We’re sitting, as usual, side by side, at mostly the same place where we’ve sat for the past four days or so, although I guess we were a few seats down this time. There was a half-finished, forgotten murky cup of milky sweetness that smelled like a chai latte, the cold cup making the milk form patterns in the brown liquid. I pushed it away, trying to touch as little of the cup as possible, and set down my laptop.
“Do you mind?”
Matt feigned offense as I spread my papers out, taking up more space than was really necessary. His laptop hovered in the air, book bag on his lap, and I spread my arm across the table in front of him, pretending to nap.
“And you wonder why people think you’re such a bitch.”
I laughed, popped the plastic top off of my cup and blew on my scorching Americano. We made faces at each other, until, the teasing ritual done, we both seemed to sink into our chairs to work - for real, this time - on papers that spelled the end of our careers as law students. I should probably be enjoying it more than I am, but fully burnt out on academia, what sets my fingers typing is the desire to just be done. Put a fork in it. Call it a day. Bring on the next thing that’ll have me terrified and probably miserable. At least it won’t be boring.
We’re tapping away, and I’m staring at the article in my lap. We’re here to work, after all. But then little holes are being torn in my thin paper screen of concentration as a girl hisses at her boyfriend.
“You’re going home? Why are you going home? Why do you have to do that...go home when I’m struggling with something and not having a good day and you can’t understand that.”
I’m staring at Matt’s knee and leg, trying to calculate if she’ll notice if I kick him ever so slightly. I’ll probably have to shift my weight and that’ll be obvious. I stare harder, then sneak a glance at his face. He’s looking at me and biting his lower lip like he’s chewing on it but that really just means he thinks the girl’s nuts. I bite my lip too, scrunching up my chin to hold back the giggling and end up smirking instead. It’s over, whatever.
“I love how we find ourselves in close proximity to really volatile situations,” I whisper.
And I know she noticed, but I know I don’t care. I’m actually a little embarrassed for her, and a lot embarrassed for her boyfriend. She shoots us a death glare that I pointedly ignore.
And I wonder why people think I’m such a bitch.
We giggle a little before putting serious faces on and getting back to our work. I swing my legs and shuffle my feet because I can. Because I’m still in the Underarmour leggings and knee highs I was riding around in earlier today, and that’s kind of weird because it was a rest day. But it’s comfortable, and I’m lazy, and Matt couldn’t care less. Besides, that guy at the table we sat at a few days ago is looking at me and he’s kind of cute. Maybe a touch too young for me to sink my vampire cougar teeth into, though.
I work until my computer battery dies, and then I scribble ideas down in my notebook while I stare out at Beacon Street, my concentration on other things broken up by the bicycles going up and down, up and down. And I can’t resist checking them out but it’s still kind of annoying because I feel guilty for not riding and guiltier for not being able to come up with much to write except for, “well, yesterday was a rest day.” Part of me is wondering why I spend so much time doing this, too.
“What am I good at? Seriously. I suck at cycling...and law school. I’m not really good at anything.”
“You’re good at writing,” Mike will say, and of course I don’t believe him because no one else has ever said that except for maybe my sister but that was when I was bawling uncontrollably.
“That doesn’t count,” I’ll say.
“Then why would Embrocation ask you to write for them?”
“Because I’m the only girl they knew who rode bikes and had a blog.” So the argument goes.
But I still do it. Even if I can be a bitch about it. And even if there’s the guilt because people at school actually think I’m some hardcore cyclist when I’m the farthest thing from.
The cute guy gets up to leave and looks right at me before pushing open the door with the back of his shoulder. I feel a little guilty, again, even if it’s just harmless checking out, not like full blown eye sex. And an hour later, I do the same; I walk home, sit down in front of my recharged computer, and write.
Oh, rest days.