Until My Latte is Cold and the Petals Fall Off

Thursday, November 16, 2017



I think they have words for this but I doubt they would do it justice, the way my heart isn't satisfied inside my body when you talk about cellular makeup and centromeres and that pasta your dad makes so well. 
Sometimes I think I could do this forever, and then you start talking philosophy and art and why soft cheese has less fat because of the hydrogen bonds and I think my heart may actually 
give out.




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The Birds Sing Here

Sunday, August 20, 2017



The birds sing here.

They twitter away, warbling through their song, on and off. The dove's coo is the most distinctive. If you want to bottle Arizona, send a dove's call from the top of a cinderblock wall.
The pool pump outside the open window hums, constant in the background, and those two things alone could place me right back in summer, any summer. If my eyes were closed, I wouldn't know the difference.
But it's not just those two things.
It's the musty smell that hangs in the air and the towels no matter how many times you wash them, no matter if you open the dusty windows. Everything is dry and cracked and cooked. Paint crackles off in bleached flakes and the water spurts through the scratchy throat of the pipes and out of the faucet's rusted, jade green edges.
I can feel the moisture being sucked from between the cracks in my skin by the greedy air, dry stucco house, hardened earth. But outside, vibrant color persists in flashes-leaves of tropical green, shoots of yellow, buds of violent fuschia-all trained to survive harsh temperatures and months of drought.
In my mind, the landscape is washed white, lightened by the inescapable, always-summer sun.

The grass is always green in Arizona.
That's not a metaphor, it's just the truth. People pay hundreds of dollars every month to spray water over acres of lawn, acres of artificial proof of financial capability.
Kids don't realize this, though. It's just green.
Kids climb trees, use the cinderblock wall as leverage even though it rubs dry, leaves a rough pattern and bits of rock on the palm of your hand. They bob in the pool as the sun finally descends behind the roof of the house, buoyant between the streak clouds above and the reflection below. Bees hum around the edge and when you drown one against the pool deck you have to watch out because the others will come to avenge him. Crinkly finger pads strip off wet suits and leave them to stiffen and bleach against the specially formulated outdoor chaise lounge cushion.
Sun streams through the hallway windows, warming the bumpy tile in slanted squares. Some of them have tiny paw prints from cats that wandered through the drying slates, through the Mexican town where the tiles were mixed and poured and dried and stacked before crossing through desert to desert.
Don't step on those.
For most of the day, you're confined to the inside. The heat reminds you of this if you try to venture out.
When dusk comes, lay on your bedroom floor. Feel your shoulder blades press into the carpet. Watch the outline of the mountains glow black against the burning white sky through the dusty window slats.



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Let's Exist Somewhere Outside This Room

Saturday, August 5, 2017




Let's go to New York. 
There, we will be so overwhelmed by the sheer physicality of the city that our own bodies will pale in comparison. There won't be a "her," or "him," or last month, or last year. The moment we met will not exist in New York, and so maybe we will stand a chance. We can force ourselves to get out of bed and do something for once because in New York, as soon as you walk outside you are part of a whirring, humming machine. The streets will be ours to roam, and you will not have to ask me what I want to do. We will just arrive-galleries, shops, museums. We will climb to the tops of buildings and I will gasp and you will understand my breathlessness. We will eat breakfast at ungodly hours for a morning ritual, in dingy diners with burned-out bulbs, and you will listen while I weave outrageous tales about the other customers. We will look at pictures and paintings and imagine splattering our hearts out onto canvas the way those much braver than ourselves have done. We are not brave. But we are in New York, so it does not matter. We will fold pizza slices bigger than our heads into open mouths, toss back drinks with our heels hooked on barstools and we will not, under any circumstances, cut our noodles when eating pasta. We will be the shadows catching the corner of everyone's eye as we pass by on the sidewalk, a blur of black denim and worn leather and dark hair. They might even think we were someone, someone they should know, if my legs were a little longer. You will hold my hand when the sun drops, not because you want to, but because you are afraid the streets will yank me away and you are faultlessly protective. I will like it because I am inherently selfish and want everyone to know my eyes are the ones that get to dance with yours. That, and I like it when you touch me. 
New York City will be good for us because we never get to bed on time. There, we will be on the right side of the clock, awake at 3 am, watching lights twinkle and cars rush. In the morning I will wake up before you, like I always do, and venture out. It will be refreshing, to see the sun shine through leaves and watch people hurrying to their real lives. I will walk between them, an apparition, and they will not notice me in your sweatpants. I'll get coffee and bagels and plop triumphantly back onto the bed (in New York I will know what bagel you want, I will know everything about you and never look away). We will have a whole other day and night and day and night and day and night ahead of us, and we will not talk of apologies or what's next or what lies behind sticky doors. That's not what New York is for. We will be happy, happy, happy. In New York, we will let everyone else do the seriousness of living life with consequences and we will be happy, happy, happy.
Easy.






