I'm tired. I love being a woman, but I'm tired.

woman.jpg

Years ago, in the manager's office of the Regency Valley Plaza 6 movie theater, my co-worker, David, and I were discussing/debating politics and such, I believe we were discussing the race between Obama and Hillary for the democratic nomination. David and I were in a unique position to discuss this as he, a black man, believed Hillary would absolutely get it because she was white and I, a white woman, staunchly believed she didn't have a chance in hell because she was a woman, regardless of her race. That day it boiled down to us saying to each other -- David, "I will never know what it is to be a white woman." Myself, "I will never know what it is to be a black man."

I am a sympathetic person, sometimes to a fault. I will be the first to drive my tiny car into the mud to help pull your car out; I'm the one people come to looking for favors, most especially when it comes to my car or tools... I don't like to say no, I don't like to be the bad guy, but there comes a point when I have to put myself first. 

Every day, I pull myself out of bed to face another day. Another day I am catcalled, offered "oral pleasure" and assured the offerer is the best I'll ever have; I am babied by some men, teased by others, and bullied by other women. Every day, I come home to male roommates who have no clue how to communicate or respect me as a woman. As the sole woman of the house and not as a girlfriend who has been perpetually crashing at her boyfriend's house for two months. My room is entered, things have been taken, food eaten. I am spoken to in a condescending manner, but most often, I am ignored. 

My choice is to either be ignored or objectified. I choose neither, I stand up for myself and I am called a "bitch". I am called "crazy". I am called "irresponsible". 

I am tired. I have it better than my women-sisters before me, but we still have so much work to do. I still make less than my male co-workers for the same job. I am still required to walk down the street with mace because we are still taught "don't get raped" instead of "don't rape". 

I dream of a place I can come home to where I am comfortable sitting on the porch with my housemates, where I don't have to be a party of the relationship in the next room, where I have the option of locking my bedroom door and not be questioned. This place might exist in the same world where I can ride my bike happily without my ass being "complimented" like it's some new thing I didn't know was fine. 

In conclusion, fuck the patriarchy. 

Misfit Blood

Family by blood. Family by marriage. 
That is your family. 
Friends are friends, 
friends are not family. 
Friends are temporary, family is forever." 
A childhood of lessons and mantras
I never agreed to. 
A childhood of dark thoughts
feelings of the mis-cut puzzle piece
that ever fits with the puzzle.

A stint at a punk house
in adolescence. 
Short lived because
like us
it wasn't understood
and left to fend for itself.

I left my blood family, 
they say it was choice. 
The black sheep left the herd.

A decade, I've been gone. 
A decade of hometown visits
with few visitors on my end. 
Phone calls dwindled to
"Why don't you ever call?"
Visits turn into
"Everyone's just moved on with their lives."

Feelings of chopped liver
come to mind.

Tenth Christmas visit. 
Tensions between aunts and mother
flex like a rubber band. 
You could choke harder on the passive aggression
than the overlooked turkey bone.

Family by blood, 
"We're your family.
Your friends seem nice, 
but your friends are friends."

Ohana means family. 
Family means no one gets left behind.

My stomach tightens, 
food doesn't take good. 
I hear the phone ringing, 
Grandmas in the hospital, 
mother and aunts are fighting, 
cousins are leaving, 
brother is sick, 
niece is sick,
nephew has a game. 
So whats this phone call about?

Family, by choice, 
is what family by blood
calls my family of friends.

Choice? 
I had no choice in my friends. 
My friends are my family, 
we didn't choose each other,
I want to explain, 
we are the broken, 
misshapen
puzzle pieces;
the chopped liver
our blood families don't
understand
want
remember.

No one gets left behind
in my family.

A Love Letter to the Musical Sounds of Circus of Books (and a Music Video)

Circus of Books, the band, not the strange market/video/bookstore on Silverlake (R.I.P.), is a collection of riff raff musicians performing songs, reminiscent of 90’s alternative (think The Breeders, Weezer, and Beck), covering the subjects of misfit love, self deprecation, a mountain created by a man named Leonard, and often overlooked things like a diplomatic boner; zombies; a sympathetic ballad to an elevator… If you go googling for any of these songs, you’re going to find links to books about circuses, bookstores, and a fellow by the name of Mateo Katsu.

