One night, Mom drops me off at a coffeehouse. I go in and I sit down and I don't order coffee because frankly, I don't like coffee despite this being a coffeehouse.
So I sit there surrounded by strangers, picking at my hair because I'm nervous, my social anxiety is kicking in in this friendly environment because I know no one, and it seems like no person around me knows me and I don't even know what I'm doing here, and if I were to bite my nails instead of plucking hairs, people would give me looks and I am not in the mood to get the side eye that you'd give a person wearing clothes that seem a little too tight for their slightly overweight body.
So frankly, I'm about as socially anxious as a middle schooler on the first day of school after they are forced by their parents to transfer to a completely different state where there's completely different schools and completely different people. I'm sitting in this coffeehouse quietly watching others perform beautiful works of spoken word art, and then you look at me, and I'm sitting there sitting there swallowing my saliva like I just took a sip from a mug because the smell of coffee has seeped through my nostrils and down my throat, so I can practically taste it, I'm swallowing my pretend coffee so I don't have to open my mouth, I'm holding back everything I want to say, any poem I want to share with the crowd, people are coming and going and I'm willing myself to stay quiet. It's like I'm at my own birthday party and someone just blew out my candles while my eyes were closed, I want to speak up, I want to share my voice, but I hold back in hopes that my feelings go unnoticed.
And then I notice another poet go up to the mic and he's saying he knows this girl who is quieter than silence itself, who has friends and acts like she's all that around them, but still doesn't share her voice, which has enough sparkle in it to make Beyonce a new dress while this girl's in the studio next to the queen B herself, laying down a new track, this girl is THAT good, and this girl is also a girl who writes, and she writes some amazing poetry and the boy who tells us all about this girl sounds like he's so in love with her but she's so quiet, timid, insecure, anxious and depressed and she has dreams that she's too scared to reach and while he's spitting his rhymes, I feel like this poem is about me.
It's a cliche i wish you could see yourself through my eyes poem, but I fall for it anyways. I fall for the rhymes and rhythm, and as he leaves the stage I fall for him.
I'm in love with a poet who read a poem about a girl who probably isn't me, kinda like looking under the Christmas tree and the giant gift in the middle is for your sister, not you, you hoped so much for something that turned out the way you didn't want it to happen and you're upset, so disappointed, and that's how I feel as I watch him leave the stage, being congratulated on such a beautiful piece of art and I want to compliment him as well, tell him I love him- the poem, I love the poem he just performed. But again I'm holding back and just thinking back to his words and somehow someway I find courage in my memorization of his piece so I stand up...
Aaaand sit back down as another poet takes the stage. But I'm still ready to get up and take the stage by a massive thunderstorm, perhaps a tornado warning should be issued before I get up on stage... *awkward laugh*
As I await my turn, I'm still stealing glances in this guys direction, fascinated by his complexion and then he turns his face towards me and we make eye contact. He smiles... I turn redder than the firetruck that just drove past the coffeehouse, redder than the lights above the poet who is now leaving the stage, making it my turn to impress the crowd. I was not sure if I was ready to go through with this so called plan of mine because I'm still in a frenzied state of mind, but nope, they've called my name and it's time to go. I get up there, sweat dripping like rain on my face, a panic attack slowly creeping its way up in my body as the smell of coffee looms around me intoxicatingly, but as my eyes scan the crowd I see him again. And my poetry just flows and flows and I'm rhyming, spitting, metaphoring, imagerying, storying, and finding my own inner peace as I perform my piece in front of this crowd who has accepted me, snaps and claps echoing through the scenery as I exit stage left, and take my seat. People come up to me left and right, and I look to my right and he's in the chair next to me.
He tells me I did amazing, and I say the same back to him, but he just says did you know my poems title is I'm in love with a poet? He's giving me the 411 like he's a snapple bottle cap, but I'm intrigued anyways. I don't mind because he's sitting next to me, talking to me, and besides, I'm feeling drunk off the stench of the black coffee that he's drinking and I'm still basking in the bliss of being able to be myself on a stage, in a crowd where I am unknown, with a guy I've fallen in love at first poem with sitting next to me, so I really don't mind his 411, I don't mind it to the point where I don't feel the need to call 911 to save me from the cage of social anxiety I've always trapped myself in. The cage door is open right now anyways, so what does it matter?
He catches my not-really drunken attention by asking me about my poem, and then again he tells me how amazing it was, going on and on for many minutes about what a work of art I had created and shared, and I can feel myself falling harder because he's sweet in this bitter coffeehouse. I tell him about my poem this time, and he tells me it was one of the most beautiful spoken words he'd ever heard, but of course he expected that from the girl he wrote his poem about.