It didn’t seem normal… the way his freckled hands gripped the plastic coffee cup, steam rising to fog the lenses of his circular glasses. The way his lips were turned downwards, corners crinkling in distaste. His cheeks lacked their normal rosy pigment, eyes dull with the absence of their typical shine. Looking at him was like looking into a sky of constellations and supernovas and every beautiful, bright thing. I was drawn to him, floating hopelessly in his gravity. I would do anything to nearly exist near him.
So, I tried… desperately.
He came in frequently, always ordering the same, plain drink. Black coffee, no cream, no sweetener. Black. It was so out of character, contrasting roughly with his dainty, colored appearance. He practically leaked sweetness, and cream and everything soft. Long, baggy sweaters always swallowed his body, but I could tell there was a tiny frame hiding underneath. Bare, freckled knees would peak from their place in his ripped jeans, cuffed at the bottoms to prevent him from stepping all over them. Cutie.
But today, something was off. He didn’t smile, not once. His eyes were dark, colored light purple from seemingly lack of sleep and… maybe, stress? There was no way to tell, and it’s not as if it was my place to ask such things anyways. After all, we had no relation to each other. Just a casual stranger, a morning pit stop to begin his day. He would come, melt my heart and soul with his presence, I'd pour him a cup of black coffee and he would be on his way. I did make it a habit to write cute little notes on his cup though, things like “Have a good day! :)” or “you look lovely.” I was trying to work up the courage to write my number on one of these plastic cups, but my spine hadn’t grown in yet, apparently.
Today though, I know he needed something different. Something was obviously wrong, in the few weeks he had been coming here, (almost daily, mind you) he had never appeared so completely out of his body. I could tell there was some kind of mind and body disconnect from the moment he stepped into the shop. He pulled the orange beanie resting atop of his head, shaking the snow from it as he walked in. He walked slowly to the counter, almost zombie-like… it was like he was on autopilot, body just moving pathetically through the motions of his morning routine. He was like clockwork. Every morning, 7:36am, he would stagger in from the December weather, shake the snow from his hair and lashes, and order a small, black coffee. He would sit in the same black and white Polka-dotted chair, brush his fingers against the house plant on the table next to him, and watch the world go on outside of the window. He was a curious, quiet Individual… but he was special, and everyone that caught sight of him could see this. There were many times a guy, or even a girl, would approach him and do their best to engage him in conversation. Each time though, he would smile politely and mumble something I could never quite make out. It obviously wasn’t something these people were looking for though, because they would leave with a huff, embarrassment rolling from their rejected shoulders. I couldn’t help but be a little smug each time it happened, but it also worried me… what if my pining really was useless, and he just wasn’t looking for a relationship. I mean, he might not even be gay for goodness sake. Although, based on the blush and small smile I received each time he read the note I'd written on his cup, I'd say I stood a small chance.
Today’s note wrote, “things get better” which judging by the way his eyes instantly watered, it was the right thing to say. He nodded, shakily, and avoided my eyes as he made his way to his usual spot. His thin legs crossed as he sank into the chair, eyes scanning the street outside of the window as he sipped tentatively at his coffee… his bean water, more like… gross. Well, it was now or never. I wrote down my name and number on a small piece of receipt paper, taking a few breaths before crossing the shop to stop quietly in front of him. He didn’t seem to notice my presence, or maybe he was pretending not to, who knows. Either way, I cleared my throat hoping to catch his attention. He startled, a small gasp leaving his pink lips, hand flying to clutch over his heart in alarm. He raised an eyebrow at my presence, head tilting to the left in question. Oh my God, could he get any fucking more adorable?
“Hey, um… just wanted to say hi and give you this..” I mumbled nervously. I could see his eyes focusing intently on my lips, almost as if he was trying to watch every word as it formed. It made me shift slightly, not used to this sort of attention during any conversation. “I’m Bakugo katsuki, it’s nice to actually introduce myself to you, I've been wanting to for a while…” I spoke quickly, nerves taking over me as my tongue twisted and spit words out rapidly. Why did he already have this effect on me? My conscious reminded me it was because he was a literal angel on earth, and I agreed wholeheartedly.
I could see his eyes still trained on my lips, eyebrows furrowing as he watched them move. Okay, so this was a little strange.. Maybe he just wanted to seem like he was paying attention. After a few moments of silence, he sighed, eyes casting down toward his lap as a frown overtook his face once more. He looked up at me, emerald eyes glassy with fresh tears. Oh no, did I upset him?
