Strangers in Coffee Shops

you look out of the window,
on a rainy sunday, gently holding the coffee with both hands
the coffee shop is filled with noise and discussion
but you sit there, quietly staring out into the world
i wonder what would happen if i walked over to you,
if i sat across from you,
introduced myself
i wonder if we would fall in love
i wonder

do you like your coffee black or with cream and sugar
do you prefer tea over coffee
are you a dog or cat person
what habits do you have
what do you love to do
do you love fully or are you scared to fall in love at all

i wonder if we would be lost in each other
what if our lives started in this small coffee shop
if one day we would walk by this coffee shop, hand in hand,
and you would laugh and remind me of how awkward it was
but how you knew since then that we would be together forever

if one sunny day, years from now,
i lead you into this coffee shop,
sit you down where you are sitting now
get down on one knee and ask you to marry me
i wonder

i wonder what our lives would be together
you and i
how many times would you break my heart
and how many times would i break yours
i wonder what it’s like to wake up next to you
how you look in the morning
how you look at night
what your smile is like
what your hands feel like

i wonder
as you gather your things
and walk out the door
leaving behind
the what ifs
that i wasn’t brave enough to find out.
-jl
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Dear Everyone: A Letter to Everyone

Here is a letter to everyone I could think of.

Dear people I care about,

I care about you because you are genuinely yourselves and there’s nothing more beautiful than that.

Dear people who care about me,

Interesting choice you made.

Dear people who I left behind,

Sorry. Bye.

Dear people who left me behind,

Double Bye

Dear people I reconnected with,

HEEEEEEYYY BOO

Dear people who apologized to me,

We good.

Dear people I apologized to,

We good?

Dear people who hated me,

Honestly same

Dear people I hated,

You did something mad cray and I ain’t about it or you support Trump.

Dear people who support Trump,

For the love of God, WHY?

Dear feminists,

Hell yeah

Dear people who aren’t feminists,

Hell no

Dear people who made me laugh,

You’re the greatest and I treasure you

Dear people who laughed at me,

Honestly same

Dear people who asked me to hang out but never followed through,

You either too busy or you straight lyin’

Dear people I asked to hang out but never followed through,

My bad. I’m probably too scared to ask again because I’m a coward and I will always feel like I’m bothering you.

Dear people who still legit want to hang out,

Yo hit a gurl up. I is available.

Dear people I dated,

Why?

Dear people I had crushes on,

I still think you hella cute but I’m too scared to admit it because of my crippling fear of rejection.

Dear people who had crushes on me,

You exist though?

Dear people I fell in love with,

I’m sorry I was not strong or brave enough to tell you

Dear people who fell in love with me,

I’m sorry. God rest your souls

Dear friends,

Thank you

Dear acquaintances,

We chill but still. Let’s hang or something.

Dear strangers,

Who are you?

Dear mom and dad,

Thanks for everything you’ve ever done for me. You da real MVPs

Dear people I call best friends,

Like it’s for real. I don’t joke about shit like that.

Dear people whom I said “I love you” to,

Like seriously, I ain’t joking about shit. If I say I love you, I mean it. I ain’t no triflin’ bitch. Don’t test me though.

Dear people I don’t talk to anymore,

There’s a reason. Search for it.

Dear people who don’t talk to me anymore,

Must be a reason but oh well. Busy.

Dear lovers,

WHERE YOU AT THOUGH?

Dear soul,

Man I’m sorry. It’s been rough but we gon’ make it through.

Dear heart,

You good? Because you hella broken and I’m worried.

Dear bank account,

Wow I’m like real sorry…but I ain’t done abusing you yet so hold tight, I just saw something online and Imma get it.

Dear younger me,

It doesn’t really get better but you learn to deal with it in a much healthier and nicer way than you currently are. Seriously stop hating yourself so bad. It ain’t cute. Also work out more. Legit. WORK OUT MORE.

Dear older me,

Please tell me it gets better. Like send me a sign or something.

Dear God,

I’m sorry for everything and I hope we still chill.

