It was Yuki’s birthday when Wolfgang realised that he loved her. That morning, Wolfgang got up before dawn to make her a special birthday cake. He was suddenly filled with energy.
Yuki and Wolfgang had been seeing each other for about six months then. They met at a contemporary art exhibition that they both loathed. Wolfgang was sitting outside on the curve, chain smoking his Winston Lights, waiting for his friends to come out and take him binge drinking after his horrific week at work. Yuki was there with her parents, keeping busy by forcing more wine upon her already contaminated body. When she stepped out for a cigarette their eyes met and they both smiled. From there on it was a typically boring boy-meets-girl story. Wolfgang went out of his way to make Yuki like him, and Yuki gradually became infatuated with his manners. She seemed the shy type, always looking down while smiling when she was with him, as if amazed by her own euphoric feelings that were never revealed to her before, and at the same time restrained by her lack of experience in regards to handling them.
Wolfgang‘s baking skills were never meritorious, to say the least. Once he put the cake in the oven, he quickly wrapped Yuki’s gift and prepared himself for a lovely weekend with his new love.
“What is it?” Yuki asked excitedly as she opened the door. “It’s a cake,” he innocently replied. Yuki lead him to her bedroom and sat him down by the bed. She opened the box and evaluated the goods for a long minute, then decided to stick a fork in the core of it and take a gluttonous bite. “It’s nice,” she apathetically concluded. Wolfgang was satisfied with his seeming success. “You’re welcome,” he said. “Happy birthday,” he added, handing her his gift. It was an old world map that he had bought in a shop by the flower market she took him to on their third date. “I love maps!” Yuki had declared when they had entered the shop. She seemed so fascinated by the various maps on the wall, passionately discussing the map scales evolution throughout the years, analysing the perception of the ‘new world’ as it was manifested on the maps, articulating her philosophy about how politics must have affected the ratio. “Thank you, honey,” she said with content after tearing up the wrap, then kissed him passionately as if to remind him how happy she is being with him.
When Wolfgang was with her, he was a different man. She would change him in ways he hadn’t thought could be changed in him. Wolfgang loved it, and for the first time in his life felt as if he had truly achieved something. We had all noticed the change in him, but disapproved of his total devotion and blind faith. We warned him many times of the consequences of losing oneself, but Wolfgang denied any logic: he was inlove, and that feeling alone empowered him to go through fire if needed.
As time passed, much like with any relationship, Wolfgang and Yuki had experienced ups and downs. When the relationship was down, Wolfgang spent his nights cleaning his apartment, so as not to be lying awake in bed analysing what he had done wrong. He would clean until he had utterly tired himself out, then have a Winston light and fall asleep. Many times he had consulted me about leaving her, but he couldn’t face the fear of being alone again, regressing back to his old life – which, much to his surprise, he barely remembered anymore. Sometimes it seemed as if he had been in this relationship for years, and everything beforehand never existed. Other times it was quite the contrary. But whenever he’d see her, she would make him forget everything by simply smiling, a smile he knew he couldn’t resist.
One summer evening, I was practising Chopin’s Waltz Op. 69 No. 2 at my modest rural apartment when Wolfgang rang the doorbell. When I opened the door I was suddenly introduced to a sorrowful weeping creature who had immediately broken into my petite arms. “I did it,” he whispered with tears, “I finally ended it.” I rolled up two thin cigarettes and took out the half empty bottle of whisky from the cupboard. “Did you tell her everything?” I asked while pouring him a generous shot. He had told her everything. He had explained to her that it wasn’t her fault, that he was still madly inlove, that he is so sorry for having to do this. But there’s no other choice, he tried to justify his decision.
Of course, it was not soon after that he had realised he had made a mistake. “If you really want her back,” I said, “it has to be a Grand Gesture.” It was her birthday again, and Wolfgang was filled with guilt for not being there for her this year. He still had strong feelings and used to torture himself every night for hurting her fragile heart and abandoning the love of his life because of internal ghosts from his past. “the Grand Gesture...” he repeated, pondering while I was lighting my second rolled tobacco.
“What is it?” Yuki asked suspiciously as she opened the door. Wolfgang decided to let her see for herself. She invited him in and they sat down on her wooden bedroom floor. He was panting heavily and could barely speak. Yuki slowly opened the wrapping paper, revealing a fist size box. She looked up to meet his eyes for any clues, but all she could spot were weakness and exhaustion. When she removed the lid, her throat produced a somewhat of an inhumane sound, resembling a squeak. In the box there had been a semi living organ, swimming in a maroon puddle, still pumping as if refusing to die out. Yuki picked it up from the box, holding it against the light and examining it, evaluating its condition. She felt it with her fingers while it was dripping on her wooden bedroom floor. “What is it?” she repeated insistently. “It’s my heart,” Wolfgang simply replied with an apologetic smile. The smell of fresh blood had finally reached her gentle nostrils when she put the living heart close to her nose and breathed in deeply. A light grin of victory was shown on her tiny face. She licked the heart gently, and a few drops of blood had stained her cheek, running down her neck through to her white blouse. She closed her eyes and joyously took a bite of the heart, chewing on the internal organ and relishing every bit of it. “It’s nice”, she finally concluded while licking her fingers, as Wolfgang had slowly fallen asleep on her blood stained bedroom floor.