Not More Than a Week

on milkshakes

Is it just me, or is the idea of sitting at a quiet coffee shop with the tip of a pen on my simple notebook intriguing? Seated at Dorlac’s Cakes at a white chair, I’m penning my usual musings, passing time until my host gets home. Been here almost an hour. I finished my strawberry milkshake some minutes ago. The cup is still here and I have an excuse to be here; like regulars do. I’m engaging in my habitual passive observation of people. It’s a nice spot that’s right by the road and there is so much to look at when you are not looking at anything at all. The thing about passive observation is that you observe  nothing and everything. You notice everyone and immediately forget what they look like and what they wore.

A few faces glance my way; probably admiring me and thinking I may be an actual serious writer. It helps that I am busy penning this and my eyes look intense as I stare into the nothingness in front of them. I smile at that thought; and keep looking up each time someone says hello and answering with a nod and a genuine smile. I imagine the cliche claim that people find writers intimidating quite appealing right about now.

***

So this meticulous young lady in blue jeans and a floral blouse sits at the table opposite mine after wiping her seat at least thrice. She works here; served me. Now she seats with a coffee cup in this heat. I’m in no position to see if it’s really coffee in there or something else altogether. She gets her beige hp mini laptop, an exquisite notebook, and a pen that, unlike mine, has its lid on. I instantly feel at home and smile; imagining what it is that she is penning. Her friend joins her, taking the seat opposite hers. I imagine the obligation she feels to politely engage her, even when all she desires right now is a bleeding pen.

This would be a nice joint to hang. I already have a mental picture of spending my evenings here; sipping at double café lattes. But then, I look at my phone and remember so well a text that came yesternight and grin, shaking my head:

I’m not missing you for more than a week.

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Second

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When you have been here before,  you dread every step of the way.  You are too aware of the edges and corners that exist and every one of them raises the hair behind your neck. You become so obsessed with the process that you miss all the steps you never noticed previously.  You make new mistakes and fall into deeper holes.  You become so frustrated that you come out of it all insane and mad at everyone and everything it represents.

So you build up your walls.  These ones higher and thicker than the former.  You surround yourself with thorns and detest every approach they make.  Your poison flows to the claws you grew and you canines are now sharper. So even genuine souls suffer under your careful gaze.  You are too aware of ill intentions that you give no chance to genuinity.  Everything they say seems so empty to your ears.  It’s not your fault; you are just protecting your heart. You are just guarding it the only way you know how.

So every word the former says jabs at you and you swear you could kill them if it wasn’t immoral. They check up on you and say you will find someone better; more deserving. You smirk. They were everything you wanted and you were not.  You gave them your all.  You opened yourself up to them in ways you haven’t to your own soul.  You gave them every shred of your heart and they crushed it and returned it to you.  So you are busy putting the pieces back together and realizing that some of them are lost forever.  For those that fit well together, you know the cracks will never fade.  Passion scars don’t . You know all you ever will do is grow a layer over what is there. You cannot afford to have anyone break that which is already broken.

You know what hurts the most?? It’s the fact that they could love you the way you loved them.  They were capable of doing that.  They just chose not to.  So it’s you seeing them happy with new people and showering them with love and doting them with care and affection.  It’s you acutely aware of the pain your heart has known and knowing its physical as much as it is emotional. The torture is real.

You know full well that they took advantage of you. You could see it.  You ignored it and made excuses for their behavior. You knew you were honest in your love.  You know that you loved with abandon and left yourself at their mercies. You waited as they cleaned house and got ready for you.  Only that; after that,  it’s not you they chose.  They moved on to another.  You wanted them to choose you.  If not out of love, then out of respect and courtesy.  But no,  it was all for nothing . They could never choose you even if it was only you that was left.  So you dry your tears and contemplate. You conclude that you should just accept your reality.  You will always be second.

