She pulled her knees in when she looked to the right then the left when turning. It was kinda her signature move, the way she popped out of her seat to spot oncoming traffic. And at that particular moment when she looked right as she slowly pulled the wheel in my direction, her face looked taught. Eyebrows all strung up like she was deep in thought. And she was. The look of distress showed plainly on her face as she continued her explanation:

“I mean, I think–well I feel like I–” She paused a moment, tongue in cheek, collecting her scattered thoughts like she was lining them all up just so she could shoot them down. The traffic light turned red and she came to a stop. The left blinker blared oddly loud against the half-silence like it was keeping an eerie tempo to our conversation.

“It wasn’t a date, it’s just been put off for so long it would have been inconsiderate of me to show up late and I would have felt terrible.” She blurted out through several glances at the light. I nodded understandingly. After a moment she exhaled while the light turned green.

“Ugh, I hadn’t been stressed out like that in a while. The last time I let my stress get to me, I cried.” She looked at me. “I remember, it was at the beginning of the year. I don’t really get time to destress because you know–” She smiled lopsidedly and made air quotes, “I’m so ‘hashtag busy’ that I’m really good at not thinking about stress building up. But like a month into the school year, I just let it all out.” She finished with a hand flourish without even shifting her grip on the wheel.

“And I was already stressed about getting gas and picking Kylie up.”

Emilee moved into the left lane. “You know, on the way to the theatre after I made that wrong turn.” She added as a clarification.

“It’s good to de-stress every once in a while though.”

She didn’t answer, just kept her eyes on the road. The engine rumbled and we lapsed into the familiar ambiance of rubber rolling on paved roadway.

I noticed her phone plugged into the aux cord. She noticed it too.

“Oh uh, feel free to choose something from my library. I don’t have apple music or anything, but…”

I opened her iTunes library and scrolled down until I found something I knew. I chose a song. It rumbled to life through the speakers. The minute she heard the beginning beat, Emilee’s face lit up.

“Ohh Tarzan, right?”

I nodded. We both bobbed our head to the tune.

Come stop your crying, it’ll be alright…

“This is 8th grade Emilee,” she said smiling. “I listened to a lot of sad songs, back when I shut myself down and music was the only way…” She laughed; it sounded like big, round bubbles popping out of her. I laughed too.

We continued to jam out in the car, singing You’ll be in my heart until our voices were hoarse. And when the song ended, I chose another one. The country-pop waves of “Love Story” spread throughout the car like melted butter. We made eye contact before starting to sing the lovesick lyrics along with teenage Taylor Swift’s voice. And maybe it was getting darker. And maybe I couldn’t hear anything else or see anything else. A screen of unspoken emotion fell over our heads like we were balancing on some fragile boundary between control and something deeper. Like if we looked at each other for too long we’d start crying. Or at least I would.

Some might have called it nostalgia, but I thought it was something more. Two different childhoods and a color burst of memories had merged together that night through music.

It was beautiful.

When we pulled up to her driveway we sat in the car and let the song finish. After she pulled her keys out of the ignition, Emilee and I walked up to the door. Her parents greeted us as we took our shoes off and shuffled upstairs.

“How’d it go?” Her dad asked.

I smiled. And I didn’t even need to look at Emilee to know she was grinning too.

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the night is my own

I wish I could wrap myself up in words and never let go. For there is no shape or size within language and my body is only a whisp–only smoke.

The night is mine to do with as I please. Perhaps I will spend it sketching and sitting cross-legged as my stained fingertips smell of fresh lead or in the arms of my father’s armchair, sipping on soaking tea leaves.
Maybe the clock’s evening ticks will be drowned out by the rush of twinkling notes streaming through my headphones. And afterward playing tabletop games in all shapes and sizes.
Or better yet, go to bed early and smile at the ceiling while my eyes waft off to the realm of rest. So many choices, so much exposure… I could choose to push it away and enclose myself in false security,

for false security after all is better than the absence of real comfort.

