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I wake up and stare at the ceiling for a good ten minutes, water my

plants like I normally do and air my sheets. I’m still learning to do

various mundane adulthood activities like getting the mail and not

being disappointed upon hearing phrases such as ‘I’d rather just be

friends’. There’s a cafe I go to almost every day because their music

isn’t amplified. I sit indoors and get a cup of coffee with as much

cream and sugar as I normally do and a sandwich. A familiar tune is

playing. Ah yes,


by The Beatles. I was in the company

of people I didn’t know, staring at the empty parts of their face

pretending I knew what I wanted to see. A small bug crawled beside

the windowsill, its speed suggesting it was more than the average

amount of sad. A man orders a hard-boiled egg from a coffee shop.

He only eats the egg white and leaves the untouched yolk as a perfect

round ball in the porcelain plate that kind of resembles the sun.

In the afternoon I work part time at a record shop. The shelves

were filled with vinyl records covered in thin layers of dust, certain

ones more than others. One day, a girl entered the shop and said

she’s a new worker. Her job was to listen to The Beatle’s Rubber

Soul album to make sure the quality was up to scratch. She had a

flattering side profile and wore a straw hat. Her clothes looked at

least three times too big for her body, as was her soul. We went to a

cafe after our shift, because since we were the only workers there we

might as well get to know each other.

I asked her why she always wore the same straw hat. She gently

brushed off a fly to reveal text written in small print on the side


18 Till I Die

. It was a song by Bryan Adams. I laughed because

it was obviously a joke, being 18 till you die means you die when

you’re 18. I’ve always wondered why people talked about death so

carelessly. The conversation drifted on, each weary line chained to a

cigarette. Her name was Dawn and her birthday was in April. We

talked about similar things but my idea of lilac was a bit darker than

hers. I started to feel my chest tied down by a weight, or something

more sinister and the unfamiliar black in her eyes became my

favourite colour. It takes time to understand things, the same as it

took me time to understand why sometimes I see people looking at

the ground and smiling a lot. My love was subtle but deep, like water

you first mistaken as shallow, but it wasn’t the type of love Shakespeare

wrote about, with flowery language and iambic pentameter.

Autumn came and I went to the cafe for lunch. Many girls went


Crystal Hua