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Lit

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#manhattanhenge#Youngerseasonthree

Its Friday evening, around 6:45 pm, and you are walking home from work. Its deadly silent, and the few people along the way seem to be each lost in their own thoughts. You are enjoying the quiet of a typical Friday evening and the view of your surroundings just after sunset. Your hands are in the pockets of your black bomber jacket as you engage in a never ending monologue in your mind. You realize that someone standing at the side of the road ahead of you is smiling at you. She looks vaguely familiar and you squint, trying to get a better look at them. You notice how her black leather boots emphasize the length of her legs. There is a carefree aura about her and she is wearing a long, baggy, blue hooded jacket, and has a black sling bag.Her hair is tied in a high bun. You wonder what she is wearing underneath. As you get closer, you recognize her; she is the one you lent your jacket last week. It was raining and being the gentleman you are, you had given her your jacket. After all, you were ‘just about to get home’. You told her where you lived and said she could return the jacket to house number one.

You smile back, recognizing your jacket, shake hands and walking home  with her seems like the most natural to do. So you get home, and into the house. She is standing by the door, still in her boots for you insisted she doesn’t remove them.  You are clearing the books from your coffee table and getting rid of a shirt you left on your couch. You turn to offer her a seat and there she is, looking perpetual, innocent and sinfully sexy as she hugs herself. You stutter, asking her if she’d want a drink.

“Water”, she says.

You head to the kitchen to get her water. You get back, and you are glued to a spot, staring at her. She has got rid of your jacket and let her hair down.  Your lower lip quivers, and you know that this will be one hell of a night.

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You will remember me

I will be gone, long before you turn your head and change your mind

It will be too late, at least for the moment

You are gonna live to remember that day

That you watched me break down

As you feigned concern when tears ran down my cheeks

As you watched me crawl, dragging my tired legs among the shambles of a life I once had

A haven I had created for myself, for us

You will regret, later probably

You will know full well that, I was leaving on account of your indiscretions

That you had the chance to man up or otherwise

And that you did not choose the former

 

You will remember looking into the windows of my soul and seeing the hurt

The sadness, the anger, and the disappointment

You will see a piece of me fade, die away

You will see the gravity of my emotions and realize you had me, almost

You will see me fading into nothingness and know you couldn’t save me

You will envision my form and realize that

As I lay in your bed beneath the sheets, I offered more than my body

That I lay my heart down for you, to do as you please

That you did what charmed yours

 

There’ll be others, and I will pale in comparison

For you found me in the shadows

But you too were there, or you couldn’t have found me

But I hope that my plain will be enough to have you bogging my friends to intercede for you

I hope the shards I leave behind will have you seeking my broken form

I hope you will miss the flaws in my being and the cracks I possess

I hope each tear I shed will sting at your heart, painfully

I hope that, as you watch her staring at the looking glass for hours, you will remember I almost never owned one

I hope that as she fights hard to fit in, you will remember I never did

For I neither did fear nor care

I hope that, as you toss in bed each night, you will feel that pillow I brought you

And that my scent won’t never fade from it

I hope you will hug it and fight back your tears like the man you believe you are

I hope you come knocking, on wrong doors

Since I will move, and remove

I hope you come bearing the pieces of me that I left behind

 

You won’t find me under the shower, drowning in my tears

I will be over that

I will be okay

But I know you won’t, for you know I was on the right;, not that it matters now

You were a work in progress; still are

I was too; still am

But you gave up, once you started mending the pieces of you that were visible

 

I will be waiting

And one of two things will happen

I will find closure, and forget you; almost undo you.

Or you will come looking, before it’s too late

I hope the latter happens

Till then, only one question will run in mine mind

Was a new notch in your belt I ever was? Only one that cleaned, and cooked and ironed, and…..

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ONLY BECAUSE

I am seated at a corner table by a window at the White Rhino fast food area, sipping at my occasional dose of caffe’ latte. It is raining softly outside and my helmet is sitting on the chair adjacent to mine. My laptop is on and I am busy trying to beat the deadline on my assignment while utilizing the WI-FI at this place. I am a regular here. Don’t get me wrong, what I really mean, is that I come here every fortnight; to recharge and just be. So I keep sipping, as darkness crouches the outside, increasing my typing speed until a ‘hello’ distracts me. I look up expecting to match the voice to a familiar face but it turns out to be a stranger just being pleasant.

