the way it breaks
the smell of cheap vodka
whispers in my ear
as your lips speak words
that I have never heard from anyone,
so honestly, they slur;
like water on rocks.
word, by word:
trying to say
as they absentmindedly babble.
the scent of your breath travels far,
but is nothing in comparison
to your words,
that leave a double-winded knot
in my stomach.
drunk and sick,
my head spins in circles
as I stare at nothing,
but at a blank wall;
only to be interrupted by your shaking fingers,
and a now,
edges jagged and disproportionate,
just lying there.
as we sit
hearing and saying nothing,
besides the slight echo of the broken.
without muttering a sound,
the glass speaks volumes about our state of being.
big and small,
the thing it was,
never to be the same again.
much like the bottle,
the words cusped between your lips
scramble into nothing but letters,
unable to be understood,
put back together.
if only we knew then
that bottles and words
don't go together like fish in water.
one can only breathe,
in the midst of the other.
your bottle will break
and your words will tumble,
but neither will cease to exist.
what you said,
what you broke,
embedded as shards in my mind.
The Things We Feel
your hands slam on the dash-
as the steering wheel aimlessly
moves us forward
into the haze of red stoplights,
drowned by water;
all that's left to be seen
is the black of night,
further and further
into the dark.
the thunder roars
at the sound of your voice,
shaking everything below.
booming and clashing,
it rumbles with you
as your hands loosen,
then tighten their grip on the wheel.
the window collects fog
as the humidity rises,
masking the storm outside of us,
unveiling the fire within.
droplets of rain hit our windshield
one by one,
then all at once,
only to be wiped away.
they come and go
in cue with the tears
that fall down my cheeks.
it was like the storm, too
could feel it;
that in that moment,
the anger and sadness trapped inside of us
could only be matched by the outs.
My heart is hurting today, it hurt yesterday too.
For that blue Chevrolet, with the window that's stuck.
For those worn-down Sperrys, covered in muck.
For your door that always opened, welcoming me home.
For your mom, who wanted to stay, but time told her no.
I’ll remember those things, those things that made you.
Those things that I loved, those things I’ll hold true.
Your cat-like dog and childlike room.
The way you loved me, the way I tried to love you.
Those stories we told around your kitchen table,
the only place I’d prayed in outside of a church.
You showed me love,
and in the process,
showed me what faith was worth.
The way you’d look at me in a crowded room,
like I was more than me,
and more than anyone else.
someone saw me
as something other than myself.
A something I only wished to be.
A something I’d never known.
A part of me will always dwell in the idea,
of your heart as my home.
My heart is hurting today, it hurt yesterday too.
I used to think it was for the memories,
but the truth is it’s for you.
Fiction Short Story: Pots of Gold
The seats surrounding me are occupied by people and pairs of all kinds moving entirely in different fashioned speeds. The productive professional; one hand escorting a cup of Americano to his chapped lips, the other dialing himself to his assistant; who then transfers him into his next obnoxious phone call of the morning. The regular(s); the one or ones who keep to themselves, but for some reason consider this particular coffee shop a staple of their being ever since it created an appealing aesthetic for their Instagram followers. The lusting lovers; two strangers that swiped right on Tinder and arranged this coffee house as a public meeting space prior to engaging in intimate acts with one another; secretly hoping the other isn’t in reality a chubby, 50-year-old catfish. Because why show up to a coffee shop to meet anyone single these days when you can meet everyone, online, through their profile pictures? Why go through the trouble of spontaneously telling someone about yourself when you can spend two hours meticulously constructing your own online profile to do it for you?
Tilting myself on the leg of my chair, I watch umbrellas in the hands of classy men wearing suits flip inside out; leaving them frantic with exposure to this crazy thing called water. I can’t help but search ‘Have you ever seen the rain?’ on my playlist and click play, immediately. My view, now harmonized, resumes as pedestrians scamper the streets hoodless with their hands covering their heads; inattentively jaywalking themselves into incoming traffic. Breaking tune, the honks of horns blare and unlawful pedestrians react with nothing more than the flick of a bird. Oddly enough, this condensed view of the city outside my window is oddly satisfying; enough to purse a small grin across my childish face. My mind is able to drift outside the window; the smell of freshly brewed coffee on his lips disappears, and the earthy scent of a lasting downpour invades my nostrils. We’re only in the midst of the storm, but somehow I find myself raveling in bliss for the first time in months.
Sitting across from the corner, I watch as “our” chairs shuffle in occupancy from body-to-body, but none of them like ours. I do this a lot, maybe every day; for at least an hour or two. Usually our spots are taken by pairs, who tend to look like singles with the way their eyes gaze onto every other, but each other. I don’t remember us being that way, but I guess I never really knew; everything I thought I knew isn’t true like it used to be. I like to think back to the first time I saw him, before I knew anything at all. His blue, button-down shirt, creased and untucked hung over the belt buckle on his blue jeans. Transfixed beyond the condensed window, his fingers traced each dribble of rain like a child’s on the backseat of a car window on a murky day. I couldn’t stop looking at him. I didn’t want to.
