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He sits on a bed, in an unfamiliar motel room. His body is riddled with exhaustion. His head throbs as the rain gently pelts the window. He’s been feeling like this, scattered, for a while. His eyes slide closed, like shutters, as he rests his head against the wall. That’s when he hears it. The incessant sound of a typewriter. It’s coming from the room next door. He can feel the vibrations through the thin wall. Smoke seeps through the heating vent beside the bed. It doesn’t trouble him, though. He’s focusing on the typewriter, trying to decipher every word. He can’t. And honestly, he doesn’t want to. He’d rather not, as to not influence what he, himself, writes. The vacancy sign outside his window casts an eerie glow upon his face. The flickering is hypnotic, and the sound of the typewriter has become like a lullaby. Slumped against the wall, his body relaxes as he finally falls asleep.

He’s pulled awake by the sudden silence. He peels his body from the bed, wondering what time it is. Wiping the drool from his chin, he reaches for the clock. 5 A.M.. This reminds him of her tattoo, “The nights are for poets and mad men.” That cursive handwriting of hers, snaking its way up her thigh. As the memory flits through his mind, he hears a smile. He turns to look at the wall. He wonders if it could be her, sitting in the room next to his. He’s never known her to be the girl next door. She holds far more appeal. Sitting on the edge of his bed, running his hands through his hair, he hears a door open. Moments later, a folded newspaper is slid under his door. He saunters over and picks up the paper. Right there, circled in a red marker, is the classified section. But, there is only one entry, “An open letter to a future lover”. He stands there, reading. And while he reads, a light comes on behind him as the ‘No’ is illuminated on the vacancy sign outside.

I’m the guy that’s sitting in the corner. The one that you always see sitting there, when you pick up your triple-shot latte and turn around. You always take a sip and look over at my corner. Even if I’m not looking back, you smile from behind the styrofoam cup. I know all this, but I don’t even know your name. I wonder what your story is and, perhaps, you wonder the same about me. You’ll always find me sitting there, even on the days when you don’t show up. It’s usually raining on those days. I see the shadow of the rain projected onto the parchment of my notebook. I color in each shadow because I have nothing to write. You wonder what it is that I do, sitting in that corner everyday as my pen weaves its way along the paper. You wonder what my story is. You’re intrigued. I write all that down in my tattered notebook. You check that your coffee is just right, then you head for the door. You never stay. I never walk over to stop you, or to step outside with you. I was never that person. One day, I won’t be there when you turn around. I’ll leave my notebook there, alone on the table. And in it, you might find the part where you walk over. You’ll read it and think that it’s the end. But, I’m watching you, writing everything down on a napkin. Then, I’ll walk over and ask you what you think. You’ll look at me, and ask “what took you so long?” And I’ll simply say, as I slide the napkin behind the first page, “some stories never end.”

I remember the first time I saw you. The bad day that I was having, and how you were the highlight of it. You were the highlight of the entire week. I still remember what you were wearing that day. I remembered you a year later, when I thought I had lost my mind. I met you sometime after that, introduced by a friend. I don’t remember much of that day though, just your eyes. Those brown eyes that seemed to swirl with everything that was inside of you. And your lips, I remember your eyes and your lips. The fullness of them and how they wrapped around every word. You could have been reading from an obituary and I would have enjoyed it.

I remember the first trip you told me about. How you were stranded. I remember wishing I was stranded there with you. I remember waiting by the phone, waiting to ask you about your day. I remember your favorite foods, because they are also mine. I remember the things I used to say, and how you thought I was better than others. I remember my relief when I found out how close you lived. I remember a month before your birthday, I wanted to get it right. I remember the poem I wrote, and my excitement to give it to you. I remember fearing that you would laugh at my pettiness.

I remember seeing you. I remember what you ordered, and which was your favorite. I remember sitting there, trying to take you all in. I remember the mental picture that I painted of you with words. I remember doing that, because it was one of the best times I ever had in my life. I remember wishing it would go on forever. I remember watching you walk away. I remember talking to you the minute I got into my car, and all the way home. I remember how the following week felt like a lifetime, but it also felt like a single day. I remember those brown eyes of yours. I still see them in my mind, every single day. I remember the furniture you bought, and the time you went away. I remember the time you went away. I remember the words you left me with, the words that no longer had a voice. I remember those words.

I can’t love life until it starts raining, for that is when life prevails. People scurry in every direction, as raindrops fall like mortar shells. They hide under tattered awnings and in cracked walls, with only the brave walking the streets. Their existence is slowly washed away. Few people survive, and even fewer press on. Souls are swept along the road. Cobblestone, made from the skulls of the weak. People who were stepped on in life, now lead your steps to death. A quiet fellow. Old, embodied in a young boy. He sits on a bench, it’s the end of the road. He has many acquaintances, but few friends. They meet him everyday, here, on this bench. They don’t stay long. He fears that he’s pushing them away. He has always had a soft heart, which leads most to say that he isn’t fit for this world. He’s grateful for what he has, though. He lives through the people who visit him, trying to capture as much of them as he can. But, alas, it is time for them to leave. With a slender finger, he etches their initials into the wooden slat as they disappear into the distance. And he sits there, waiting for his next visitor. The longer it takes for one of them to show up, the more he thinks that his time has finally come.

April 2020

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