The crisp London air tickles my nose…

I was asked from a dear friend of mine to share a writing piece for their story-telling class. The prompt was left pretty wide open, which I enjoyed. I put together a story from my travels in London that interwove my personal poetry and lyric writings. I adored putting this bittersweet piece together…

The crisp London air tickles my nose as I walk along the Regent Park cobblestones by myself. I dig my mitten-covered hands into my coat as I soak in the bare trees, orange stag leaves and people passing by park directional signs. “Is it early November or mid-November?” I mutter to myself. As a nomad, I became accustomed to long walks with the best friend in my head having no sense of time.

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As time slips by, I constantly feel a need to scribble these small fragments of words that dance together on napkin sheets, sidewalk streets or sun bleached pieces of paper. Part of me hopes that no one knows the meaning behind these string of words I create, so that they can be only be mine. How selfish of me. I whisper a melody…

“Take my hand and run down daisies, understand that no one has won. Take these words they say that get me so hazy, and burn them breezy till we’re gone.”

After an hour of going nowhere in particular, I find a home on an empty bench near a playground full of adventurous adolescents and lost laughter. I grab out my pencil and notebook full of blank canvases and begin spilling out these words that have been floating in my head. My 1.5-kilogram mind can only hold so many words, so I let them fly out of their caged window, a sweet farewell.

A young man, probably mid-20s, is sitting in a bench across from me. I look over and admire his red tipped nose and pale skin. He has no age to me and I wonder what his journey is. He looks up and notices my blank stare. I give a smirk and put my head down to finish my lost thought of a past love…

“I’d burn my clothes just to keep you warm…”

I see his shadow stride to the bench I am in and he sits right next to me. “Hi,” he simply says. He gazes down at my notebook, points and asks, “What are you writing about?” I hesitate for a second because these are words that only I have seen. I adore these words and I know they can be taken and transformed to suit the kidnapper. I lean the notebook over towards him in homes he’ll treat these words with care…

He reads out loud, “Her skinned smelled like lavender lost at sea. She tried to find herself but only found me.”

He questions, “Is this about you?” “No, not really. I mean it could be. It could be about anybody really, I just don’t know them yet.” He pulled out a leather-case sketchbook and opens it. He explains to me that he has dissociative identity disorder and that many relationships he has eventually dwindles away from him because of it. He was left with this constant roller coaster in his mind, and no one to ride it. Instead of words, the pages are full of drawings. I notice the drawings are often of the same few figures. He flips through and explains random pieces about a person named Shiloh, of an ex-lover whose lips always tasted like sweet chai tea, and of his parents with blank stares and a reflection of a stranger in their eyes.

There’s a serene sensation that accompanies being completely vulnerable with this stranger. They don’t know your past or your future at first. They know simply who you are at that moment. It’s a soothing feeling knowing that you’ll be strangers again soon.

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He looks down at his watch and says he has to catch the subway. He gives me a kiss on the cheek and walks off as the coolness of his red tipped nose lingers and before I get up to walk the other way, I hastily scribble in my notebook…

 “The smell of peaches unteaches what really happened at the scene of the crime. It just lingers, points the finger to people like you and I.”

– Vanessa Jenelle

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