The days went by quickly with my two best friends by my side. I was healthier than I’d been for a long time. The doctor even authorized the removal of my neck trach. When I wasn’t trying to catch up with work from class, I enjoyed a little downtime with Jen while Sara caught a few zees on the mattress in the corner of the room. Jen and I liked watching movies on her phone. One evening, we were following a television show where contestants had to make meals out of a random section of items, like hot dogs with caviar and cotton candy. Though my cystic fibrosis usually did a number on my appetite, I watched the chefs at work, marinating and grilling. One chef even wrapped his cut of meat in puff pastry. I was becoming genuinely hungry. On another preparation table, the contestants were forced to cook bison with quinoa, saffron cookies, and guava.
“Sean, if you stop drooling on my shoulder, I’ll get you a candy bar.”
“I want to try bison someday. I think it would be like beef but better.”
“Same here, except that I hate the idea of death; I hate giant roasted animals—”
“What, like blue whales? Mammoths?”
Jen rolled her eyes. “No, I mean whole chicken, whole fish, or whole anything-that-looks-like-a-corpse. I love how dead cow is called beef, and the dead baby cow is called veal. Helps us humans forget they were ever living creatures, or that they’d ever experienced thought or emotion.”
“Fish is fish and chicken is chicken,” I pointed out. “And thanks to you, I’ll have to fall asleep contemplating the deep thoughts of farm animals.”
“Sorry, not sorry.”
“I really want to try bison. How are you with steaks?”
Jen smiled. “Okay-ish. I guess I’ll take a vow to eat bison with you someday.” She ran her fingers through my hair. Jen’s face was already so close to mine. She turned and our lips touched, once then twice. I closed my eyes. I had kissed a lot of girls, but Jen was different. Her touch was pure love. “Open your eyes, Sean,” Jen whispered, caressing my face. “I want to see those beautiful eyes.”
I obliged, cupping her face as our lips met for one long sexy kiss.