Cups with Coriander: Sugar
My eyes opened slowly, and I languidly turned my head to the bedside clock. 10:00 am??? I sprang up in my bed, panicked, when I remembered that I hadn’t set an alarm and that I had no intention of going to work.
The events of the day before began to re-enter and permeate in my brain, like a drop of food color in hot water. Soon my mind was blazing red again with the agitation that sleep had mercifully staved off for a few hours.
I pulled the pillow over my face and turned it all over in my thoughts again.
To try to make sense of everything, I returned to the day I met her. Freshman year of college. Our eyes met in the cafeteria over a basket of energy bars that had been placed at the end of the food line. We were both scrutinizing the labels, and the pictures of our gravity in choosing granola snacks being mirrored back to each of us caused us to break into simultaneous giggles.
“Not enough protein,” I declared and tossed down the tiny bar.
“Too many calories,” she rejoined and, glancing around furtively, ripped open the packaging and broke the bar in half. She tossed the scorned bit back in the bowl and we quickly scurried out the door.
Still laughing, we stopped under the arched entrance to the university gardens.
“I’m Cori. Coriander Snow.”
She extended her hand, and I took it.
She smiled. And I was hooked. Cori’s smile was a thing of magic in those days. Warm, inviting, bewitching, yet soothing…she made you feel as if you were at once the only person and the most interesting person in the world.
She leaned towards me confidentially.
“I could use a cocktail- how about you?”
I was startled; in my all of 19 years, I had never been a rule-breaker. However, I felt myself dumbly nod, and before I knew it, we were in her dorm room and she was pouring out cosmopolitans from a pink metal shaker into chilled glasses.
I sipped slowly, and peered at the luxurious furnishings of her room that looked nothing like mine. Pink tapestries covered the institutional walls, and a queen sized bed took up a good bit of square footage. Small, round pile rugs littered the floor, and she’d hung filmy curtains at her window which were swept back with rhinestone clips. Everything was spotless and orderly, save the closet in the corner, which seemed to be vomiting out designer clothes onto the floor.
She saw my eyes fall on the pile of garments, and sighed.
“I know. It’s a bit ridiculous, but I like the freedom of flinging off my clothes at night into the direction of the closet, and the unaesthetic jerkiness of folding things just breaks my chi, so I leave it.”
I had no words to refute or confirm such an answer. I couldn’t decide whether that was the most lofty or the most pretentious thing I’d ever heard, but no matter, I was absolutely intrigued by this creature.
We talked late into the evening; she was a marketing major who planned to work for a famous fashion house upon graduation, and I was getting my degree in English. Secretly, I dreamed of writing the great American novel one day, but having the ability to teach as a backup plan made me feel more secure.
The dawn broke on two new friends, tipsily snoozing upon an embarrassment of throw pillows, who would become inseparable for the next ten years.
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more by VK LYNNE
photograph by Alexander Solodukhin