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Big questions leave the mind heavy yet hungry for more. When people are passionate, there is no way to end a conversation until those involved agree, disagree, or simply get burnt out. How to resolve conflicts on abstract ideas? how to put ideas into words? how to express passion and emotion in words others will understand? our hearts are screaming and so are our voices. are they screaming the same things? who is listening to our screams? and will we ever get our message across? can we ever truly express ourselves? We're always looking for answers by asking more questions.
timing is everything. it's been two days since i've seen your face, two days since i've heard your voice. two days, and i'm thinking about next week. two days, and i'm thinking about next month. about the summer. about the future. downtown is where i miss you most. downtown is where i sit alone. it is where my heart lies in this place. winter comes and stays too long, this year it's passing too soon. remember how cold it was in my car? how the rain pounded on the windshield? these days it rains and i walk home through puddles.
headaches, heartaches, dreams of you and me and him and her. and i want the ocean right now. things are changing, we're moving sideways. not better nor worse. and i'm seeing things that are beautiful, i'm seeing things that make me cringe. and i'm trying to reconcile them both. how do you stay so calm? i'm putting my hope in tomorrow, putting my faith in the future. and when my phone rings, i rarely answer. and when i talk to you, i rarely speak. i'm sleeping in circles and my thinkings a mess. tonight i'll lay down scared and small.
Today when I went running i really just wanted to RUN. legs pushing me constantly forward. running relieves stress, it's good for you, it improves your state of well-being, they say. I just needed to run out all of my frustration. i couldn't outrun anything, but i sure as hell tried. around and around and around the track. and i have to listen to music that fills me with enough passion to keep running, to fuel me and propel me. because otherwise, I'm just running with my thoughts. i'm always running with my thoughts, they stick to me like glue.
she eats the apple right down to the core, until all that's left are the seeds and the stem. and this isn't about who's right or who's wrong. this is about what you need and I need and how we are supposed to figure that out.
"I was writing a song for you," you said.
well I'm listening to old mix cds in my car and trying to reconnect with old lyrics. I'm eating chocolate chips by the handful and thinking of endless afternoons spent on her couch.
I'm missing things I gave up voluntarily and can't ever get back.
once a day is too much, once a day is far from enough. if i keep on swimming, does it mean you must drown? we need some space, we need some independence. i need some space, some independence. i can never tell what you are thinking, and what am i to think if you never tell? my mind has traveled so far that i don't know if i can make it back. and i'm running on empty, and i'm out of change. who will let me hitch a ride home? there's a million things about me you will never know.
I sing while i pour breakfast cereal and i dance around the apartment to stay warm. things may not be looking so bright, but the sun is shining as it pours in through the blinds into the kitchen. i take a look at the pool through the window, the water is so blue but must be so cold. my bike lock is rusty from the rain, consequences of uncovered bike parking. my scarf is too long as i ride to school and it gets caught up in the brakes. it's warm, and i go all day without wearing a jacket.
when life gives you lemons, what do you do with them? make lemonade? a possibility, but instead, i'm researching lemon bars, lemon poppyseed pancakes, lemon cupcakes, and lemon pudding. i could always settle on lemon water, but life, incidentally, has literally handed me a whole bag full of lemons. bright yellow, in the middle of winter, sweet sour lemons. a perfect opportunity for experimentation, perhaps. a perfect opportunity to screw up some recipes, perhaps. maybe just a perfect opportunity to just cut one open, bring it to my mouth, and pucker. life gave me lemons, and i'll eat them up.
Shoes are made for wearing out. it means you walk, it means you live. it means you explore and get dirty and spend time outdoors. that you like things comfy and broken in. my old beat up shoes are a wardrobe staple. when it rains, they soak through. the canvas is torn and the rubber is misshapen. they're familiar, they're friendly. my old sweatshirt is the same way. faded and word with a hole in the sleeve. there's nothing wrong with that. it means it's been used, it means it's been loved. i expect to get worn down and beat up along the way. i'll match.
