Noise from the apartment below traveled in on the cool spring air through the open window mingling with the music playing in Alex’s room. As she unpacked she sang along happily. Happy it was warming up, happy she had cleaned her apartment before she left for vacation, happy to have gotten a tan over Spring Break. It was especially delightful given what had actually happened over vacation. She had run into an old flame. It was a different time and place but she couldn’t shake the feeling of déjà vu. It didn’t hit the same sweet unshackled note, but instead built around her a feeling she just couldn’t put her finger on. They had a nice tête-à-tête. For reasons unknown to her Beach Boy had tried to slide back into her life. Their break up had been anything but smooth sailing and she hadn’t shed that skin, freed that cage, or what have you just to be sucked back into the endless back forth about differences that were never going to change. She was happy being single because she found herself running into the same two types of guys. Either they’re cute, fun, and non-committal or handsome, mature, and wanted to marry her. However given the state of things her uterus was the only thing she wanted to put a ring on. It felt like she had out grown a pair of discontinued shoes and bought her new pair a size too big. She was content going barefoot, for now. Her room was a mess. She hated unpacking. Packing was easy. Step One: Gather Belongings. Step Two: Zip. Unpacking however was not a zip and a snap. No matter how hard she tried she always managed to lose something before she got back. This time it had been her favorite pair of socks and glasses case. She rolled over on her bed and let out a groan. Now she was hungry. Alex, to lazy to go to the kitchen, lay on her back peeping the chipped polish on her toes. She thrust her head back as her eyes rolled back. If it meant being able to see the her floor and snacks maybe she could stand a few blisters.
“If you don’t have a reservation your line is around the corner on the side of the building!”
I was visiting home for the holidays and had a date. Thankfully it had not been set up by my mom and her boyfriend. How do I be sexy flirty in front of my mother? How do I be sexy flirty in front her boyfriend? I had not mastered it and found myself stumbling through pressured acquaintances at countless holiday and office parties. As nice as it was that they cared about me meeting a potential suitor, anytime they brought someone around it ended in, for them disappointing, for me awkward elation.
I had met tonights suitor while having brunch with my mother. He had been our cook and while she went to the counter to pay the bill, slipped me his number and asked to see me. He was funny, honest enough, and had this really cute accent. Naturally, had tried to pick me up at some ambiguous hour, but certain history had shown me relationships that start in the dark usually end there emotionally, mentally, literally.
The last thing I wanted was for anyone to feel boxed in. People in general did not like labels. Some would turn their nose in disdain at this ideology, but I made the decision to try and understand, for as long as I could. So we comprised and settled on a late show.
“Here’s a picture.” A girl behind me explained to her friend. “I liked him before he hosted this show. I know him from his earlier work.”
“He’s cute.” Her friend replied quickly. “ I don’t know about the facial hair though.”
“Really?? Even with facial hair I …”
Without a thought I rolled my eyes. Hopefully my understanding could last the night.
“I like your hair.” The one with no facial hair preference had directed her gaze toward me.
“Thank you.” I cough laughed my response as I realized my new frames had transition lenses and it was still daylight out.
After an exchange of smiles I returned to my book. I was halfway through This is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. Given my current circumstance it was becoming uncomfortably insightful but remained interesting enough to continue. There was just enough material for both my hands to grip without pages flying loose. The skin under my fingernails were turning a little blue. I forgot how cold New York got in the winter time and had not bothered to pack a pair of gloves.
“Remember! If you are in this line you are not guaranteed a seat at tonights show!”
I checked my watch. It had been an hour since I arrived, and at this point it seemed all that I was guaranteed was a viewing of the show from my couch, snuggled up under a cozy blanket, cupping a nice drink.
I shivered and pulled into myself. The sun was gone and the night chill was setting in. There was still no sign of him. Just as I was about to shut my book and give in a voice boomed,
“Okay listen up! Before you are seated, if you need to use the bathroom go now. You will not be allowed to get up once you have been seated. If you have anything in your bag that is considered a drug we will hold it until the show is finished taping. If you have a large bag we ask you leave it outside of the studio. You can pick it up on your way out. Before the show starts you can ask questions. I want you to think about your question before you ask.”
