Tag Archives: daily prompt

raspberries are red

It wasn’t a perfect day for weather — but it was a perfect day for Berlin.

 

Although, the rain did prove to threaten my plans for the day, you still wanted to meet.

 

I waited for you outside of our apartment building. Warschauer Strasse. One of the main hubs of Berlin, always bustling with busy bodies and enthusiastic drug induced tourists. The energy of the day was especially electric due to the kultural festival — an entire weekend filled with foods from all over the world and multiple music stages displaying local bands galore. I had been the previous night with friends, and ended up eating my life worth in Argentinian empanadas and pad thai.

 

My friends told me not to take you there, at least not to start off with. It was too loud for a first date — too chaotic. But I disagreed, I liked the noise, I liked the colors, the distractions from awkward conversation.

 

However, I took their advice. Instead, I suggested we started out with a photography exhibition from one of my favorite photographers, Mario Testino. I had already seen an installation of his in both Madrid and NYC.

 

So around 15:15 you finally met me outside. You were late, and I had counted on it. I was on time, and I’m never on time unless I’m nervous. But I needed the time to calm my nerves. Truthfully, I don’t know why I was wound up about it. I had spent time with you before, but in groups, and our flirtatious conversation and affectionate ambiguity had been taken lightly. I never let myself take romance too seriously. I don’t know if that’s because of my own insecurity or because I’m as laid back as I claim. Maybe, a mixture.

 

You looked nice though. You were in color — green and pink specifically. Mentally, I noted your favorite colors. I liked this about you, the vibrancy.

 

You smiled and we greeted, and then we were on our way.

 

The metro ride was particular. I couldn’t look at you, or else I would have just kept smiling like an idiot. So I never kept eye-contact with you for longer than normal. Plus, my uncomfortable habit of looking at someone in the eyes too long — I didn’t want to make things awkward within the first 10 minutes.

 

You noticed though, and playfully said, “Look at me, won’t you?”

 

So I obliged, it was the polite thing to do — but I wanted to, also.

 

“I never realized how auburn your eyes are in the light, I’ve never been able to look at you this long.”

 

I laughed, and redirected our conversation. I wasn’t ready to fall for this person yet.

It took us about 30 minutes to get to the other side of Berlin, to the museum that hosted the exhibition. Turns out, the museum had the wrong address on their website and the installation was actually in a sister building about another 20 minutes away. However, by the time we would have gotten there, we wouldn’t have had enough time to see it properly.

 

“We’re going to laugh about this later in the future,” I noted, a bit disappointed.

 

“Why later? It’s funny now,” you answered back, with your dimpled smile.

 

So instead, we decided on having a drink, at a Mexican restaurant called Que Pasa.

 

Was I tempted to have a real drink, and by real, I mean alcoholic? Yes, absolutely. Especially since it was already 5pm. But I didn’t.

 

My desire to want to spend time with you sober superseded it. The times we had hung out together with our group of classmates had always somehow involved ending up drunk, and us walking home together. We’d argue who would walk whom to each other’s door since we lived in the same building, and then we’d end up in our courtyard between the both of our buildings just talking and star-gazing. Well, what little star-gazing you can do in a city of clouds — undoubtedly drunk. You even invited me into your apartment once, but I didn’t make a move. I didn’t want to. I just wanted to enjoy whatever was happening without moving too fast.

 

So I chose a Sprite instead.

 

You drank a hot chocolate.

 

And we talked about family and aspirations and school for a few hours over a loaded plate of nachos.

 

You told me you were a vegetarian for a good 7-8 years of your life. So I found it ironic when you chose chicken to coat the chips. Well, we all have our guilty pleasures, I suppose.

 

Afterwards, I asked if you wanted to go to the festival and check it out. What I meant was — do you want to try all the food stalls with me and dance around and be fools together?

 

You aren’t originally from Berlin, but have lived here for a good four or so years, minus your year abroad in Korea. But you had never been to the festival. It’d be your first time too, and I was happy to experience this with you.

 

We walked around for an hour or so, before you decided on what you wanted to eat. A delicacy from Hungary — I can’t quite remember the name, but it’s their version of a pizza coated with garlic, a white yogurt sauce, and cheese — again, you also added meat: salami, this time. Said it reminded you of your father.

 

“You’re going to have to deal with me eating a lot of garlic… hope you don’t mind.”