Dear world,

Let’s be nicer to each other because I’m getting real tired of all this bullshit. Like seriously. What the hell, you guys?

Fragile Hands

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 5.37.20 PM
Of course the world seems a little darker.
The rain falls a little harder
And time moves a little slower.

You have days when all you want to do is lay in your bed, drowning in your own thoughts. Sometimes your thoughts are so loud that you can’t hear the world around you. The world becomes a daunting task and you feel utterly alone.

These days crawl by, one after another, reminding you that you have so much to do but you can’t bring yourself to do any of them. You feel stuck and it scares you. You become weak and fragile like that good china that your mother only uses for “special occasions.” You shake at the touch of the wind and you can’t bear the sunlight in your eyes. Everything stops making sense and your heart withers away at your sleeve.

People don’t think that you are capable of love but that’s not true, is it? Your problem is that you fall in love way too easily. You fall in love with everything and everyone. You lock eyes in the streets and you imagine your lives together, intertwined within each other’s arms, you imagine futures together and you can’t shake it.
You fall in love with the sky, the way that it burns a bright blue and dulls into that orange that makes you think of famous artists that you can’t name from the top of your head.
You fall in love with the night, the darkness covering you like a cozy blanket, tucking you in and whispering words like dissolving stars.
You fall in love with the world, as it slowly tears away at your skin and erodes your bones. You give it second chances because you tell yourself that you’re in love.
You love so much but you never have enough for yourself. You hope that one day you’ll have some left over at the end of the day for yourself but day after day you come up empty.
With dark bags under your eyes, strained from the weight that you carry from all that love that you keep giving, you fall asleep, telling yourself that you’ll try again tomorrow.

You love so easily and that’s why you’re so weak. Love takes so much vulnerability. You strip down to your bare bones and you expose your heart to anyone who asks. You forgot that half assed wall you built yourself when you were 16 and you promised that no one would hurt you again. You hide behind pillow forts and under cardboard shelters while in the midst of violent warfare.
You care too much and you love with such fragile hands. Callous and numb, you keep reaching out for a love that was never returned to you. You keep searching and you become exhausted.

So of course the world seems a little darker.
The rain falls a little harder
And time moves a little slower.

-jl

The Settling

“I can’t do this anymore,” she spoke softly but firmly, “I just can’t.”

She drowned her face into her hands and her body moved with her breathing. Her voice was filled with disappointment and a tinge of shame. She felt everything and it hurt her. She didn’t just give her heart, she gave her soul, her body, her everything. She started to numb herself, she spent her days into neutral. She always ended up feeling empty and hollow. She entered love like a sin and flogged herself with the pain of self-questioning, leaving her bruised but hallowed.

She breathed into the air, hoping for an answer from a silent god. She felt the world seeping into her skin and onto her bones. She twisted and turned her soul like an old Rubik’s cube in hopes of fitting into the colors of the spaces around her. She couldn’t do it. She never really could get it right. She thrusted her chest out and threw her head back in a desperate attempted to feel something. She let it all in. The anger, the pain, the sadness, the memories, and finally the calm.

“I can’t do this anymore,” she spoke weakly with determination, “I don’t want to.”

-jl

 

Love and I

Love came to me like a new friend and greeted me with brilliance.
Filled with excitement and childlike anticipation, I found myself infatuated with love.
Love held my hand and gently brushed the hair out of my face.
Promising me a forever that I never wanted, love took me in and never let go.
Love gripped at my wrists and cut off the circulation.
My hands became numb and I became selfish.
I reached, trying to feel everything around me
But love never let me get completely numb.
I felt every time the door would open and close.
I felt every time I said I love you.
Every breath in between.
Every single moment, every single goodbye
Obliterating my soul.
Love tightened its grip around my neck
Whispering the promise of forever repeatedly
It breathed into my lungs,
Filling the empty spaces with hopeless possibilities.

