Elizabeth, Colorado, USA
Small towns are romanticized for good reason. There’s something charming about existing in such a small space. Where everyone knows your name and your true self is reserved for just a few people and some dirt roads.
Elizabeth is a small farm town in Colorado and homes only about 1,000 people. Less than my high school graduating class.
There are barely any streetlights, plenty of cows and pigs, and rolling green hills for miles. I visited Elizabeth for the first time last year to explore the famous “The Patch at Elizabeth” to get a pumpkin with my friends, and I swear you can tell the difference between the local Elizabethans and the rest of us. Levi jeans in small towns just aren’t the same as my Levi’s. Small town Levi’s sit different on the legs. They know more stories, they hold more truth.
The air in Elizabeth is crisp. It doesn’t have a cold bite to it, but it does have a smooth edge. It reminds you what air is meant to taste like.
His name was Jack Johnson and he was a summer shade.
More like a summer breeze,
Cool like that.
He was a nice cool down in the summer
But not necessarily a nice guy.
Not a nice guy at all. I mean,
He wasn’t mean or angry or would punch you for looking at him twice
Or nothing like that but he might just
Tell you to stop laughing so loud
Or ask why you dress the way you do.
And I was in love with him, of course
Because I always fall in love with shadow men
Who keep parts of themselves hidden from me until the sun
Hits them just right
Because I’m really
Like that. And he, Jack Johnson, was perfect for me.
He held my hand, not because he wanted to,
But because I wanted to
And he bought me dessert at American restaurants and
Always let me have the last bite.
And when we cuddled, his body curved around mine like a question mark
Though I was certainly no answer.
Jack Johnson had a mustache and a beard and legs like
Redwoods and eyes like lychee.
Clouded and bright and wet.
“If you were a food you’d be some fancy French dessert that I couldn’t pronounce”
He told me once.
And you’d be milk, I thought.
And how I love cream.
When we spoke on the phone he sighed a lot.
Breathing out everything he couldn’t say and inhaling everything I could.
I confided in Jack Johnson
And drank him up in any form that I could consume.
When the barista asked for his name he’d say
“Jake, Jack, Joe, whatever’s easiest for you to write.”
I like to think it was his way of saying he was barely a man at all.
Only half man
And half the dark side of a concrete building.
When we were close,
He could only ever look into my eyes.
The warmth between our bodies wasn’t a fire, it was a gas oven
Left on long after we’d left the house.
“Say my name,” he’d whisper.
Tell it to me, I’d think.
He slept without blankets, he hated movies, and he took prescription drugs.
Jack Johnson made fun of me when I bought knick knacks.
He would always ask me what I
Would do with them.
He didn’t get the point of things that weren’t useful.
I joked that I wished he loved cute little things the way that I do and he responded
“Well I love you.”
And I smiled and cried
And sipped on his half truth like hot tea with extra cream.
The closest we’ll ever get to pure, honest joy and raw experience is travel. The planet Earth is so big in comparison to our tiny, little insignificant bodies and once you leave home you start to realize the vast inspiration that the world can give us.
The downside to all of this is cost, of course, but that’s why we have Nat Geo and books, and the internet, to travel to another place through our screens or our pages for a short time. Just a taste of the real world, the one outside of our hometowns, can be enough to satiate that exploration desire.
I want to always be traveling, which isn’t to say that I want to be in a plane 24/7 or go through TSA three times a week or constantly do my laundry in a 2 star hotel in a country whose language I only know 3 words of. It is to say that I want to always be learning. Always making mistakes and correcting them. Always eating foods I can’t pronounce and petting animals I don’t know the species of.
I believe this desire comes from our most natural instincts. Humans need to see the world to be in it.
My Favorite Thing I’ve Ever Done
I met you when I was just learning how to breathe again and then you took that breath into your palms, shoved it in your pocket, and waited for the perfect moment to give it back to me. I have never been a big fan of breathing on my own. I felt lucky that you’d found so much value in my breath that you’d take it like you did. Like a gentle thief. A gracious burglar. You didn’t steal it and leave me gasping, you offered me your exhale instead and I seized it. And those moments when your breath couldn’t come fast enough, when I needed an inhale and you were nowhere to be found, when you were busy breathing life into other things, I scratched at my throat and made a makeshift hole. What’s it like to feel like the sun? What’s it like to feel untouchable? What’s it like to feel brave at last? It’s like feeling superior. You made me feel superior and without air. And I’m telling you that those breathless moments, those painful aches, those times that seeing you made my stomach hop into my throat were all worth it. And loving you is my favorite thing I’ve ever done
A single cherry tree
A hummingbird colored chartreuse and gold
Flying so close to my head I think it will land on me
Bright green beneath me sprouting between my toes
The hem of my dress swinging around my knees
Grass stains covering the silk fabric
I know they’ll never come out.
