My coffee stained breath jolts me back to reality. I was thinking about how many things I kept at bay while talking to Kosine. I looked forward to seeing her every day after literature class yet I despised how she had me wrapped around her like a potato peel on a knife. She looked like the type of person to understand, yes, but I was never too sure, about anyone. Her eyes were liquid with attention despite the fact that I would never get past two words without stammering, then I would feel my bowel warm up with a fear. It was a feeling I understood only later, pressure. I was always eager to please but everything coming off my mouth sounded like tomato paste, too thick and slugish. Even ugly sometimes. But Kosine. She made me feel tingly on my spine.
Kosine had power over me, which I harbored contempt for. Of course I would never let her know how much she possessed me with her presence. Then she would have run away like the rest of them. So I kept my strong liking for her to myself and instead preferred to look through her, at a window, at a door, at a wall, at anything to keep my eyes from meeting hers. And hers mine. Lest she saw it in my eyes. I was fragile.
Sometimes, for a few guilty seconds, I felt as though she simulated concern. I felt as though she was not quite listening, and maybe our friendship was archaic. But I rectified myself as promptly as the thoughts came, because I was glad to have at least one human being who understood I was different. She did not understand me entirely though, there were times we would disagree but I would be quick to admit I was wrong because I was too much of a corward to bear the thought of her leaving. But she stayed, and I stayed.
When she spoke, her words sounded like water, very fluid and soothing. Firm yet calming. I liked listening to her, and feigning ignorance just so she could explain her theories, which she thought silly, over and over again. That way she would fill the silence with her words and I would swim in them. Happy I didn’t have to say any of my tomato paste nonsense. But Kosine. She made me feel tingly on my spine.
One rainy night, I was with her. To her, ‘how was your day?’ I answered sluggishly, ‘Okay’. But I hoped she would ask more…she didn’t. She filled the silence as if on cue. I was NOT OKAY, how could she not see that? Her, with her messy bun and her twitching upper lip. As she explained why the stars twinkled at night her eyes looked past me, like I wasn’t there…my eyes filled up. I swallowed my words; sharp against my throat. I swallowed that I was battling cancer, I swallowed that I was scared shitless of chemotherapy, I swallowed that I wanted her to be there, I swallowed that I thought she was selfishly always in her own world, I swallowed that I felt her presence to be domineering. But mostly I swallowed my pride when finally a tear rolled down my cheek down to my heaving bosom. She did not notice neither did she stop talking about the stars.
Angrily I gathered my hot messy self and stamped out. My cheeks burning and my lips trembling, I heard her voice trailing behind me, “…Jeez Cath. It’s okay if twinkling stars make your eyes water.” I stepped into the rain and walked towards my car. I didn’t turn, but I felt her staring then heard the door close softly behind me. She could stay with her selfishness.
As I write this, to keep myself busy while waiting for the nurses to wheel me out for Chemo, I feel tingly on my spine. I had much rather hear about twinkling stars than the sound of my keyboard as I type my fear away. I miss Kosine. Fuck.