Greek Tragedy (pt. II)

Read pt. I here. — (music)

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She placed the mug in front of him, she was warm just looking at him, it had been like that since the beginning. She could still remember all the steps to the dance that got them here: all the cups of coffee, all the late night fry runs.

She could still remember what he was wearing the first time they had brushed hands and it felt like a powerline had hit her. He had been in a pair of well fit light-wash jeans and a plain white t-shirt, next to her heavy boots his were stylish and sleek.

She could remember the first time she realized that just looking at him could make her blush. Just seconds ago, she had been staring out the window at him thinking she was going to burn up just knowing that he was hers.

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As she sat down though, everything ran cold, her blush fell from her face faster than a spring thunderstorm. It felt as if all her blood had sunk into her feet, leaving the rest of her shivering and pale. She looked away from him, a cold finger running down her spine. Her heart jumped as if just shocked back to life, sluggish and uncomfortable.

In an attempt to warm herself, she brought her mug to her lips and the steam felt cool. Looking over at him didn’t warm her; that molten flame in her chest was guttering. She pressed her lips together as she gently placed the mug back onto the table with a small tap.

She could feel the breath in her chest jump and stumble a little, it wasn’t the normal hitch she got being near him. She lifted her mug again and let the warming steam brush its hands, like his, across her cheeks and nose. She took another sip of her coffee — bitter. She looked up at him — sweet.

She put the mug down again, warmth returning to her fingers, wondering what he would look like come rainy season in the spring. Would he wear that pair of soft, fit-as-if-tailored-specifically-for-him jeans with the tear in the knees? Would he wear that black sweatshirt she so desperately had wanted to steal, would he wear the sleek black jacket, that she loved on him, over it all?

She didn’t know how they were going to reach that point, but she knew they would. Her heart beat a little faster just thinking about it, but then it skipped like it hadn’t quite been beating in rhythm. She was still cold.

He murmured something, pulling her out of her thoughts, “Hmmm?” She responded.

He looked bashfully introspective. She watched him glance up again, with a warm glow in his face, following the trails of steam, a spaceship, into space, finding her eyes in the dark of space, staring at him cooly, like frozen stars.

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“I love you,” he whispered across the planet, with oceans of coffee, beneath them.

She blushed gently, the flame in her ribcage sparked and gained strength slowly, an ember being coaxed back into full warmth.

“I love you too,” she whispered back. An umbrella offered against the snow.

She grinned at him then, content to just look at him as the clock ticked away the seconds somewhere within the cafe. She watched the easy fluidness of his movements as he leaned forward to grab his coffee mug. She watched and painted the angles of his arms as he took a drink, she followed his gaze as he looked past the awning.

He was staring at the pale sun just beginning to show its face through the cloud layer, the snow persisted in small delicate wisps that turned to messy slush on the pavement. She couldn’t help but wonder what went through his head, as he watched the sun slowly appear as if dabbed into existence on a pale, gray background.

She looked away from him then, and looked back into the window of the cafe toward the clock that was adding up their time. Adding up the time that he was hers, another second, another minute, another hour, all hers.

She didn’t even need to look at him head-on to know how the light shining through the clouds lay on his face, making his skin look soft and downy; to know how the bridge of his nose, the center and peaks of his lips, his chin, the very tips of his eyelashes, his gently sloped forehead, and his cheekbones, sloped up, were all glowing with snowy light, like painted lines of adoration.

She looked at him then, at those lines of Olympian light tracing his face like her fingertips. He was looking at her, though, out of the corner of his eye, not at the sun, not out at the world in front of him, he was looking at her.

 

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The Fight Must Go On

The night was pitch black. The minimal stars sitting up high in the sky only served as a reminder that we were still in the universe, and the distant street lights and sounds of passing cars were muted while walking across the field.

The grass was cold against my bare feet, and I held the neon pink glow stick inside my shaking hand as every single memory of my fifth and sixth grade years came back to me.

I wasn’t the only one there who had these memories rush into my head. Everyone who had cracked open the glow-stick had something about cancer to remember.

The whole field was silent. The occasional sniffle could be heard, and the tear stained cheeks were inevitable to avoid the longer you walked in silence.

The longer I walked, the more memories rushed into my head, and the more memories eventually made me break down.

I never enjoyed crying in front of people, and normally I don’t. I cry alone, because I’ve always hated crying in front of people and feeling pitied for my tears. But I was surrounded by so many people, and when I knew I wasn’t the only one crying, I didn’t hold the tears back anymore.

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I never had cancer, but the speaker last night was right. In a way, when a loved one gets cancer, it consumes you too. It affects you too. It takes up your mind and heart. My father got cancer, and it killed a part of me too when it killed him.

Cancer is the deadliest weapon of all.

It’s the cause of the pang in your heart when you first find out they were diagnosed.

It’s the weeks spent in hospital waiting room during examinations and testing.

Then there’s the news that the cancer is gone. You think they’re finally safe, until the cancer fights back, and it comes back worse and worse, until it eventually takes over and kills.

It’s weeks of watching the life in the eyes of your friends or family fade away. When they go from being healthy, lively souls, to being trapped in their beds with no energy to get out.

It’s the fight that soon becomes too hard to keep continuing.

The consequence of cancer isn’t always death, but it’s the long suffering before it.

Not every cancer story ends with a cure.

Not every cancer story ends in a peaceful death.

In fact, most of them don’t. The cancer eats up everything. It eats up their health, and their happiness, and their motivation until all there is left is remnants of hope and loved ones close trying to help continue the fight for them.

But that was what the walk was for. We were fighting for those who couldn’t fight anymore. I was fighting for my dad who was hoping for a cure, and didn’t get one. Who didn’t win the fight. Every year I walk with survivors, caretakers, and friends to continue the fight, so that one day, the war against cancer will finally be won.