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This Is Nice

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The first week after, he doesn't leave the couch. If he sits a certain way, he can see the door and the chips needed to be eaten anyway. He just does what's necessary. That the TV's running is just a coincidence, nothing more. He doesn't bother charging his phone, he knows what kind of messages await him. As long as he waters the plants, everything should be fine. Everything will be fine.
The second week after, he got himself a blanket and a pillow. It's both hers, his need to be cleaned so he can't use them. They are just too dirty. He will use hers. The snacks are empty, but they still have microwave food. It will be fine.
The third week after, he starts to get fidgety. The remote is in his hand and he doesn't stay on one channel for too long. He doesn't sit, just lays down for a while, until he switches. Sometimes the telephone rings. He just adjusts the volume. It'll be okay.
When the fourth week starts, the fridge is empty. He doesn't care, just goes to sleep again. Nothing will ever be okay again.
She's gone for a month when his doorbell rings. He ignores it and turns around to sleep. The ringing doesn't stop. He stands up and walks slowly towards the door. When he opens it, she isn't here. Instead, one of his oldest friend stares at him and greets him in his usual, direct way.
"You look like Pluto dragged you through the mud and you forgot to clean yourself." Donald pushes inside, not fazed by his condition at all. "Goofy's stuck in New Mexico, but he's on his way," he explains.
"Oh hi, Donald," Mickey finally says and drags himself towards the couch. "It's really nice of you, but-" Donald sniffs, before his face twists in disgust.
"When was the last time you showered?" He opens his mouth to answer, but gets interrupted. "Doesn't matter, you really need to take a bath. Get your clothing, I'll let you one in." He can't even process what's happening, but does as he's asked anyways. Because protest doesn't bring her back.
His favourite clothes fall to the ground as he watches the water flow into the bathtub. Fresh towels lay next to it and white bubbles have already started to form.
When the tub's full he undresses and steps inside. It's a little bit too hot for his tastes, but he doesn't have the energy to wait for it to cool down.
The warmth calms him down and awakens something in him at the same time. He starts cleaning his arms and legs first, realizing by how dirty the water gets how much he needed this. Wanted this. Washing his hair is the last step and he bathes in the feeling of being clean, before he leaves the bathtub.
When he's in black sweatshirt and red sweatpants, he feels a lot better already.
He leaves the bathroom and the smell of soup overwhelms him, in the best way possible. The kitchen is tidy and clean, in the oven bakes a cake and a whole pot of soup is on the table. He sits down and looks around, just as Donald comes in.
"You did all that while I took a bath?", he asks, already taking some of the soup. His friend shakes his head.
"I prepared most of it at home so I only needed to use your pot and the oven. I just changed the bed sheets."

 

'It's nice,' he thinks as he glances over at one of his oldest friends who's at this point just stuffing the popcorn into his mouth, concentrated and way too much into the plot of the story. It's your generic romance, mixed in with a bit of action and a crime that is as transparent as a piece of printer paper. It's stupid and he knows who the perpetrator is the moment she appears on screen. He keeps his mouth shut and bathes in the enjoyment of seeing him have fun. It's been far too long since they had one of those days where they just do whatever they want, just the two of them.
They've grown a lot closer since Goofy moved away into a different city, a different country. It feels like he's in a different world nowaydays. Full of diapers and nightterror and one without any fun. He's ready to give that up, even just for a little while, to help in the times of need.
How is it that he sounds happier than ever when he tells them about potty training and giggles and oh so soft hands? How is it that they hear crashes and laughter at the same time? How come that Goofy is so happy, so satisfied with who he truly is - and he isn't?
Sometimes he envies him.
It's probably because she isn't there anymore.
He shakes his head and with it the confusing thoughts away. He just misses Goofy, that's all. Luckily, he'll be there soon if it'll go according to plan, which it probably won't. It's Goofy after all.
He concentrates on the movie where the girl-character falls into the arms of the hero, kissing him with an intensity he can hardly believe is real. It just looks fake. Like pressing a kiss onto a plastic doll. He shudders and turns to look at Donald again.
The blue light of the screen illuminates his face, making his eyes look harsh and darker than usual. Maybe it has to do with the fact that he's frowning, maybe it's just that the room is everything but not well lit, maybe his eyes are just playing tricks on him. But somewhere in his mind pops up a thought he really shouldn't be thinking about a friend. But his mind does what it wants and forces him to face the one thing he never let himself indulge in. It is rude and intrusive and inappropriate. He thinks it anyways.
"Who do you think did it?" The question is sudden, way too sudden for him to expect it, so he flinches. He feels like he got caught doing something he shouldn't. As if he played with the fire and just got burned. Never again.
He relaxes again and leans down into the pillows. Breathe.
"It's her." They don't say anything after that, just watch the stream of colorful pictures, more passive than active viewers.
The movie ends with the plottwist he expected all along and he shrugs when Donald comments, "You were right." A smug smile escapes him anyways. A playful nudge nearly lets him fall over but he laughs and catches himself with ease.
"Let's go to bed," he says when all he wants is for this evening to never end. He walks to the door but stops when he realizes that Donald isn't following him.
"What if… we had a sleepover?", he asks, his voice quieter than usual, it sounds almost… timid? But Donald doesn't do timid. He's loud and honest and yeah, sometimes a little bit rude, but never timid. Except when…
"Alright," he agrees. "Let's have a sleepover."

