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I always drank my coffee hot. Piping hot. Because I convinced myself that if I drank enough of it it would warm up the coldest parts of me. Because although I couldn’t see my insides, I knew they were plastered in sharp, jagged icicles. A bone-deep chill, of fear and isolation manifested in harsh, cold edges in my heart and my lungs.
She drinks her coffee iced. Because she never needed the warmth; never felt its absence. It oozed out of her in everything she did, and everything she said, and everything she was. From her skin, to her eyes, to the way the corner of her lips would turn up at the ends whenever she looked at me. She didn’t need the warmth of a two-dollar drink, because she herself warmed anything that came into contact with her.
Our first kiss hello was our first kiss goodbye. And in that moment, I could hear a dripping noise—
And I realized that it was my insides melting, at the brush of her lips and the curve of her eyelash and the way she said certain words—especially my name. Every time she touched a new part of me she achieved what years of hot coffee never could.
The next morning, I drank my hot coffee (more out of habit than anything else) and I watched her drink her iced coffee, but the warmth inside of me didn’t come from the burning sensation in my throat. No, it was the point of contact from our knees to our thighs and our elbows to our shoulders where we sat side by side on a bench. It radiated off of her, and soaked into my skin, so that hours later—after we had parted—my left side still felt warmer than my right.