The distraction lasts, as I remember exactly how you and I met. It had started with a hello at a coffee shop I was trying and we had grown close with each consecutive encounter. Phrases like “bill’s on you’ and ‘I owe you one’ became common and this became our meeting point, our common ground and haven. We even had a table that was almost always never occupied. It faced a busy street on one side and a boring old wall on another. We cherished our time together and almost fell for each other; at least I almost did. I loved how petite I felt as I stood beside your giant masculine form; and how mature your bearded face looked compared to my cheeky one. We would tell each other’s schedule even when we never did exchange contacts; we thought that was romantic. Thinking back, I think we should have anyway; thanks to my futile efforts to locate yours when I missed you.  We would walk each other home, sing to each other and talk for hours on end about nothing and everything. They all thought we were a thing, and we laughed at their faces. We looked really good together and I almost forgot you weren’t mine; and that we were just two people who saw each other.

And then you moved, with no word or goodbye note; not even to our steward at that coffee shop. I walked to your house only to find new occupants; with no forwarding address left behind. I waited for you to show up. I asked the waiters of your whereabouts each time i walked in; asked them every morning on my way to work and in the evening as I took my drug and probably bore them with my cliché queries. I did my daily checks like a doctor does on a patient and waited for you like one who had made a solemn promise to always be there; though you never did. We were all I wanted even without a label. That was kinda the thrill of it. We were the ideal. I finally gave up though, well after seeking your number and realizing how little I actually knew about you. I relented after a few months, and even contemplated giving up our coffee shop. I stayed though; as if holding on to the only thing left of that which we once shared; as if afraid to lose the pieces of you I so cherished. I wore that place like a badge of honor; as if proud I managed to walk in there when i knew you wouldn’t.

Then one day, eighteen months later, out of the blues, you called. Where you got my number I didn’t ask. Your name was already fading from mine memory; but your deep voice simply couldn’t. We had one of those weird conversations on a cold July evening, and I felt the ache in my soul intensify as if you literary slit my heart.  I hated myself, and the way this affected me, and reduced me to a frail thing. Something tragic happened, you said. And that you couldn’t explain it over the phone. And that was why you were sitting at our place for the fourth time that week, waiting for me to show up. That you too had bogged the waitresses with your bogus questions and that they finally found my number.

But then, I had already moved; away from things that never would be. I was tired of waiting’; for something so uncertain for so long. I had opted for a fresh start; away from the constant reminder that you weren’t no more. I had chosen to leave my ghosts behind and sought solace in my work.  I was hurting, and no one could understand why if I explained it; for I too didn’t know why it hurt so much. It felt like I was moving on, but from something that never was. We said our regrets on that weird call and promised to catch up some day. We never have; at least not yet. We never may, and that’s okay. We aren’t kids no more. We can deal.

I am sure that, someday, you will be seated at a place like this one Sunday taking coffee, probably Mocha, and remember me. It would be raining, hopefully, and you would be hugging your mug. You will recall the songs I sang you and admit that I cared. Maybe cared too much. You will admit that I disarmed you and that I always was in your loop. You will hate that my voice just couldn’t leave your mind like yours couldn’t mine. You will smile sadly and agree that it is only romantic because it never happened.

 

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Its Been a Long Way Coming

 

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I am dragging the two handbags that I insisted on carrying as my mom and sister trudge along the driveway to where the car is parked. I forced him to carry my navy envelop clutch, and he pretends it’s a document file. I can finally rest. It’s over. And it’s been a long way coming.

He can see the tire behind my eyes, or at least he pretends to do so. We are taking selfies along the way, in an attempt to block our preoccupations pertaining varied issues. We stop at that stone erected in honor of the former SA president and take a breather.

We are looking into each other’s eyes and mine beg to seek meaning in innocent his. There is nothing deep in mine, but he looks anyway. And for this one day, he makes me forget. That I wasn’t his. Made me feel like I was family. Like I mattered. And counted.

Despite the noise, and all the uncertainties and doubts we carried in our hearts, and amidst all the excitement and irregular melodies around us, I am tempted to voice it. He wouldn’t heed; that I was sure. The tension was there though. And despite the strains and the tire, I chuckled and heard myself murmur, “Get it over with”.

 

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