 

I found the comment odd, but I didn’t mention it. Just said I wanted to try it how it’s meant to be eaten.

 

So we sat at the picnic tables put out beside the food stand, which was also placed right beside one of the many musical stages of the festival. It was a German group playing songs in many different languages. French, English, German.

 

We stayed watching them for 20 minutes or so, while you ate. We hardly spoke at all. But it wasn’t uncomfortable. In fact, it’s one of my favorite things to find in a person. when you can shut the fuck up with them and still have fun.

 

Once you finished, we got up to leave. I walked ahead of you into the crowd, while the band continued overhead playing a song. I didn’t understand the lyrics, but I figured it must be German since I couldn’t catch any French.

 

Then I felt your hand on my shoulder and I turned around to look at you.

 

“Kiss me now, and I will be in paradise in Heaven.”

 

I am sure the look on my face betrayed me. I’m not that great of a liar. So after a few seconds of looking into each other’s eyes, I blurted out, “What?”

 

“It’s the lyric they just sang,” you said, as you smiled casually and then led me out of the crowd.

 

I closed my eyes and followed you, wondering if that was what the song had really said — wondering if I had missed my chance.

 

But let’s be real. I didn’t know if were on a date or not, honestly.

 

A few days earlier, we had gone on a picnic with my group of friends. I had invited you, and you accepted. There was lots of food and lots of alcohol — two of my favorite things. So naturally, we got very inebriated.

 

Afterwards, we walked from the park to my friend’s house to continue our day of fun. While we strolled to theirs, you and I somehow ended up side by side. I can’t quite recall what got us onto the topic but we had both mentioned how we wanted to hangout, but not get super drunk. Since the past few times had all ended very drunk, but that’s what happens in large groups of socialization.

 

“We should make a date out of it.”

I was pretty intoxicated at this moment already, but I remember it. The “date” word. It took me by surprise.

 

“Yeah, okay, we should.” Then I asked when and we were trying to figure it out, but got interrupted by our friends and their intruding conversations.

 

So when we finally decided to meet up, just us two, it was never explicitly stated if this was our date or not. I wasn’t even sure you remembered what you said, or if it was just drunken words, so I didn’t bring it up. I just thought I’d go out with you and figure it out during.

 

That was a dumb idea — but also very brilliant because it took the pressure off of a label.

 

After eating, we decided to check out the parade. So we followed the crowd into the fray. You put your arm on my shoulder to keep hold of me. I was too nervous to grab your hand. I had told you previously in a different hang out how intimate holding hands was to me, possibly more important than kissing.

 

So I didn’t want to make you uncomfortable — even though we had already held hands in the club, but that was different. I was drunk and friendly then.

 

Now, I was sober and interested — and that’s a deadly combination, for me. Once we got to the street the parade was on, the crowd tightened. So we crossed the street to the other side to be on the less busy part, or so we thought. Once there, we realized how packed it was, too. I let you stand in front to see, and I stood behind you.

 

One of the first floats we saw represented Ghana. The truck had a DJ and many dancers in the back. And there was a massive following of Ghanaians dancing around the truck to afro-beats and their own mix of reggae. This excited the energy in the crowd. People were chanting in solidarity and enjoyment, and dancing around with bottles in hand. You turned to look at me, with the biggest smile.

 

“This is awesome, look at all the colors and dress they’re wearing!”

 

I grinned back at you in response, and for the life of me, I cannot remember how it happened. I know for sure I didn’t exclusively go for your hand.

 

But I know it wasn’t just you either.

 

It just happened.

 

And there we were, in the middle of a huge raging crowd, looking at each other, our fingers intertwined.

 

You turned back around, and I expected you to let go. But you didn’t. Instead you gave my hand a small squeeze, and we stayed that way for a long while, watching the rest of the parade. I couldn’t concentrate much anymore though.

 

All I could feel was the heat between our skin, and how nice it was to hold your hand — but also how confusing.

 

We decided to cross and go back to the festival grounds to get more food — as I hadn’t eaten yet and was getting hungry.

 

There was a knot in my stomach, but it wasn’t from hunger. I realized in this beautiful moment that it was the first time I have ever held hands with another girl openly. Without shame, without secrets, without guilt.

