After a minute or so of just listening to the kettle boil away, Bernie turned back to look at me. “We can move on from this,” he said, “we can start fresh”. I didn’t grace him with a response. The death stare I was giving him was all he needed to know. His bushy eyebrows knitted together in so fake display of sadness. God, I wanted to tear that facial hair of his bloody face. It was becoming an eyesore. He rested his hands on the countertop, letting his large rough hands spread out. I could see him gently arching his back forward, and his face dropped to gaze at the counter’s outdated plastic surface. He’d told me that the kitchen should stay as it was. Something about it being retro. I’d gone along with it, only because we were broke and kitchen’s were too expensive. I wanted one of those nice contemporary kitchens you see in all the modern homes, not like this piece of rubbish.
The kettle clicked to announce it was done. Thank god. I can’t stand the sound of that thing. Bernie snapped back to attention and rushed to set up a pair of mugs for us. I didn’t want coffee, so why was he even bothering? The bloody handlebar is possessing him, I swear. The mugs were mismatched as usual, a plain cream affair for him, a rainbow striped one for me. He had a pathetically hipster one before, but it had chipped and he was having none of it when I suggested he just keep using it. Him and his fear of germs, I tell you. It’s irrational. He took his time pouring the boiled water into the mugs, but still water splashed about all over the counter. I’d have to wipe that up, no doubt. For a hypochondriac he never did bother to clean up. Made me want to pull his hair and yell in his face for it. He picked up the teaspoon he’d set out so neatly and took hold of the sugar jar, which looked more like a mini-bin. Two for me, one for him. I watched him scoop the sugar from its home intently, watched how he would shake the excess of the spoon ever so carefully before unceremoniously dropping it into the mug. He sauntered over to the fridge and grabbed the milk, kicking the fridge as he returned to the mugs. The slam of the fridge door made me shift in my seat a bit, made me want to throw the cushion at his stupid face. He loved to make noise, loved to show of how he owned the place.
He tried to be careful with the milk, but the banging of a door in the flat next to ours made Bernie jump, splashing milk all over. He swore. I was between a laugh and a scream, but remained silent. You could sneak behind him and poke his back and he’d scream like a child. He regained his senses and finished with the milk, and brought the mugs back to the sofa. He’d left the milk out. I’d have to put that away too. He really had no common sense at times. His face was stoic, like mine, and he offered me the rainbow mug as a peace offering. His arm was stiff, an artery sticking out of his forearm from the wrist. I rolled my eyes and looked away, focusing on the currently-broken TV sat all alone to the side. I saw in it’s dark screen that Bernie was setting the mugs on the plywood coffee table with all the greatest care in the world. I didn’t have to see him sit next to me, I could feel that well enough. His shoulder was lightly touching mine. His breathing was deep and loud. I wanted to punch him so bad, it was becoming hard to resist. He had other ideas, of course, probably a passionate apology or something, but I wouldn’t have any of it.
I stood up and made my way to the bedroom door. I could hear him asking where I was going, what I was doing. I could hear him get up and approach me. I opened the door. He was raising his voice, asking me why I wasn’t talking to him, how we could work things out.
I slammed the door.