"So, go." She says, looking me square in the eye, back straightened, legs crossed.
She's drumming her fingers on the wooden surface of the table.
I really like wood;
The smell, the feel of it. The way it makes me feel.
You know that, don't you? I've wandered into places with you, drawn in purely by the smell. I'd run my fingers over furniture, and I always say the same thing,
"You know, I absolutely love wood."
She clears her throat and I look up, startled, to see her staring at me, waiting.
"I, uhm" Faltering, I take the tiniest step backwards.
"You can't, can you now?" Her tone has softened, and she leans back to light herself a Menthol Light. "I'd say I told you so, but," she sighs, tapping her cigarette against the hand-painted clay dish she uses as an ashtray, "if I got a dollar for every time I said that, I'd be able to get me a year's supply of these-" raises an eyebrow at the neat little roll of paper between her fingers.
My eyes follow the odd little patterns in the carpeted floor, refusing to rummage through my tangle of thoughts and give her the answers she's probing for.
The room's gone cold, and I realize with a start, that she's got all the time in the world. She would have absolutely no qualms with waiting me out, just for my bloody answers.
"I," I begin, stop and breathe, try again.
"I, don't know what to feel."
"But how does it feel, right now?"
I shoot her a puzzled look, taste the words on my tongue before repeating myself, slowly.
"Good God!" She snaps, "I'm not a half-baked moron you twit, I understood what you said the first time. I'm asking how.this.feels." She reaches for another smoke, fidgets with it instead of lighting up, and waits for my answer.
"I, uh." She nods and I focus my eyes on the plant behind her, pretend that I can count the veins on each leaf.
"Well this, whatever this is- bits of it are a tiny bit painful, and sometimes, a tad hard to swallow." She pushes her box of Menthol Lights across the mahogany table, toward me, sets her box of matches in the middle of the box.
I give the smallest shake of my head, my right thumb tracing circles on the back of my left hand.
"It's a bit painful, but I'm not in a position to feel. At least," I pause, shifting my weight from one foot to the other,
"I don't think I was supposed to."
"And how might you feel about that?" She asks me, tapping her unlit cigarette against the edge of her table.
"Like...Like it's really my fault," I pause as she raises her eyebrows at me.
"For, y'know," I breathe, "feeling too much."
She reaches for her box of matches, strikes one and raises it up to the cigarette resting between her lips. Waving the match to extinguish the flame, she tosses it into the ashtray, and leans back in her chair to inhale.
"Well," she lifts her chin by an infinitesimal amount, expels her smoke upwards, "you know where the door is darling."
I nod and turn myself away, as she watches me.
Watches me run away from myself.