but it’s not the same

I still think of you often,

but it’s not the same.

I miss you in the way I miss my childhood,

you’re a nostalgia trip,

but I’m better off now.

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Her, alone

She drove until she reached the forest, camped there for the night, and drove on to the next. It had been a week-long journey with no defined end. Teary-eyed and broken-hearted, she made the spontaneous decision to travel by car until she couldn’t remember his name. Or at least until it didn’t hurt to think about his bright blue eyes and his contagious smile.

She inhaled sharply as she merged into the right lane on the vast and ever lonely stretch of highway. She had just passed the only car she’d seen in the last five hours and the weight of her reality had been pulling her deeper and deeper into a pit of sadness, like a ton of bricks on her barely beating heart.

When she decided on this trip, she didn’t realize how depressing it would be. Traveling alone is clearly lonely, but she realized this just too late. It should have been obvious beforehand. Any sane person would’ve known traveling alone is as lonely as it gets. But she wasn’t sane. She was a grand mess- hair askew, nail polish chipping, the same shirt she’d been wearing since he told her he found someone new. She couldn’t bring herself to buy new clothes.

Work called her yesterday when she didn’t show up for her shift. She had a long talk with her boss about love and life and to make sure to keep them up to date on when she’s coming back. She was fortunate enough to have a job she could leave and come back to as she pleased. She was also fortunate enough to have the money saved up to go on an indefinite endeavor across the country.

None of that mattered, though, because the whole time she was miserable. She wanted to go home, but couldn’t bring herself to head that way. A part of her wanted to live out here. She was in the forests of Washington, thousands of miles from home. All she had were the clothes on her back and her water bottle, but the thought of stopping at home to collect her things- where her now-ex-boyfriend also lives- made her nauseous. She thought a lot about just how hard it would be to transfer to the Seattle brand, get an apartment, new clothes, furniture.

She found herself surveying houses in the suburbs. This one’s too small, that one’s got no driveway, this one would be nice. Oh, and an open house. It won’t hurt to go in. I can say I’m thinking of moving out here from Massachusetts. It’s true and doesn’t invite too many questions I can’t answer. Oh, and it’s cheap, too. I could afford this if I transferred to the Seattle branch. I should call my boss….

Summer of running away

Echoes of gas stations,

shitty coffee,

sunken eyes and unkempt hair

swarm my mind

as I drive down a desolate road

in the dead of winter.

My coffee, hot as all hell,

stains my shirt and burns my throat.

I was homesick

for an imaginary place.

I had been searching for my home

but nothing stuck,

nothing but loneliness, empty roads

and the taste of burnt coffee grounds-

maybe that’s my home now.

At least they can’t break my heart.

Seen.

I have this need to be seen,

something I haven’t much felt before.

It’s strong, a yearning for standing in busy malls

and sitting in the middle of the coffee shop.

I’ve never felt this kind of yearning;

I fear if I’m not seen I‘ll be forgotten

and what am I but what others perceive?

And so I go to the coffee shop,

I order myself a medium iced mocha

and I melt into the people around me.

I listen but I don’t stare. 

I am what you make of me. 

I am nothing

I am just another body and face

I am not a soul

I do not have my own free will

I do not have my own thoughts

I am what you make of me

I am the idea of me you created

I am nothing

I am nothing. 

Lonely Owl

Late at night, darkened room,

windows down, a single owl outside.

It has no nest, perches on a branch beside my window.

I don’t sleep when he’s out there,

but I never bring myself to shut the window.

Because who will listen if not me?

He’s got a lot to say, this homeless bird,

and he’s always alone,

Maybe I feel connected to it-

projecting my own loneliness

onto this brown nocturnal owl,

hoping maybe if I let this bird speak

someone will let me, too.

where did the sun go

Sitting in a dimly lit room,

the light went out a week ago

and it’s rainy and foggy today.

The rain carries from outside

to deep within my soul,

creating puddles in my chest,

a type of flooding only possible

when it’s rained relentlessly for weeks.

Doctors and meteorologists 

don’t know when the rain will stop,

but they assure us it will.

It’s a strange comfort when

you know the rain will end,

but you have no idea when.

It’ll come unexpected,

you won’t be sure at first.

“Is that the sun

peering through the clouds?”

And it is. 

And it is beautiful.

Monument Pier (Part One)

Jakey had enough. The relentless screaming matches followed by forced tears and attempted apologies from his parents had finally broken him. He took nothing but the clothes on his back as he marched determinedly towards Monument Pier. 

It was late, Jakey was unsure the exact time, but the sun had already set. The only light source was the streetlamps intermittently illuminating the sidewalk. He was lucky, well, lucky was one way of putting it, to live only a mile from Monument Pier. Lucky because that was his escape, he felt free at the pier. He could sit with his legs dangling off the edge of the boardwalk and listen to the tide push and pull, the commotion of Boston Harbor echoing softly. The occasional horn of a boat leaving the harbor would carry down towards Monument Pier and Jakey would daydream about what the boat had planned. Were they a rescue boat out to save someone drowning? Or were they a transportation boat, just making their rounds? 

Jakey liked to imagine it was pirates. He was always fascinated with pirates. He had his own spin, though. They were never bad pirates. They didn’t steal or loot or kill, they just lived at sea. He was always interested in pirates, ever since he was a child. Before his father turned to alcoholism and was forced to retire, he was a ship captain for the Monument Pier Security. He would tell Jakey about the criminals they caught and Jakey would imagine they were pirates because he was 10 and what other criminals are out at sea besides pirates? Jakey loved hearing his father’s stories and he wished nothing more than to be able to hear one again, but the most his father does now is complain about the TV not working or the alleged rude cashier at the liquor store. 

His father was lucky enough to have the savings to retire, Jakey was too young to understand how hard that is for people nowadays. His father had been in the Marines for ten years before being ship captain, he was discharged when Jakey was 5 and struggled a lot. That was when the yelling started. 

Jakey made it to the pier, fighting off tears along the way. His head swimming with angry thoughts and suicidal ideations as he sat down at the end of the dock. A few fishing boats lined the dock, Jakey wished he brought his phone so he would know when to expect the fishermen. The last thing he wanted was to be around anyone, never mind his nosy, upbeat fishermen neighbors. 

The dock was wooden and uneven, various nails sticking up and loose boards throughout. Jakey knew sitting here for too long would get uncomfortable, but he didn’t have anywhere else to go. The coffeeshop he frequents closed at sunset and this was the only place he could ever truly be alone. 

He sat and listened to the waves crashing, looking out at the city skyline. It was beautiful, he couldn’t deny that. The city at night was incredible. Almost enough to stop the recurring thought in his head that uttered those two words repetitively. 

“Jump in, jump in, jump in,” his depression echoed. 

“Stop,” He spoke, tears welling up.

“Jump in,” It didn’t even sound like his own thought, as though coming from a demon possessing his body with strictly bad intentions. 

“I can’t.” His voice cracked, mouth going dry.

“You must. It is the only option.” The voice hissed. He couldn’t argue any more, his voice of reason gone, all he could think of was how cold would the water be? And his clothes would get all wet. Should he take his shoes off first?

It seemed to happen in slow motion. Effortlessly, like he was being dragged in by an invisible force. Before he knew it, he was completely immersed. He didn’t even take his shoes off.