How One Moment in a Coffee Shop Sparked a Thousand Revelations

Weeks ago, sitting in a coffee shop, spinning words for a deadline as if I were back in college, I paused and looked up from my screen.

And a man was staring at me.

In the space between breaths, he looked away and back again. I sipped my coffee and pretended our eyes hadn’t met, the ever familiar flush of pink coloring my skin. Minutes later, his order was ready at the counter and he disappeared through the door.

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I lose mud
from my boots
in upscale bars.
Forget to change
shoes in transit,
rural to urban,
farm to market
and back again.
Parallel park
with eyes closed but
open my screen door
and gravel spills
into city streets where
pine needles trail me
through pastel boutiques.

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Rain, Rain

Today is full of him.

Days pass where the memories are distant, fleeting, almost gone.

But today there is rain and it splashes into my mug and my skin and my shoes, and I remember it all.

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Bonus Points If You Can Name This Song

Music has never been my forte. Both the making of it and the appreciation.

I love it. I do. Love.

The discovery of it, too. Indie folk music is, like, my jam.

Somehow, though, I’ve always fallen for men with an absolute, unquestionable passion for music. The structure, the lyrics, the creation, even. They know the story behind the obscure band and have (of course) been to the concerts and shows and own all the albums and recognize every guitar riff and you know this new artist, right, Kristen? You know the band I’m talking about? Don’t you? Kristen?

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Free to Wander

I can’t tell you when the restlessness began. Perhaps as I bathed in the rays of an Amsterdam sunset or floated down a frigid canal in Munich. Maybe the lights of Rome and Paris still glimmer in my eyes.

I suppose it’s possible that Alpine air is trapped in my chest, or the smoke of a Venetian nightclub lingers in my hair.

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She rises in the morning and greets the golden trophies of elementary days that once trumpeted, This one will be Something. As if spelling words aloud foretold a fairy tale of riches and honor. As if gathering stars and stickers and silly prizes like As in red ink meant she was Going Places.

She followed the path and read the books and wrote the essays and aced the tests and basked in the praise and fielded the questions about the Future, but all she ever truly wanted was to write down the intangible thoughts of her untidy mind so the storm would quiet for just a few moments as she tapped out stories on a keyboard and took her own breath away.

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Target Practice

It begins innocently enough. Numbers are exchanged like trading cards. Eyelashes flutter and cheeks glow with the pink promise of something.

With shy smiles and a well-timed joke, you’re both lost in the madness. You toy with what it means and try out titles to see how they feel in your mouths, careful to stay casual, ever so casual but you’re underwater and crave the flood in your lungs.

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I am not what most English majors might consider well-read. There is a long list of books that I’m ashamed to admit I have not finished, and an even longer list of ones I have not started. That being said, I can with a great amount of certainty say that Pride and Prejudice’s Elizabeth Bennet is the single most exquisite character I have ever come across in literature.

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