I placed my book in my bag and zipped it up. While Mr. No Show had been a disappointment at least I could immediately escape the cold for a while. I cleared security and made my way into the studio. I was promptly seated in the far left of the second row.
He was probably one of those guys with three different girls on call, and told the alternative ones they were unofficially number one in his heart. Skimming the surface of disenchantment I wondered if any girl had ever told him the same thing or, to the same effect, he had ever received a participation medal. Brooding, I tucked my bag under my seat. I was probably less upset about having to stand in the cold for a guy who never showed up than I was about actually having had shaved my legs in the dead of winter.
“So before we start the show I just want to go over some things. You are allowed to ask questions before the show starts, but make sure they are questions everyone can enjoy. Not like what’s your favorite pizza place, when will you be there. You are not allowed to get up during the taping. You will be given cues on when to stand, sit, laugh, and clap. On your way in you passed a press release, hopefully you read it.”
I slid down in my chair. One of my pet peeves was being told what to do and after being stood up, here I was, waiting for it.
“Wow, I wonder how much longer we have to wait until the taping starts.” A smooth easy voice came from my right side. I looked over to meet a set of sparkly blue eyes.
“Soon, hopefully.”, I replied as an unexpected smile broke my face.
“This is my first live show.”, I revealed uncharacteristically.
“And you came all by yourself?”
“I was actually supposed to meet a guy, but..”
The lights in the room went down and the show started.
It was funnier than my expectations and it helped Eyes Guy had an infectious laugh. The kind of laugh that made you smile on the inside first. One that crawled from the pit of your stomach to the tip of your tongue. Like air for a bubble and when it popped it let out laughter.
So entranced by his character the hour long show passed in a wink of an eye.
“What’d you think?”
“It was funnier than I thought it’d be.” I replied pulling my bag to my shoulder.
“I come more than I should, but tonight’s show was good.”
A knowing silence passed as we made our way out of the studio. It had rained while we were inside and the pavement glistened under overhead lights.
“So how ‘bout a night cap?”
It was hard to tell if it was a invitation or a polite command.
“Sure.” I replied shyly.
As we made our way down the street I looked up. The moon was nice and full with a dewy haze softening its glow. I took out my camera to take a picture.
“Are you a photographer?”
“Only on Thursdays” I said as I pulled the film and put it away.
“Do you always pick girls up after the show?”
“Only on Thursdays”
It was half past time wasted when she realized he wasn't coming. Waiting had made her irritable and she was getting hungry. She checked her phone for a notification but there was nothing. She understood even if the disappointment she had pre prepared had come in handy. Her long distance lover of three years had never made a point to come see her so why had she expected any more from some guy she met on the internet? No one believed in love. Just art and money. Everyone always had a lot to say about millennials and situation-ships but history shaped the norm and she was trying to remember a period or a culture when no one thought about what they would gain when looking for a partner. Love was nice a nice fantasy but heartbreak paid, or maybe it only existed when one was alone.
When she was younger she would look up at the clouds and think that’s what love must feel like and it was nice and she was right, but she had always managed to look away before they disappeared. It was a shame because he had been able to make her laugh. Not like how she would at a joke her grandpa made, but in a real way. Guys always made such a big deal about what girls wanted or why relationships fell apart when in the end it's always the little things that make girls stay and things guys never did that make them leave, and even if girls tried to remember everything those are the only things they never forget. Her hands clammed up as she began digging for a cigarette in her purse. Disappointment had blossomed into anxiety and old habits die-hard.
After deciding to leave she wondered how she let someone she had never even heard say her name have that much power over her. It didn't matter. She learned it was never a good idea to stand still waiting, besides she had things to do like laundry and enjoy her dinner in the full nude.
I keep having this dream.
Well, I don't know if it's a dream really.
I'm- at a round about in the city.
With the exception of a few cars, driving by so fast. I only know they're cars because of the familiar sounds. I assume they can't see me because I can hardly make out their shape.
I'm warm even though I'm dressed plainly and the air is cool. I don't know my purpose here... I don't know why I'm there.
I'm facing a fountain, just standing there and...
Out of the shadows, from behind the fountain
these women appear
in long dresses that are swept this and that way by the wind.
When I see them my blood runs cold. I don't feel scared, but i want to run.
