Nostalgia is a Liar

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Chapter Three

Spring, 2005

Luna and Cooper decide to skip out on Spring Break this year; and stay in at her dorm room. Her roommate, Kat Volschenk, went on an origin discovery trip to the Netherlands over the break. So, Luna had the room all to herself.

Cooper had concocted up a punch predominantly containing Vodka, Gin and mixed berries blended.

The twosome sits on the carpet, leaning against Luna’s bed. The jug set between them, each holding a red solo cup filled to the brim.

Luna’s legs are stretched out, her thighs on full display in her pink-purple striped short shorts. She wiggles her toes clad with her fuzzy purple socks adorned with green alien men.

Cooper had his legs bent at the knees, resting an elbow on each on a knee. He tried to retrace the grey and dark blue rectangles on his light blue cotton pajama pants, making himself slightly dizzy by the motion.

“I don’t know if it’s because I’ve gotten used to the taste… or my taste buds have recoiled in shock… or if this was actually good… but your punch is hitting the spot” she says with an acquired drawl.

He rocks back laughing, slapping his palm on his thigh.

Shakira’s Underneath Your Clothes is the next track on the playlist Kat had left behind.

Luna closes her eyes and rests her head on the side edge of the bed.

“I love this song” she hums along

Cooper looks across at her, a smile tugging at his lips.

“Hey, you…” he whispers.

She opens one eye to look at him. He looked like a lovesick puppy, eyes sparkling and cheeks rosy.

“This should be our song”

She lifts her head, “Que?”

“Yeah… I mean, we’ve known each other for 5 years now, and we don’t have a song. That’s ridiculous!”

She snorts, “Okay… sure…”

He gets up groggily, holds out his hand “Dance with me Lu”

“You’re drunk!” she teases

He shakes and nods his head at the same time, “Yeah prolly… still… dance with me”

He pouts, his lips raspberry reddish pink from the punch.

“Okay… but just coz you’re being super cute right now”

She places her hand in his, as he helps her up. She lands softly in his arms and against his chest.

They rock away to the mellifluous, melodic rhythm of the ballad. Luna lays her head on his shoulder, as he holds her closer against his body. His hand dips lower down her back, and then he twirls her around and around again.

She giggles as spins and the room spins along with her.

“Okay… this might not be such a good idea” she struggles through the laughter, “Unless you want to be sprayed by a fountain of different shades of red. It will go great with your pukey green shirt”

He laughs, as he brings her spinning to a halt by gripping her hip in his right hand.

She resumes placing her head on his shoulder, running her fingertips up and down his spine.

“I think alcohol makes me a good dancer” his voice was sonorous with her ear pressed to his chest.

She chuckles, “No cariño, the alcohol makes you think you’re a good dancer. Los borrachos piensan que pueden bailar

“Pfft… puedo bailar

She looks up at him, “Look at my pequeño cariño…. muy bueno Español

The track ends, they stop moving.

They sit back down on the carpeted floor, resuming their day drinking.

“Hey… would you tell me about foster care?”

Luna bites down on her lower lip, “Yeah… I guess… I mean, you’re still here and haven’t run for the hills yet. You’ve seen all or most of my crazy”

“I love every part of you Lu”

“And I love every part of you, you dork!” she teases

She takes a big gulp of the punch, that started tasting typical to her now.

“As Sister Laura tells it…” Luna looks across as Cooper, “… she was my favorite, she taught me Spanish”

“Check… Sister Laura is on the Christmas card list”

Luna chuckles, “I don’t know if she’s still alive… but okay…”

Luna takes another sip, “So she says that my mom was a young woman of Cuban descent… she came around Saint Christopher’s Haven down in Braintree… the 29th November 1984… we marked it on my calendar...”

She shakes her head, rolling her eyes “Some dumb shit about my second birthday and celebrating the day I came into their lives… yada yada… but I liked Sister Laura… she was nice, so I did whatever I could to make her smile. So yeah… I was almost two months old… and it was late Fall, almost winter… in Boston… so cold as fuck…”

Cooper grips Luna’s hand in his. She smiles.

“Apparently my mom was a scared kid with no other options, she wasn’t with my dad and she was disowned by her family… or so says Sister Laura… she could put a positive spin on Hitler if she wanted. She left me with a baby blanket she had made… my birth certificate, so they know I’m legal… at least, there was that forward thinking. And this necklace with an empty picture locket. It was super weird…”

Luna was confused at the necklace even now, her brows drawn together.

“Up until I was 7 years old, I kept the empty locket… until I got a Saint Jude pendant from the Pastoral Center Gift Shop at the Archdiocese… coz…”

“Patron saint of lost causes”

Luna gives a sad smile.

“I never wondered about the locket since… I left it behind when I left Saint Christopher’s when I was 13. I lost the Saint Jude necklace on my 3rd relocation to South Boston… never thought to get a replacement”

“Do you want one?”

She shrugs, “I don’t know… I don’t think so… I think it wouldn’t be the same. Sorta like whatever my mom wanted to happen with the locket that was special to her… didn’t resonate with me, it wasn’t the same. Like, you can’t transfer memories or feelings from one object into another.”

“Maybe she wanted a piece of her with you?”

“I was the piece of her… and she didn’t want me”

“Do you think you’ve forgiven her?”

“It’s kinda hard to forgive someone you don’t know. She never gave us a chance to be good or bad or disappointing… or anything”

“So, you don’t think you’d ever go out in search of her?”

Luna sighs, taking 3 big sips of punch. She thinks on the response.

“I don’t know. I’ve always been super quick to answer that question… coz you know, everyone always asks that… but… lately, I don’t know… what good could it do? It won’t make me feel better… I don’t think it would make her feel better… I don’t know”

They sit there in silence for a bit. Cooper slowly sips on the punch, which unfortunately for him, the taste had not settled yet.

“Do you think my level of mistrust and insecurities stem from this?” she asks

“I think you have a right to feel anything and everything Lu… if you need more time to trust people, then you’ve got it! If you feel insecure in anything, I would hope that you’d always tell me… talk to me… trust me…”

He looks across at her, “Hey, you…”

She looks at him and smiles

“… I know I’m not Saint Jude…”

She giggles, lowering her gaze for a beat before looking back up and finding earnest eyes.

“… but I’ll be that pendant on your necklace if you ever feel scared or alone or unloved or unwanted”

A tear trickles down her cheek. He runs his thumb across her damp cheek.

“So much better than Saint Jude” she says

The corners of his mouth turn up into a smile.

She rests her head on his shoulder. He presses a kiss to their intertwined hands.

“I am definitely not Jesus, coz I cannot turn water into wine…”

She laughs out loud.

“Gah… this punch sucks!” he exclaims.

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