Monday, August 18, 2014

One of Those.

I could feel her eyes on me as I applied an ungodly amount of dark blush on my cheeks, trying to hide the tear stains.  I reached for the mascara in my purse and when I looked up I caught her glance in the reflection of the mirror.  "It's just been one of those" I said quickly with a shrug, trying to prevent her from feeling too awkward for getting caught staring.  "Oh girl, I feel you" she responded with empathy while she washed her hands, "Trust me, I had a day like that last week.  Couldn't keep it together if I tried.  But hey just remember that whatever it is, it will pass, and in two weeks you'll forget that you were even in this bathroom reapplying your makeup".  I looked down at my hands and bit my lip, trying not to let the tears fall for the third time in twenty minutes.  "Thanks" I finally mustered as she threw her paper towel away and headed for the door.  "No problem, and cute shoes" was all I heard as the door shut and I was left with my reflection, my thoughts and enough makeup for a circus clown.

After she left, I felt thankful for the interaction, grateful that someone could at least try to relate. "Girl power" I thought as I reminded myself to pay it forward the next time I came across a crying girl in an unlikely place.  Yet regardless of the woman's kind words, I continued to feel sorry for myself as I looked deep into my own eyes, glassy and tired.  "What am I doing?" I thought quietly in the empty bathroom.  "What the hell am I doing here?"

Shaking my head, I realized it felt overly dramatic to be asking myself that question.  I mean to be honest, I was hiding in the bathroom at a dingy neighborhood bar, so it was pretty obvious that what the hell I was doing there was trying to drown my sorrows in half priced beer and chicken wings.   Work was shit, my life plans had somehow and unexpectedly spiraled out of my control and true story- that very afternoon I had received a breakup letter in the mail from a guy I wasn't even dating (talk about salt in the already gaping wound).  He had handwritten it, bought a stamp and even took the time to put the card in the mail, which was without a doubt, quite a bit more time dedicated to "us" than I had ever put in.  His words came in a card that was embossed with the crest of his alma mater on the front, which only led me to ponder how long he had been in possession of such cards and as I read, I found myself legitimately wondering whether he had purchased them with campus cash or not.  And while I found this particular mans efforts to end something that never exactly started, humorous and a bit presumptuous, I couldn't help but feel a pang of envy over the fact that he knew exactly what he wanted, even if that meant it wasn't me.

Because besides acknowledging that I was trying to forget about my problems in a dark bar, I really knew nothing else about where my life was going.  I was at a crossroads and had no clue what lie on any of the roads in front of me.  I wanted someone, anyone to tell me what to do, where to go and what to expect next.  I needed someone to order me to stay or to go, to direct me on what my next move should be.  And as thankful as I was for my interaction with the lady in the bathroom, I found it extremely hard to imagine that she had ever been in this particular situation and I knew that it would take me a hell of a lot longer than two weeks to forget about this night, in this bathroom.  I had some serious decisions to make, and while I had always valued my independence and ability to make choices based on what makes me the happiest, I had never wanted direction more in my life.

Realizing that I had been in the bathroom for a worrisome amount of time, I took a deep breath and looked at my reflection once more in the mirror in front of me.  "It's just one of those" I told myself reassuringly.  "Tomorrow will be better, it has to be" and as I turned for the door, I looked back and added "cute shoes."

Thursday, May 29, 2014


It was late and the room was dark with the exception of the midnight moon which somehow found its way through a small break in the curtains.  The white glow cast shadows across the walls of the hotel room, creating the perfect silhouette of a man and woman who stood facing one another, barely a few inches apart.  She was in her head, mind racing as she silently cursed the moon.  In that moment, she wished with all of her being that it would go away and that the darkness would engulf the two of them so she could no longer see the flecks of gold in his eyes or the definition of his perfect jawline.  The girl fought with great difficulty, the urge to let her eyes meet his.  Meanwhile he was staring at her, desperately searching her face for answers or at least an indication of what his next move should be.

"What do you want from me?" she whispered after some time, her voice shaking and body trembling.  As if he was waiting for it, he reached up to touch her face, pushing a piece of hair behind her ear, dropping his gaze to meet hers.  "I want you" he said simply, half-smiling and pulling her closer to him.  

"How the hell do I get myself into these situations?" she thought to herself angrily as he slid his hand into hers, finding that all too familiar place where it had rested so many times, so long ago.  