But when I try to move it's as if I've been bolted to the ground. I can't move.
And these women are making their way toward me.
I -- I close my eyes and open them
as a naive attempt to transport myself
but I'm still there and so are they.
I can see they aren't solid, hovering, at times passing through each other as they move closer and closer.
When I look one in the eyes all I see is sadness, no. Not sadness. It was despair and in the other's, wrath.
The madness is quiet and slow.
They conjoin and the force of their nature releases me from from my previous state, pushing me into a frenzied panic as I fall to the ground unable to catch myself.
I close my eyes as I fall, waiting for the end, and when I open my eyes
sunlight's breaking through
November 3 1994
A daughter born
to a teacher and mechanic.
31.9973° N, 102.0779° W
There are things kept here valued by no known measure.
The smell of oil sweet dirt infused with rain,
putting roses on her grave,
watching the sunset on an empty skyline from a humble rooftop
My true home is Maple Ave.
A quiet street,
where I can walk barefoot to my neighbors house
and leave my front door open to let in the sound of the rain.
To stay there I would have to pay in things valued by no known measure
my body, my mind, my voice.
To keep my home I'd have to sell my soul.
August 15 2015
a lady born
from a young girl who realized confusion.
48.8566° N, 2.3522° E
There are things kept here valued by no known measure
my voice, my body, my mind,
where I keep my home built by memories
of watching the sunset on an empty skyline from a humble rooftop
and the smell of oil sweet dirt infused with rain
I was look'n stressed so she took me to The Freedom.
Where we danced the night away,
We were bored so we went down to The Freedom.
Stars twirl’n neon lights,
I was feel’n lonely so she took me to The Freedom.
All my worries fade,
Forgive my own mis-takes,
There I felt the truth, and I found
Do you see me in the distance?
In the place that you don’t seek.
Does it keep you entertained?
To have me grow, then make me shrink.
Did you ever,
Ever stop to think,
That the place that I belong
Is not beyond loves length?
If ours has truly come to this,
Pull me in,
Then push and leave.
It’s causing all its pain
I don’t know how much they’re worth.
The things you want,
that I don’t keep.
I tried giving you my love, you spit it back at me.
After now I have to leave, carry memories we didn’t see.
But I’ll leave you what I saved.
My beated heart.
The core of me.
Photography by Rebecca Simor
As I grabbed my purse and coat off the bed I couldn't decide if I was more nervous or excited. I smiled as I pulled on my boots. After years of adventure we were going on our first date. I waited on the steps of the church across the street from the garden where we used sit on summer days talking and drawing and soaking in love. In that time we had no where to go, but tonight was your last night in the city before you went back to school. When I saw you walk around the corner I couldn't help but smile, and when I hugged you I was wrapped up once again in an old dream.
We walked to the bar. I could tell you were nervous and so was I, but I had always been better than you at hiding my feelings. You ordered our drinks as I sat in our booth, rummaging through your coat, leafing through the book of poetry I found. When you sat back down I wanted to tell you. How I dreamed of us two. Of violet colored roses and a thin string wrapped 'round my finger for a ring. Instead I asked about you and I asked about her. Even though it hurt a little, it wasn't hard. You had always been better than me at making things easy. We had another drink. I took a sip of your whiskey. It tasted like you and the way it left my lips and tongue a little numb... You closed your eyes and pressed my hands against your face and I dreamed of your lips and my nose. Ten little toes on soft precious feet, getting sticky kisses, and holding the small innocent hands of someone sweet. We split a cig and when we came back in the bar to sit you slid into the seat next to mine. Being near you felt familiar, but it was different. We had both become more of who we were. Your hands were cracked and callous from the sculpting and my lips where stained burgundy from the wine I'd bought from the épiceries. Neither one of us checked for the time, but I knew the dream was almost over.
We walked outside. It had rained a little and the streets were gleaming. You pulled me to you by my waist and I wrapped my arms around your shoulders. I didn't want to let go. I wanted the garden, those hot summer days and my violet covered roses and my sticky sweet kisses... When our embrace ended I unraveled back into reality. You were going that way and I was going this way. I turned and let my dream go, glowing on 110 and Amsterdam.
