“The true self was the one you were everyday and no other. There was no secret self waiting for you somewhere. You were you. That was it.”– Smith Henderson
Bright Eyes is playing at the coffee shop I’m sitting in and it’s nearly empty on a Monday afternoon. The iced coffee is good, not great. It’s seventy degrees and balmy. I have a lot of pages between me and Friday, but Friday’s coming regardless. I am the single woman on the couch and I imagine the two girls who just walked in are envious. They are more beautiful than me but I was here first. This is the coziest corner, close to the window where I can see a man sitting outside polishing his guitar. I have unlimited access to the power strip which has 4 possible places for me to plug in! It’s warm enough to wear a long flowing hippie skirt and contrary to Ireland, no high school kids are yelling “hippie” at me when I walk down the street in it.
In the past few weeks, I’ve done some new things. I smoked my first cigarette or two. I got hungover, my friend introduced me to a new view of the Rock River from a hilltop prairie. I popped two bike tires, read a love letter, wrote a love letter, and swam in a river that too many people insist on telling me is polluted.
The smell of this coffee shop is filled with space. It’s an old warehouse, so the ceilings are high and the floor is these huge smooth and gray cement tiles. The fans are always going and the cool of the cement always seeps up into my shoes and then the rest of my body. Permanent cool.
My friend messaged me last night that she’s having an existential crisis. In a week we’ll be done with college and in ten years, we’ll be 32! She wishes she had double caps lock to express the great gravity and terror in these words. She’s right.