Shatter and Build

I began my daily attempt at exorcising my anxiety:

I don’t have hobbies aside from writing in this Moleskin.

My fingers clung onto the torn leather. I sit on couches in Cafe Trois Lunes everyday. I roast my anguish by the idiot fire. Cafe Trois Lunes, located in a crack in the wall in between the dirtiest parts this city, has a gleaming light peaking through its windows. Among the alleys of graffiti and kids getting high, it stands tall. It stands paint-peeling, signs broken, rugs stolen, sticky wall- beautiful. The couch I sat on, had my imprint and a sharpie smiley face. I don’t have much, but at least I have this couch, this smiley face and this journal. I took a sip of my Tuesday drink, Vanilla-steamed milk.

I prefer a blank page that is always open and home that closes at 5pm on Sundays to what I what I had before.

I pursed my lips. I wondered if any men or ladies were trying to catch my eye. Jordan, the weekly MC of the Open Mic at Cafe Trois Lunes, assembled the microphone and speakers. When the poetry is too diary entry, I’ll stand outside and light a cigarette and scratch the skin under my turtleneck and he’ll try to hit on me.

Today, I was out of cigarettes. I focused on my journal ignoring the first poet, whose poetry was literary device debris. I stopped writing when the second poet came onto the stage.

“I’m Kyle.”

He had forest eyes and a smile that could slice. He recited a piece poking fun at teenage literature. I snapped and laughed.

Kyle sat down next to some girls that looked like Febreeze commercial models. I hated their boring cashmere button ups and perfectly combed hair. They eat oatmeal for breakfast with their mothers. They think water is interesting.

I belong to a dysfunctional family and all I have is this cafe, writing and vanilla milk but I’m superior to those cashmere sweater, velvet headband girls who think boarding gaming with a Palm Bay in hand at the community centre is an exciting night out.

I looked back at Kyle. I glanced down to my Moleskine. I’m sure those girls would drop their jaws at my stunning work. After months of writing in my journal here, maybe it was time to go on stage. The idea never pleased me, but not much does. I gestured at Jordan.

My red pumps moved me like a cheetah to the stage. I stayed to wink at Kyle. I placed the pen behind my ear and cleared my throat.

Then, twenty heartbeats of staring blankly into the audience. I was malleable. I began to speak, but god knows if it was English. I rushed through, stuttered, and fought back nervous tears.

“Home that closes at 5pm on Sundays..”

 I recalled my mother. I recalled how easy it was to lie to myself that this café is all I need. I found it difficult to focus on the ink on my page. The lights grew brighter. I recalled that underneath my lipstick and smirk was fear, six times bigger than my body. I gasped. I stared into the audience.

I fumbled back to my seat. One clap, two claps, three claps- silence. I drank the tiny drop of Vanilla steamed milk left. I did not look up until I heard the voice.

“Hey, that was really cool of you.”

If honey could talk, that would be noise of this voice.

“I’m an awful writer. I bombed.”

“Keep writing, some day you’ll build something beautiful.”

My façade stuck back onto me. I said he should kiss me. He blushed. He sliced me a smile. He said he was gay. He walked back to the velvet headband cashmere girls.

I decided to shatter myself again next Tuesday. This time, for myself.


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