Chapter 2: The Survivor

At the end of the day, we are survivors. By hook or by crook, we learn to survive. Some lessons are crueler than others… some lessons we teach ourselves by hardening our hearts and blaming the act on logic. But sometimes, that logic shoots right out of the proverbial window, and we realize we’d be better off had we just tried to live, rather than tried to survive.

I think it must be the tenth time I met you, that I noticed the laugh lines around your eyes. I remember thinking they were indefinitely sexy and then quickly admonishing myself for thinking such a wayward thought. Soon enough you were lingering.

“Have coffee with me. I know a place that serves the best tasting, best smelling coffee ever. You’ll thank me for introducing you to the place”, you said, with a full smile.

I laughed. You never stopped trying. It was adorable. “Nah”, I said… “I have to go and hit the books.”

You gave it one last shot “It’s just coffee, you know.”

“It’s never just coffee”, I said, one eyebrow up for emphasis.

“Is that a bad thing?”

I didn’t answer. In your world casual dating was okay. But I was from a different world, a world I’d made for myself, with rules and a guidebook that classified all things as black or white.

You waited for about a minute, then left. I didn’t like you leaving, but it was okay. I had just survived being cornered.

When I was leaving the building that evening, I saw you with a pretty girl. You two looked good together. I felt my heart go down to the pit of my stomach.

During my walk back, I attributed my uneasiness to something I ate, too much exercise, too little exercise, too much weight, too little food, bad roads, pollution, population, economy…everything and anything but you. By the time I reached back home, I had convinced myself that it was nothing to do with emotions. I felt I survived that day.

The next day, I came in and you smiled. I smiled not so much at you but at those ridiculously lovely laugh lines. You said nothing. And, well, let’s face it: I never had anything to say, anyway. Even though you were in the next half shielded room, I missed you. I missed your flirting and your charm. But I guess I lost my chance when I turned down that coffee. I remember shrugging it off. I remember thinking to myself, “It is okay. I’ll survive.” And I did.

It rained today. It reminded me of you and your damned obsession with coffee. And for the first time I felt that I should not have been so hell bent on survival. I wish I had lived that moment you almost cornered me. I wish I had lived out the feeling of turning dark green with jealousy seeing you with someone else. I wish I had lived the emotion of missing you when you were right there, in the next room.

Mostly, I wish I had lived, rather than survived.


Chapter 3: The Off Day


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