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Thoughts and Coffee
Dean quirks an eyebrow at me, his face ghostly in the moonlight.
“No,” I say simply. “How ‘bout you?”
“Sleep is overrated,” he mumbles, sipping some of his coffee.
I nod, once.
I awkwardly make my way towards him, hoping I won’t slip and crack my head open in the darkness.
“Careful. There’s a pond. You don’t want to fall in that. Although that would be a sight to see…”
The moon illuminates just enough of my path so I can make out his body. I shuffle over, albeit more carefully than before. I wasn’t in the mood for a midnight swim. When I’m a few feet away from him, a respectable distance, I sit down.
“Can I have some?” It tumbles out of my mouth, and I feel pools of heat rushing to my cheeks. Hopefully he won’t read too much into my slip. It’s the first time I’ve asked him for something, shown him that I rely on him. Or trust him.
He nods, and before he can hand it to me, I grab it from his hands. I’m too tired to think straight, and I want some caffeine in my system now. Grateful that he didn’t say anything about my outburst, I drink some of the coffee. Ahh. It’s still searing hot, warming my hands. I put it under my chin, hoping the steam will help thaw my frozen facial features.
“Y’know,” Dean drawls. “Stealing someone’s coffee is called mugging.”
I choke on a mouthful of the bitter, hot liquid. “Excuse me?” I ask with watery eyes.
“Worth a try,” he chuckles, and pulls his jacket tighter around him.
It’s silent now, and I take advantage of the opportunity. I’ve been thinking so much lately, planning, strategizing our next move. It feels so good to just be, just enjoy the scenery.
At this angle, I see the pond perfectly. The moon is reflected in the water, a bright orb suspended in the sky. The water’s clear and pure, and I find myself absurdly wishing to go for a swim. Get a grip. I can’t see the bottom of the pond, despite the clearness of the water. Maybe it goes down forever. Maybe if one ever fell in, they would never hit bottom. You’d just keep sinking and sinking. Or maybe it would lead one to an alternate universe, like Narnia. I’d love to go to a different world. I’d love to be anywhere but here.
Dean breaks the silence, and my train of thought.
“What time is it?”
“When I came out, it was 3:50… or was it 5:30?” I tease. He rolls his eyes.
“And Squirt? Is he sleeping?”
Did he honestly think I would leave without making sure Sean was asleep? “Yeah. Like a baby. He needs a new bed, by the way. His feet hang off the edge.”
“Fourteen years old, the kid’s shooting up like a weed,” Dean complains, but there’s tenderness in his voice. If I ever told him this, Dean would feverently deny it, but over the past few months, he’s found a soft spot in his heart for my sanguine little brother. “Besides, we’ll be changing locations soon. We’ll get him a bigger mattress from somewhere. Or, I dunno, he can always sleep on the floor.”
I glare at him.
He holds his hands up. “I’m just kidding, just kidding.”
Silence falls upon us once more.
I realize the coffee’s gotten cold. I hand it back to Dean.
“You’re finally done with it, huh?” he laughs. I laugh too, even though it’s not funny, just because it keeps me distracted. He flashes one last smile at me, then takes a sip of the cold coffee. His mouth twists into a grimace. “Blehh!” He exclaims, and I laugh even harder. “I hate cold coffee.”
“You’re welcome,” I answer cheekily.
It’s times like these where it’s easy to pretend – to pretend we’re two normal eighteen year olds, chatting at night. I allow myself to enjoy the feeling.
“Nice place, huh?” Dean says.
“Bet it’s awesome during the day. Y’know, you can come down here when you’re bored of being in the house, and… I dunno, wade in the pond or climb a tree or whatever people do these days.”
I absentmindedly poke a tree root. “I hear you.”
“Must be nice,” he sighs. “Nice staying in one place, knowing this’ll always be yours. Must be nice living like that.” It’s the pain in his voice that gets me.
“Dean,” I start, trying to sound comforting.
“Forget it,” he says. “Just me being an idiot, huh?”
I open my mouth to say something, but the words shrivel up and die before they reach my lips. There’s no use. He already knows everything I’m going to say. I meet his eyes, and mutual understanding flows between us.
He shoots a quick grin at me. “I know. ‘Don’t think about it. Don’t think about anything. Just do.’ Your famous philosophy on our lives.”
I swallow the lump in my throat and nod.
“I just…” he starts, absentmindedly tracing the shape of the cold mug, his thin fingers memorizing every dip and contour and swell. “Wish that, I dunno… I just wish for solid, constant things. A house is constant, a family is constant, friends are constant… You know?”
Of course I know. I know the feeling all too well.
“But, I mean, who would do this job, right?” A pause. “I guess we’ve all got our own battles to battle”
I clear my throat. “Right.”
And there’s nothing else to say. I listen to the faint chirp of the crickets.
Of course, Dean has to ruin the brief moment of silence and peace that’s enveloped us. For some reason I don’t mind.
“It’s real nice talking, you know? Having someone that gets it.”
“Real nice,” I restate.
He clears his throat. “Well, my coffee’s freezing, I’ve been bitten by five million mosquitoes, and the sun’s coming up.”
Had we really been out there this long?
“Time flies when you’re having fun,” he smirks, and I realize I’ve voiced my thoughts out loud.
“Better go back,” I suggest, ignoring his last statement. “Sean’s gonna be waking up soon.”
Dean gets up and stretches, making small sounds of satisfaction as his joints pop. Disgusted, I wrinkle my nose. He smirks, and arrogantly pops his knuckles right in my face.