Love stayed.
Even if I didn’t want it to, it remained.
Smearing my walls with colors I never knew existed, love painted my world.
Love became second nature and I found myself falling.
Love blinded me and I gave away my heart like pamphlets.
Every day became more and more difficult.
Quiet nights became a deafening reminder of my failures.
I disappointed love and it became habit.
Love carved notches onto my bones of all the times I let it down
Until my bones could no longer remain stable
And I felt myself breaking under the pressure.

I never tried to stop it, I never resisted.
Love was beautiful.
I became addicted to the destruction it brought.
Love was annihilating.
I never knew the many ways my heart could break.
I kept loving with everything I ever was.
That was the problem, wasn’t it?
It was my fault, wasn’t it?

Love stayed,
But you didn’t.

And I let it happen.

-jl

The Winter Streets of Edinburgh

I took a walk.
Down the rain covered streets, through the violent wind.
Passing the bars, illuminated by lipstick stained cigarettes
Light jazz music could be heard over the light conversations
Each step was colder than the last
Each breath harder than the last.
My feet moved aimlessly
Walking down the street of light
The dimly lit stairs that dangled dimly lit pubs with drunken chatter.
A casual love, a broken soul, another pint or two.
Seeking shelter from the weather, a planned meet up, another round please.
I staggered down the uneven steps, mindlessly wondering, mindlessly dreaming.
I came upon Waverley.
I walked through the hellos and goodbyes
The trains whistling in the distance.
I sat in the designated waiting room, wondering if it would be that easy to leave this place behind.
A lady was waiting, a bouquet of flowers rested next to her
Her eyes occupied the pages of a book and her mind wandered through the printed words, the flowers resting, waiting for her attention.
A mother held onto her child, his tired eyes rested on her tired face.
Two women shared a drunken goodbye tied together with an unlit cigarette.
A man stared at his phone, time to time his eyes would lift up to the arrival and departure board.
Friends held each other in one last embrace before they would go back to their separate lives.
Everyone was going somewhere, watching the boards with anticipation.
Waiting for their next goodbyes and hellos.

I strolled down the once filled streets of Princes.
The Christmas market was empty, the once inviting rides now chained off,
The ice rink was being flooded with the rain, the skate sign still illuminated, patiently waiting for tomorrow.
I stared down the empty, dark streets. The kiosks shut tights as the wind knocked violently against them. It was easy to forget that when morning came, these streets would be filled once again with new and old faces.

Princes was darkened now and people were briskly making their way home.
Lovers huddled against each other for warmth.
Others kept their heads down against the sharp rain and fought against the violent gusts that filled these Scottish streets.

Making my way back home, I took one last look at Edinburgh.
The city that beat my heart and ate it.
My eyes were filled with wonder as I whispered my regrets into the wind.
I could walk these streets forever.
My feet have already made their home on these cobbled paths.
The rain soaked into my hair and clothes, the cold held my hands like a jilted lover, leaving icicles on my bones.
I couldn’t cry even if I wanted to.
The wind would wipe them away before they left my eyes.
Edinburgh was my unrequited dream.
Scotland was a beautiful love affair that left me an empty shell.
I laid out my bones on the Royal Mile and buried my love in the meadows.

I could’ve walked those streets forever.

-jl

Her

She stood there, leaning up against the window frame. Her hips braced her stance, she used her left foot for extra support. Her skin was so lightly kissed by the sun as if the sun knew how delicate she was. Her dark, blonde hair was tied up in a messy bun that flopped slightly towards her left shoulder. My button down white shirt fell over her, swallowed her. Her deep, dark green eyes stared off out into the open world and her lips carefully sipped on the coffee, which she held with both hands. The coffee warmed her small, button nose and filled her senses with an invigorating morning call. She would place the mug on the ledge but her hands never abandoned it, her fingers carefully placed on the ceramic. She looked so content, so safe. I remember sipping my own cup of coffee staring at her, in slight disbelief of her existence. Beautiful wasn’t a good enough word to describe her.

She spoke into the air, her words gliding through the atmosphere, filling the room, “It’s a gorgeous day out today.”

It really was.

-j.l