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This is a place.

The hardest thing to do is not stare. The clothes, expensive, trendy. The hair, either too well-kept or purposefully a mess. The accessories, trying to hard yet everyone is doing it.

This is a place for my generation.

A place where it is respectable to be Bohemian, or a vagabond. A place where a poet is the smartest man in the room and a musician is fawned after.

This is a place for my generation.

A place where religion is scoffed at and book smarts reign supreme.

A place where “The Science of Sleep” is the most popular movie, and no one has seen “The Hangover.”

The place, with its winged door sign and its old church pews, is a place for my generation.

We sleep, we eat, we drink, we rarely bathe, we read, we write, we play music, we photograph with expired film.

We can do this here.

Often we eat sushi and we wear our fedoras.

Our glasses are horn-rimmed and our shoes are untied, possibly they have no use for laces.

Coffee is served, but you have to just know your order.

You can’t pretend and assume you’ll fit in.

Because you won’t.

Not even a little bit.

You’ll embarrass yourself.

It’s like a science lab, and our skirts are high-waisted.

Our water comes from a beaker and our kids wear vans.

The man to my left waits for a friend for an hour. He types, checks his gmail and waits. With his tattooed arms he reaches for his cell phone.

His friend arrives.

They talk about rehab.

He seems happy.

I hope he is.

The couple in front of me didn’t stay long.

Mom took some photos of the stroller, I assume the baby was in it.

Dad and his fedora and scarf sipped on his coffee.

They left.

Someone new just sat down. On the long pew in front of me.

Her jeans are acid washed and she reads a book.

A small mass market paperback, but it’s still a book.

The man at the counter has been there a while. His glasses are white and his shirt is blue, I think.

He reads, he writes, he repeats.

I think he is some sort of regular.

The guy in the corner is too buff for his shirt.

But he likes it that way.

And he listens to his headphones and thinks about it.

Acid washed jeans just left with her Ramones-shirtted boyfriend, figures.

New guy again.

Greg Kinnear look-alike.

Crosses his legs, sits and reads.

He is uncomfortable in the pews.

Rehab guy is from Bakersfield.

The 210, the 101.

Freeways.

There are busses outside. I can’t see them, but I can hear them.

Too-buff-guy has a friend too.

This must be a waiting kind of place.

A place for my generation to wait.

An in-between place for my generation.

What a Difference a Day Makes

She sat on the porch, eyes beginning to swell, face streaming with tears. Her rocking chair continued to sway as she crawled into a small ball and prayed. Hoping to turn back the clock. If only she could go back a day. Her husband would still be alive.

One day could make all the difference.

Suddenly, Sara’s tears stopped. She sat up into her rocking chair and folded the letter, placing it into the envelope. She handed it back to the uniformed man as he backed away from the house, watching her with sincere eyes. Swaying for a minute she remembered that she needed to check on her pie. Sweet Cherry Pie for the neighbors, and another to accompany her dinner.

Sara knew dinner still had to be prepared. Her chicken was almost finished and the bread timer was about to go off. She set the ingredients on the counter and dried her mixing bowl.

She sat on her chair and picked up her copy of T.S. Elliot’s poems. She read them for an hour and then got up to clean. She started in the kitchen and continues into the rest of the downstairs. She walked upstairs vacuuming each step on the way. Every room had to be spotless. Once that was all finished she put in her curlers, showered and got into bed. Before falling asleep, she brought out her Bible and read, She prayed for her husband, for her parents and for her neighbors. She set down her Bible, and slept in the silence.

She awoke in the dark and walked to her bedside table. Taking out the curlers one by one, she slowly brushed out each curl. She got into her dress and knelt next to her bed. She prayed, pleading with God not to let her husband leave her.

Sara stood and grabbed his suit jacket from her bed, cradling it in her arms. She placed it on a hanger in the closet. She sat in his large green chair. His smell oozed out of the material. His heavenly musk, floating around the room. She walked downstairs and sat quickly into another chair, this time his brown reading chair. Tears tumbled down her made up face. She stared at the door for almost an hour, barely glancing at the book she had picked up.

Sara stared at the door handle as it began to turn. In he walked, tall as the door frame. She didn’t know what to do. She didn’t know how to move. He walked slowly toward her and she jumped into his arms. They didn’t move for minutes. Both of their faces soaked, her cries loud enough to wake the neighbors.

“Don’t leave me, not tonight,” She whispered.

A day was all the difference.

“Okay Sara, I won’t, not tonight.”

Wedded Bliss

She married the wrong man. We tried to tell her when it happened. We told her how he scared us, how he was never pleasant. We told her we did not like the way that he looked at her. Her parents pretended to like him. They welcomed him to all of their parties and into their inner circle with wide open arms.
He pretended to like us. He pretended to want to be around us. He never spoke directly to me. For two years he spoke around me. He spoke to my sister, he spoke to my boyfriend, he spoke to everyone around me, but never directly to me. I always felt uneasy near him. I wanted to get her away from him, well I guess we all did.
The proposal was unexpected. He placed a gorgeous ring on her finger and she said yes. We weren’t surprised by her answer, she was smitten, infatuated, almost obsessed. I could never figure it out. Yes he was handsome, as handsome as a movie star. Yes he had money, but neither of those things made up for the fact that he was frightening.
The wedding was like those out of a fairytale. Her dress was a crème color and it was covered in lace and a line of covered buttons followed her spine. It was strapless and fit her petite frame perfectly. He woludn’t let her parents pay for anything, something that made them love him and begin to trust him. He gave her everything she wanted and I should have been happy for her. The ceremony, the perfect ceremony, went on without a hitch. I was as good a maid of honor as any. I pinned up her hair, fixed her makeup, and said my prayers with her. I even held back my last reservations from her, saying only that it was never too late if she was nervous.
She laughed off my slightly warning tone telling me that he was everything she ever wanted. Their honeymoon was a dream. They went on an island cruise. They had a wonderful time she assured me. they came back with tans, but she was different.
Her smile was less authentic. She was careful with her words. He stopped coming around to gatherings. He stopped coming home to her. He started showing up places unannounced. He came to a dinner she had planned for her girlfriends. He came angry. He started to make more eye contact. He started to talk more. He began to ask me questions and press me for the answers. He started to show up at my house before I got off work. I told her about it and she tried to act as if nothing was wrong.
Something was wrong. Now that I’m gone I wish I had a time machine. I wish that I could start all over, back at the day she met him. I wish I could tell her then what I know now. Well I guess, what I knew when he killed me. She was going to marry the wrong man.