A warm ray of light came in through the window. An off white curtain softened its glare. It was one of the reasons waking up had been so easy. I turned to look at my friend who was cocooned in her blanket. Just the top of her head was visible, her black hair was all a mess and her eyes, always full of love, were tired. We gave each other that look. Why were we awake right now? Why did we decide to invite people over and tell them there would be food? How could we get out of it? We couldn't.
It was the day after Halloween. Even though the night had been good, we managed to stay responsible enough to get back to her place and into p.j's. It was Sunday morning and Andrea was hosting a Dia de los Muertos themed brunch. I wanted a birthday brunch but let it go, champagne had been promised. I had been working on a lot of things lately and today perspective was top of the list. We put on a playlist and got ready. There was shopping to be done and we were finally up early enough to have McDonalds breakfast! It was nice and warm outside considering it was the first day of November and surprisingly so was I.
Usually I take my birthday to do something sweet and quiet. I reflect and I'm serious, but this year I didn't. I didn't want to feel old, or be old, or have old(er) lady things to do. I didn't want to worry and I didn't want to care. This birthday there was going to be less thinking and more drinking. More laughing and no one ruining my good time. I was turning 21 and I just wanted to have some fun.
PC: Gabriela Wilson plus Random Friends
I've always loved playing dress up. As a child I remember hosting countless tea parties. I would fix a make shift table from my toy box and surround it with my favorite dolls and stuffed animals. Then I would go to my parents and anxiously ask them to pull out my ceramic tea set. From time to time my mom would let me pick some things to wear out of her closet. These times were my favorite. After I had set the table I would go back to her room, into her closet and sift through the ends of her hanging dresses. "I want this one.", I'd say and she would pull it down and help me fasten my self into it. After looking in the mirror I would give a shy smile of approval. I don't know if it was my imagination or lack of experience with big girl clothing; even though I was was swimming in fabric, tripping over it as I walked back to my room, constantly rolling up the sleeves as I served tea, which ever dress I picked fit perfectly. It made me feel beautiful and fun. I would spend all afternoon wearing it, playing and serving tea until I grew tired and the sleepy orange sunset seeped through my window.
Not much has changed. I still throw tea parties, raid my moms closet, and love a good nap. I still play dress up, but now everything fits. My shy smile has turned into an excited one, and as a rule of thumb I won't wear anything if it doesn't make me feel beautiful and fun.
In my little white dress, I am free and light.
I twirl around,
I am delight.
Happy, even in goodbyes.
Carefree in spirit, playful in the eyes.
In my little white dress, I'm not a girl who cries.
I smile and laugh, I act surprised.
In my little white dress, I have nothing to hide.
In my little white dress, I'm a little white lie.
Photography: Gabriela Wilson
Back to Cool Checklist:
- A coffee stained planner
- An open mind
- A pretty smile
- Camera for memories
- Colorful pens
- Compliments (even for your non-friends)
- Candy, to share and make friends
- Glitter, for eyelids, lips, notebooks, nails, hair.. [ALL PURPOSE GLITTER]
- Patience x2
- Reusable Coffee Mug
Summer always ends early in Paris. Just two weeks ago I was crawling around the city sunbathing in parks, licking gelato, and peaking in shop windows. All the summer sun had gone to my head. It left me thinking that the sweet sticky life would never end, but now the rain is back and it's getting chilly. I no longer toss and turn in the night because the aid of my small electric fan is not enough to keep me cool. I pull sun dresses I forgot to wear out of my closet just to gently put them back hoping that maybe, just maybe, there will be one more sunny day before Fall begins. I care less about the chipped polish on my toes and if I forget my sunglasses at home, it's okay. The other day, at the peak of the crushing realization that I may not get to show off my tanned legs for a while, I put on the shortest pair of shorts I could find. The pair every lady owns. The ones that scream "I love you Summer!".
Even though I felt like I was fighting the good fight, the one that encouraged the sun to shine on, the shorts didn't stop the sky from being overcast or the light drizzle or the soft wind chills. Now it's only appropriate to wear them around my apartment, accompanied with a cozy sweater, fluffy socks, and a mug of tea while I listen to the rain hit the pavement. Now it's only a matter of time before,
PC: Gabriela Wilson