molting

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

of consciousness

It’s like I’m molting

the way I completely change

when I drift in and out of

people

obscurity

consciousness

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

hey

how’ve you been

it’s been a while

and repeat.

a diner on a Wednesday at midnight

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?

a man who cared for everyone but himself

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.

important

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

are so

very

important.

Assumptions

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.

gone bitter

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.

The Mountains and All They Can Cure

I left the house in a rush. In one burst of manic energy, I packed for a couple days. I was at the point where I couldn’t think about anything but getting away. Anywhere was better than here. In a perfect world, I would’ve thought for months about this trip, but the fact that I didn’t have a plan made it more exciting.

It felt like everything that happened these last few months, all the pain and exhaustion, it was all leading up to my break anyway. This was bound to happen. I wouldn’t consider it a break, but my best friend called it that when I showed up at her door with a text, “Hey. You’re coming with me. We’re going to the mountains.”

“You’re crazy,” was her answer. I wouldn’t have expected any less. She packed her bags and was down in fifteen. From the driveway, she looked insane. More insane than I was. Her black hair was put into a messy ponytail with flyaways illuminated by the midday sun. She wore a gray sweatshirt and black leggings. Her backpack, stuffed full of clothes and camping equipment, was a forest green and held her sleeping bag atop it.

“I need this more than you do.”

She told me that as she threw her backpack in the backseat of my SUV.

“Hold on, do you have a tent?”

I hadn’t thought of that.

“Uh, no. Don’t you?” I replied.

“My brother is using it this weekend.” She groaned. I rolled my eyes.

I wasn’t sure when it was that it set in that I was an insane, spontaneous person, but by the fourth hour of our road trip, it had crossed my mind a few times.  Emma loved me for it. She could always count on me for a last-minute mania induced trip in which we find ourselves, only to lose ourselves when we come back to work the following Monday.

We laughed. We laughed a lot. The entire drive was filled up with conversation, never a dull moment. Never a moment to think about just getting stood up or not getting that promotion I really could’ve used to fuel these trips. I didn’t think about the date I was supposed to go on until Emma had fallen asleep and as I laid on the hard ground, the only way to distract myself from the pain my back felt was by thinking about the pain my now-ex caused.

I realized a while ago that I shouldn’t let myself get wrapped up in someone like him, someone still obviously going through his partying college days even though he dropped out two years ago. I knew he was bad news, Emma tried to tell me, but I didn’t care. I liked the way he looked at me when I told a story, and I liked the way he laughed too long when I told a bad joke. I liked how his hair looked in the morning before he showered, and I liked how he’d cook breakfast for me.

I knew the mountains wouldn’t have an answer, and I didn’t care. It was a distraction at least and at most it would be another story to tell: two way-too-stressed 20-something’s go on another spontaneous trip in attempt to find themselves, only to find themselves with smaller bank accounts and bags under their eyes.

When You Left

When you left

I swear the world caved in

or maybe that was

my heart.

Either way, you left,

I rebuilt myself,

and I’m only getting better.

Every time I think of you

and all you put me through,

I can’t help but smile

that I never have to deal

with you again.

Summer

I miss my carefree nature,

I miss the wind at my back,

I miss the way the sun beams glowed

early summer mornings.

I miss watching the sunrise

from my bedroom window,

and I miss watching the sunset

on the beach with the dog.

I miss the simplicity,

and how I knew it’d all be fine.

Sometimes winter gets so cold,

I fear I’ve gone as bitter as the wind.