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That bite of orange tasted like donut and she glanced down. Nothing really makes sense this year. Her luggage is off on an all-expense paid, unplanned and unwanted vacation, somewhere out in the big old world. Your breakfast is getting cold. She doesn’t understand the ratio of coffee grounds to water in a french press but she keeps trying anyway. Maybe one day she will have whatever it is she is still looking for. I should buy potatoes. Someone ate all of my cheese while I was gone. What a year it is already. We are killing all of the butterflies and everything else that doesn’t give them money. He is still no good, a quiet broken yellow man. We keep making new things and ruining our ancient planet. I’m not as sad as I thought I would be to lose objects from the past. It isn’t the things that matter but the memories of them, and you and I continuing on afterwards. My computer remembers all of my passwords for me. The mail system in the country of Germany sent back 4 of my Christmas cards because I didn’t put enough stamps on. Sorry, you’re not getting a card this year. Last year. It’s over now. She adds butter to her shopping list. That’s all we do is wash the same dishes over and over and over. They liked my poem that took me 10 minutes to write. Even my teacher had nothing bad to say. I smiled at them and grinned at them and said, “thank you.” If I lose everything I think I will still be myself. I’m not that attached to anything but anyone and everyone. You need to make a list of what you want to do still with your life. To-do. The fish walked out of the sea. I walked out of the airport. The moon had a target on it and now nothing and everything does. Beautiful baby. Dead flower. Frozen, half-eaten, garden leek. A rabbit snack. The status of our childhood tree. Can I please have my luggage?

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hi, want to be friends? i don’t have many here. we could get in n out together, if you’re down, even though it’s really not that good. yes, i said it. i should tell you, though, i’m not very good at being with you yet. especially driving. all these u-turns are confusing and sometimes i get distracted by the palm trees. also, i use too much of your water. i’m sorry! i’m from michigan, that one state literally surrounded by water, so forgive me, ok? you just keep having nice weather and i’ll keep trying to be a good resident. now, let’s go to the beach.

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I throw the books into the box to be donated and startle the bird outside the window. It has a piece of straw in it’s beak, looking at me. This is some kind of metaphor, I think, as I pack up my home and it’s building one. But I don’t have time to think of a metaphor, I don’t have time to think of much of anything.

She is gone again tonight. Everyone is gone. They ask me why I would move so far away, when I don’t know anyone, but I don’t know anyone here. Where are my people?

I’m going to the beach, he says, but he won’t go in the water. I understand this, somehow, a girl who grew up surrounded by water who can’t swim. I write about it, I sing about it. No one will read or hear the words.

Why are you going? Why? They can’t understand. I think of the mountains, I stare at the tree outside my window. It doesn’t really matter. One place is as good as another. Why stay anywhere? My tree is growing, moving, it doesn’t stay put either.

Nothing has changed, maybe something will change.

“My favorite book is Winnie The Pooh. I like the part where Pooh goes up in the balloon.” A picture of six year old me. Scraps of life stuffed in books tucked on shelves, throw it all into bags for someone else to keep in their house.

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1. Scrotal Recall is a pretty great British show, but, really, that title, why? 

2. Why are you smoking? It’s 2015! Put that shit down. Step away from the vapor. Be cool. Live longer. Get rid of that lung hacking. Take control of your own life! Stop smoking 3 packs a day/a cig a day/weird white shit/whatever else it is you’re doing. Or not. I’m just trying to help! Sorry!

3. Stop telling me about all your hilarious “snaps”! I don’t need this technology! UGH. It’s not my fault all my electronics are ancient! Great. Now I’ll never know what you’re all up to.

4. Don’t go back(wards).

5. Update! I tried Snapchat again! And I accidentally opened all of my “snaps” at once and therefore did not see a single one of them! Ooops. Forget it! I’m terrible at this. Never mind! Continue having fun without me.

6. Don’t be afraid of your own words.

7. Sooo, Horns is the strangest/weirdest/best/worst/most intense/most terrifying/creepiest movie I’ve seen ever in my entire life! I don’t know if that’s a recommendation to see it, but, I also don’t feel like those two long hours were entirely wasted! You decide. Also contains Daniel Radcliffe w/American accent, if that’s not interesting enough.

8. All my babies are graduating! And by that I mean young friends, not actual babies. I’m not that old! Oh god! Am I?

9. America. How have you not stopped in your tracks and thought to yourself, “Holy shit, why don’t we let people who love each other get married?” I have! Lots of people have! What are you doing? Aren’t we supposed to be a great country? How simple is this problem to solve? Pretty simple. Ireland did it! Ireland! 

10. Love people much more than you hate anything.

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He’s got his life planned out. He’s got a plan. At least a little one. Me I just like looking at vague blurry pictures on Tumblr. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m not mad about that, it’s just a fact. A terrifying one. He speaks well and is still going to school and I’ve been out for a year and a half now and I don’t talk nearly as smart as he does. I need to work on my vocabulary, I tell myself. I need better words.

