short fiction story: im sitting in a cafe and my coffee cup looks depressed.

I raised a coffee cup to my mouth but when I sipped, a blue bird flew out. Its feathers rang songs of the sea as it flew–a smell of sea salt and cigarette ash swam in the air. For years since we stopped having our morning coffee, all I could see was blue. The world was made of brilliantly diverse blue hues; trees were a light turquoise, greens appeared faded, the sun matched the sky it sat on—but you, you were the color. The yellow, shining, burning, a little too much.

I’m thirty-four now, too adult and still overwhelmingly childish. It’s been ten years since I’ve heard the crescendos of your voice. I was foolish, too much of everything, and too little myself when I met you. Not much has changed except the curl of my hair grew a rulers length and my soul has become a whole lot colorless—a lot less bounce and smirk and bright lighted. Now, it’s a little more grey scale and slow motion, moonlit.

What I’m trying to say is: Today, I sat in my jean cuffed shorts, grabbed my faded coffee cup and I tried to drink out of an empty cup. But when the cup touched my mouth, a blue bird flew out. Loose feathers scattered the wooden floors. I’m not too sure if I did imagine it. You’d probably think I did. But, it was the most real thing ive seen in years. I still hear it chirping. Its almost calling your name.

The damned thing seemed to fly away. But I’m going out to find it. One foot over another. A dream of something better rested on the souls of my tattered shoes.

I know I keep mentioning you. It’s in hopes you know who you are and you’ve been thinking of me too. But if not, because this world isn’t a dream, its more of an uncomfortable slumber—let me explain.

It was a winter nine years ago when I was walking around with a skip in my step, a big smile on my face, and wearing colorful bohemian drapery. I was full of light, sunshine, flowers, and everything that sang melodies of happiness. A walking cliché, I know. I was innocent, been through shit for sure, but still looking on the positive side. I wanted love, hell I sought over anything remotely similar to it. The problem was though, I didn’t know what it looked like—I never saw it before. Not from my parents, my friends, anyone. So, when you walked up, all dark washed clothes but somehow the brightest thing in the whole place—I felt bluebirds in my chest, throat, and fingertips. I thought I found it. What love looked like that is.

You walked up to me, all three steps in one kinda thing, and smiled. Oh man, that smile—I felt the bluebirds flying through my veins. When you spoke, your voice sounded like thick honey and a clover field. You didn’t say too much, you were more of a “turn my head to listen to you” person. I loved that, I talked a lot. Maybe a bit too much.

You were the reflection of my own brightness.. We spent our days exploring the sea and watched its waves never give up on coming back. You made me smile when I saw the birds land around your tap shoes. We were happy, content. The world spun a little slower, a little more calmly and I stopped feeling the need to skip everywhere I traveled.

Months past by like waves, one after the other with a comfortable amount of genuine certainty—everything seemed more brightly designed when I knew you were close. Trees shone brightly like crisp dollars. Flowers sparked rainbows on their leaves. The streetlights sang songs of fireworks with the constellations.

The leaves slowly started turning shades of glorious browns and tans. I felt the crisp air slip through our fingers. I searched harder for the color amidst all the neutrals. But, your smile was a little less pink and white. And your eyes didn’t look like they were an ocean of searching anymore. I assumed you found what you were looking for in my clumsy colored steps.

Then one day, we were watching the news on an old couch inside my small, grimy little apartment. Your leg tapping over mine, our fingers intertwined like branches. A news story popped up on the screen, it was something about the migration of the blue birds. I guess the weather wasn’t changing fast enough for their feathers up here and they were all heading up to the Midwest in flocks to prepare for the winter snow. The birds gave me familiarity, a breathtaking color to fixate on, and I left a part of me crumble when I watched their clouds of blue whisk away on the television.

“I never much cared for those damn birds, they make too much noise anyways.,” you laughed.

I was quiet, for once. A tear fell down my chilled cheeks like a wave that wasn’t heading back to shore. For the first time in months, the colors draining started to made sense.

The next day, I woke up by your side. Blankets huddled in the corner; I was shivering yet you looked so warm and equally far away. Morning came and went with a lack of conversation and eye contact. As I dug my metal spoon into the breakfast oats, you said I was too much trouble, too much talk and skip. You went on about how you loved me but needed to explore a different place before either of us settled. But a question sat on my lips, never asked but always curious: if you had truly someone you loved, shouldn’t that love be enough? I sat, uncomfortably still. You leaned back into the rusty, uneven chair. “I’ll be back another winter for your colorful, smiling, full of sunshine love.” I felt the birds chirp in my chest, it sounded like tears falling. Except we all know birds don’t cry. So, I said okay.

I guess our love got a little too noisy and overheated and you needed an escape. I understand that, the pressure of familiarity and certainty. I never stopped waiting for that pressure to expel, you know.

Anyways, its winter again, my body is less jump and moving. My bones crack and whisper shudders when I walk. My hair hugs my tailbone when I twist and turn. My eyes are a little more closed and intimate—my gaze no longer wanders at every detail in a room. It’s quite drafty in my knick-knack ridden apartment these days. And I think the blue birds are migrating back—because one flew out of my coffee cup this morning and chirped your name.

2 Replies to “short fiction story: im sitting in a cafe and my coffee cup looks depressed.”

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