Tuesday, April 21, 2015

For Better or Worse

So on the world turns. Day and night pass by like yellow cabs in New York City. Unrelenting reliability. Say for instance, there is a girl walking those same streets. Say for instance she’s as thin as the sugary glaze atop a typical creme brûlée. Say for instance you could see into her soul if you looked past the translucent color of her skin and the frailty of her bones. She doesn’t like crowds much at all. The days in New York are endlessly filled with traffic. Vehicles and human alike. So night is when she walks around. Say she wears a jacket full of little holes to protect her from the glacial air. But she probably knows that even if she brought along a parka, the gooseflesh would still be there. Some types of shivers and colds come from the inside and show on the outside. She listens to the music playing somewhere in her head. The slow consistency of the drum beats reverberate through her cranium. The soft chords of a grand piano echo in her ears.

Say she is a walking contradiction. Say for instance she is quiet yet loud. Ignorant yet smart. Tenacious yet timid. Open yet guarded. Determined yet discouraged.

Say for instance she's tired of walking but she doesn't know how to get home from here. Then why move at all? Just stay put. She sits down right in the middle of the road. Why does she have to go anywhere? She can stay here forever. Never moving forward. A place too cruel to be heaven but too kind to be hell.

Say for instance I find her there. Say for instance I find her and I know her.

And I love her.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

"I imagine you saved my life. And then I wonder if I'm just imagining it."
- David Levithan

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Him (Part 2)

He was working again today. The boy with the auburn hair. The boy with the blue eyes and shy grin. The guy who I spoke with only several times. The boy with the simple clothes under the mandatory apron. I wished I knew his shifts for sure. But it was fine. He’d probably just assume that I was a regular customer, that I lived around this area. In truth, I lived quite far away but after that one fateful night, curiosity got the better of me and I’d been here more times than anyone would consider acceptable. I knew he recognized me because he smiled when our eyes met. Before I could be overcome with elation, I reminded myself that I probably wasn’t the only girl he smiled at before. He probably recognized a lot of the regulars. A lot of them were probably more interesting than I was.

I remember coming here the second or third time with my best guy friend. We came here to do homework. I told Isaac to find us a seat, preferably a booth while I would get our coffees. I paced to the end of the line and pulled out my phone, glancing at the messages I was too lazy to answer. The businessman in front of me was taking the time of his life. He read through the menu for minutes. The guy behind the counter, the boy I knew, waited patiently. He even suggested several popular choices. The businessman ended up just going for a black coffee. I couldn’t help rolling my eyes. Finally it was my turn.

“Hi. One Espresso Frappe for my friend over there and for me, a caramel latte,” I told the boy.

“Any toppings?” he asked, preoccupied with the register. When he looked up he smiled again. “Thanks for visiting again, by the way.”

“I like this place,” I assured him. “Anyway, toppings… just whipped cream and -“

“A drizzle of chocolate syrup?” he finished.

“Good memory,” I said, looking down, biting my lip to hide a smile.

He cleared his throat. “Kind of my job,” he said.

“Can you remember my name?”

He wrote it on the coffee cup and turned it to face me. “Am I right?”

I smiled. “Do I get to know yours?”

He told me and I committed it to memory. “Nice bracelet, by the way,” he said, glancing at the charm bracelet on my wrist.

“Thanks. It was a gift.”

“So… anyway, your drinks will be ready in a moment. I can serve them to you as well. If you want.”

“It’s okay, I’ll wait.”

I lingered by the counter while the staff prepared the coffee. After they were ready, I flashed him a smile and walked reluctantly back to the table my friend had picked.

We’re not a story, the boy and I. We are a moment. And we happen again and again.

We are both forgettable and eternal. Perhaps this is the most untainted form of Happily Ever After.

Her (Part 1)

She came again today. The girl with the brown shoulder-length hair. The girl with the green eyes and killer smile. The girl who I spoke with only a handful of times. She often came to this coffee shop. She always wore a silver charm bracelet on her left wrist. She hardly ever wore her hair in any other fashion apart from a ponytail. She tore through books like a hurricanes tore through villages. I wished I knew what she was thinking every time she bit her lower lip and looked off to the side. Was she self-conscious? Was she annoyed? Did she wish she was somewhere else? Was she thinking about her past? I didn’t know nor could I find out. Not easily anyway.

I first spoke to her when she came that first day to order coffee. Caramel latte with just a drizzle of chocolate syrup over a small mountain of whipped cream. I would never forget. The little things about her were branded in my memory. She and I had spoken about the most innocent topic - weather. That day, the rain was coming down hard on the town. Her car was a few streets over and getting there had appeared to be no easy task. She had no umbrella and wore nothing but the clothes on her back which seemed to be damp at best.

“Stay until the rain stops,” I told her.

“When do you think that will be?” she wondered absent-mindedly as she stared out the window.

“I don’t know,” I replied. “But today, I’m in charge of closing. Stay as long as you’d like.”

“I’d really hate to put you out,” she said, shaking her head.

“Really. I’m going to be tidying up this area anyway. Take a load off. Read a magazine. The rain’ll stop soon.”

She smiled, took her latte and sat down on one of the lounge chairs. I used a checkered cloth to wipe down the counter that was slightly sticky - evidence of the coffees I had to prepare for the day. She looked up at me periodically as if part of her mind was keeping track of my work. I put the cloth away and took off my apron.

A glance toward the window told me that the cats and dogs reference could apply. “So… What brings you out here?” I asked her. “It’s almost 11.”

“Oh nothing much. I just prefer spending time outside.”

“Cool,” I replied lamely. We didn’t talk much that night. I didn’t want to bug her. But the air inside was charged with a similar electricity that caused the lightning flashes outside.

She came in a few times after that. But always with company. A girl friend or two. Once even a guy friend. If I caught her eye, I’d smile. And she’d smile back. That was it. That was us.

A love story that would never reach a happy ending because the Once Upon a Time hadn’t even been said yet.

"Longer than a moment, shorter than the night. Maybe we should stay a sweet dream untainted by monsters and fright."