I tell my young friend that it seems to always be like this. We talk about graduating from high school. She’s younger than my little brother by a year and a half but I like him and I still like her. I tell her all my wisdom, all that I’ve stored up and learned. Life’s like this, I say. You don’t know what you’re doing. You never do. That’s how it is. Wise stuff like that.

I look at this picture of birds flying all scattered about. It’s like that, I think. That’s exactly what it’s like.

I read terrible poems by young Bukowski and shake my head at them. I look at pictures of my grandma’s grandma and shake my head at them. No one knew what they were doing. Maybe they figured it out eventually, maybe they didn’t. Maybe there’s nothing to figure out. We’re a pack of birds or a flock of them, and here we are, all together and winging and scrambling anywhere and everywhere. Making plans and worrying and crying and reading bad poetry and trying to learn something before we take off for the real world or winter vacation or before our parents die and leave us alone here, inheritors of this.

“I don’t care if you’re happy,” he says, wringing his hands in the air. “You shouldn’t be.”

He’s standing in the middle of the busy sidewalk preaching to his date and anyone else who’s listening. I’ve known he exists for less than three minutes and already I’m mesmerized by this weird boy with weird hair who’s wearing a purple polka dot shirt and leather pants.

Fucking art kids, I think, and he continues.

“You’re sitting there on your couch, fat and happy, watching television. You’re with another human who you tolerate enough to spend the rest of your life with. You both have well-paying middle-class jobs that pay your rent bill and your cable. You’re a great, contributing member of society. A well-oiled cog in the machine. You have your purpose. You have your paycheck. You have most of your life mapped out.”

He stops talking and later I find myself in a large room filled completely with fog. There are bright lights in the corners of the room, and everything is white and thick and the room doesn’t feel like a room, and I don’t feel like a person — only a floating, dizzy set of eyes in a world of white and black and flashes of color. And there is no purpose in that room, no ultimate goal; no deep thoughts, and no shallow ones. There is the smell of the fake fog, and the sensation of floating, and two dozen people watching the lights strobe on and off and on. It is simple and beautiful and more compelling than anything I’ve ever seen on T.V. It is strange and wonderful and someone dreamt it up and made it real.

The art kid appears beside me in the white fog in my mind, later. He’s several years older and still stacking things on top of each other, hanging weird things from ceilings, banging things onto and into walls, building robots and talking machines that fly when you whistle “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” in their direction. He struggles to find jobs for himself and doesn’t own a couch or a cat but he’s happy in his own way. People look at him and wonder how he’s done it, wish they could too, whatever it is. They snap pictures with their new iphones and wander back out of the fog to make babies and nest eggs.

“I want you to be happy,” he says, waving the fog out of his face. “You should be.”

It’s different now, a year later, at least for him. He’s taken up watercolor painting and poetry, mixed them together like two paint colors and formed some type of art that’s popular with all people. He’s selling his work online and making enough money to buy extra pairs of weird shoes. He’s thinking about going back to school but he doesn’t know what for yet, doesn’t feel the time has come yet, not yet, not yet. He’s still wearing that same old polka dot shirt, hasn’t found another like it or better. He doesn’t consider himself to be like those people he talked about. He thinks he’s different, he tries to be, although he’s still fighting the pull of “normality” everyday like gravity. It’s hard. But the more he builds and paints and rhymes, the more times he shaves his own hair, the more people who call him “interesting”, the further away from that life he gets. The more foggy it all is. He can’t see those other people anymore, they don’t really exist to him. He lives in another place, another world. No more sidewalk preaching, only painting in cement with colored chalk to make people smile. He wants them to be happy, he says. You should be.

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1. I hope you are happy.

2. People are still living their lives even when you can’t see them.

3. You are beautiful, you know that. Tell me why you need to keep posting poorly-lit pictures of yourself to prove it.

4. Our planet is both the largest and smallest thing that exists; the largest hunk of rock you’ll ever live on, a tiny speck in the universe. You can be thousands of miles (kilometers?) away from someone, and yet they’re just at your fingertips, on your computer screen, in your pocket. Big and small, near and far, finite and infinite.

5. Yes, Frozen is amazing. But think of all the other great Disney songs young kids are missing out on! Someone dig out the Lion King/Aladdin/Little Mermaid VHS!!

6. If you appear to other people to be what you dream of yet becoming, what are you? Who are we all trying to be, anyway? Are we even trying to be anything?

7. For the love of all that exists, please can we stop saying “literally“?!! Even if you actually truly really mean literally. Just don’t. Get a thesaurus. Stop. Stop. Stop.

8. Someone save me from my apparently über-Canadian fate. Irish? Italians? French? Is anyone out there?! It’s me, Margaret. Wait, what?

9. It makes me sad that when someone asks a child, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, the only socially acceptable examples are, “A doctor? A lawyer? Scientist?” No one says artist, philosopher, barkeeper — whatever. It’s 2014 and we still can’t speak the truth.

10. You’re not alone. Even when it feels like it. Even when you physically are. You’re just not.