He was the only man in her 26 years and many failed relationships, that she ever actually saw herself ending up with.  Though it was never the most serious of partnerships nor the easiest for that matter, there was just something about him, some disarming quality that made her think about their future together instead of pulling away, which had up to that point, been her norm.  It was so uncharacteristic of her to fall for someone like him.  She had spent a lot of time fighting off the "good guys" in her past relationships, chalking them up to being too "simple" or accusing them of not wanting the same things that she wanted for her life.  Yet somehow with all of the odds stacked against them, she had found herself enamored with this man.  A man who could never give her the worldly experiences she craved, or the nomadic lifestyle she always imagined she would have.  He was stationary and always would be, yet for the first time in her life she accepted this and despite a deep inner struggle, was willing to give up her adventures and her dreams for him and the dreams that they could potentially create together.  

But that was then.  

The reality now was that she somehow, someway had ended up in a dimly lit hotel room alone with this man (who notably had a girlfriend), in a strange city, with a whole lot of feelings between them.  Two years had passed since their last fight- the fight that had ended it all.  It happened more suddenly than she had expected and looking back on it, she always wondered if she should have fought harder, if she should have for the first time ever, showed all of her cards.  He gave her an out that day- claiming that he could never give her all the things she wanted and would never ask her to give those things up for him, and though every bone in her body told her not to, she took it.  Selfishly, she took the out and then promptly spent the next two years trying to make sense of that decision.  He had moved on since then, and for all intents and purposes she had too. Yet here they were, the two of them alone in this room, so much history between them, fighting against every physical and emotional urge in their bodies.  

They lasted only a few minutes like this, in each others embrace, fighting hard to resist the pull that they felt for each other.  Until finally, he pulled her in as close as he possibly could.  And as their lips met, her head began to spin.  Memories of late nights and early mornings, stolen kisses and too many laughs clouded her mind as she found herself melting in to his all too familiar touch.  The passion between them was an unstoppable force and unlike anything she had ever felt.  Her heart was pounding and while they kissed, her thoughts went deeper as questions about the future began popping into her mind.  She wondered how it would feel to be kissed like this every single day, or if anyone would ever really know her like he did and then she questioned whether or not she could ever love someone this much.  In that moment, in that hotel room, it was nearly impossible for her to imagine feeling this way with anyone else on the entire planet.  
Yet as she felt her heart go to places it had never been before, her head rang loud between her ears.  "We can't" she said as she pulled away abruptly.  She stepped backwards, away from him and into the darkness, shielding her face from his view.  The hurt and confusion she saw in his eyes was almost too much to bear, but she quickly realized that it truly couldn't compare to the hurt in her heart when she mustered up all the courage in the world and repeated "We just can't".  Heading for the hotel room door, she was careful to keep the tears that steadily streamed down her face out of sight, as the glow of the moon projected a single shadow on the hotel room wall.  

Thursday, April 24, 2014

It's Me.

"Hey, it's me.  Hope you had a good day, I'm thinking of you and I hope you're as excited as I am that it's almost the weekend.  Call me when you get a chance."

He sounded far away in his voicemail; far like, East Coast far.   But the time zones and the thousands of miles between them faded away quickly as a smile took over every inch of her body.  It was one of those smiles, one that starts from somewhere deep in your heart and finds its way to your mouth and eventually to your eyes, where it rests with satisfaction and unexpected happiness.  In that moment, she could care less that he was thinking of her or that he wanted her to call him.  "It's me" he said and after that she heard nothing else.

He had addressed her with such a feeling of familiarity and she couldn't remember the last time someone had said that and not been her mother, or grandmother or childhood best friend.  It was as if they had known each other forever, even though it had only been a few months.  It felt comfortable, even though she was still uncomfortable with the whole thing.  It somehow felt right, even though she didn't exactly know what that meant.

"It's me" he said, and she lost it.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Leaving a Mark.

