

“That’s all Western Conference, who cares? Anyways, the Sharks at least have an awesome logo,” Kieran said. “That shark fucking hates that hockey stick.”

“What’s a shark doing on the ice?”

“Waiting for it to melt?” Kieran suggested.

“Anyways, if you’re just going to talk Eastern Conference, then, Tampa Bay? Carolina? Atlanta?”

“Same thing; too damn hot for hockey.”

“Want more Canadian teams?”

“Fuck Canada,” Kieran grumbled. Finn started laughing.


“Hey, see you guys later this week!” Finn shouted as he waved to his friends. Kieran was walking down the sidewalk. Finn ran to catch up.

“That’s the most I’ve ever seen you talk!” he said, smiling.

“Yeah?”

“I’m glad you got along with everyone. Gavin’s been meaning to apologize for a while now,” Finn explained.

“Huh…”

“We need to hang out more often!”

“Alright,” Kieran said.

Better night than usual.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Monochrome: 21

Kieran headed out the door of his apartment, turning the lock and checking the knob as he entered the hall. He checked his pockets and moved on, sure that everything was in order. The old, worn steps on the stairs creaked as he trudged down to the first floor. Heading towards the door, he caught sight of a woman he recognized -- Bianca.

“Oh, hello!” she said with a smile.

“Hey. What’s up?”

“Ah, I came by to see if Finn was here… seems he’s out. I’m waiting for my sister.”

“Your sister?”

“Liadan! Finn never mentioned my last name?”

“No, I guess not,” Kieran answered. He could see the resemblance, though Bianca was smaller and more feminine.

Kieran approached the glass doors. As he stood across from Bianca, she started, “Oh, that’s right…”

“Are you in love with Finn?”

For a moment, Kieran froze.

He regained himself, and turned his head, asking, “What?”

“You are, aren’t you?” she marked, bearing that same smile.

He stared at her, trying to read her face.

“I won’t say anything.”

“What makes you think that?”

“I can tell from just the few times I’ve met you… and that’s not to say you make yourself obvious.”

“Why are you saying this?”

“Oh, I’m sorry! I’m not trying to be rude, here, but, I guess I was… I’m just happy that someone else loves him, too,” she replied, embarrassed.

“…why?”

“Because… you see what I see. And, you’re a very kind person.”

“I… doubt that.”

“I think you should have a little more confidence in yourself.”

“…”

“And, anyways… maybe you’ll finally be the one for him?”

“…no,” Kieran said. “I won’t.”

Sunday, November 7, 2010

NEWW Fanart, Stamps, Monochrome


'Stamp' designs for my Color and Design class.


KIERAN AND FINN BEING ADORABLE


Dave Strider for Andrew Hussie of MS Paint Adventures!


Dr. McNinja for Chris Hastings!


Reginald from Nedroid by Anthony Clark!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Monochrome: 20

Kieran sat at the counter in his silent apartment. His sketchbook lay open and a bottle of beer sat near it on a coaster. His pencil and eraser sat on top of the paper. He tipped his seat back carefully, balancing precariously on the stool’s legs. He could faintly hear someone in the hallway. A quick, sharp knock came at his door. Kieran tipped his seat forward to rest and walked to the door. He peered through the eyelet, seeing Finn; he seemed upset. Kieran opened the door.

“Hey,” Kieran said.

“Can I talk to you for a moment?” he asked.

“Yeah, sure.”

Kieran turned and walked back into the apartment, Finn following. What’s this about…?

“Am I an idiot or something?”

“What?”

“Am I just always screwing up and no one wants to tell me?”

“No, what are you talking about?”

Finn sighed in frustration, and said, “Bee broke up with me.”

Kieran wasn’t sure how to respond. Finn continued.

“She tells me… she doesn’t want to force me to be with her when she knows I don’t love her. She thanked me for what time I did spend with her.”

“…did you love her?”