“M-m sorry, I c-can't hear.. I’m deaf.” he gestured to his ears, as if indicating further that he was unable to hear. I nodded in understanding, that definitely explains a lot of the behaviors I've noticed during this interaction, as well as the multiple people hitting on him. Did people really just give up when he told them he was deaf? Unbelievable. This didn’t deter me from wanting to talk to him and get to know him though, and I wasn’t sure why it had done so for others in the past. Especially with a boy as special as he was…
I reached into the pocket of my apron, hand searching for a pen and my order pad. I scrawled out a small note, handing it out to him gently, a smile resting on my face in reassurance. He seemed surprised, but reached out to take the note from my hand. I tried not to melt into the floor at the feeling of his fingertips brushing against my skin. Magical.
“Hi! I just wanted to say hello and give you my number, my name is Bakugo Katsuki, you can call me Katsuki… what’s yours? :)” he smiled brightly at the note, a little giggle escaping as he looked up at me in surprise. I offered the pen to him, wondering if he might be more comfortable writing instead of talking. He nodded, accepting the pen and scribbling something quickly on to the bottom of the notepad.
“ I know your name from your name tag, silly. It’s nice to meet you, i’m Midoryia Izuku. Please feel free to call me Izuku. I’ll text you later?”
I wanted to smack my forehead at the beginning of his note, why didn’t I think of that. Dumbass. I smiled at him as he stood from the chair, gathering his things as he walked past me with a small wave of a freckled hand. I couldn't help but feel as though everything was going to work out. At least I made him smile, he seemed to be extra sad today… I wonder what was going on in that beautiful mind of his?
I watched him exit the shop, tugging the familiar beanie over his unruly curls as he stepped into the bitter cold outside. Later couldn’t come fast enough, I thought to myself. I walked back to the counter, green eyes and curls on my mind for the rest of my shift.
It was going to be a loooong day.
“ Waves push me under.. Deeper, deeper. Until all I am is an after thought of air. I sunk further down in the ocean, reaching past the zone of light, falling deeper into nothingness. The water grows colder… freezing, freezing. Freezing the bones inside.. One wrong move, and they’d shatter into a million pieces, like glass.
How do I let them know that they aren’t even mine? This skin and bones are a rental..
Reaching… I stretch my arms toward the diminishing light, trying to remember what it’s like to feel the warmth of the sun.. Holding on to the happiness of the rays, melting into joy and laughter. It feels so.. Distant, now.
Screaming… But no sound escapes. The water rushes in, drowning me quickly, killing me swiftly. I’m losing hope by the second, who will save me now?
I lack the greatness of heroics, my own true heart diminished… the kindness in their souls so long has been finished. How do I say “I need help,” when my lungs are filled with water?
Blue oceans aren’t my friends, anxiety is what I call them. Alone in depths so deep and quiet, at least down here my thoughts are so much clearer.. No need to stop for breathers.
Listen, listen…. Quietly they whisper, strain your ears to hear them. “You’re never alone, we’re always here.” You’re here, you say? Then why can’t I feel you? Depression is a constant fear, but it is constant… like a flowing tear. How do I stop it once it starts?
It is the tide, and I am the shell. Floating desperately in all its force, who am I
To say, “slow down!”
Forgotten. The relaxation of free thought, the peace of a stable mind. How I wish I would have known the damage life would bring. The pain, the hurt, the sting… someone should have told me. There’s no saving me. I’m alone in the world, no friends to care for me.
Goodbye. This is my parting breath, remember that in death there are also new beginnings. Today should be the day, I think it is…
And though I wish I could float back down, let it consume me entirely.. My flesh bubbles back to the surface, for one final try.
With ruby red eyes, and spikey blonde hair… tan hands and plump, pink lips… With a look of understanding and reassurance… It sparks a feeling of hope within me.. You took a chance to reach out to me, a quiet loser with general apathy.
I hope that I can rise from the foam of the unforgiving sea and give this a try.
So that I can finally be at peace. Redemption and revival too… a new chapter, maybe? A chance to be happy, to have a friend?
So it begins.
And it all starts with you.”
I closed my notebook, pushing it into my yellow backpack as my last class of the day finished. Yeah, I probably should’ve been paying attention to the lecture but… all I could think about was the guy from the coffee shop, Katsuki…
I pulled the crumpled paper from my pocket, typing the number into my phone with shaking fingers…. Well, here it goes…
I typed and erased the message several times before deciding I'd just go with a general greeting… “Hi, it’s Izuku! x”
And now, we wait…