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Rhajah: A collection of memories

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I ran because I wanted to be mad.

I felt my feet turn to cold stone

But I did not stop moving.


Then there was a sunset.

Furious, like I wanted to be.

So I stopped. Because the sky always speaks

better than we can.


It wasn’t the sublimity of the red glow

that made me stop.

But the distance between me and it.

The thin, plastic film separating

My icy toes from the furnace.


And I kept walking, cool as ever.

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“Well, what do you do?”


She was becoming exasperated. He hadn’t meant to make her exasperated. But her questions were so hard. He had given up trying to splutter out honest answers, resorting to smiling and moving his mouth while checking items off of his mental list of deflective one-liners. He was quickly running out of material.


“Oh, you know. This and that.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“I dabble.” That was the last line on his menu. There could be no more pleasantries after this point. He had not thought the list could be stretched this far.


The main goal of small talk is not the dissemination of worthwhile information. Instead, it is a test of civility and social grace. No matter how droll or deplorable, the first thing we focus on is keeping the conversation pleasant.


The first part of the word came out as a shriek. She had recovered her composure by the final syllable, but the damage had been done. Her frustration lay on the ground between the two, ugly and unwanted. She had been beaten at her own game.

Having realized that the jig was up, she entered into a final offensive, “Nobody ever says ‘dabble’ unless they’re trying to convince me they play more instruments than they actually do."

She kept going, relishing the feeling of speaking her mind. She obviously wasn't used to using long, unrehearsed sentences, and continually hesitated while finding the right words, "And..it doesn't matter how many instruments you play! I wouldn't bang you even if you were a drummer! And I love drummers!"

She froze. Stunned herself. Then she reanimated, and her eyes fell. He felt the vice-like pressure of her gaze fade away. And so he melted, ushering his eyes back to the screen, forgetting that he needed to expand the list he had just exhausted.

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He swirled the ice cubes around his glass, staring straight into them. The drink didn’t get enough time to wear them down before he tossed the liquor back. The alcohol stung his throat.


He wished that the ice had melted. It would have meant that the drink would be in a weakened form when it attacked his bloodstream. It would also have meant that he hadn’t felt the need to drink it that fast. Maybe, he thought, if he focused hard enough, the ice would melt. Like a telekinetic oven.


A friend noticed the staring match, and watched for several moments before deciding to intervene.


“Another drink! Get this man another drink!”


Another drink was poured. It was red, viscous. From a drunk poet’s perspective, it would easily be compared to blood.


His friend slapped him on the back, leaned around so they were forced to look at one another. His voice was obnoxious, made worse by the smell of whatever obnoxious drink he had just finished.


“Knock that back, will ya? We’re over in the lounge. You should come by.”


“Yeah.. yeah, I’ll be over in a second.”


As his friend sidled back through the door, he returned his gaze to the glass. He was determined to let the ice melt this time.

But then his hand was clutching the glass, pouring it into his mouth. The angle was much too sharp, and soon it was all gone. The voices in the bar began to crowd his headspace, blurring until they all ran together, like a stream of another drink he didn’t want.

The voices faded away. It was almost like floating. His head hit the table, jarring his glass. The rattling of the ice cubes brought him back.

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