The chardonnay went down easy.  It was crisp and cool and exactly what I needed on that cool, Spring afternoon.  I was sitting at my favorite table, in my favorite coffee shop that doubles as a wine bar, and I was thinking that it had been a long time since I had found myself at that particular table.    After settling in to the space, noticing the different artwork on the walls and the addition of a new lamp in the corner, I remembered that I had once met the girl who painted the table which I sat at.  She had pink in her hair and roughly five facial piercings that I could count at first glance.  Her name was Amber or something similar that started with an A and reminded me of the 90's.  The two of us got to talking about the table one cold fall afternoon when I found myself cozied up at the coffee shop, scouring the daily job postings online and sipping my vanilla latte.  "It started off a terrible brown" she explained.  "But then one day I was bored and had paints in my bag for school.  It was a slow day here at the shop and I figured I wouldn't be working this job forever, so I just took the table out back and spent an hour painting rainbows and flowers all over the top.  I guess I did it so that when I quit here I can leave my mark on the place."  I remember in that moment looking down at the surface, staring at her brush strokes with admiration and a deeper appreciation having heard the story behind them.

On this particular Spring afternoon at the coffee shop however, Amber was nowhere to be found.  Many seasons had come and gone and no longer was I desperately searching for a job or trying to become a regular at any place that would have me.  I was established in the city; I had a job and a house and friends to call for drinks or a group fitness class if I wanted.  I guess I should have felt good about those things, about being successful in a city where I once knew no one, during a time when I had nothing but a couple hundred dollars in my savings account.  So that night, when Amber's replacement came by the table and asked if I was okay or if I needed anything, I was surprised when I found myself wondering what else it was exactly that I needed besides another glass of chardonnay.

I looked out the window, watching a man and his dog play and I wondered what mark I would leave on this place, then I wondered if I ever would leave this place.  The city had become my home and with each year that passed I found myself breathing deeper the mountain air, letting it settle in my lungs and into my soul in a way that I never imagined it would.  We were in sync, the city and I.  We had a mutual understanding of one another, where we were going and who we wanted to be, or so I thought.

I guess sometimes all it takes is a few glasses of wine, a quiet evening alone and a familiar table at your favorite coffee shop to get you thinking, because as I sat there staring at the flowers and rainbows I couldn't help but wonder where the girl who once was a "regular" had gone.  There was a time when the coffee shop made me feel like I belonged, like I could be whatever version of myself I wanted to be, and more often than not it was the most creative, outgoing, and raw version that frequented the rainbow table.  Now, no one knew me here in this coffee shop, yet I had finally become "someone". I had finally achieved everything I ever thought I wanted in this city.  Even so,  with each sip of wine, waves of regret crashed over me as I realized that somewhere between working too many long hours and dating way too many of the wrong people, I had lost sight of the girl who had once noticed how many piercings her barista had.  I had let her go and I hadn't even realized it.  As my mind started racing with thoughts of new cities, new jobs and new people, I tried to focus.  I breathed in that fresh mountain air, reconnected with the city, and got lost in the brush strokes on the table, making a promise to myself that if I do ever leave, I will do it on my terms.  I will leave this city fulfilled, as the best version of myself and I will leave feeling like I can truly leave a mark that matters.  But until that time comes, I realized that it's past time for me to reclaim my favorite table in the corner with the window, it's time for me to become a regular again.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The One

"Can I get you girls anything?" the saleswoman asked the group as they settled into the blush colored couches.  Soft, early afternoon light flooded the room, casting shadows on the exposed brick walls, dancing across the floor and shining a perfectly placed natural spotlight on the dresses that hung from the rack in the corner.  The girls looked back and forth at each other anxiously and finally one piped up, "Is it alright if we open this in here?  We're just so excited, she's the first one to go through this!" Ten minutes later, glasses were filled and toasts were made.  "To finding the perfect one!" the friends exclaimed excitedly, sipping the champagne and adding to their Sunday morning brunch buzz.

The initial few she came out in were pretty, there was no doubt about that.  The group loved the lace fabric that made up the first dress, and they gawked at the flawless silhouette of the third, commenting on how it clung to her body in all the right places.  "I like it, but I don't love it" one friend commented on the fifth dress.  "It's beautiful but will you be able dance in it?" said another.
Thirty minutes later the saleswoman had just began to get a bit nervous about not finding the perfect fit, when the girl emerged from the fitting room and the peanut gallery fell silent.  The friends watched intently as the girl stepped in front of the full length mirror and they gasped as she released hold of the dress, letting the train fall the to the floor.


