Pink Walls

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Kiss The Cook

maybe to choose was harder than the fall

because her love was given to many

and yet she gave him none

of what she had in plenty

I tried not to run.

It was hard not to.

Terror sunk its claws deeper into me with each step that took me away from Kayden. I didn’t want to go back to my prison knowing that I would never see him again. I hadn’t even gotten to asking him my questions. I hadn’t even told him my name.

I had ignored the consequences for those two purposes and yet I had run away before fulfilling them. I must be an idiot.

I stopped walking.

I couldn’t go back. . . I was scared that my mother would get home before me. I was worried about what would happen if she did. I wouldn’t be able to take it.

But I couldn’t leave like this, could I? I had to secure a way of contacting him again, didn’t I? This couldn’t be the last time. It just couldn’t be.

I didn’t want it to be.

I gnawed on my lower lip as countless ideas began to form in my mind but few of them were things I could actually accomplish. Filled with desperation, I turned my head in hopes of catching one last glimpse of Kayden.

I didn’t find him in front of the diner where we had parted ways. Instead, he was just some metres behind me, his usual smile plastered on his face as he hurried his steps and handed something to me.

I recognized it as a burger.

I stared at him.

My fear paused.

I didn’t notice when he had bought it, but I remembered that he hadn’t eaten anything. We had left too quickly to.

“Why?” I asked, hiding the fact that I was glad that he hadn’t walked away and left me behind.

“It’s the ‘Thank you’ I promised, don’t read too much into it,” he said. “You should eat that before it gets cold.”

What he said it so simply, I understood differently.

Don’t read too much into it? How could I do that when so many thoughts spun in my head so fast that they had begun to make me dizzy?

I took a step back, made aware of the fact that I was very hungry. Yesterday, I hadn’t taken dinner and today I hadn’t eaten breakfast. My body had learnt to stop reacting to the signals from my brain that begged for food. It resulted in me being able to function day to day on only the barest minimum; it was how I survived so long.

But. . .since he had told me to eat, I almost couldn’t resist the urging of his voice. Just to see him smile again I wanted to eat it.

I looked down at the oil paper wrapping the burger. By smell alone, I could tell that it was going to be delicious. It had just been made, the heat seeping through my bandages was testament to that.

This temptation. . . It was as though he knew I hadn’t eaten for days.

I shook my head. I knew better. My mother would know, somehow she always did. She could see it in my eyes if I had eaten. She said that she could smell every illegal calorie from the oil on my clothes. I believed her.

“Just eat the burger. It’s all I want, then I’ll let you go,” Kayden added when he noticed my hesitation.

“Why?”

“Because of me you didn’t get to eat breakfast.”

“It wasn’t because of you,” I told him and shoved the burger back into his hand. “I can’t take this.”

I turned away from him, feeling my body begin to shake. It was getting colder. I needed to get back home and wear something warm.

“I’ll be here,” Kayden shouted at me. “I’m still waiting.”

I shut my eyes and continued trudging forward. I wondered how long he would stay out there before he realized that I wasn’t going to come back. The thought of him back in the cold caused me a pang of pain, it made me think about the rest of the homeless people in the city. Where had they stayed last night? Where were they staying now?

Suddenly, the thought of staying in a heated room powered by electricity disgusted me. Was I truly suffering or just being ungrateful? People were out there without homes or families, some were born into naturally disadvantageous positions and some had special needs.

They could all be out there waiting in the snow yet here I was complaining about the life I lived in a smart apartment. I felt sick, but there was nothing in my stomach to throw up.

By the time I got home, I was too emotionally exhausted to think straight. Kayden didn’t cross my thoughts anymore. I couldn’t remember his warmth nor his smile, instead trepidation filled me as I inserted my key into the apartment door.

The lights were on.

Almost immediately, I found my mother leaning over the kitchen counter to converse with the person making her brunch.

“This apron should have said ‘Kiss The Cook’,” she picked up a full wine glass and tipped it into her mouth. “It’s a shame.”

I cringed at the tone of her voice. Even without hearing the man’s reply, I knew he wasn’t my father. No, Dad only came by on Saturdays.

I silently counted the days, just to be sure.

And today is Saturday, just great. . . I felt my mood plummet even further than I thought possible. If it had been either of them alone, I would have been able to handle it. But the two of them together?

I started to regret ever stepping out of the diner. I regretted declining Kayden’s offer to go somewhere else even more. He had to wait in the snow for nothing. I hadn’t made it back in time and I had managed to witness my mother’s affair with one of her many lovers.

She was going to kill me.

❄❄❄

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