“I thought I did… But now, I don’t know, she could be right. Aren’t I supposed to?”

“I don’t think that’s something you really have any control of,” Kieran answered.

“I guess… but, I feel like I screwed up. Again.”

“Again?”

“This happens to me all the time. Every single girlfriend I’ve ever had. Am I doing something wrong…?” Finn wondered, face strained with disappointment. “I always figured that… even if I wasn’t into someone when I started dating them that it would change.”

“Don’t push yourself. You’ll find someone. And… I’m sure you’ll be happy,” Kieran told him, his heart sinking a little bit.

“Thanks… you’re a good friend, Kieran.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Monochrome: 19

Finn was returning from work, again. When he reached the third floor, he caught sight of a girl standing at Kieran’s door. He thought back to what Liadan told him.

“…are you Devlin, by any chance?” Finn asked her. She turned around and looked at him.

“Yes. Kieran’s neighbor?”

“Yes. Finn,” he said, then added, “Blake.”

“Aha. Do you know where Kieran is?” she asked him.

“No, I just got back, myself.”

“Hm, alright. Thanks,” she said, heading towards the stairs.

“Wait!” Finn said. She paused.

“…yes?”

“Do you… think I could talk to you for a bit?”

“…alright.”


They sat in a diner across the street. Devlin wanted something to eat, and Finn wanted to talk somewhere else, thinking Kieran might show up. The diner was small and quiet, walls covered in kitschy decorations and novelties.

“What did you want?” Devlin asked, glancing over the menu.

“It’s about Kieran.”

“I figured as much,” Devlin replied. She noticed Finn’s confused look.

“He’s the only connection we have.”

“I guess so.”

“So what’s up with him?”

The waitress stopped by, asking for the order.

“A club sandwich and a hot chocolate, please.”

“Just coffee, for me.”

The waitress left with their order, and Finn went back to their conversation.

“He’s… tried to kill himself before, right?”

“…yes. He hasn‘t for a while, though…”

“I think he may have been considering it a few days ago…”

Devlin was looking out the window. She asked him, “Why do you think that?”

“He had a gun.”

She turned her head quickly, eyes widened. She then narrowed them, resting her forehead on her hand and letting out a sigh.

“I swear, I’m gonna kill him. Not… literally, of course…”

“How long has he been like this?”

“Since he was younger than me.”

“Has anyone ever done anything about it?”

“His parents tried sending him to therapy after his first attempt… he improved, a bit, or maybe he was just careful about seeming that way. But that didn‘t last.”

“You know, the first time we talked, he told me he didn’t have anyone to stay with… which was why I let him stay with me until he got his key back. What about his parents and the rest of his family?”

“His parents are dead.”

“Oh… I didn’t--”

“Yeah. I know. The rest of the family… is kind of complicated. They don’t really want anything to do with him. I actually have to hide that I’m meeting him, which has been pretty difficult, for a while… but I’m starting to get more opportunities.”

“That’s awful…” Finn said.

Neither of them said anything. They watched the street outside the window as they waited for the waitress to return.

“Do you… think you can help him?”

“I know I’m trying.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Monochrome: 18

Finn slowly made his way up the apartment staircase, carefully placing his feet on each step. He had two bags of books, one on each arm, and another pile cradled in front of him, blocking his view. Today, he got to take in a surplus of old, unwanted books from the bookstore. They smelled like a cellar and were still covered in some dust. Their pages were yellow with age.

His foot made its way to the third floor, but caught on the step, sending his body forward. His elbow smacked hard against the ground and his books spilled all over the floor.

“Ahh, shit…” Finn muttered, rubbing his elbow. I probably should’ve asked for help bringing these in… He began to grab the books closest to him on the floor. Kieran came out of his apartment.

“Need some help?” he asked.

“Oh, hey Kieran! …yeah, I probably could,” Finn said, laughing. Kieran crouched down and started gathering books.

