Nostalgia is a Liar

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Chapter Thirteen

Present Day, Fall 2019

Luna lies awake in bed. She looks across at the alarm clock. It was 03am. She was wide awake. Seeing Cooper today has stirred something inside her. She hadn’t seen him in so long but seeing him today came as natural as breathing.

She gets up and turns on the radio. Over the speakers sound James Taylor’s Fire and Rain.

She lowers down the side of the bed. The song took her right back to the Thanksgiving of 2016.

Cooper and Jason had sung it at his parents’ house.

She reaches for her mobile, searching her contacts landing on Cooper. She shakes her head. She couldn’t just call him up, not like before. Especially not now, now that he was engaged to Hannah from Marketing.

She dramatically lobs herself down on the carpeted floor, laying on her back staring up at the ceiling, still clutching her phone.

She exhales loudly, closes her eyes.

Her memory goes straight to Cooper.

It was the dawn of morning. She had been quietly watching him sleep for a few minutes now, smiling.

He slowly opened his eyes. His face lit up and a smile on his lips. He reached out and took her hand in his. He kissed the thenar webspace of her hand.

“Hey, you…” he whispered, still smiling “You shouldn’t wake up too early. We have all the time in the world…”

She opens her eyes. Her heartrate decelerates, breath hitches at his words and now a somewhat empty promise. Trying to extricate and discard all the memories of Cooper Thindrel.

She closes her eyes again. And again, straight beeline for a memory with Cooper.

Cooper was preparing dinner in the kitchen. It was wintertime, snowing outside, freezing inside the apartment. Cooper wore his favorite off-white cable knit sweater. The one Luna not-so-secretly loved him wearing. The texture and colors accentuated his complexion, color of his eyes and those rosy cheeks and lips.

She walked up behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist. All while he was still stirring the pot on the stove.

“I’m making corn-chili”

“Hmmm… smells good” she buried her nose in his sweater, “I love the way your cologne scent clings to this sweater, even long after you’ve gotten it back from the dry-cleaner. And you know what else I love?”

“Me?” he grins

“I love hugging your back!”

“Well I love that you’re such an oddball. You’re my oddball”

Cooper. Matthew. Thindrel.

They were getting ready for a night out. Luna sat on the bed, slipping on her shoes. She looked up to see Cooper in front of the mirror. He looked dashing dressed in all black, dress shirt and slacks. He’d yet to button up his shirt.

He applied his cologne, spraying his right wrist. He rubbed his two wrists together. Sprayed his right forearm, smearing across his left forearm. Then proceeding to rub his forearms against his bearded jaws.

Luna smiled, “I swear you love that beard more than me”

He turned around, grinning. “Impossible!” He puckers a kiss.

She widens her eyes, blinks rapidly a few times.

“Argghhh…” she screams, “Why can’t I stop thinking of you? Damnit!”

She tries one last time, squeezing her eyes shut. Scrunching up her nose. But to no avail, back to Cooper.

Luna had been sick, a cold. She had been in bed all day; Cooper had just gotten back from work.

He walked into the bedroom with a bowl of chicken noodle soup.

He sat down on the bed. Luna sat cross-legged on the bed, wearing the same PJs she had been for the past two days. He’d gone through an entire monologue on hygiene when sick, which she dismissed with an eyeroll and a sniffle. Tissue paper, remote control, books, all a tussled mess on the bed.

He made way between the rubble, scooped up a spoonful of soup with every intention of feeding her. Luna pulled up her nose in defiance.

“So, you’re not going to allow me to take care of you?” he teased.

“I can take care of myself” she barked through the sniffles.

“Oh, I know that… But allowing someone to help you is not a sign of weakness babe. It means you trust that person enough to give them that responsibility you’ve carried alone your entire life. It’s a privilege for me to be able to take care of you.”

“I really dislike you when you’ve been on an Eckhart Tolle tangent.”

He laughed; the corners of his eyes crinkled. And just like that, Luna’s resolve had melted. She scooped up the spoonful of soup. And was rewarded with a kiss in kind.

She slowly opens her eyes, again staring at the ceiling.

What dawned on Luna was something that she already knew deep down inside. The past 8 months she had conjured up every horrible thing Cooper has supposedly done and cloaked it in her self-pity. Because someone’s got to be the villain in the story, right? Things don’t just fall apart and break, someone had to have broken them. And whether there was intent or malice or pure accidental, it wouldn’t unbreak the broken thing. But nostalgia wasn’t a complete liar. Cooper had also been the very person who’d picked her up whenever she was down, been a pillar of strength and the only person she could ever truly rely on.

It was easier for her to dismiss those things, than to admit that she had pushed away the best thing she had in her life.

Her phone pings, bringer her back to the room, to the present.

She picks up the phone, squinting at the brightness of the screen.

It was a text from Cooper.

Sorry if I woke you. Who’m I kidding, you sleep like a log LOL. A nuclear blast couldn’t wake you from a deep slumber. JK. Anyways, was nice running into you. So I told J about it and he harped on about asking you to come out and watch the Pats at Foxboro this weekend. He said pretty please. And I kinda guess I am too… Take care Lu. Let me know about the game, so I can put J’s mind at ease.

She smiles.

She texts back.

Weird coincidence… I’m awake, been awake… can’t sleep. I would love to hang with you and Jase, so yeah, count me in for the game. I’ll meet you there. It was really good to see you too. You look good. Your hair is really short. Weird thing to observe or comment on, but yeah, just haven’t seen it that short in a while. It looks good though. I may have said that already. See you Saturday.

She lays her phone back down on her stomach, not expecting a reply.

Ha! This from the girl who constantly gave me shit about my outgrowing hair. 😊 See you Saturday Lu.

Her heart warms at the response. She wasn’t sure if she should reply back or not? What would she say? What could she say?

She settled on nothing, because it was no longer her place to say anything at all anymore.

She sits up, biting her bottom lip. This was a first for her. She couldn’t just talk to Cooper whenever or for however long anymore. He was someone else’s sounding board; comforter; compliment-giver; fill-in-the-lyric-I-forgot person; reassuring voice of reason; lover and partner.

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