On Cigarettes at Sunrise

(This has been sitting in my drafts for a while now. Found it again the other day, gave it a once over, and hope you like it.)

The call would come sometime between two and four am.
You, unable to sleep.
You, insomniatic, looking for the same from me. 

But you’d never actually ask me.
For an hour or so, you’d hem and haw and turn it back on me.
“Do you want to come over?” 
Of course I did, I rolled my eyes, or I wouldn’t have answered the damn phone.

It was easy to pack, in those days. My makeup bag still in my purse from the day, add a pair of leggings and a toothbrush, and I was already walking to my car when you finally said
“Okay, come over.” 

We didn’t have a greeting, per se. 

I’d open your bedroom door, and there wasn’t a hug or a kiss, it was you. Sitting on your bed. Sometimes the guitar was on your lap or your notebook on the table.
But, more often than not, it was just you, sitting there, still in jeans, watching the sky outside, smoke trailing from your cigarette.
And I’d sit down, on the folding chair across from you, and reach for your lighter. 

We’d talk, or listen to music, or sit in silence for hours 
Watching the sky grow from black to purple to pink with orange hues. The breeze drifting in and your pack emptying out. You’d brush your hair out of your face every few minutes, switch between music, look out past me, through me, shaking your head at unvoiced thoughts.

I would listen to you, focus intently on whatever you were saying, but my gaze would often drift down to your lips.
I liked the way you formed your words, the way your mouth moved as you softly sang along to parts of songs, the way you spoke about anything and everything
I liked the way you kissed.

And your head would tilt to the left, hair falling out of where you’d just placed it, and your mouth would twitch into a smile.
That 5AM smile.
A smile that felt like it was only mine. If only for a moment. It was only mine to see.
This is stupid, I know. 
Untrue, a fantasy then and now.
We tend to romanticize the past.

And then, with the sun in the sky and the birds twittering you’d look at your phone and moan.
You had to sleep. Or try.
Be at work at whatever time.
Demand I be your alarm clock and wake you up, make you move.
And at this point, you still would not have touched me. 

So, we’d crawl into bed, and you’d ask if I was sleepy.
5, 6, 7 AM. 
“Are you tired?”
Of course I was. I was exhausted. But I would stay awake and say, 
No.
Because then, and only then, would you wrap your arms around me.

And when your mouth found mine, pretense faded. And all your shouldn’t, can’t, and won’ts turned into my clothes on the floor and you on top of me, kissing me, pulling my hair back. 
I’d sometimes make my eyes meet yours, and when I did, you’d fuck me even harder. 
Because it was only in those moments, the seconds of fevered movements, that you could admit
If only for an instant, if only in that way
That you really did want me

You’d roll over, and groan, again, at the time.
And I’d say I’d wake you up as you pulled me to you, cuddling me against your chest.
In the morning, you’d have let me go, and when your alarm went off I’d press my lips to your skin, and gently tell you to get up.
You told me once it felt nice, to have me holding you.
I’d stay there until the music played two or three more times. 
And when you left, you’d kiss me goodbye.

You couldn’t tell me that you miss me
Instead, in the after, you said that you miss having an insomniac to call. That you miss “those nights.”
So now, as I can’t sleep, my mind racing and aching, I use your language
I miss watching your face under the light of the rising sun
And the cigarettes and the music and your voice
And you know, full well, that means I miss you too.

On the Downbeat

There is a savage beauty in music

When a song completely consumes you 

Calls to your current or a past self 

Accuracy tearing at your soul 

Squeezing your heart 

Overwhelming you, emotion fit to bursting 

And what can you do other than experience 

Endure 

Breathe through guitar riffs & voices crooning in your ear 

As your mind screams 

This 

This thing, I couldn’t put into words 

Like calling to like 

That rising lump in your throat as it slowly saunters to an end 

Leaving you with that empty feeling

Do you press repeat? 

Do you suffer and celebrate through the experience once more? 

Like a scab you want to pick at, the refrain stuck in your head 

The tune cycling through your brain again, and again, and again 

How do they do this? 

These artists that read your inner thoughts through melodies 

Or is that your thoughts are not so wholly unique

You just needed someone else to express them for you.