“There’s a hell of a lot of these…” Kieran said.

“I like books.”

“I noticed.”

They finished cleaning up the mess and Kieran walked over to Finn.

“Gimme those,” he said, referring to one of Finn’s bags.

“Huh? I can take them.”

“Just give ‘em to me.”

Finn handed him the bag and walked to his door, taking out his keys. They entered the apartment and set the books down on the dining table.

“Thanks,” Finn said, smiling.

“Want me to help put them away?”

“Eh? You don’t have to do that. It’ll probably take a while.”

“What do you do, alphabetical order?” Kieran asked.

“…yeah,” Finn said. “I need to record what I have, first.”

“Ah. Yeah. This is a lot.”

“I’ll be right back,” Finn told Kieran. He walked down the hall to the study and picked up his laptop. When he returned, Kieran was sorting the books. Finn took a seat with his computer, and started to type. Kieran handed him books.

“Oh, do you remember my friend Luke?”

“I think so,” Kieran answered.

“He told me today that he’s gay,” Finn said.

Kieran was silent.

“I don’t have a problem with it, you know? But I am a bit sad he didn’t tell me before,” Finn added. “I get why, I just wish he felt more secure about it.”

“…yeah,” Kieran responded. “Why tell me?”

“I’ve just been thinking about it all day. I know you probably don’t care, I just wanted to talk about it. I think I can trust you.”

“…thanks.”

After Finn finished making his inventory, they started to put books away in the study.

“You know… I think that, for now, I’ll put these at the end. Separate the new from the old. This way it’s easier for me to find them,” Finn explained.

“Alright.”

Filling the shelves became relatively quick work. Kieran sorted out the books and handed them off to Finn.

“I have a question…” Kieran began.

“Yeah?”

“Are you happy with your life?”

Finn paused for a moment. He didn’t really see that one coming. He thought about his response.

“I think so. But, people always tell me that I’m too much of an optimist,” he said, laughing. “Why do you ask?”

“Just wondering…” he replied, passing off another book.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monochrome: 17B

The cold metal of the gun between Kieran’s warm hands only added to his anxiety. There was nothing good about it, and it pronounced the sharp contrast of the thoughts flowing through his head. He couldn’t stop moving his hands, in some way, or else he’d feel like he had made a decision. Now was not a time for decisions.

His hands sweat, and his breathing intensified. He didn’t know where to focus his eyes, so he shut them. He didn’t like the dark, so he opened them. He brought a hand to his face, pressing firmly. He sighed.

Why am I like this?

He stared at the object in his hands. He could feel its weight.

Make a choice.

The door opened, suddenly, and he heard a voice. He quickly looked up. It was Finn.

“What are you doing…?” he asked.

Shit. Shit shit shit. Now he thinks there’s something wrong with you.

“Oh, this… doesn’t work,” he started. He searched his head for an excuse. “It’s for art reference.”

Finn continued to stare. He doesn’t believe me.

“Really. It’s not even loaded and the safety’s on,” Kieran added, turning the gun to show the empty magazine slot. That much is true, anyways. I wouldn’t load it.

Finn was unchanged.

“I’ll get rid of it, if you want.”

“Yeah.”

He stood up, and thought of where to put it. The storage closet. With the other props. He slid open the door and tossed it in.

“There.”

Silence.

“…what’s up?” he asked, awkwardly.

“I wanted to tell you, I‘m sorry. I had no right barging in here like this while you were out,” Finn apologized.

Not this…

“Ahh… yeah…” Kieran got out. He couldn’t look at Finn, so he looked at the floor.

“Your paintings are great, though. You’re like… professional-level, you know? You could definitely make a living off of them.”

What?

“Eh? Thanks… you don’t think they’re weird?”

“Huh? No,” Finn answered. “They do seem a bit sad, though.”

Kieran said nothing. He doesn’t know? He didn’t notice? He remembered something, and picked up the bag on the floor.

