Saturday, July 4, 2015

"And I knew her soul wasn't something to take lightly. In a world where very little truth existed, her soul was a pariah standing alone burning like a wildfire in my bones - a flaming crescent across paddle midnight skies."

-Christopher Poindexter. 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Scarlet

“Are you bringing this?” Caleb asked. I turned to see what he was holding up. It was a black and white striped dress cut just above the knees. I had worn that on our first date together. 

“Yeah, I think I will,” I said, glancing at my suitcase. I frowned. “We’re going to have to do some stuffing. Then I’ll probably have to sit on it all night so the zips won’t break,” I joked. 

He rolled his eyes and tossed the dress at me. It landed on my face and slipped into my lap. 

“Hey!” I complained. “You’re going to crease it.”

“Crease it? Really, Mia?” he looked at me, expression exasperated. But I knew him well enough to see the hint of humor and gentleness in his irises when he used that tone with me. “Have you seen your suitcase?”

“What are you talking about?” I wondered, eyeing the neatly folded piles of clothes. 

“You are a terrible traveller. You really can’t pack,” he said. He came over to me and ruffled my hair. 

I made a face. “What do you mean? What’s wrong with how I’m packing?” I wondered. 

“It’s all about maximizing your space.” Caleb sat cross legged beside me and started taking out my clothes. I bit my lip, wondering what he was doing. He took the first shirt off the pile and shook it out. He laid the shirt out on the floor. Then he folded it in half and began rolling the fabric. He handed me the rolled up shirt. 

“What?” 

“Pack them like this. The creases won’t be so deep and you’ll save space for the rest of your stuff. I can only take you as far as the airport. You’ll have to transport all your bags around by yourself especially once you arrive. You’re not going to want to carry like 18 bags, are you?” he looked at me condescendingly. 

“Okay. Sheesh, lighten up,” I griped. “You’re starting to sound like my dad.”

He snorted then started doing the same with the rest of the shirts. I copied his movements, savoring the silence between us. It would soon be gone. I would soon be gone. It was weird. We had done a lot of things, Caleb and me. We had gone through a lot together. We had laughed and cried, fought and made up again. We’d been to concerts and cinemas and museums - all the typical date stuff. We’d been neighbors since I moved here. We grew up together and grew together. 

But here I was thinking the thing I would miss about us the most was this. Our silences. Our long, quiet moments of being together, doing some mindless task. These moments were always simple and easy even though our relationship wasn’t always like that. Our relationship was like the bright colors. Brilliant, passionate, full of potential energy at any given moment. 

“You didn’t have to come over to do this, you know?” I told him. 

“Yeah. I know,” he replied and shrugged. “It’s cool. I had nothing else to do anyway.”

“So… you know, we haven’t really talked much,” I hinted.

“We’re talking now,” he said. But the molten quality of his eyes disappeared. He knew what I was getting at and his eyes were shrewd now. Shrewd and unwilling. 

“We haven’t talked much about us. About once I leave,” I said quietly.

“Is that it?” he asked, gesturing to my suitcase. We had rolled up all the other articles of my clothing and the bag was almost too full for anything else. 

“Yeah, I think that’s it.” I zipped up the bag and focused on packing my one carry-on. “So about us…” 

He stood up and picked up the suitcase we had finished stuffing. “I’m going to put this in your car trunk first.”

I nodded and sighed, letting him go. This too I was familiar with. He hated talking about unpleasant things. Pretend the problems don’t exist. That always works, right? Wrong. But he’d never learn. I waited for him to come back. As I predicted, he lingered longer than necessary outside the room. I heard a fridge door slam shut and a cupboard door open. Then I heard running water and the sound of plates colliding with each other. He was doing the dishes. That was fine. I would finish my packing then bring the topic up again. I wasn’t going to let it go. I had all night and he probably knew it too. 

He was fighting a losing battle. 

I zipped up the carry-on and fastened a tiny padlock through the two zippers. I took a deep breath and headed to the kitchen. He was drying now, wiping down the plates and cutleries with a dish towel. I stood across, leaning on the counter. His back was to me. 

“We need to talk, Caleb,” I said. “We still haven’t decided.”

“So decide,” he said, turning around to face me. 

“It shouldn’t be my decision. It has to be ours.”

“Look, Mia. You know yourself. The chances of you finding this again is really small. So don’t worry.” His tone was cutting and arrogant. 

“So you think we should be together?”

“I didn’t say that. I just mean, I don’t think there will be that many options. I’m close to home, emotionally and physically. You’re not going to give us up.”

“You sound sure,” I said, keeping my tone even. I hadn’t heard one word about what was best for us or about what he felt or he wanted. It was just cold hearted analyzing and it made me angry. 

His eyes tightened. “Fine then. Leave and forget everyone in this town.”

Blood rushed up to my face and the anger flared in my eyes when I spoke my next words. “Why does it always have to be like that with you? You’re so damn overbearing and cocky. And you act like this doesn’t matter to you at all. Like I don’t matter to you at all!” 

Caleb turned back to the dishes. 

