Wednesday, September 25, 2013

1:57 a.m.

"Remember Blazer Brew is open for you until 2! Thank you!"

 The barista said it in such a high-pitched voice, we could hear its disingenuous and rehearsed echoes throughout the internet café. I looked at Alli and she had the same annoyed expression on her face. "That woman's voice was driving me nuts!" she said as we exited back to our usual station in the library. The only real thing on my mind was the exam we had in the morning.

 Her voice did irk me, but for more than just its sound--her tone was what grabbed my attention. I internally scoffed at the barista's phony farewell to each customer. I wanted to say that I feel her pain just to break the awkward silence as she rung up my beverages--I just finished work myself. Working past midnight is never fun, but sometimes it's necessary.

 This barista's discontent for her job reminded me of the same ill-mannered rally-goers that made Occupy an unfortunate meme. And just like true Americans, those who participated acted as if our working class was the only working class to have ever suffered in history--as if our luxury of being workers somehow didn't matter, despite many still, on the streets of some of the biggest metropolitan areas, unable to even gripe about having to head into work on Mondays. The unemployed's last worry is if their bosses will force them to do something at work that day. Earning money is such a drag, man.

 The barista rolled her eyes whenever she thought no one was looking, but I'm one of the few that always is--I would say it is the journalist in me, but I think it's just writers in general. Before I clung so heavily to this genre and style, I found myself always observing. Often I caught mannerisms that I'm sure others thought they had hidden well.

 But I think some part of the barista at Blazer Brew wanted Alli and I to see the look on her face when she was done with her rehearsed good-bye. This stranger was sending a message: She's better than this place. She just hasn't found her chance to prove it yet.

 Well, some wise guy did say that there's no time like the present. I'll keep working past midnight; my job is giving me the chance to prove my worth. And the drinks the barista sold me will help me through the night so I can prove myself again in the morning during the exam that currently has Alli frazzled.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


There was a worn texture to the envelope and letter he sent me, and the postage was not of this part of the world. It intrigued me--I could barely wait to open it. Inside was a letter full of kind words and characteristic etchings. Every letter from him has been like that, and every letter has managed to put a smile to my face.

The handwriting was of mostly some form of script that was difficult to read at times. I tried to picture him holding the pen in one hand and writing away. Is he the type to look up from the paper and ponder, with his nose pointed in the air? I do that often, and I find I'm never looking at anything particular, but I'm imagining all sorts of shapes and words that could be something.

I remember when I first sent him a letter--a three-part letter. I was sitting in Becka's room, up late as usual. She and I had been watching movies and working on assignments the entire night, but instead of an almost-finished paper, my screen projected a blank document with a cursor--ever hopeful and blinking--patiently waiting for me to write something. I left my characteristic etchings on other paper--the other parts to the set of letters I would later send. The letters were full of emotion and hope and dreams, I think.

In Becka's room, however, I had just begun really thinking. Late that night, I was vulnerable, but how else do you send letters to someone who has never received a letter from you before? If I'm not vulnerable now, they won't truly know me. These are the things I thought and reconsidered before my fingers touched my keyboard. I almost regretted how I felt for a moment--but honesty shouldn't scare me. If I want to live free, I have to let it go. I've been learning to be less scared of these sorts of things.

So that night, in Becka's room, under dim lighting, I wrote.

Monday, September 9, 2013

100 Words: Promises

Three years ago, we were so sure of us. It might have been desperate hope and determination that kept us going back before we knew who we’d become, but we worked because we needed each other. When you find your perfect match, you hold on tight. And I’m proof that he keeps his promises.

When people say you shouldn’t depend on someone for your happiness, I imagine a naïve person trying to make it completely on their own and be 100-percent happy. I know they cannot do it, and they know it, too. The truth is: We need people.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Library

The library is full of busy, but mostly just loud, sounds. Ordinarily, I would assume a library to be quiet, but not tonight. I still remember all my days in libraries in public school and at the public, community libraries. Librarians would hide behind their circulation desks, huddled over something to keep their minds occupied during the long shifts--occasionally one would pop his or her head over the edge to "Shhhh!" in warning. In this corner of the university library--though it shouldn't be this way--people do not seem so keen on keeping quiet. The librarians are far enough away that "Shhhh!" won't accomplish anything; I suppose they've just learned to ignore the liberally-minded white noise that fills the corridors.

"He just casually farted in the middle of his sentence," says the loud girl. She's sitting at the table in front of me. Now she's talking on her phone. Her group of friends was highly amused by her fart joke. The snob in me wondered why she couldn't have at least pretended to be studying for something.

"I hate the empirical formula!" says the loud boy at the table to my left. Finally, something school-related, I think.
"Dude!" his friend exclaims. "The empirical formula is easy!"
"Like your mom!" says a girl at their table. And we're back.

"I've only queefed once," says the loud girl from table one. I can't help but feel that I'm learning more about these people than I could have ever wanted.

In fact, "loud" sounds too repetitive, but that is all these students are. Loud, loud, loud. I realize I've forgotten my headphones, but I can't do anything about that now. The queefer from table one is off of the phone, and now giggling loud with her friends about something that happened over the weekend. Allison is next to me--her headphones are where they should be (in her ears)--and she is playing around on her computer. I'm sure, like me, she can't focus, either. Most of the students here use "whatevs" unironically, and I can't help but wonder why. At least the table to my left is leaving those of us still in the library with the impression that they understand chemistry--they're all moaning about having to attend their labs in the morning as they exit, but at least that means they'll probably go. The queefer?--I doubt it.

I finished my homework some time ago, but I know nothing is waiting for me in my dorm room--nothing too particular, anyway. Nicole, my roommate for the semester, will be on her computer or watching something. She always is. Before arriving here, I managed to take a shower and avoid most of her private viewing of "Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2." After the first two "He's so hot!"'s, I had had enough.

The library is growing quieter now that some of the crowd is leaving. But the lack of noise doesn't deter the queefer and her friends--it only invigorates their need to fill the void with conversation I never wanted to overhear. Perhaps if I were sure they were studying I wouldn't feel so irritated. I've lost countless hours of sleep here while actually working. They're just wearing the seats on the chairs thin.

Sometimes I want to tell these students to use their time wisely. I didn't take my time as a freshman seriously enough, and I spent too much time playing and not enough focused on my studies. Now I find it difficult to work harder the more imperative it becomes in my later years here. This is my last semester--my last chance to spend these nights by the periodicals of the library and prove myself to my professors and the university. I want to implore them to take more hours and have a legitimate reason to be in here more. I can tell them they won't want to spend their last semester of college huddled in here on official business. Four years from now, if they change their minds, they will be glaring at the freshmen making noise in the library, too.

I  have to remind myself that midterms and finals are just weeks away; we all act like ADHD victims, stuttering and deliriously giggling our way through the nights as we try to focus on our studying. The caffeine we obsessively consume will just make us jittery and want to do laps outside. I won't be able to look at a computer screen without my glasses because my eyes will try to cross. My classmates will sit around me giggling at their phones and computer screens while somewhere on their desktops are minimized PDFs of what we should be studying earnestly. That's when you go outside for another cigarette, dose of Adderall, coffee break or breath of fresh air. Allison is staring hard at her screen again. It might be time for one or all of the above.