But I’ll choose to accept all of it and stand my ground. I only get one life to live. Why should I shove it away into a box and try to forget about it? Why wait to be satisfied? My life–my night–is my own, to do with as I please. Every option teeters precariously upon each point in time and multitudes of decision lay open to me.

Life’s a balance.

I’ve Missed It

I feel like I’m all played out, and I want the words to flow.
They aren’t flowing anymore.
I lost something.
Something big.
A thing that
lived and I
used to
thrive
on
&
l
o
v
e
.

But it comes and goes, so I’m still breathing. I’m still here. Which is a good thing.
I’m just waiting. For a hand to break through my mind and insert the words that I’ve so fondly missed. Words have become a foreign object to me that I must put up to the light to study. Oh language, how I’ve taken you for granted! ~

Besties for the Resties

She always did what she thought was best;
Everyone called her crazy, but I knew better than that. She was spontaneous, creative; she was kin, but she was more than that.
She was loved by a frizzled redhead. They went together like the magician’s hat and rabbit. They knew each other and got each other and would probably be simply content to spend the rest of their days glued together with laughter and spontaneous barefoot walks in the green grass under the warm sun.

Yes, they would be complete then, holding each other and smiling so wide.
I remember the curiously satisfying scribble-filled composition notebooks drawn from the depths of the cluttered darkness beneath her bed.
Oh, and we would sit and read and write and create stories both literal and visual.
And she and she, they both always knew what to do next and made everything fun.
Back when I was shorter and had to have someone else reach the freezer to open its glorious orange creamsicle-filled universe,
which to me was a treasure box all on its own ~

And we ran and we swam-all barefoot on dried, black tar roads. Everything was accessible, within arms reach–except for, of course, the deliciously frozen contents of the freezer–

And standing there,
on the two-inch-high sidewalk edge, I felt on top of the world. Me, her, and her.
We were on top of the world.

We laughed without knowing the height at which we danced, never even caring to look down upon the unworthy world below.

 

For Hannah and Livvy, 
I love you guys.

 

 

I was scared of losing myself in this world I landed in
Now I worry about what would have happened if I hadn’t.
Trying to remember traces of the dreams I handed in
to my fears,
Now what I face is the task of re-beginning.

I can’t seem to find my way
Around these corridors.

I’m sneaking past the corner of my old life reinvented.

I’ve decided that the day I turn back to the shore is the day I’ll finally appreciate how
it feels
to be alive
.

Photographs upon the wall tell the story of a girl
Who dreamed of flying under sunsets and over the horizon.
She could finally tell herself, looking from above the world,
That what she’d yearned and fought and lived for
was worth anticipating.

I’ve decided that the day I turn back to the shore is the day I’ll finally appreciate how
it feels
to be alive
.

Waking up to the delicious thought of cream cheese-filled, sesame-sprinkled bagels a block away.
Walking beneath colorful slates of brilliance at night’s old age.
The gasps of pleasure when dreams come true.
And the silent features of reluctant disappointment when dreams don’t come true.
Fighting daily for attention and the laughter of others.
Brushing shoulder against shoulder as weary bodies shuffle down the dirty streets in pairs; the fear of being alone hanging over everyone’s bare head.

The pains of inner icicles during the evening and turning from one form of entertainment to the next.

New York…
The land in my dreams and in my memories evermore. This was truly a dream come true.

Phantom of the Opera
.
Wicked
.
Anastasia
.
Waitress

-Joanna-
Quiet, Caring, Unsure, and Understanding
Lover of Christ, beauty, and health
Who feels alone, often doubtful, and possibly every other feeling the world has to offer her
Who fears misunderstanding, rejection, and boredom
Who needs true, honest friends, other people, and a break from her thoughts
Who would like to see her older brother soon, all of her globally scattered friends, and a satisfied smile staring back at her in the mirror
Who will someday travel the world and learn the art of moderation.
-Moss-