You sit in silence
at the window seat
of an empty café that
no one even bothers to
remember the name of.
Your head is tilted towards the window,
gazing at the falling snow gathering
underneath the streetlamp.
The light flickers on and off,
as do your thoughts of her.
You’re barely two decades old,
but the waitress swears that
when you turn around, the worn look in your eyes
plays the memories of someone who has lived a lifetime longer.
The waitress sets down your coffee and hurries away,
slipping out of sight.
You smile a little, the inside of your head disagreeing
and wishing you’d never reacted.
The action aches deeply in your muscles,
pain seeping into your bones.
Hunching over the coffee mug,
you take a small sip and swallow hard
because the liquid is the color of her eyes.
Your dark hair falls into your face
but you don’t brush it away.
It’s a suitable veil for the memorial service
going on inside your head.
And a coffee at eight brings back everything.
The record player in the corner
moves its needle outwards instead of in
and the water ringlet from the mug
seeps back into it.
The sun is slowly rising
with the promise of a new start.
Then everything returns to normal as the door opens
and she walks in
while the oxygen in your lungs sits still.
If the words do not come out,
everything will be different in the best way.
But you allow the words to spill from your throat
and be suspended in the air.
Her dark eyes meet your light ones
as an explosion occurs in your mind.
It’s all over.
You’re trapped in your seat as she slowly moves forward
with that smile that will beautifully
destroy your heart.
The effects are immediate as she slides a chair over
and introduces herself.
The damage is already done, and now
she just has to scatter the evidence and make the aftermath
nothing more than an accident.
You are scattered everywhere now,
the residue nearly impossible to spot.
You are scattered upon the pages of her favorite novels,
embedded deeply inside of the ink and
patiently waiting for her to find you in the words.
You are scattered on her favorite flannel,
seeping too deeply into the fabric
so she’ll never get rid of the eternal traces of you.
(You won’t fade as easily as your scent.)
You are scattered all over her apartment;
settling into the couch where you stayed up late watching television together,
tangling in the sheets of her bed where you both spent so many nights,
and resting near the front door where you thought you were entering the rest of your life.
(It worked better as an exit.)
Most of all,
you are scattered on her lips and her lungs,
causing fire to ignite with every breath she draws.
But you know deep down that it doesn’t matter
where you reside.
She’s thrown out her books for newer copies
and she bought a new flannel because
the old one was ripped to shreds out of love (sounds familiar).
She’s leaving her apartment to live with her new lover,
and she’s screamed so many proclamations of him or her being the one
that blood came up and
washed every trace of you from her body.
You close your eyes,
trying desperately to see her face
but the silent rage in your head is bouncing off the walls
and reverberating in your brain.
The emotional anguish is welcome for a moment,
as you’re ready to give your physical body a break,
but another shot of agony courses through your veins
and you realize that,
when they say you can only feel pain in one place in your body at a time,
emotional pain isn’t taken into account.
Slowly, you open your eyes and watch the record spin,
needle making its way to the inside of the vinyl.
The water from the mug is still
wetting the table.
You raise the mug to your lips,
the coffee scorching your tongue.
As it runs down your throat,
you realize that it’s the second most bitter thing you’ve ever tasted
and wish it was blood filling your throat, too.
Because a coffee at eight brings back everything but her.