 

I’m 25 and before that Sunday, I had never held hands with another girl so freely. Not with my fling I had before I moved to Spain, and not with my almost 4 year relationship. Not with any of the girls I “dated” in between, either. I hadn’t felt comfortable enough with myself yet.

 

And here I was, holding hands with a beautiful girl. A girl who didn’t make me feel like I needed to hide what I felt.

 

And you know, her and I can turn out to be nothing. We could stop talking today and never speak again — and I will always remember this moment, and how she was and always will be part of a very important experience for me.

 

Maybe this is why holding hands is so intimate for me. Because I’ve never done it before with someone and it felt so… normal.

 

No one gave us weird looks, or ridiculed us, or said anything out of the ordinary.

 

But it was you, too. You didn’t pull back, or make it feel awkward. Just comfortable.

 

I can’t describe it properly, how it made me feel. Just that it felt so normal. It’s the first time in my life, I’ve felt like a girl who likes another girl and that’s normal.

 

I’m sure at the end of the night, I could have kissed you.

 

I didn’t want to though. It was enough for me, to have your hand in mine.

 

A little after midnight, we decided to go to a bar. One of my favorites. Madame Claude. I only had one beer — one. That’s it. At a bar, filled with alcohol. Guess I was enjoying you so much. You intoxicated me.

 

We stayed until about 4:30am, when we decided it was time to go home. Time had escaped me. I couldn’t believe we had spent nearly 14 hours together. I had mentioned it to you at the bar. How I had other plans just in case our hangout was awkward, and you told me the same. You had been out until 4/5am the past few nights and were really tired. And had you not been enjoying yourself, you would have used this as a reason to excuse yourself earlier.

 

We both laughed harder than we meant to, I think. It was good to know I wasn’t the only one nervous.

 

As we walked home, some random drunk guy asked you for sex in German. Said you guys could do it really fast. You scoffed and turned him down. But he kept trying to talk to you. I really didn’t understand anything at the moment, with my limited German skills.

 

But then I felt your hand slip through my arm, and you pulled yourself closer to me. I knew that feeling perfectly, without you having to explain. So I told the guy to back off in English, and he got my memo.

 

You said thanks shyly, and kept your arm looped in mine. You walked close to me, on the way home. Eventually, dropping your arm to hold my hand instead.

 

“You’re comfortable to be around.” You said, before letting go of my hand so I could open the door for us.

 

We stood at the base of the stairs. Normally, I would walk you to the courtyard between our buildings up to your door to your building. I don’t know why, but I didn’t this time.

 

I just hugged you, and you held on to me for longer than a regular hug.

 

“I know you’re tired, so I’ll let you sleep.”

 

You smirked at me, and said breathlessly between us, “I had a really good time.”

 

“Me too.” I held your gaze for a few silent moments. Even in the dark, your blue eyes were crystal clear.

 

And then I watched you walk away — and I couldn’t help but wonder, if it was a date or not.

 

But I knew, even if it wasn’t, I’d always remember it for more important reasons.

Orion’s Belt

Tender

Art hated her name. It was a reoccurring thought she had many times, as daydreaming always seemed to lead back to this point. She couldn’t help it; she wasn’t one for attention — especially as a painter.

“You create art, yet hate Art.”

“Is that your real name, or some sort of starving artist alias?”

Once a boy had tried to charm her with, “You are Art.”

Regretfully after, she had let him kiss her.

Ironically, in one of her sketch journals, she had begun writing down all the quotes she had thus far heard from her name. On the cover, she had painted in angry bold blocked letters, “NOT ART.”

*****

Art sat in the bus, nervously. Her glorious yellow chariot seemed to be taking longer than normal to get to her destination. She rolled her eyes, half annoyed at her self, half impatient with the uncooperative weather. The rain drizzled patiently down the window beside her. She leaned her forehead against the cold, damp glass and watched each droplet race downwards. She tried to choose the bead of water that would make it all the way down the window first.

After a few unsuccessful attempts at trying to distract her thoughts, Art wondered what her visit to the doctor’s would entail.

She felt awkward about the situation. It wasn’t like she hadn’t been to the gynecologist before, for her annual checkups. But this was different. She thought further back to two weeks ago. The weather had been the same, it’s the only reason she could recall the memory so vividly. Embarrassingly enough, it had been her twin brother who had convinced her to take a pregnancy test. So there she was, locked up alone in his apartment while he was away at work. He had bought the test for her and had it set on the counter inside the bathroom.