Honey lemon iced tea made by
My boyfriend coat the back of my throat
The smell of his old cologne sticking to me in places
I cannot reach with my eyes and the ghost of his touch is present.
French Baguette Waltz on 2
There’s no feeling like you et me
Perhaps la douceur of me in your paume
Twirling like a dancer, free
A piece of your music box charm
You spread me on your french baguette
I’m melted and sweet and predictable
I make you taste better; ma saveur est prête
Together, nous sommes formidable
Loneliness is very sour
You and I have known it well
Why don’t we, at the top of this hour
Drink all our shoelaces and eggshells?
I would like to know your soul
Je n’aimerais pas être seul.
I landed on the door handle swiftly and I heard the weak lock detach from the frame. As I glided back down to the hardwood I pressed my nose to the small crack in the door and pushed it open, taking care not to make a sound. I could smell glory two rooms over.
I had to sneak through the dining room, a space filled with humans that I needed to make sure wouldn’t spot me. Servant Emma would put me back in that putrid room if she found out I escaped. I crept behind a low table and glanced over at Servant Emma sitting on my couch. She was a lovely servant, bright eyes, gave perfect head scratches, and always added a spoonful of tuna to my dish on Fridays. She was chatting with Putrid Bernard. He refused to scratch under my chin no matter how often I rubbed against him, and the one time he did try to touch me, he reached for my belly! I clawed him of course, but the memory still haunts me. He would make for a terrible second servant, I thought.
I continued my stealth mission. The smell of glory grew richer, coating my nostrils and fueling my morale. One of Servant Emma’s humans let out a putrid laugh and threw her body backwards, almost stepping on me as I neared the kitchen. I kept quiet, shrunk behind the table, and waited for her to move. Then I was home free. I made it inside and the delectable scent of glory filled me. I needed it. First I sat on the checkered tiles and exhaled, reminding myself that I was a fierce warrior and protector of apartment H37 as well as Servant Emma. I could do anything. I shifted my weight on my front paws before making a perfect leap to the countertop.
There it was. Glory. A full plate of cooked salmon smothered in a rich, dark fish sauce, lightly peppered. Servant Emma had let me try a bite once before when she had humans over and ever since I had been craving another mouthful. I neared the steaming fish and got one lick before I heard her.
“Wallace!” She called out to me. Servant Emma quickly stormed into the kitchen. I mewed at her to leave me to my feast, but she scooped me into her arms faster than I could dig my claws into the salmon. She brought me back to the isolation room despite my loud protests and placed my food dish of plain Kitty Kravings in front of me before leaving and locking the door. I leaned forward and sniffed the kibble. Putrid.
Kihei, Maui, Hawai’i, USA
Hawai’i is everything that you think it is. Lush vegetation, black volcanic landscape, incredibly kind locals, and colors so vibrant you question if they’re real.
I had the humbling privilege of going to Maui as a college graduation gift a few weeks ago, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best trips I’ve ever been on. Choosing to spend most of our time bouncing back and forth between beaches, ice cream shops, and our cozy hotel, my friend, R, and I explored the town of Kihei.
Kihei seemed to have one foot in the past and one in the present. There was a comforting and nostalgic 90s vibe to the town. The font everything was written in was bubbly and bold colors. There were a bunch of shiny, old cars cruisin’ down the street. Everyone was wearing denim and listening to Hawaiian acoustic guitar on the radio. It was a shimmering dream of place.
Did you know that sea turtles just swim right up to you on the beach? One day R and I saw almost 5 or 6 sea turtles swimming near us! We didn’t touch, of course, we’d never wanna disrupt the wildlife, but they were stunning. As green and massive as they look in any David Attenborough documentary. And the crabs were… adorably creepy. And the chickens! There were so many chickens. Like, more chickens than I can even accurately describe to you here.
But what I loved most about Maui had to be the chill and friendly attitudes of the locals. One phrase I kept hearing was “island time”, which is like real time, except you don’t feel impending doom. From what I could see, island time refers to how slow everything is on the island. Driving slow, walking slow, eating slow, slow easy conversations that melt together like ice. After the rush of college life and work, it felt so lovely to be slow! We could all use a little more island time.
Hello everyone! I’m Chèna and welcome to my blog space 🙂 What is this blog for? Well, sometimes when I want to unwind and just write about the little thoughts floating around in my head, I come here to do so. It’s like a landing pad for me so I can let things out, think about things out loud (online), and regain some peace. I hope this can be a peaceful place for you all as readers too.