We met the way we were supposed to: on accident. In a world defined by predictability, he was the only thing that occurred unexpectedly; he was the other shoe I was never waiting for to drop. I’d been to that coffee shop a million times before it became ours. I could label every person with a bright red sticker on their forehead without ever knowing what they were actually called. But that was all before him, and all before he sat in my seat. My hands, per usual, shakily cusped the cup of chai tea residing between them while I ceaselessly stared into a world that I called, “his.” I didn’t know what it was then, I don’t know if I know what it is now. Consumed by some level of pity, or maybe even curiosity, I decided I’d fancied him more than I’d fancied anyone in my entire life.
Our eyes, only meeting once, felt like a dance I’d rehearsed over and over; his, copper and drooping, left my own swimming in pools. Inching closer, from one seat to another, our bodies eventually found themselves besides each other’s. He asked, and I answered; the more I babbled, the more the smirk on his face parted into that boyish smile that I used to love. He drank three drinks that night, but they were never the same. He was from everywhere, but nowhere at the same time; he told me life wasn’t meant to be lived in just one place. I’d read lots of books, but none that had characters like him. He spoke little of himself, but his lips pressed onto mine expressing a hunger that couldn’t be fed. I remember leaving the coffeeshop that night with a skip in my step, intoxicated by an unknown sense of freedom. Passing the window his eyes fixated out of, he looked at me and I looked back. It happened just like that, all of a sudden, the boy whose fingers traced dribbles on coffeeshop windows began tracing scars down my heart.
Maybe, it was the first turn on Everston street where he pinned me up against a brick wall; positioning his face only an inch away from mine, only to leave my lips pining for more. Maybe, it was the time he kissed each of my knuckles down to their fingertips as we slowly morphed into one. Maybe, it was the way he looked staring outside of that window; misleading me to believe that he, too, yearned for something beyond lives’ enclosing walls. Maybe, it was the way he believed what he was saying when he said it. Maybe, it was the way I believed him. Maybe, I wanted to know too much. Maybe, he cared too little. Maybe, he was always planning on leaving. Maybe, he never planned on saying goodbye. Maybe, he left for good. One thing’s for certain: he isn’t here.
The sky is turning from a jaded, black into multi-colored layers of purples, blues and oranges; the storm is passing just like Channel 4 said it would. The couple sitting today in our seats, won’t be the same sitting in them tomorrow; I know this because we were them, until we weren’t. I arch back into my seat, staring outside of the window of this place we used to call “ours.” I don’t try to see what he saw here, or wonder what it was that brought him here in the first place. I once resented the assurance of predictability, all I wish now it to live within abundances of it. Today, I watch the same people order the same, bland, $3.00 overpriced drink again, and again. I sit and smile. I realize I like knowing which days to pack my umbrella. Unlike the frantic men in their fancy suits holding flipped umbrellas, I have seen the rain. I stop asking questions that have no answers. I don’t look at strangers and wonder what would happen if they looked at me, too. The next lips that land on my own will ask for permission until, predictably, they create a dance of their own; if they’re hungry, they’ll say it.
I always knew what predictable looked like, or so I thought; I guess what I didn’t know was what it wasn’t. I guess I can thank him for that in one way or another. I always predicted the courtesy of greetings whether they were a hello, or a goodbye being returned. I always predicted that when someone left, they’d return. Never knowing anything else, I even ignorantly predicted that people who love you, stay. For so long, I praised the unexpected; the things I’d never known, predicting that somehow, they were better than the things I’d already seen. My mom always said to me, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” I didn’t get it then, but I think I do now.
“Predictability,” is a word some view as a synonym to “boring.” That was the ground my feet stood on; “uncertainty,” a word I compare as a synonym to “him,” is the danger that swept me off it. Today, I want to be both. I order the same chai tea at the table across the corner and take a long, hard look at those seats we used to call “ours.” The heat cusped within my palms is comforting, but only for a moment; I get up, and toss the half-full cup in the trash. I’m starting to realize “our” seats were never really ours; I leave them sitting as empty as the day I found them. Walking out, I don’t feel the need to look back; his presence may linger, but his absence is definite. I step outside and the arch of a rainbow bids to lead me in the direction most promising; I mean, at the end of the day, aren’t we all searching for our pot of gold?
I could follow it. I honestly might’ve, before. But, not today. Mythical tales like to instill a belief in the unpredictable; they’re the basis of why we bother believing in simply what’s not. Just like a story, I look at the multihued grass on the other side of the street. Striped by the hovering rainbow, it lights up like a path meant to be crossed. So, I do exactly the opposite. I stay on my side of the street knowing that crossing in the other direction only brings me to another version of him; a something or someone pretending to be something they are not. I walk past the window because, for once, I am certain of one thing: i’m here and he’s not.