“…by the way, you left this here?”

“Oh, that’s for you.”

He looked in the bag and pulled out the sketchbook. A sketchbook? Oh, it was my birthday two days ago. How did he know that?

“…how did you know it was my birthday?”

“Liadan said it was in the middle of January. I got the day right?”

“Yeah… thanks, Finn.”

Finn smiled and said, “Hey, that’s the first time you said my name!”

Kieran’s heart sped up a bit. Shit... I don’t think I’m getting over this, any time soon.

“…yeah.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Monochrome: 17

Finn avoided Kieran during the next two days, hoping he would calm down. It was the 14th, and he was on the third floor staircase. He stood at Kieran’s door. He still wasn’t sure about what he would say. Humoring himself, he checked if the door was locked. Surprisingly, it wasn’t.

Really? Again?

He took a breath and opened the door. As he entered, he said, “You know, you should really lock your door, Kieran.”

He stopped.

Kieran looked up, startled. He had a gun in his hand.

“What are you doing…?”

Kieran looked at the gun in his hand.

“Oh, this… doesn’t work,” he said. “I’m using it for art reference.”

That’s bullshit.

Finn stared at him.

“Really. It’s not even loaded and the safety’s on,” Kieran said, turning the gun to show the empty magazine slot.

I know you’ve tried to kill yourself before, Finn thought.

“I’ll get rid of it, if you want,” Kieran offered.

“Yeah.”

He stood up and slid open the storage closet door, tossing the gun into a pile of props.

“There.”

They were both quiet.

“…what’s up?” Kieran asked.

“I wanted to tell you, I‘m sorry. I had no right barging in here like this while you were out,” Finn apologized.

“Ahh… yeah…” Kieran said, looking at the floor.

“Your paintings are great, though. You’re like… professional-level, you know? You could definitely make a living off of them.”

Kieran looked up at Finn, a bit surprised.

“Eh? Thanks… you don’t think they’re weird?”

“Huh? No,” Finn answered. “They do seem a bit sad, though.”

Kieran didn’t respond.

“…by the way, you left this here?” Kieran mentioned, holding the bag the sketchbook was in.

“Oh, that’s for you,” Finn said.

Kieran looked in the bag and pulled out the sketchbook.

“…how did you know it was my birthday?”

“Liadan said it was in the middle of January. I got the day right?”

“Yeah… thanks, Finn.”

“Hey, that’s the first time you said my name!” Finn said, smiling.

“…yeah.”

Monochrome: 16

Finn decided that, for now, he would focus on Kieran’s birthday. Art was the only hobby of Kieran’s that Finn was at all familiar with, though he didn’t know much about supplies. Most supplies were very expensive, and he had already picked up some paintbrushes. He thought back to Kieran’s sketchbook. He could probably use another one of those, at the rate he was drawing. He wondered what Kieran’s art looked like.

Finn stopped by the art store nearby after work. There was an aisle filled with nothing but sketchbooks. Finn looked through them carefully. Most of the books had flimsy paper covers and paperboard backings. He looked for something sturdier. He found a hardcover book with recycled paper. It was a bit more expensive, but, it’s good to have something solid, he thought.

When he got back to the apartments, he decided he would give the book to Kieran today. When he reached the third floor, he went to Kieran’s door and knocked.

“Kieran, hey, it’s Finn.”

No answer.

“I got you a present. Liadan told me that your birthday was coming up.”

Still, no answer. He tried turning the doorknob. It was open.

That’s strange.

He walked in, uncertain.

“Hello?”

No one was there. Finn wandered to the counter, and set down the sketchbook in its bag.

Why is his door unlocked?

Finn decided, after a moment, that he would take a peek at Kieran’s artwork.

I’m going to get caught, and he’s going to be pissed, Finn thought as he looked around. This is a terrible idea. But, I want to see his art.

He caught sight of the storage closet towards the back of the room. I think he stores his paintings in there.