"This will be me soon" she thought as she stared at her roommate and one of her closest friends. "I am making the right decision" she silently told herself when thinking about her upcoming move and the new job she had just accepted in another city and a completely different state.  "We will be good together" she reassured herself as the nerves associated with moving and moving in with her boyfriend surfaced.  They had met in this city and had been together two years, in a relationship that could be characterized as easy and more than anything else, simple.  However, during the previous two weeks they had engaged in more deep and real conversations than they had in the entirety of their relationship.  "If you follow me and we move in together, you know that means that we're really committing to be with each other, right?" she had asked him one night while they were discussing the impending move over pizza and wine.  "Well, I'm not going to marry you tomorrow, but ya, I get it.  I know" he had responded in true, 26 year old boy fashion.  "I'm next" she thought as she admired her friend in white.  "I'm next and I think I'm ready".


Though she was sitting on the blush colored couch next to her friends, admiring the perfection that was the bride-to-be in what was quite possibly the dress-to-be, her mind was elsewhere. She checked her phone for the forth time in ten minutes, hoping that there would be something from him, anything from him. "What am I doing?" she wondered as she realized how desperate she was to hear from a man she barely knew, a man who was certainly not the man that she was currently dating.  Her phone buzzed and she felt a pang of guilt when she read "can't wait to see you this week, babe".  Slipping her phone into her purse she scolded herself, "Dammit, this is the man I should be wanting to hear from, this is who I should be getting excited about.  He flies across the country to see me, he loves me whole-heartedly and if he knew I would let him, he would put a ring on my finger tomorrow and then I would be the one trying on these ridiculous white dresses like every girl dreams of doing".  But even with the feeling of guilt, her mind still wandered to the mystery man she had met during a chance encounter.  "He's the perfect stranger" she thought to herself, "keep him that way".  But as she recalled the conversation they had engaged in, the way she had opened up to him like no one before and the way he had really looked at her during their brief time together, she couldn't help but smile.  Their exchanges since that fateful day had been short but heavy, loaded with questions about fate and destiny,  yet lacking anything concrete or solid with regard to the future.  "What am I going to do?" she asked herself.  "Chris loves me, he would do anything for me.  He is the safe bet and  I could have all of this if I wanted it".  Focusing in on the white dress and the gorgeous girl wearing it, she was honest with herself for the first time in a long time and asked the question "But what if I don't want all this?".

"What the fuck, Josh" she cursed in her head as she stared with envy at her beautiful friend in the beautiful dress.  Sunlight streamed through the window and landed on the back of the dress, catching one of the shiny rhinestone buttons, sending beams of bright light dancing across the room.  She closed her eyes and breathed heavily, reminding herself not to get too worked up.  "Two years you chased me" she thought angrily, "It took you two whole years to convince me that you would love me forever and when I finally let you in and finally gave you my heart, you shattered it.  Fuck you Josh, this was supposed to be me" She opened her eyes slowly and plastered a smile on her face, hoping that her outward expression showed the opposite of what she was feeling internally.  "One day I will have this" she told herself repeatedly, "One day someone will be worthy of my affection and when I give them my heart, they won't run.  They will stay."  And as she caught the eye of her friend in the reflection in the mirror she smiled a warm and heartfelt smile, nodding her head and telling herself, "I deserve this and sooner or later this will be me".


"I've never seen something so beautiful" she realized as she gazed at the train falling perfectly around her feet.  It really did hug her body in all the right places, accentuating her curves yet complimenting her tiny waist.   She watched the light catch the rhinestones on the belt and admired the way the dress moved with her when she moved.  "I love this" she told herself,  "I've actually never loved any dress more".   Looking at her friends reassuring smiles in the reflection of the mirror she thought about how lucky she was to have such incredible people in her life, friends who would do anything for her.  Redirecting her attention to her own reflection in the mirror she could feel the tears start to well up.  "She's found the one!" she heard her friend say as the first tear rolled silently down her face, followed by many, many more.  The room erupted in applause and cheers as photos were snapped and hugs were given.  Her mind raced.  "How am I ever going to tell them?  How am I ever going to tell him?" she questioned as she removed herself mentally from the celebrations, looking deep into her own eyes and deep into herself in the beautiful white, floor length mirror.  "I can't do this" she thought, glancing through her tears at the diamond ring on her finger, "there's no way I can go through with this, he's just not the one."

"How wonderful, it truly is perfect on you"  the saleswoman exclaimed as she wrote down the style number and color before running off to grab a celebratory bottle of champagne.