I keep little notes in my phone of outfits I see on folks that look particularly nice. I write them down in a hurry. Like this one:
- brown khaki jeans, white shirt, white nike runners with a blue swipe and gum soles
He was a student getting on the bus. Some people look nice in the easiest of ways, and he was one of them. I think he could wear anything and turn it into a note on my phone. Or this one:
- worn black jeans, olive flats, beige sweater
I liked the way this girl walked around. She made her flats look cozy. She made her sweater look like it meant something to her. And:
- dark blue dress, thin, light, with shiny mustard flats
Some folks have a confidence about them, and they radiate it right through the clothes wrapped around their body tight.
I ate eggs benedict on a sunday morning with avocado and black beans. I drank three mugs of coffee and scratched my ruffled hair and paid the tip. The lady who served us last time had a spiffy set of curls that bounced around and a sliver hoop in her nose that flickered under the diner lights. I spot her from afar, and she’s smiling all the same, just at a different booth.
We ordered a strawberry pancake and split it 70/30. It was too dry, so the syrup went on twice. The couple next to us kept threatening to leave: she stood up, fixed her shirt, crossed her arms, then sat down again. I’m no longer interested in keeping the black beans separate from the benedict so I throw it all together in some lazy casserole. It tastes good.
I think about the way people bond better over breakfast. I think about sweatpants and hangover teeth and the way lethargy makes your shoulders slouch. The way that stress won’t let you just sit down and take it easy for a minute. But breakfast at the diner doesn’t let you stress your shoulders up.
Across the glossy floor, at the table snug against the wall, I spot another note:
- gray pants, light red shirt, white shoes
My head is down as I type it into my phone and the waitress snags the plates away. My arms fall over my belly and I grin. It’s good to eat. It’s good to be a human and eat a real nice meal. Two bright red credit cards hold down the receipt, keep it from floating off the table and onto the sticky floor.
I think about all the love I’ve shared over orange juice and waffles with whipped cream. I think about my heavy heart and the way the diners blend together. I feel it in my skeleton. Sometimes your smiling, naked cheeks, dimpled and full across the table shine right into my head, and I miss you. I miss all of you.
The sun blasts through the windows as we weave through the waiting crowd.
Into your apartment and onto the unmade sheets we wander. Our heads fall into the pillows and you toss your leg over onto me. Open your phone. Chuckle. I stare at the ceiling and wonder where the day will go. If our lazy will just keep moving through the moments. If we will lay here until monday. Your roommates aren’t home and the dusty air blankets the room. I play with your hair. You don’t notice.
There’s nothing to it, really. We’re just here, and it feels good.
Soon, I’ll be gone again, and I’ll leave you here, and I’ll do my best to remember all of this. I’ll make a note in my phone. The scent of your sweater nestled into my chest, the way it follows me home, all the way up the mountain and into my room. I’ll text you.
We’re awake, into the day. I notice you’re wearing the same thing you wore when we did this the first time:
- black leggings, pink hoodie, canvas flats, big hair
I still see them now, two years gone, all those breakfasts.