The Great Attractor
Mickey, blind drunk and heavy-hearted, sobbed like it was his last night on Earth. He and I sat across the bar of an ornate, Indian-inspired restaurant somewhere in our town one evening. Having been left by Jesca, the girl he claims to have had the most serious relationship with, it was surprising to see him break down publicly.
“Sometimes though, I think about how the person you want the most becomes the person you’re best without,” he said, bawling blatantly. Wow.
“Dry your eyes,” I said to him. “And close your mouth. People are watching.”
“Fuck them,” he replied, though scanning around the bar and quickly hiding his face. “They don’t know me.”
I leaned on my seat, sighed, and stared at him like a businessman judging a homeless person for his poor life decisions. He chugged another bottle of beer, and submissively whispered, “Please tell me another one of your trivials. That might help.”
It’s funny how Mickey calls them ‘trivial’, these random information I use to distract him with when he’s downtrodden—the truth about the universe, global inflation, astrophysics, theoretic fields in science, religion, philosophy, anything that piques my curious mind. To me, these things have a particular amount of saliency to them, as they truly do. But to him, they’re just merely entertainment, a diversion to the mind when the heart messes up. I’ve told him about many things, and he always listened.
“Have you heard about the Great Attractor?”
He shook his head and sniffed.
“Well, the Great Attractor is this gravitational anomaly in the center of the universe that is so massive, so dense, and so powerful that it’s pulling all galaxies together,” I said. “So, the Milky Way and the rest of all surrounding galaxies and clusters are moving towards it, like we’re all drawn to it.”
“Well, that’s dope.”
“Not really, though. I’d like to believe it’s some form of doom string for the universe until another entropy. Good news is it’s going to fade before we get entirely devoured by it.”
“Well, I guess we’ll just have to… go with the flow.” He laughed at himself, half-sobbing now.
“I guess. Go with the flow of the anomaly.”
There was silence after that, but Mickey’s emotions returned to him quickly. “If only loving was just as easy, you know. Like, just let yourself be pulled by gravity and all that force in the universe and shit.”
“Love is a force in the universe, Mike,” I replied, quite irked. “You’re clearly confusing love to handling relationships. They might not be separated, but they aren’t synonymous as well, you know?”
“So you’re saying…” he said, pointing at my direction, as if about to argue. “It’s easy to love, but hard to handle a relationship?”
He took a moment to contemplate, nodded, grunted, and leaned onto his chair and settled to half-sleep. “So there’s a possibility that love can be a universal anomaly too, then.”
I was about to say something, but noticed he’s already asleep, and couldn’t be bothered anymore. More so, I’m certain he’ll not remember any of this conversation by the next few days.
Which he didn’t. What welcomed me three days after that, after I talked to Jesca and told her how miserable Mickey was after their breakup, and begged her to give him another chance, was a cheerful, enthusiastic Mickey. Everything was settled, thanks to me.
He slammed the door open, yelled my name and hugged me in celebration. “Guess what? Jesca talked to me again and told me to meet her! Damn, you’re such a gift to the world. Thank you! Thank you! If it weren’t for you I would still be crying for the next few weeks.”
“No problem.” I replied silently. And withdrew from the hug just as quickly as the reception.
“Okay, okay,” he continued rather excitedly. “So I’ll be off now. We’ll be meeting at The Caf in a bit. Thanks again! Love you!”
And so the door was closed, Mickey was gone, and I was left alone. Again. Me — the bridge to him and to his happiness, the gravity that can’t seem to pull anything together, the antithesis of the Great Attractor — alone. And it’s only during these times that I can say how I truly felt, the only anomaly the universe wasn’t able to hold up to its own will, when the doors are sealed and the walls are thick.
Now thinking about what he said, how it’s true that sometimes the person you want the most becomes the person you’re best without, I whispered, “I love you too.”