“Cori, I have to go lecture. I’m taking Cerys. Should see you next week.”
Cori sighed. “Yes, see you then.”
Idan normally would leave promptly- not in a rush but not dragging his heels either. He had an assertive domineering nature but it was expressed through such a weak gangly frame that was unprepared to completely express the intentions of its owner- He tripped on his way out the door. Mumbling something about a ledge, he stumbled back through the door to the kitchen where he washed the dirt from his hands. Cori rushed over. “No no! Let me help you- are you okay? Is your trip delayed?” Normally he would have brushed her away like he brushed everyone away. But then he remembered she was Cori Benson, and she was part of his family. He let her hands fall over his in the sink water. She held him close until her cheek was touching his. He tried to keep his breath even but her riotous feminine energy was something disorienting to be around at that moment.
He turned off the faucet and he turned around to see Cori.
By “see” I don’t mean "look". Idan always looked at people to convince them that he was paying attention, all the while his mind was elsewhere. But when he turned around to actually see Cori, he recognized the beautiful details and shining perfection of all the features of her body and expression. Her brown eyes were large and attractive but not overstressed, her nose was small and round like a child’s, her lips were full but not overwhelming to the viewer. The face had a harmony, every muscle and joint working together to produce a smile in the mouth and eyes, the lines about the nose, the tenseness in the neck. Her extremely long brown hair fell everywhere about her, parts of it pinned up were slowly falling out of place like a river crashing over cliffs and splaying out into falls. Time seemed to freeze as Idan examined these parts- then he went deeper. Imagery is fine, but it was the mind that mattered to him. He conjured the elements of the 4th dimension to see into Cori’s past- just the past few weeks. He saw her with a quiet look, vacuuming and cleaning his house dutifully and unquestioningly. But he could see her mind was fast at work, turning over questions of morality and value, of what makes something “good” or whether evaluative terms were meaningless in the first place. He could see her making a meat stew but all the while stewing over Idan’s own behavior, asking herself whether Idan saw anything valuable in her or not. He saw her finish cooking and sit down to read a book called “The Problem of Induction” and could hear her read the words aloud, and then watch her sit and pause thoughtfully as she considered the claims of the author. Then her face darkened as she looked out the window. Idan saw himself in this memory come through the door in a black raincoat, he hair disheveled and his face twisted up in exhaustion after a long day at work. He saw himself walk right past Cori without acknowledgement, pour a cup of hot stew, drink it in one fiery gulp, and swiftly escape to his office where he locked the door behind him. He saw Cori sigh from her restful repose in the living room; “The Problem of Induction” had been tactfully placed title facing up on her long creamy legs to attract attention to the book- it was an attempt to cause reason for conversation. Idan noticed all of Cori’s attempts to get his attention. He had understood them in the past to be Cori’s attempt to learn from him- he assumed Cori had just opened the Problem of Induction to a random page, tried to understand it, and, when she failed, asked for Idan’s help. He didn’t have time to help someone like that, he thought, no time right now, maybe later. Maybe for Cori I’d do it, but not now. But what Cori had actually been doing was different; Cori believed that Idan was a misogynist the way he treated her, and that the only way to get to Idan was to appeal to his sense that women were weaker in body and mind than men. She made herself appear weak to appeal to him, when she was quite the opposite. He winced at the thought of the past weeks and how horribly they misunderstood each other.
His hands has dripped dry by the time he came back to reality in the present. Cori had been shaking him. “Idan are you alright? Say something! You're frozen!”
Idan shook his head. “Uhh I- yes I do that. I’m sorry." He took a moment to center himself. "I’m sorry you think I’m a misogynistic ass and that I have a superiority complex.”
Cori’s face froze in place, as if to say “I will neither affirm nor deny.”
Idan continued. "I am none of those things. I want you to know that I think you’re a brilliant person. I want you to come with me to Eragin and I’ll show you around the philosophy department at my school. You’re an intellectual and to leave you in this house alone, condemned to a life of boredom would be a crime.”
Cori’s face eased. She walked into the anteroom and grabbed a large pink bag stuffed with clothes. Idan was shocked. “You packed already?” Cori’s head fell and she bit her lip distastefully. “Oh, this one... I packed this bag today because I was leaving you,” Idan’s heart jumped into his throat as he heard the words, “but now that I'm staying I might as well use it for this trip!” She laughed as the terror in Idan's face melted into reassured warmth. “Cori I-"
“No,” Cori put her finger on his lips. “Enough talk. We’re late.”