I saw three kids throwing rocks at a squirrel. The poor thing had nowhere to go, the tree was leafless and had only a few large branches. Then, it got bold. It ran halfway down the trunk, and leapt. It ran across the grass and up another tree to safety. The kids jumped on their bikes and rode off. I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk, and my friends laughed. They helped me up, and we went onward to our parking spots on the highest level of the seven-level parking garage. The sun was shining and I started to run.
Zombie movies and zombie nightmares. Irrational fears and irrational wishes. too much, always too much. always wanting, always avoiding. always terrified. phone calls for peace of mind and precaution. lights to ward off monsters and thoughts of you. my mind doesn't stop when i sleep. in my dreams i tie doors shut with rolls of ribbon and hide out behind boxes and shelves. in my dreams i spend the days with you and i hate to wake and lose your smile. days later and it's still on my mind, you're still on my mind. you are always on my mind.
today might as well have been summer. it was sunny, gorgeous, and i just want to enjoy the weather. i want to walk downtown and take pictures of everything i see. i want to read books in the park while lying on the grass, eating an apple and listening to the music of farmer's market. i want to laugh and relax and go to bed late, to sleep in in the mornings and wake to sunshine. dance around the apartment while toasting a bagel and open the blinds to let more light flow in. winter, please keep acting like spring.
this room is a mess, my things are strewn everywhere. the desk is covered in papers, the floor is covered with books and worn clothes. my bookshelves are unorganized and so is my closet. it's getting chilly in this room, but we haven't turned on a heater all winter. save money, save electricity. save the environment. showering is on the agenda but it's getting pretty late tonight. avoidance of unwanted priorities is how i spend my time. i'm looking for music to express myself but am finding none that fits. thrift stores and auto shops are how i spent the afternoon.
there are flowers growing out the faucets, and there's a cactus growing in my kitchen sink. we're too smart not to notice, we're too young to care. the wind blows my bike to slow motion, my hair whips around my face. some people are cynics, i can't tell what you think. and i don't want to wait for next weekend. where are you going, if you're going at all? i set alarms and sleep through them all. i walk out the door and forget my keys. i search for words but the words don't come. finding words is never easy.
I'm packing and putting things into piles. I'm organizing and reorganizing. and you left this afternoon, has anyone there asked about me? things are different, never better. never worse, always changing. i keep forgetting to take the box cutter out of my pocket, i keep forgetting to leave my keys in the door. this place is actually quite perfect for me. you knew it all along. and the days are getting darker later, and i'm holding out for spring. holding out for those warm airy evenings. walking home has turned to choice and all the way i hum these songs.
driving is a place i like to think. it's something i like to do alone, and yet i'm never alone. I've got my thoughts, and I've got those voices singing through my stereo. I've got my own voice singing over theirs. worse, but louder. off key, but strong. and i've got a long drive ahead of me. and when i get there, it will be dark out. will you be waiting? when the drive ends and i see where I've ended up, i might just change my mind. i can go home whenever i want to. i hope i stay.
driving to oregon starts out like driving to your house. and when i drove by, i might have stopped there, if i hadn't known you weren't home. driving through northern california at night is cold and strangely beautiful. i could barely make out the shape of mount shasta looming over the dark horizon, and the snow beside the highway illuminated the night. i stopped at the rest stop where we stopped three months ago, when i was on a road trip headed to portland. tonight was cold, but that day was colder. i don't want to get where i'm going.
i'm walking down this line, and the street goes on for miles. this is the kind of town i could see myself spending my whole life trying to get out of. and i'm thinking about you, and i'm thinking about him, and about her, about them. i'm thinking of molly ringwald and edward norton. about that phone call i forgot to return. i'm thinking of gas prices in northern california, and the fact that my nose is slightly frozen. i'm thinking about anyone and everything other than where i am and who i'm with. and when you ask, i lie.
I'm okay. well, at least, I'm more than half okay. maybe even seventy five percent. and it's a democracy in my head, so it's fine. i don't want to hold you down, i don't want to hold you back. you are free, and i hope in your freedom you want me to be present. i'm not looking for a knight in shining armor.
You said, "It seems like you're emotionally treading water."
