There are days
I’d rather sit in silence
than talk about our problems
than talk about our days
I go silent
I’ve always been
floating in and out of people
in and out of obscurity
It’s like I’m molting
the way I completely change
when I drift in and out of
but I’m not so sure anyone else notices
because they’re busy wondering
where I am
because I disappear
for months at a time
only to come back to say
how’ve you been
it’s been a while
They sat across from each other in a vacant diner at midnight, high out of their minds, and pancakes in front of them. The pancakes, had the couple been sober, were bad. They sucked. No one comes here and orders the pancakes, especially not in the middle of the night. But to them, two stoned 21-year-olds, they were the best pancakes they’d ever had.
The man, tall, about six foot, unshaven, stomach just about reaching the table in front of him from where he sat back on the booth, made a joke about the pancakes and the woman, despite her best efforts, laughed. She didn’t think the joke was funny, in fact it might’ve even been the worst joke she’d ever heard, but she had the social obligation to act like she cared about him.
And he thought she cared. He was so certain that she cared because he lied so flawlessly whenever she came close to catching him. He was so convinced no one would ever catch his lies; he’s been doing it his whole life, at this point change his name to Lyin’ Brian. And she didn’t want to believe he would deceive her like he did. He was so nice, and so caring, how could someone be so heartless?
So, she had her suspicions and he had his bad jokes, and together they had bad decisions. They both thought they were made for each other, how silly that seems to them now. Because when it came down to it, she could only manage a laugh with him when she smoked, and he could only exist in the world when he did. And what kind of life is that?
I once knew a man who cared for everyone but himself. He would walk to the ends of the earth for his friends, but he wouldn’t do a thing for himself. And people tried to make him care about himself, I tried to make him care, but it was hopeless. I wasn’t sure he knew how to care for himself and that made me sad. And he couldn’t wrap his head around how that made me sad, and I never expected him to because I knew how he was.
He was selfless and he thought that made him good. But he would drink his problems away and couldn’t understand how that hurt me, too. He would invite me over to watch over him while he drank and I tried to get him to stop, but it was no use trying because he did what he wanted and he would never listen to me if the advice was about his own safety.
And I cared for him. I cared for him more than I’d ever cared for anyone. And he knew that, or at least he knew part of that. I cared for him because he was good. He had good intentions, at least usually or when it came to his friends.
And I tried for so long to write something for him, but I could never get it right. Because it’s all so complex and I could never put it all into words. Maybe if I was given more words, I could explain what it is I feel for him. But for now, I’ll say I care.
Eloquent, but not with you.
I could never tell you how
much you meant to me or
how much I love to see you.
With you, I’m distracted by
your eloquence and the way
you carry yourself like you
matter. And you do, and it
distracts me. I’ve never met
someone who matters like
you do. And I think it scares
me how little you know how
important you are. And you
Sometimes when I’m pouring my coffee, I like to imagine I’m a server at a small diner in the middle of nowhere. I’m getting that table of four their coffee first thing in the morning. They’ve clearly been up all night. Their rugged attire and laid-back attitudes had me assuming they’re musicians. No one around here had ever seen them before.
I brought them their coffee and asked if they were ready to order. The one wearing a leather jacket and smelled strongly of cigarettes turned to me with a flirtatious smile, I made another assumption that he was their lead singer.
“We’re ready.” He said kindly. I couldn’t make out his accent, but he definitely wasn’t from around here. It sounded southern. But this was upstate Maine, three hours from the nearest city.
I took their orders and their accents became more prominent. It was southern, no doubt. Maybe Kentucky or maybe Texas. I asked where they were from.
“I thought you’d never ask.” The charismatic lead singer said with a grin much too big. I didn’t trust him. He reminded me of my ex who would go on vacations with his friends and come back with more notches on his bedpost. I know it was unfair of me to assume this of him, but when you’ve been burnt like I have, it’s hard not to.
It was early. We had just opened. The rush hadn’t yet begun. Around here, the rush doesn’t start until 8. The table of four were the only ones in here besides a few older folks at the bar.
I watched the table of musicians talk among themselves. The radio being right next to me, I couldn’t make out what they were saying. All I could hear was melodies and an off-tune voice. I realized I never knew if they were musicians. I just assumed. I always assume. It’s how I stay safe.
This is just a little fictional piece I thought of this morning while making coffee, based on my bad habit of assuming things of people before I get to know them.
I had gone bitter, I realized, lying on my floor at 7 pm. Lights off, music playing, thoughts ruminating like a bad storm. I tend to relate my feelings to the weather, and the weather affects my mood. We have that kind of relationship. And today it was windy, cold, and dark. I felt it deep inside my chest.
I spent a long time forcing myself to fall in love with boys who weren’t worth it while hating myself. Under the impression that having someone else love me equated to me loving myself. If he could do it, I wouldn’t have to. Maybe if someone else loved me, I could understand what there was to love about myself. But that’s not how it works.
And I spent so much time in half-assed relationships with people who only wanted to hurt me, and I don’t blame them. I should. And I did for a while. But I realized they hated themselves just as much as I hated myself, and I understood why they stayed for so long.
And I sit here, laying on the floor in my darkened room, and I realize I’ve gone bitter. I’ve always kind of been bitter, but I got just bad enough sleep this week to acknowledge my bitterness. And the music, its own agenda about breakups, have me thinking back on my exes and all the damage they did.
And I don’t blame anyone for my bitterness. I don’t even blame myself. I know it’s just today. It’s just the weather and it’s just my lack of sleep. But there’s moments when I’m not so sure.
and on the first day of spring
I felt free.
The sun was shining,
the birds were chirping,
people were cheerful,
I was safe.
Life was back to normal.
the house smelled of evergreens,
I felt healed.