Why the hell am I doing this? She had been repeating the question over and over to her self. But she took the test anyway, because she was sure of her virtue. Above all else, Art loved experience. However, her idea of experience seemed to differ from others. She admired the experience of not experiencing. Defiantly enough, she had initially rejected her brother’s help, claiming her status as a virgin proudly.

But the test came up positive, and her brother became negative about her declaration.

*****

“Nice book you’ve got there, Not Art.”

Art blinked over her dried eyes a few times, so that the person in front of her came to focus.

“Can I sit by you?”

Art nodded nonchalantly, and scooted over for her friend, Hades.

“What’s up Hade?” Art asked automatically, absentmindedly, anxiously.

“Going in for work, actually. This weather is kind of suiting, don’t you think?”

Art thought about it for a silent moment, and began laughing hysterically and uncontrollably.

Hade was a mortician — and he loved his name.

lukewarm regret

Lukewarm

Cecilia stepped off the airplane and mindlessly followed the stream of travelers. The delay of her previous flight had given her more time to prepare for the inevitable family reunion, and thinking about it made her throat tight and suffocating. As she waited in line to pass through Passport Control, the last phone call with her dad resurfaced and repeated, echoing between her ears in earnest.

“Lia, baby, tell ya what, I’ll make your favorite pie and we can go for our morning walks like we used to if you just come home next month in August. I’ll even buy your ticket home. Don’t say anything yet, just think about it.”

She remembered the boyish pleading in his voice, combined with his uncanny knack for making her feel guilty. Unsuccessfully, she had tried to cut him off between each word, but his voice never faltered, and overpowered her own. The knot in her chest strained at the thought of her father’s incessant persistence. He had been calling so much lately, and it had resulted in her ignoring her phone for days at a time.

The officer waved her up next, and she fumbled with her passport in her hands before handing it over to him. His friendliness unsettled her, as he casually asked questions about her stay. He flipped through her passport, and stopped to look at her picture, then peered at her for an uncomfortable amount of time in silence. She was sure he was comparing the 2D version of herself with the dismayed person standing in front of him. For a moment, she forgot the jumbled mess in her head, and became impatient, unintentionally letting slip the annoyance in her voice of being stared at, “It’s me, I promise.”

His lopsided smile spread on the right side of his face lazily, “Welcome home then, Cecilia.” She couldn’t tell if she was being paranoid, but she thought she heard a hint of haughty sarcasm in his tone. Before she could respond, the officer had already motioned for the next person in line.

Her left hand gripped the handle of her luggage, as she followed the exit signs and passed through the doors beckoning her home. Her breathing was shallow, and her eyes darted around the area. She looked around nervously for whosever familiar face from her family was designated to pick her up.

She nearly jumped from the touch on her shoulder, and cringed from the unknown physical contact. Swiftly, she turned around and faced the person behind her.

Her defenses immediately dropped, and she found herself in the arms of her mother. The seasons of silence between them vanished, and a feeling of comfort warmed her shaking frame of a body. It surprised her how natural this felt. Cecilia’s banishment by her mother had been the reason for her long period of absence. However, if she was being truly honest with herself, it was her own lack of courage that had kept her distant. Neither of the two had ever quite figured out how to apologize to each other.

But with her father’s recent and untimely passing, Cecilia decided it was time to try.

lavender

Clean

It was well past 2am, and we were delightfully drunk deep within the darkness of the night struggling to open the front door of the building. Once inside, I followed you up the only flight of stairs to our apartment. I say “our” because you had just given me my own set of keys earlier that day.

I was simultaneously shocked and overwhelmingly happy.

You did it so… simple. That’s how you always were with the big moments in our relationship, leaving the grandiose gestures of love to me. We had woken up that morning, both in a rush to get to class. I had more time than you, so I rummaged through your closet and smirked, while grabbing your baby pink towel. It was funny; I knew how much it’d annoy you to see me use your favorite towel. I set the water temperature to my liking, and jumped into your shower. Your vanilla scented shampoo clinged to the dampness of my hair, my fingers moving furiously against my scalp. I was going to be late, so I took my time. Why was I always late?

I heard you enter the restroom, the sound of toothbrush bristles against teeth.

