Cups with Coriander: Cori’s Saucer
That night I cried. Really cried for the first time in years. Let all the sadness, anger, frustration and fear flow from my eyes and my mouth, as I wept and gasped and shrieked and, most likely, terrified the neighbors.
At the end of it, I lay limp on the living room floor and let my brain go blank. I stared at the fuzziness of the carpet and let it pillow my cheek. My eyes fell on the diary, which had made it’s way back into my bag and apartment, and with something akin to a slither, I made my way to it and watched, as if from the outside, as my hand closed around the spine like a claw.
I rolled onto my back and held the journal open over my face.
The right thing isn’t always the easy thing. I broke it off with Tim today, and it feels like I carved out my own organs with a steak knife.
(Tim? Who is Tim?)
But I know it’s the way it has to be. There’s a reason I walked away all those years ago; I should have remembered…When he arrived, it was like I was being given a second chance to make things work where once they had failed. But even in the light of time and change, Liam is the better man.
Why do I feel like I owe Tim something, then? Why do I want to ‘fix him’ when I can’t even fix myself? Is it a deflection or is it narcissism? Or is it self-sabotage?
A man, men, always the males. Those whom I want, those who want me. Those who live somewhere in between who are foreigners in my world of sexual battle lines and possession. If only…..
Here she trailed off, and the next page was blank, as if she’d meant to return to the thought- but never had.
I pulled myself up on the edge of the end table and shuffled to the kitchen. Reaching for a wine glass, I frowned down at the diary, still in hand. Cori had never shared any of this with me. I felt shocked, hurt, bewildered: Had I known her at all?
I returned to the living room and, taking a long sip of chablis, I curled up on the sofa. I turned past the blank page and choked as I saw only one word written in the center of the next:
The writing was blocked and strange, and I turned the leaves, I realized that I’d stumbled upon what was the title page for an entire chapter (chapters?) in which my name leapt from line after line. What could it mean? Had she ever given me this much thought? She must have…Why did my stomach sink at each mention?
I looked at the clock. 1:00 a.m. Was I awake/sober enough to venture down this path? Would I realistically be able to sleep if I didn’t? I knew the answer before I’d finished the question and turned to the beginning.
I met Ellen in college. She was everything that I wasn’t: logical, reasonable, decisive. She never suffered fools gladly, and she was exactly the sort of stabilizing force I needed. Perhaps I clung to her too tightly, but I was adrift and she was such a powerful anchor…It was unfair to saddle her with the responsibility of keeping me sane.
I know she had her reservations. I’d see her roll her eyes out of the corner of mine when I’d go on one of my flights of fancy. But she never lingered in that sort of judgment; she’d take the bull by the horns and say “Cori, let’s go get lunch” or some other equally distracting thing that would put me back in the here and now.
I really don’t know why she put up with me at all- I’m just grateful that she did. I might not have made it to graduation without her.
If I’d had any tears left, they’d have fallen on the words Cori had written, but alas, I was depleted and could only stare at my past through a brand new and sobering lens.
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more by VK LYNNE
photograph by Nicole Mason