This is the entrance of the Circus of Books rabbit hole since Circus of Books exists only in live performances and the music is written by Mateo Katsu, the songs are subject to extremely different performances.

If you’ve only seen Mateo play with Circus of Books, you’re probably not familiar with many of the songs on MKID, which is unfortunate and you should right this a.s.a.p. Aside from the music, what makes this album so cool is the CD sleeve has little blurbs about each song instead of handing over a sheet of lyrics or a bare inside. Some songs give a short history of how it was recorded or whom it’s about, like “Long Tall Sally” is about Mateo’s infatuation for the astronaut, Sally Ride. “Long Tall Sally” was recently added to their set with a lead guitar riff that Gibbons slays like it’s Johnny B. Goode. Among the songs you may have never heard, but really should is “Index Finger Rite” (Mateo, if you’re reading this, if you guys start playing this, I might stop yelling for “Ears”). It’s a quirky number about loving a person enough to let them know when your mind is gone so they can leave you in a home where you’ll spend the rest of your days playing bingo and going to the wheelchair disco. Nine tracks in is one of the best never performed songs, “Nag Hammadi 1276”. A fun, dance-y song with lyrics providing story images that would go perfect with a crayon drawn cartoon, according the liner notes, is about the oldest city in Egypt – Nag Hammadi.

Those of you who have seen Circus of Books a gazillion times, you probably have most of their songs stuck in your heart and would love to listen to them again. If this is the case, then you’re looking for Fourteen Weeks. Most of this album covers Circus of Books sets, with hits like “Diplomatic Boner” and, a personal favorite, “One Day I’ll be Your Ears”, but probably the most relatable among Circus of Books fans is “The Glow”.  It’s a special song, currently making the rounds on blogs, because it’s about a home full of people, not necessarily artists, who don’t live like conventional society says they should. This goes well with another favorite off this album, “Security”. An artist’s anthem – “I may not know where to go and it might be scary to me, let me be free, I don’t want your security”. The best thing about this song is you can get a different version everytime Mateo dons his acoustic guitar plastered in stickers. Solo, he’ll slow it down with a long pause for “security… fuck it”, but with Circus of Books, the boys harness the frustration of every artist and weirdo who’s been told their entire lives to settle down to a secure lifestyle and deliver the message “security, fuck it!”.

Circus of Books playing "Security" at The Lexington.

The album with, probably, the oldest songs, White Men Don’t Name Their Babies Jesus, also has the fewest songs played by Circus of Books, with the title track being the most popular (but who doesn’t love dancing to the “da da da la da da” part?). Recently, the boys have been playing “A Special Plan” in their sets, though. It’s a good song, almost contradictory to “Security” as Mateo sings about having future plans so he buys himself a good shirt and shines his shoes. He never tells us the plans, only graces with a rock ballad dedicated to an unappreciated elevator (pst… Mateo, you should squeeze this in a set, too). The song most different from the songs of Mateo Katsu and Circus of Books is “Forty Hours”. Raw in feel with a bit of feedback and throat clearing, this song is played like a low-brow, dark art piece with a guitar leading the way through drum smashes and bits of a self deprecating lyrics beside the chorus, “we’re living in dangerous times”.

Summing up what makes Circus of Books special isn’t just the talent involved, the great audience that gathers, or the free CDs Mateo will push on you. They’re special because they’re human; they’re as accessible as the music they play. Self hatred, broken hearts, quirky superheroes, and misunderstandings are common thoughts no one wants to say out loud in conversation, but when you sing along to Circus of Books, it’s okay.

Post Note:

As a dedicated fan of Circus of Books, I’ve seen them in locations ranging from bars to a warehouse in Skid Row to the desert. I’ve danced with friends as we knock into each other during “Salvation Mountain” and run in a counter-clockwise circle with my arms slung over friends during “Security” while Robert Quijano shared a microphone with my cardboard cut out and Donnie Pepper laughed endlessly at the lot of us as we fell like dominoes; I’ve also sat alone in a dark bar while the boys played the hits, feeling the sounds and words and deciphering my thoughts.

Now, nearly a year after driving out to the desert to be dragged in the dirt and covered in Karo Syrup, I’m honored to present the music video for “Forty Hours”.

Identity Crisis.

Certain subjects in the following may be triggering to some people. If you're having suicidal, depressed, or at a complete loss please talk to someone you trust or call 1-800-273-8255; you can also text “CONNECT” TO 741741. 

