Cynthia hug tackled me from behind as I sat on the college library steps writing. “Hi Melissa,” she said into my ear.
“Hi, Cynthia. You’re early.” I said
“Class got out early,” she said, while laying her body against my back, “Aren’t you supposed to be in class?”
“I skipped,” I said and went back to writing. Cynthia humphed but didn’t say anything else. After a couple of minutes, I moved her arms from my shoulders to around my waist, when it became apparent she wasn’t going anywhere. Not that I really minded. The day had turned from mildly warm to slightly chilly. The long sleeve shirt I was wearing might have been enough, if the chill in the air had not also come with gusting wind that cut right through the t-shirt material. With Cynthia on my back not only was the wind mostly blocked but she also helped warmed me up.
A shadow fell over my notebook. I steeled myself for a verbal assault. Most people just walked past us but every now and then some guy would gawk at us and even rarer was the guy that would call us names. So, I was only a little concerned when I someone stopped in front of us. I looked up at the guy standing below us on the steps but still towering over us and smiled, “Hi, Richard.”
“Hi, Melissa,” he said raising one hand in a small wave.
Cynthia greeted him as she always did with, “Hello, Dick.”
Richard smirked at her and said, “Hello, Cyn.” Richard was my friend from being in the same writing class. Cynthia and Richard tolerated each other in a friendly rival sort of way. She needled him about his name, he took it in stride and tried to return the ‘insult’ though he wasn’t as good at it.
He turned to me, “You ok? You missed class today.”
“Yeah, I skipped,” I closed my notebook to focus on him, “I didn’t feel like watching Dobson tear apart someone’s story. So, who got nailed this time?”
“You are looking at Professor Dobson’s latest victim,” he said with a small bow.
“No! But … but your stories are… are… really good,” I said.
“Jezz, thanks for the pick up,” he said.
“Sorry, but they are really really really good. Better than anything I’ve ever written.”
“Now you’re just indulging in hyperbole,” he grinned, “Anyway I was going to give you the latest draft of Blue Moon. That is if you’re not busy with your own stories.”
“Oh, new draft already? Hand it over,” I said a little more eagerly then I had meant to. When I said I liked his writing, what I really meant was I wanted to marry it and bear it’s children. I try to keep my fantasy of literally giving birth to great literature to myself. Meanwhile Richard had reached into his bag, pulled out a manila envelope and presented it to me.
I calmly took it and crammed it into my own bag without, I hoped, revealing how eager I was to read it that very second.
Glancing at his watch, Richard said, “I have to get to my next class. Do you want to meet up later?”
“Um..” I looked at Cynthia who answered for me.
“We’re kind of having a girls night in tonight. You know chick flicks, popcorn, lesbian orgy, makeovers that kind of stuff.” She smiled daring him to say something.
He smiled back not rising to the bait and said, “Well seems you have busy night planned. Maybe tomorrow?”
“Sure tomorrows good,” I said, “We can go see that scifi movie Cynthia doesn’t want to see with me even though I go to see movies with her that I don’t want to see.”
“And nine times out of ten you like them, right?” she pointed out while poking me in the ribs.
“I guess,” I grudgingly conceded.
“Ok sounds like a plan. I’ll call you to set a time and now I really have to go,” he said. I said bye and he walked away leaving me and Cynthia on the library steps. After he had gone a few yards, Cynthia called out, “Bye Dick.” Richard turned in mid stride raised a single finger to his brow and saluted her with a smile.
Cynthia laughed and we watched him until he turned the corner. I turned my attention back to my notebook, rereading what I had written to pick up the thread of the story I was rough drafting.
Later at the video store, I wandered among the racks of dvds hunting that elusive creature that is a decent movie. Cynthia followed behind me suggesting movies.
“What about this one?” she asked holding up a movie box.
I frowned in disgust, “That is a direct to dvd sequel to a movie that didn’t rate a theatrical release in the first place. It had a totally predictable plot and featured actors that couldn’t emote for their uncle’s sake,” I smiled with glee, “Lets get it and tear it apart.”
“You are very strange sometimes.”
“Yes but you love me anyways.” Cynthia might not chose to watch bad movies for fun but she did enjoy picking them apart with me.
Cynthia leaned close to me and said in a load whisper that some might call yelling, “Shush, ours is a love that dares not speak its name in the light of day.” She grabbed my shoulders and held me at arms length while turning her head away from me, “No we must resist our baser natures. The spirit must be stronger than the flesh. By god’s grace we shall prevail.” Having delivered her line she collapsed to the floor.
“She’s a drama student,” I lied to the family watching from the next aisle over.
“Is she all right?” the mom asked peering down at were Cynthia still lay on the floor.
“Yeah, she just gets into the moment sometimes.” Cynthia sprang to her feet causing the mom to jump back in surprise.
The popcorn bag jumped as the first kernel popped within. Slowly but inevitably it turned on the microwave safe plate while being bombarded by cosmic radiation transforming mild mannered corn in to fluffy soft puffs. I watched as the bag inflated with hot steaming air while the sounds of popping continued. My finger rested on the door release ready to extract the popcorn bag at a seconds notice.
“You’re going to get cancer if you stand in front of the microwave too much,” Cynthia called from the living room were she was waiting for me and the popcorn to start the first movie of the night.
“If I don’t, the popcorn will burn,” I called back, “Which would you rather have me with cancer or burnt popcorn?” Our microwave was a hand-me-down from a friend who had bought a new one. It was a behemoth. Large enough to reheat an extra large pizza and powerful enough to set a popcorn bag a flame. It hummed and buzzed like some kind of mad scientist’s death ray. Cynthia didn’t like being around it when it was running. Frankly I didn’t like being around it either but I liked burnt popcorn even less.
“I can’t answer that on the grounds that if you did get cancer it would ruin this beautiful memory,” she called back.
My finger jabbed the door release as some inner sense told me that the popcorn would begin to burn soon. Carefully grabbing the bag by the top tabs, I pulled it out of the microwave and poured it’s fluffy buttery contents into a large plastic bowl. I picked out a couple of darkened puffs and dropped them in the trash.
Cynthia pressed play on the remote as I enter the living room. I sat on the end of the sofa, plastic bowl balanced on my lap. Cynthia snaked an arm around my back, as she scooted close and leaned against my side.