Kate knew that if a romantic relationship were to ever occur between Lawrence and her that she was to be responsible for all the blunt work.
This was because Kate and Lawrence were the same person: Introverts who blossomed into their true selves only around those they were close to, otherwise they remained underground, observing the world through the deep, dark eyes of which they each owned a set.
Lawrence’s eyes were deeper, darker, more tortured. Even at his happiest there was still a hint of loneliness that Kate recognized in herself, but more intense. It was a pleasing commonality, and Kate wished she didn’t indulge so much in such things between herself and other people.
When she looked into Lawrence’s eyes, Kate felt a sadness that only enticed a further longing for him. Maybe it was motherly instinct, but her desire to protect him and keep the bad stuff away became the foundation of her longstanding infatuation.
As she sat at the small table with its smooth, oak finish in the coffeehouse that Lawrence had just walked into, her brows furrowed with nerves and that hint of loneliness she always carried with her numbed. The loneliness was still very much alive inside of her but the presence of someone as special to her as Lawrence allowed Kate to forget the feeling momentarily like an antihistamine and this thought reminded Kate of the time she offered an allergy pill to Lawrence.
“I have a lot. My grandma gives me a box every time I see her,” she informed him.
“That’s funny,” he replied. “When I would see my grandma she gave me candy.”
Kate basked in Lawrence’s amusement of that small aspect of her life, mostly because so little has been shared between them in their brief encounters.
Lawrence was meant to numb the loneliness, never to cure it. While that seemed counterintuitive Kate preferred it that way. She refused anyone to assume control over her owns feelings; those were only hers.
Maybe if someone (or something) could cure her uncontrollable appetite and flighty insecurities she could hand those over and release herself of the years it would take for psychological help to fix her. More than anything, she hated the forcefulness she had to endure to be likable and social rather than quiet and distant, and when Lawrence was present, she lost all sense of the urge. She wanted to be comfortable, to be herself around him. But if you act like yourself, it wouldn’t be that zit on your face or the way you smelled that day that got rejected, it would be your true self.
Ten or so minutes had past as she read a chapter of “The Shining” with a cup of jasmine green tea by her side. While she was engrossed in King’s words, in the back of her mind she knew that Lawrence was just on the other side of the wall that separated the main room of the coffeehouse from the smaller rooms that patrons occupied. It was the mystery of where he was, what he was doing, and possibly who he was with that made it unbearable for Kate to muster the courage to leave her seat.
She had woken up late to catch up on sleep and her hair was four days unwashed and half thrown up in a ponytail with unkempt strands falling against here face and her clothes were too drab for someone who had spent a half an hour deciding on what to wear. It was all very imperfect and Kate didn’t like that.
Did he know she was there? Neither of them would ever approach the other unless they were forced to interact with one another because even being in the same room wasn’t enough. That had occurred several times and each time, Lawrence would give a quick hello and walk away or one of them would get caught looking for too long at the other, leaving behind a lingering confusion of whether the desire was reciprocated.
This isn’t to say that they weren’t fond of one another. The problem was, as stated before, they were so much alike in the worst ways that it was impossible to cross that bridge unless one of them sacrificed their ego to step out into the discomfort of the unknown. Kate made it her burden because she had a way of reading people so well that at times she thought she had some sort of sixth sense for the practice.
Kate made poor decisions and knew when she was making them that it was the wrong choice. When she walked into the coffeehouse an empty blue chair was calling her name but the vulnerability of sitting in a chair, as opposed to a table, turned her off.
When you sit at a table, some of your body gets shielded from the rest of the world and you are free to rest your arms when and where you pleased. A table also implies that you don’t intend to dine alone. A chair lets the world know that you’re riding solo for the long haul.
If Kate had sat at the chair, Lawrence would have seen her and they could have exchanged a surprised, yet pleasurable greeting even if it was short lived. But instead, she chose the table in the corner, blocked off by a wall, much like her own self.
“Sure, he probably likes you,” her sixth sense told her, and it was the probability of the claim that invaded her confidence, making these scarce occasions where she accidentally ran into him highly pressured and highly nerve wracking.
Getting the moment right rid Kate of the experiences she could have had. Sometimes she thought that she and Lawrence would already be together had she not timed and planned everything so perfectly in her head. Romance was as imperfect as her appearance that day, so she gathered her belongings and told herself to go out there, to abandon the security of that wall blocking off the other side of the coffeehouse and to step out into the unknown.
And she did, only to turn around the corner into the main room of the coffeehouse and find Lawrence gone. She went over to a small, black stand and read the ingredients on the juice bottles to appear busy, seizing quick glances around the room to confirm Lawrence’s absence.
It was like he was never there.
If there was such thing as a ship of opportunity, that ship had sailed so far off that Kate was now standing on an empty dock, staring into the deep, dark, tortured water that seemed like it lead to nothingness.
That nothingness was the unknown and today, Kate’s ego allowed her to get a tiny bit closer to it.
The loneliness resurfaced,
because Lawrence could only temporarily rid of the symptoms. He was never the cure.