Thoughts In A Place This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   I never feel completely comfortable here. I'm not sure if it's because of thedifferent types of people with their dyed hair, or the strange yetthought-provoking paintings on the walls, though not being relaxed when you'reout can be a good feeling. It forces a determination and confidence to think toyourself, Hey, I shouldn't let anyone or anything get in my way of being myself.I look at my two best friends and begin to ponder why the three of us get alongso well, since we're so different, but completely the same.

I look down atthe table where I'm sitting and notice the peeling material on the tabletop.Everything that is worn away has a story behind it. How did it get this way? Whohas sat here, in this exact spot, and stared at these same pictures? My otherfriend, John, taps me on the shoulder and at the same time takes me out of mythoughtful state. He offers me his beat-up Walkman with his worn-out Cypress Hilltape. I take it, then my paranoia comes back and I remember that listening to aWalkman is like being behind a door. You can't hear what's going on or who'stalking - maybe about you. I hand the instrument for your ears back to him,claiming that I (instantaneously) developed a migrane. I jot down a mental noteto read my Yoga book later for more relaxation tips. A tall, blond soccer playerparades in with his girlfriend and the heavy door stays open for what seems along moment, allowing frigid air to enter and mix with the smell of double lattesand mochas. "I hate being cold," I softly complain to anyone whohappens to be sitting around me, as the cold air hits my bare arms and I shiver.I think back to how my parents always told me to wear layers and I rarelylistened. That's something I'm beginning to notice: parents are almost alwaysright, especially moms. The poem on being a parent which my best friend Liz wrotepops into my head. There's something truly amazing about Liz that I can't reallyexplain except that whenever I'm with her I ... think. And feel. I'm glad she'smy best friend.

The pretty J. Crew-looking girl who's working warns usthat if we want to stay, we need to reorder. None of us have any more money, sowe awkwardly stand up, tripping over the mess of gloves, hats, and decorativebackpacks laying on the floor beneath us. I'm the last one out and I carefullyhold the door, vividly remembering the time I dropped it on my delicate fingers.I couldn't feel them for half an hour, yet it seemed like a couple days. I stareback in at the interesting people with their rainbow-colored hair and the uniquepaintings on the wall that now appear almost beautiful. I think about what Angelasaid on my favorite TV show "My So-Called Life," "It seems likewe're all in a prison and the crime is how much we hate ourselves. But if youlook closely, people are so strange and so complicated that they're actuallybeautiful, possibly even me." I let go of the door and walk out of thissmall coffeehouse. I have to walk quickly to catch up with my friends and I thinkto myself that the next time I'm inside that pretty little place with itsbeautiful people and paintings, I'll feel comfortable being there. Maybecomfortable inside myself.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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