The darkness covers them both as they lie next to each other on the ground, back on back, dead silent. That's when Donald chooses to speak up.
"Do you want to talk about it?" The words seem to echo in his head and in the way too empty room as well. His heart starts beating faster and his breath gets shallow.
"About what?" The moment he can hear what he just said, he knows it sounds fake, haunted and worst of all: desperate. This is not a situation he wants to have, especially not with Donald, a person he always considered younger, more inexperienced, someone who looks up to him.
"About her." Her. Her. Her. Of course he knows who he's talking about and at this point, he's just stalling.
"I don't know, is it appropriate to talk about your girlfriend?" He laughs, trying to pass it off as a joke, when it obviously isn't.
"I mean Minnie and you know it. Stop playing games." Busted. He freezes and stays quiet for way too long. Thinking about what would be appropriate.
"I just … I miss her. A lot. I don't want to think about it." Or talk. Or come in any contact ever.
"You should." Donalds voice is soft and Mickey feels like a child being comforted by his father. He hates this. They are too close, bodies nearly touching, Minnie is too clear on his mind and this whole thing bothers him, Donald is a friend, Minnie is gone, there should be nothing else. He snaps.
"Why? Why should I go through the pain again and again?! I already it will never stop!" He's panting, just from those words alone and he's this close to crying, but he can't, because he isn't alone. He swallows his feelings.
"For a wound to heal you have to throw the band-aid away first," Donald says, which makes no sense whatsoever and isn't helping either.
"That metapher is stupid." He is aware that he sounds like a tired toddler, but he is tired and the bodytype would fit, also he doesn't care about anything right now. Just that no one ever is allowed to see him cry. Or being weak. Or anything other than happy.
A pillow hits him right into the head and he jolts up.
"You are stupid. Now go to sleep, because i am tired." It's supposed to be said angrily, but it just seems tired.
It takes a long time for him to fall asleep.

 

He thinks about that conversation a lot, mostly when he's about to fall asleep. He never finds a solution.
But that doesn't really matter, because Donald is still living with him and he's starting to feel better.
Donald makes pancakes and cheese sandwiches and soup and he even cleans the dishes sometimes. When he's in the mood, which is never, but the thought counts.
They figured out that Mickey sleeps better when he isn't alone, so they sleep in one bed, but no cuddling.
The first time he spooned Donald on accident, he woke up on the ground, so he tries not to do it anymore. It doesn't always work.
Donald doesn't really talk about what's happening, so he doesn't either. But it's nice.
Sometimes they watch a movie and fall asleep on the couch or they order pizza and have a small party.
Sometimes they just go to bed quietly, brushing their teeth in sync and undressing in the same room. They are animals, there isn't much to see anyways.
It's domestic and it is nice, so he thinks he doesn't mind much that Minnie is gone.
Even when Donald gets arrested for an insult or an accident or when something in the kitchen breaks or the TV doesn't work for weeks, he still feels satisfied. Being here in the now with Donald and not Minnie. It's nice, he concludes and sits down on the couch to wait for Donald. If he sits a certain way, he can see the door...