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 Dog-eared Pages

You still have my book.

I remember when I was waiting for this book to be released, years ago, when I was working at a bookstore. The stock manager, or whatever her actual title was, set one copy aside specially for me. Its lived in various bags far more than it’s designated place on my shelf, with a beat up cover and water stained pages to prove it.

I was on a vacation the last time I was reading it, while we were together. And lying in the sun, studying its contents, I thought of you. We’d discussed the author before, I’d discussed the book with you before. So when I came back, I gave it to you.

Temporarily, at least in intention.

The time before the last time I saw you, you had it in your bag. You were bringing it to work with you – you were definitely reading it. And that made me happier than I could say.

Do I bring this up now? How? It feels seems petty and unnecessary. Reopening a wound that should be closed by now, and I’m still picking and re-picking at the scab. It feels both like an excuse to talk to you and an excuse to make sure we never talk again. So long as you have that book, I have an excuse to message you. Have a reason to reach out.

And again, it also feels petty and childish as all hell to ask for it back now, after so much time has passed. And I’m afraid of what would happen if I did. If I’m ready for the closure of you.

But really, honestly, I want my book back. I want it back on my shelf and the ability to carry it with me again. I want to revisit sections and reread favorite parts.

I don’t want to want to reach out to you. I don’t want to have this idea in the back of my mind. I simultaneously want you to leave it where I can grab it without seeing you, and sit down for a drink with you, and have the discussion we should have had months ago.

The discussion about more than just the book. About the things you still admit to me you don’t know, or rather, haven’t let yourself think about long enough to figure out.

I suppose, at some point, I’ll simply buy another copy. Let you be, and accept in my heart these are the things I must let go. But I’d bet it will stay pristine for far longer than the original.

On a Shameless Self Promotion #2

Hey loves,

So my book, Dancing With The Shadows, is now available as an audiobook!

I’m really excited about it, the narrator, Colin Ricks, did such a great job and it was a fun collaboration.

I have some promo codes available for the US and UK audible stores, so if you want it for free (in exchange for a review?) hit me up in the comments and I’ll send you one.

Thanks guys ❤ ❤

Emma/Zoe

On A Drunk Text #2

Does the liquor bring my name to your lips 
The taste of smoke 
The sweetness of the oak 
Does it remind you of me 

Does drinking make you think of me 
Of your whispers in my ear 
My skin under your hands 
My softness against your strength 

Because I think life has done me an unkindness 
In that those people that meant the most 
Came back, eventually
In one form or another 
The grief both dissipated and compounded by a never ending presence 

And time flows like honey 
All at once, more quickly than you anticipate 
Then slowly, drip by drip 
And I’m watching the end of the spoon, waiting, as it crystallizes before my eyes 

Waiting for your message 
Your call
Your anything

Why am I only this eloquent when I’m not sober 
The words, the emotions, buried
Like the French long forgotten in that December so far past 

Je voudrais parler avec toi
Je voudrais passer de temps avec toi
Parce que tu me manques 

And I know you will come back 
Eventually
But you know I will leave
I have left you before
Forgotten you in summer nights
Shut you against the cold of this city

So I’m left with that song
The lick of the guitar
The taste of rye an assault against my throat
Your name on the tip of my tongue 
And swallowing it down and down and down 

And pretending I don’t miss you
Until you appear again, with that simplest of questions
“How have you been?”

You are like an itch in the back of my skull
A place I can not scratch without you there
No matter how much I pretend I’m getting over you

So, my love, tell me.

Is it just the bourbon talking

Or do you miss me too?