by Olivia Yayla

His eyes were a deep green. Not the same green we wish the grass would be in the dead of winter. Neither the shade of eager ivy that redecorates the outer brick of those aesthetic cabins. Nor the zen hue of evergreen trees we can smell from miles away.

It was the kind of green that clings to mossy rocks on beachside piers. The kind that presents itself as the perfect, lush fishing spot. The kind that beckons curious children to stand upon to watch the waves clap against the boulders. The kind of green moss that mirages itself as sturdy and dependable, only to slick into ice beneath your feet, sending you head first into the shards of rock. The kind of green that lines the scales of venomous reptiles and poisonous plants. The shade of green that screams “BEWARE.”

After the attack, it took months for me to be comfortable in the same room with a man. It was years before I was able to look at a man in his coincidental green eyes, as my attacker was prepared with a ski mask.

But today, I decided to take up the beautiful brown-eyed man’s offer for drinks. I couldn’t be happier with my decision. He knew my favorite books, watched all of my favorite movies, he was even born in the same month as me. The similarities continued as the night fluttered into one of the best nights of my life. My armor was weak, and my guard was down.

So as we left the bar and the night sky cried, he pointed to his apartment complex right across the street. I followed. His living room was a torn page out of Architectural Digest. It was a bachelor pad written by Tony Stark. Entranced by the floor-to-ceiling windows, I scanned his view to admire the city from this height.

“Hey, I can see my apartment from here!” I hollered, turning around to see my date warming up leftovers for the two of us.

“Hm. Hadn’t noticed,” he mumbled. But, why would he be able to notice my apartment at all?

“Um. Where’s your bathroom?” I asked.

Turning away from the stove, he rubbed one eye, batting the other as if attacked by pollen. As he moved his hand, a flash of wary green caught my eye before returning to the comfortable caramel brown. He replied with a grin, “Down the hall, to your left.”

I was on edge. Slipping inside the bathroom, closing the weighted door slowly, I glared into the bathroom mirror. You are fine, I whispered to myself. You are being paranoid. Taking a deep breath, I opened the medicine cabinet behind the mirror to steal some Advil. Instead, I was bombarded by empty boxes tumbling off of the crowded cabinet shelves and into the sink. Empty eye contact boxes. Chestnut brown. As the puzzle pieces slid into place, I was too late. As I had already locked myself in the reptile’s bathroom, and he was heating up sun-dried tomato penne vodka just five steps from the exit.

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