Finn walked to the door, and gave it a tug. It slid open, and he entered the closet. He turned the light on, and saw the canvases.

There they are! he thought, and approached the rack. He carefully pulled a few out, and gazed at them.

Oh, wow. These are great, he thought. He spent a few minutes looking at the others. They seemed a bit melancholic.

I should put these away and go, before he’s back, Finn thought. He started to put a few of the canvases back on the rack.

“What are you doing here?” a voice asked. Finn jumped. He quickly looked at the doorway. It was Kieran.

“I’m sorry--” Finn started. Kieran caught sight of the paintings and his face drained of color.

“Get out!” he shouted.

“I just--”

“GET OUT!”

Finn ran past Kieran and out the door, into the hall. He shut it behind him.

I fucked up.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monochrome: 15

“It’s been longer, actually,” Kieran said. He was sitting at the counter with a glass of water. Devlin was making food.

“I don’t have any sense of time. Every day feels the same. It seems slower, now.”

“Well, you did lose your job. That‘s a large part of your day, gone.”

“I think it’s more than that,” he said. He sighed, and, taking a drink, added, “This is just stupid.”

“What do you mean?”

“Half the time I can’t get to sleep unless I exhaust myself to the point where I can’t dream anymore. Because if I do, he’s there. I can’t deal with that. And… when I’m around him… I feel weak. Useless. It’s stupid. I felt better before any of this happened,” Kieran ranted.

“Were you really that much better?” Devlin asked, doubting.

“…no, I guess not.”

“Why are you so against it, anyways?”

“It’s not right?”

“That’s not it.”

“It doesn’t make sense.”

“It’s true, you don’t understand it, but… that’s not it,” she told him.

“Because it scares me. Because I can’t control it. Because I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

“And?”

“Because… I don’t know,” Kieran said, groaning. He laid his head down on the table. “Like I said, this is stupid.”

“You’ve got such a bad vocabulary.”

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Monochrome: 14

Kieran sat in his vacant apartment, sketching furiously on his pad of paper. He sat on the cold wood floor, the apartment lit only by the sunlight shining through the windows. The sky was white with clouds, and it rained faintly. The buzzer hummed at his door. He put his sketchbook down and went to answer it.

“Hey,” the girl at the door said. “It’s been a while.”

“Yeah,” Kieran answered. He welcomed her in.

She was almost as tall as Kieran, with sandy blonde hair and red eyes (a case of ocular albinism). Comparatively, she was much younger. She brought in a bag of groceries.

“You never have enough food here,” she said, unpacking the bag on the counter.

“Thanks.”

Kieran walked over and helped her put the groceries away. Afterwards, he sat against the wall, and the girl sat at the counter.

“…how are you doing?” Kieran asked.

“Better. What about you?”

“I don’t know,” Kieran said.

“You said you wanted to talk about something. That’s rare,” the girl said, opening a bottle of juice.

“Yeah… I guess,” he replied.

“So… what’s going on?” she asked.

“I… don’t know,” Kieran muttered.

“Bzzt. No repeat answers.”

Kieran sat quietly, for a moment. He stood up and walked over to his sketchbook, picking it up. He handed it to the girl.

“Here.”

She stared at him with a confused look on her face, and took the pad. She flipped through the pages slowly.

“Is this…?”

“Yes. There’s more…” he said, leading her to the storage closet. He slid open the door and turned the light on. He pulled out canvases from the racks.

“…goddamn.”

“I… don’t really know what to make of this,” Kieran said.

“I can see why. When did this all start…?”

“About four or five months ago. Not sure. I had more, but… I got rid of it.”

She looked at him. His eyes were narrow and his mouth was frowning, slightly.

“He doesn’t know, does he?”

“No.”

“You’re not going to tell him.”

“No… I’m not.”

She paused, and asked, “Do you want to talk about it?”

“I don’t know, Devlin.”