Before I’d forget, I peaked my head behind the shower curtain to look at her, “Hey babe, leave your keys for me so I can lock up before I go to class and I’ll leave them at you parent’s house so you can pick them up after you finish work.”

Her mom lived a block down the street, it was a routine we did often, and afforded me the comfort of many a mornings’ homemade breakfast.

She gargled some water in her throat before answering me, steadily keeping her eyes on her reflection in the mirror hoisted above the sink, “I’m in a hurry my love, I left your keys on my bed…” In the small silence following, she sneaked a playful glance at me and more words fumbled rapidly from her mouth, “My mom still expects you for breakfast. See you tonight.” Before I could register her words, she closed the bathroom door.

I finished my shower, wrapping the towel around my body, and reopening the momentarily closed door, “Babe?” There was no answer, she had left already.

The tips of my fingers ran through the front of my hair, pushing my bangs away from my face. I walked into her room and scanned the sheets on her bed. Right on the edge sat a purle butterfly keychain, attached were four keys; the two to her apartment, and the two to mine. “Ahhh” I breathed, realization finally setting in — my own set. I sat beside the keys and looked at them without touching. I stared at them for a long while, before the sound of my phone pulled me out of my confused trance.

This specific notification alert meant a text message. I pressed the home button on my iphone to open it.

You feel like home.

It buzzed again.

I love you so much, can’t wait to wake up to your eyes all the time now.

Infectiously, the entirety of my body felt so light and clean. I smiled like a fool at my phone and responded carefully, craftily:

You assume this means I’m staying. I just thought it meant I didn’t have to borrow your keys anymore.

 

I imagined what she’d look like upon reading this. She’d have rolled her eyes, a smirk pulling at the corners of her lips. Her response came quickly, effectively:

It means I finally decided to stop seeing all my other boyfriends.

 

“Bitch,” I said out loud automatically… with the utmost affection, of course.

Thank god, I’m a girl then. I guess I made the cut, yeah?

 

I held my phone in my hand, waiting her text. I grinned stupidly at the screen, all initial hesitation and confusion disappearing from my mind. I looked around the room, letting it sink in. She had decorated one wall with my graffiti photography, I beamed proudly. The other wall the bed fell against, was filled with pictures of friends, family, and us in white frames, capture moments of happiness… another buzz.

My favourite girl. 🙂

 

So… is that a yes then?

 

My fingers punched the keyboard, then the send button.

Yes.

 

—————————–

Your hand was on the knob, ready to push our door open, but I stopped you. I felt you turn around to face me, and immediately both of my hands found your face in the dark and I pulled you into my kiss. I felt your hands on my waist, the intimacy between our lips becoming increasingly fervent. You pulled me against you forcefully, which caused you to take a few clumsy steps backwards, enclosing the space between your back and the door; every part of our bodies collided, touching.

At the sound of another door opening, I jumped back away from you instinctively.

Your aunt lived right beside you, and the outline of her furious figure in her doorway was enough to make us both kneel over in laugher, “What are you two doing making so much noise out here at this time of night, go inside and sleep!”

You calmed her down in your native tongue, your words slurring from the alcohol, while I grabbed my keys and opened the door for us. Once inside, you wrapped your arms around my neck, my hands finding the small of your back and pressing you to me.

We stumbled stupidly in love across the livingroom and into our bedroom.

You took your make-up and heels off and got ready for sleep, while I changed the sheets to the bed. Once done, I sat on top the fresh linen in pajamas, and watched you perform your nightly routine. Finally you switched the lights off and lay beside me. We nestled under the covers together, you face pressed up delicately against my neck, your body in my arms. You had this way of making me feel safe.

I was wide-awake; tracing patterns against your bare back, the effect of liquor finally wearing off. But I could hear your breath, slowing and becoming deeper. You’d be asleep soon, and then I’d be able to fall asleep after.

Suddenly and without warning, you made a small movement, pulling the sheets over our head and trapping us beneath. I laughed, and playfully tried pulling them back, “What are you doing?”

You shushed me like a child and told me to stay still. I obliged curiously; you sucked in great amounts of air, the warmth of your slow exhaling breath against my neck made me hot, but I didn’t shift away for comfort. On the contrary, I wanted to stay like this for a long time, in our bed, in our apartment… in our home.

Before you finally succumbed to slumber, with great effort, you whispered in your sleepy voice against my skin, “I love the smell of clean sheets. It reminds me of you.”