"That shit is tiring."
i'm not expecting anything out of you. all i want is to see your face, and your voice is all i need to hear.
and this is beautiful, and we are tragic. and all of these days that have been passing, all these days i've been thinking of you. you are just what i need. a friend who can be more. a friend who could be less. and i've just got a few more weeks to get through. a few more weeks, before it all starts over again. we talk about getting out, but we always stick around. so tell me the answers to your questions. tell me what any of this means. make up a story i'll want to hear again and again.
wake, eat, transport, school, work, eat, work, sleep. up, down, here, there, back again and then start over. monotony at its best, but we will never be held down. the rhythm is always changing, the tempo always speeding up. slowing down. right when you least expect it.
i tipped the cup too far and the ice hit me in the mouth. colder than the rain outside. not as cold as the hose that summer evening. under my covers it's way too hot, and i toss and turn all night with my dreams. with songs on repeat, i'm never anything more.
let's graffiti our souls til they're nothing but other people's art. let's take sticks of chalk and leave our marks on this town all through the night. and when i see you next, things will be different. and when i see you next, i will never be the same. let's use these old streets to make a map to somewhere new. i'm trying to get out of the rain, but the puddles are just so deep. remember that day we drew pictures in sand? that day the waves washed away our masterpieces. but the ocean is nothing without the waves.
sometimes something was standing on the sidelines, and then it comes up out of nowhere and starts messing with the world right in front of your eyes. and you have to twist yourself around and move out of the way and alter your behavior in order to keep going about your business in spite of this newfangled thing that has suddenly disrupted your life. and it steals all the attention, and it dances in your face. and cross you fingers and hope and hope and hope it will leave, and finally it does. but it took with it your happiness.
during the night it seems I'm thinking clearly, walking along the streets of this town past places i ride my bike each day. during the day it feels the same, this is how things truly are. unclouded, uninhibited. when i'm with you i know how i feel, when i'm alone i'm just as sure. but it's never the same feeling. how to tell which is real? is it one? is it both? or is it neither? and maybe i'm going in the wrong direction all together. maybe i'm looking in the wrong places. tell me, where should i look?
that day, it was raining. i picked you up and we drove down back roads to the highway.
"It's an adventure," i said.
"it always is," you said.
we cleaned out that old room and kicked the door off its hinges. rusty weights and a dead rat in a drawer. the walls were covered in faded drawings from a childhood long outgrown. there were lemons on the trees. you threw one at me through the window. soon i was ducking and throwing and hiding while we ran around the yard.
i held your hand underneath the blanket. on my other side, i held his. i didn't know what either meant, except warmth. comfort. those days, we were so close. those days seemed like they would last forever. movies and afternoons. weekends and mornings we rarely managed to have. throwing aside our busy schedules to get through our lives. we ate so much chinese food those days. i miss that, the four of us in one close group. these days we're still close, but it's all so different. in those pictures we look so young. i frame them in my mind.
i mean to go to bed but i stay up late to write essays and talk to you. i mean to do my schoolwork but i listen to music and clean my room. i mean to figure out my life but instead i ruminate and daydream. i don't mean to make things harder for you but i don't know how to behave. at times i'm thrilled, at times i'm desperate. mostly i'm frustrated at my lack of ability to understand and express. and i'm amazed at my ability to love and appreciate. i mean to tell you, but i don't.
getting behind is easy, once the novelty has worn off. the honor code is for those with a conscience, your grace is for those who can't run straight. and when it gets late time slows down, but every glance at the clock shows an hour passed. i'm waiting for you to get back so i can lock the door behind you. these days feel crowded with people and thoughts. it's hard to find what i'm looking for. people are busy and hard to read. obligations fail to take precedent under unfavorable circumstances. seasons are close to changing; so am i.
this is the end, this is success. one month, be it the shortest one. a fair achievement, a mild feeling of accomplishment. 2900 words. amazing, really. longer than the longest essay i've written thus far this term. and probably took less than half the time. bit by bit, things are simpler. bit by bit, i stay inspired. motivated. regenerated. was it worth it? i'd say so. a ritual. an exercise. a small opportunity for self expression. and i feel satisfied. next month, i'm starting over in so many different ways. and things will be okay.
to be continued...
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