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Oh Sentimentalism, My Old Friend

Monday, July 31, 2017



Shoes are stacked. 
Boxes overflow with scribbled papers and picture frames and unused notebooks.

As the walls become more and more bare, as I strip away more and more memories and trinkets, my heart starts to kick in. It tempts me to become frantic, to flail and fight the impending change. 
As buckets of clothes and piles of magazines are packed away, as buttons and hair ribbons and dried flowers are wrapped, my brain invites me to breath a little easier. The shock of blank space is almost more a regret than a sadness. Why did I feel the need to line every wall and fill every corner with some material thing? Sure, that wrapping paper came from Italy, and yes, I might use that pack of pencils one day. But what good does it do sitting there until I do?
I walk a fine line of cloying nostalgia and regretful purging. Although really, when was the last time I ever regretted getting rid of something? I couldn't tell you. Mostly because I have a horrible memory, so I can't even recall what it is I've expelled from my grasp. But doesn't that speak to its importance, whatever it may have been? If I can't even remember what it is then surely it was not important enough to keep.
I always think of the Emily Gilmore in these instances, holding up a sequin gown and then, with blase finality, tossing it aside.
"It doesn't bring me joy," she says, dismissive. 

This room has been witness to some of my most genuinely joyful moments. It has seen, without a doubt, my very darkest nights. It has hosted my mother and my best friends. It has provided quiet asylum for me to write the stories and essays that are my biggest achievements so far. 
The very best thing about this room?
The fact that it is one small part of a very big house with many, many girls. 
This was the very reason I was so skeptical moving in two years ago. Eleven girls in one house is clearly too many, and while legally that's true, it only took a few months for the Lighthouse community to work its magic. Now, after two years of movie nights and a microwave constantly producing popcorn and folding someone else's laundry with love and grace, living with just one other person will be a bit of an odd adjustment. Originally, this living situation was not my ideal, and to this day I bitch and moan about dirty dishes and dirty floors and dirty refrigerator drawers. But this community of girls has become my home base. They have loved me and cheered me on. They have made me laugh so hard that my sides scream. Mostly they've enabled my popcorn habit, and assured that I got a full movie education. When girls I don't know approach me at work and ask if I live in the Lighthouse, not only do I feel pretty cool for being recognized, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to be part of such a special place.
I have faith that the Lighthouse will continue to be the Lighthouse as long as there are kind, loving, welcoming girls that want to be a part of a whole. If I, the introverted, cynical, judgmental hermit can be converted, then it must truly be a wonderful thing. I know that I will recount my years here fondly. I will remember every roommate and dance party, and how it felt to be curled up together on the couch, legs tangled and blankets shared.
It's hard enough leaving Lawrence, this little town that shaped me and raised me and taught me what good coffee and loving community is. It's entirely another to relinquish the key to the place I've called home for the past two years. Odd that a hunk of metal can carry so much more than a simple entry.

Until we meet again, 930 Ohio Street.
(probably this week because I still can't handle it)



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Serendipity

Sunday, July 30, 2017






Serendipity: a couch and a chair and your best friend all in the same place, at the same time.



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