Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's Not You (Short Story)

An aroma of rich coffee filled the crowded cafĂ©. Dim yellow lights colored the room-- cheerful with a hint of veiled depression. A woman and man sat in the far corner, next to a window. The woman had an untouched mug of cappuccino, and frequently turned away to gaze at the parking lot outside; the man took frequent sips of his plain expresso, his eyes intently on her expression. 

“I know that’s not what you want to hear,” she said, fiddling with the mug handle.
“I know it’s not what you really mean.” He took a large gulp of coffee and stretched his arms to his head.
“Jed, I know exactly what I mean. Don’t tell me what I’m thinking.”
“I know you, Sarah. You don’t really mean it.”
“Can we talk about something else?”
“Sarah, you can’t just change the topic after telling me that.”
“Let’s just talk about something else, and revisit the topic later.” She turned her head away from him. “There’s so many cars in the lot today.”
“It’s a Saturday afternoon, of course there are,” he said without looking. His eyes remained fixed on her.

Averting her eyes from his, she counted the number of red cars in the lot. 14.

“Sarah, you should drink that before it gets cold.”
“Don’t tell me what to do. God I hate it when you do that.” She sighed and rubbed her temples.
“Geez it was just a suggestion, Sarah. You know I can’t make you do anything.” He remained composed in the same open and relaxed posture, looking at her.
“I’m just done with this. With you. I’ve told you the truth. We’re done,” she says, agitated.
“Hey, it’s okay Sarah. Look at me. Look at me, Sarah, you can’t be serious.” His beseeching tone makes her finally lift her eyes to his.

A long second passed as they decipher each other’s gaze.

The man suddenly turned away, frowning. “Damn you. It’s true.”
A tear fell down the woman’s face. “I’m sorry Jed. I’m so sorry.”
“Damn you.” He knocked her mug to the ground; broken white shards amidst a lukewarm caramel puddle.
The woman started to cry harder, mumbling incoherent phrases. Wiping her face with one hand, she picked up her stained bag with the other. “Bye Jed.” She walks out of the coffee shop, still sniffling and breathing rapidly.

The man groaned and covered his face with his hands. Five minutes passed by. A dark haired man in an ironed white polo shirt, light brown pants, body cowered, face hidden in large masculine hands; a table for two with a knocked over chair; broken pieces of a mug floating above untouched coffee.

Finally, he lifted his head and looked out the window. There were no cars in the parking lot.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I had a dream that students at my college found out about my anonymous blog. My professor stated that the writer of the blog would become our school's treasurer (no idea where that came from) and asked him/her to come forth. The students around me snickered. Apparently they thought the blog was frivolous and stupid. I sat lower in my seat; no way did I plan to confess to a blog so openly mocked by everyone. I mentally scrolled down my blog, remembering how many rants about love and feelings it contained. My non-existent love life and naive feelings. My face flushed and the air felt thicker, suffocating. Suddenly, I realized something. The profile picture. I could be identified by my blogger profile picture. I took out my computer and quickly changed the picture to a flower or something. All the while, my heart pounded and I felt uncomfortably hot. 

My memory of that dream fades after that point.

Looking back, I wonder why I was so embarrassed by this blog. I know it was just a dream, but dreams often reveal some subconscious desire or fear. Things we try to deny or set aside during the day. So I guess this dream shows that I am still affected by peer pressure. In high school, I was "that girl" who scoffed at fashion trends, popularity, and parties. I did sports, played an instrument, took rigorous courses, and never really "belonged" to a stereotypical category. In fact, I declared those stereotypes stupid and did my own thing. But perhaps a part of me still yearns for peer validation and inclusion.
I'm also deathly afraid of exposure. Since this is a personal blog, I tend to write without censor. A lot of what is here is not known to my friends. I cringe to think what would happen if other people who personally know me had a peek into my uncensored mind.

The fact that this blog is not crazy popular and has limited page views right now allows me to write about everything. But who knows if it will change in the future. At some point, I'll have more followers, and writing here will feel more like writing on the web versus a personal diary. I'll probably watch my wording, ramble less, select more interesting topics, etc. And, I'll feel more vulnerable. Like I felt in my dream. But that's okay. Exposure and vulnerability are okay.

So own up to your actions, whether it's an anonymous blog, a lie, or a mistake. At some point, those bottled secrets will reveal themselves. And you'll be in constant torment before then. Living a life of secrets and unspoken thoughts chains you down. So free yourself before the chains permanently indent your wrists. Before the secrets infest your well being.
Before you forget what you live for.