Insipid acoustic guitar blathered through the air. The yellow warm light spilled through the room, illuminating everything too happily. The coffee shop was mostly empty. A few people came in to order coffee and then got theirs to go. Blowing on their steaming beverages, they headed out into the cold. They escaped this place. They were the lucky ones.
My hands were folded tightly over each other, resting on the grainy wood. Well, not resting. Resting was too smooth and relaxed of a word. Resting implied laying in a big white bed all day in a beach house listening to the ocean outside the window, intermingled with a touch of Enya music whilst thinking about pink ponies. That would be restful. My hands not. They squeezed each other so tightly, they shook at a top vibration speed.
I sat across the table from him. His eyes were two glowing spheres of blue energy, lit up from the inside and blazing as if with the blue part of the flame. They were wide as he watched me. They twitched slightly like a cat's tail when it was trying not to twitch but the more it tried, the more it did twitch. Why was he the one scared one when I trembled so violently that the cup on the table was reenacting a scene from Jurrassic Park? His lips were soft and full and it hurt me to see them, so deliciously close after so long, and yet, upon realization, farther away now than ever.
"Hi," I said. My voice was inaudible and came out more like a squeaky mumble that translated to a "hrmigh." But I think he understood me. He raised his eye brows and smiled a quick bleep of a grin. He could interpret the language of anxiety.
"You look really good," he said. He was on guard, his eyes were defensive. He didn't face me directly and crossed his arms.
"Thanks for coming."
"No problem. I'm happy to see you. You seem to be doing well."
"Sorry, I'm so sorry," he said.
"I shouldn't have come. I should go."
"No, stay," I said. "Um. How are you?"
"I'm... I'm fine."
"What have you been up to?"
"Oh you know."
"No, I don't, because you never tell me."
"Stuff, working, stuff," He said. He looked around.
"I miss you."
"I...I should go." He wrapped his scarf around his neck tightly. He pushed his coffee to the center of the table without taking more than a two sips.
"You really have to stop doing this."
"You can't do this anymore... you are acting like a child."
"I am a child," I replied.
"You're not. You're a fucking adult. We both are. I'm sorry. I should go."
He turned halfway away from me, giving me his etched profile. Not looking at me, he grabbed his bag and slung it around his shoulders, his big muscular shoulders that could hold someone if they wanted to. They smelled of sweetness and fall and were always the perfect temperature.
"Do you have to go call your girlfriend or something?" I asked.
I was surprised at how much anger those words came marinated in. They stunk of loathing. I choked on the hate as I spat it out. My cheeks burned as I listened to myself. It tasted evil and disgusting in my mouth. I was uncomfortable with that much rage. I hadn't been taught to handle it, or whether it was healthy, or what to do with any of my feelings at all. The hate sat out in the air around us, a thick purple fog of disgusting feelings floating in ugly clouds, suffocating me.
I hated myself for being capable of producing such a sick emotion. I grew angry at myself for being angry. When did I become this way? This rage was not an emotion that I was characterized for. It didn't belong to me. I was filled with a dark poison in my stomach. The rage wasn't my own. It was a hex, a curse that someone had bestowed upon me, and I wanted it gone.
I didn't know why I still wanted to be friends with him, best friends, actually. I still don't. Maybe I still had feelings for him and I didn't know how to process them. Maybe I just so desperately looked up to him, that I needed to impress him, like a father figure. I just couldn't bear the idea of letting him go.
He was gathering his belongings, shoving random pieces of paper into his bag. I didn't remember when he had acquired those scraps of tree carcass, nor when he had taken them from his bag, but there they were. He crumpled shit into his bag while I shook with emotions. I excused myself to go to the bathroom while he packed his stuff up.
The bathroom had a code to get in but I guessed that it was 1-2-3-4. I'm a genius; hire me. I let myself in and didn't turn the lights on. Darkness surrounded me like a cape, protecting me and keeping me hidden and safe and in power. The rage and the disgusting soiled ooze of hatred filled my torso and stomach and lungs. I knelt in front of the toilet and heaved.
Crap flew out of my mouth easily. I gagged and vomited. The pain was excreted from lips. It was a yellow, orange and brown mixture of blegh and anxiety and nasty rage. I didn't remember eating anything yellow or brown. Orange maybe? The rage and hatred glugged out of my mouth with the satisfaction of drinking a thick cup of milkshake, but the opposite.
I shook with anxiety as the darkness flew out of me and I felt empty and clean and void of evil again. My soul was a vacant clean porcelain box with nothing inside.
I let myself out of the bathroom and he was gone. I quickly thought of several passive aggressive cruel things to text him but before I did I deleted his number. It wouldn't do any good if I was really committed to getting in touch with him, because I had his number memorized. However, it was a start.
I slung my ukulele and knapsack over my shoulder and headed outside into the sunlight. The warmth was so bright that it cut me like a cold knife. Couples walked hand in hand down the street, staring at me while I stumbled in fear and shock, half crying into the harsh brightness of reality. The joy saturated the sidewalk and oozed onto me. It wouldn't be absorbed. It washed off my plaster skin, bouncing away from my pores and splattering downward onto the dirty sidewalk.