A minute of silence passed before I asked in a small voice, “Aren’t you even a little afraid of losing me?”

He didn’t answer. I scoffed in disbelief, tears filling my eyes and falling down my cheeks. 

“So it’s like that,” I said. I half ran to through the living room and meant to hastily unlock the front door. I was going to slip out and go missing and not talk to him for the rest of my time in this stupid town. But my fingers were uncooperative and I couldn’t even get the door open before I heard Caleb behind me. 

He stepped in front of me, cutting my path. “You don’t understand,” he said, his voice raised much louder than I was used to. His gaze was unbelievably penetrating and I found my eyes gravitated toward the floor. I heard him take a deep breath then let it out in a huge sigh. “You don’t understand,” he said gentler this time. 

“You act like - ”

“I have to!” he said then groaned softly. I was so surprised at the change in his tone that I looked up at his face. He was looking down at me with his head ducked so he was my height. “I have no choice but to be like that. I can’t even imagine being without you now. And if I even think of the possibility of you finding some other guy that’s less of an asshole, I swear I’ll go insane.” 

“Caleb…” I started. 

“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. I’m… sorry if it never came off that way.” I felt his lips on my forehead. 

“Asshole,” I grumbled, joking. 

“That’s me,” he murmured, wrapping his arms around me. 



“I love you, asshole,” I replied with his heartbeat in my ears. 

"There's a sense of privacy and trust that is violated once the mimosa has been closed. It shall open again - time and time again - but there will never be a time when it was open without expecting any pain."

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."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Popcorn

We all stood there, watching her back as she walked away from us. She wore a black coat, her blond hair was draped down her back. And she was carrying a brown suitcase, walking toward the plane, walking away from me.

"I'm really going to miss her," Jenna said as she hugged her boyfriend, Nick.

"I know. We all are," Nick replied. He clapped me on the shoulder. "Let's go home, buddy." Nick and Jen turned around, walking in the opposite direction of Megan. I couldn't move. I just stood there and listened to the voice on the intercom, calling for the passengers of the flight she was going to be on. I turned and saw Nick kiss Jen on her forehead. I knew then that they're feelings for each other were much stronger than any reality. I wasn't sure what that meant exactly... until this moment. When I saw her walking away from me.

She had just turned the corner when I regained control of my limbs. "Catch you guys later," I muttered. Then I ran. I flat out ran after Megan. As my legs carried me, I thought about everything we had ever been through. All the times we ate popcorn while watching movies, walked on the beach and talked about what might be, the time I taught her how to surf and how many times she failed to pick up on my lessons. I thought of the time my mother passed away and I cried tears I didn't even know I had within me. And how she was there, making it better by letting me feel that I wasn't alone. It wasn't worth giving up. We only meet several people that rock us to our cores.

"Megan!" I called as loudly as I could. A few people turned to look at me but I ignored them. She turned around, surprised. "Megan. Don't go, please," I said, half breathless.

"Sam, what are you doing?" she asked.

"Do you remember the first time we went out together? That first date where we said we'd see that new blockbuster movie that was showing in the movie theater?"

"Sure. The concession stand had run out of popcorn," she said, smiling nostalgically.

"Yeah and the movie turned out to be terrible. And then we went for a walk down the street but then it started to rain. You had reminded me to bring the umbrella before we went out but I forgot."

"I was wearing that new cashmere sweater my dad sent me from God knows where. And I was so mad that it got so ruined."

"Right. It was the worst of first dates. Like in the entire history of the world. Am I right?"

"I don't see your point. Are you proving that we just don't work out? Because you don't have anything to worry about. I'll be in LA and you'll be in New York and even the time zones are different. We don't have to be together."

"You're not getting it," I said, bowing my head to catch my breath for a second. When I raised my head, I noticed a tear trail on her face. She was crying.

"What are you doing, Sam?" she repeated, this time, her voice was sad. I could see in her blue eyes that she remembered everything, that our memories were playing in her mind again and again as well. Like a song on repeat.

"What happened at the end of the date? I walked you up to your door and-"

"I asked you to come in."

"I did. Then we sat by the fireplace, eating gelato. And do you remember what you said?"

She thought for a moment as another tear fell. "I said, 'As long as there's us and gelato and a fireplace, everything else doesn't matter'."

I took a step closer to her and put my hand on her cheek. "Maybe this is just another minor setback. Maybe this is just the concession stand running out of popcorn. And tonight it won't matter anymore. Stay. Please. I know that you're afraid here and that you don't have much family here. But you have me and I don't want to spend the rest of my life looking back at this moment and regretting not finding out what we might've had."

"Sam...," she said, indecision in her eyes.

"I'm in love with you," I whispered, leaning in to kiss her.

Monday, January 26, 2015

"Never underestimate the power of words. Sometimes a simple sentence can force its way into you and play with your soul, leaving behind a gaping hole."

Monday, January 12, 2015


 "I felt the overwhelming desire to know her that way, to know all of her sides. If she was like a star, I wanted to know the explosion at the core that gave birth to her light."