The thing about me is on the surface, I am lucky. I have a good relationship with my parents and came out relatively well adjusted. 

So what is it that haunts me? Well, to be perfectly frank, several things, but those are many stories told in many other ways. The thing about me is all through childhood, I was told I was just like my Aunt Cindy. The thing about my Aunt Cindy is she was a paranoid schizophrenic with manic depression... but she was also an artist. 

By the time I came along, she was already living in Buffalo, NY (80 miles north), making art in their community, and chronically in and out of the psychiatric hospital. She attempted suicide several times, though I was never told how.

When her paranoia would flare up, she wouldn't eat for fear someone was poisoning her. She always looked unhealthily thin and seemed a bit off when I would see her on holidays. She didn't talk to me much, I'm not sure she knew how to talk to kids, which I can't blame her for since I was the same way; then, when I was twelve, she had a bad episode and was committed again. This time she was gone for years. 

While in the hospital, she would call my Nana and Papa's house and Nana would race to answer it since Papa would just say "take your meds." and hang up. 

I saw my Aunt Cindy one more time before I left New York. Mentally, she seemed clearer minded, but she had a large bulge protruding from her stomach. A few months later we found out it was a tumor. 

My Aunt Cindy was in Buffalo for treatment when she passed away in 2011. I was sent the newspaper with her obituary as consolation. She was young in the photo they used; laughing, looking away from the camera. I was used to seeing photos of my mother that resembled me, but here was an obituary for the woman I'd been told my whole life I was just like with a photo that eerily looked like my twin.

This was a woman I was never able to talk to or get to know. I knew she was an artist, but to this day I don't know what she did; I've never seen her work. I don't know what medium she worked in or what haunted her. I don't know what age she noticed the schizophrenia, mania, or depression. I don't know what drove her to the suicide attempts or if there were other times she didn't talk about. I don't know how she handled her mental illness and cancer without cracking entirely.

I'm an aunt to a beautiful artist now. She reminds everyone of me. She is told "you're just like your Aunt Meghan."

She's too young to have any sort of depression talk, but I keep an eye out for her and for me. I talk to her a lot, I want her to know the person she's told she's just like. I want her to be comfortable coming to me if she starts to feel my old friend, depression, coming on and I hope I can be honest with her, should that day ever come.

When the depressive waves hit me and I just want to not exist anymore, I think of her and know I have an upper hand that my Aunt Cindy didn't. I can survive the suicidal thoughts, I can mark down signs or symptoms in case my niece calls me up one day.

 

Russians with Rabbits

Russians with Rabbits, comprised of two friends, Gibbons and Mateo Katsu, who are active musicians in three bands (four if it’s December), stays elusive 364 days a year. If you ask either of the boys about playing a show, they’ll tell you, “we broke up.”

I discovered Russians with Rabbits two years after their accidental conception (and spent the last year or so bugging Mateo to get the band back together or record their other songs) when they were a last minute addition to a Kick a Ten Year Old in the Head show at the Chapel of Amusement*.

At the Russians with Rabbits Bandcamp, I was greeted by a fantastic black and white photo of Gibbons dressed as a Russian soldier and Mateo in a rabbit suit holding a ukulele and their EP, RWREP. The first song, “Overjoyed”, opened with an apathetic count off into the first line - “overjoyed, now that we’re friends, I can’t believe I’m lonely again.” As the instruments joined the lo-fi sound, Gibbons’ saw playing swooned me back to the garages of the 1990’s. A minute in, the song false-ends with a drumstick count off before breaking into a higher tempo with lyrics like “I don’t believe it’s you, you were honest for too long”. Every adult having grown up in the 90’s has fond memories of dancing to a band like this at the punk house in their town.

Thirteen months later, and one day before their show at a 666 Hail Satan themed birthday party at the Olive Garden House*, a notification hits my inbox that Russians with Rabbits released a new song – “Home”. This track hits the heart with a sharp, rusty arrow from Cupid’s bow with a more raw sound and just as many layers, musically, as ever, but sang with a passionate desperation to whoever is on the listening end.

Being just after the Christmas season and people were returning from extended stays away from Los Angeles, one person listened to Gibbons sing, “you can leave if you want, but it won’t feel like you’re going home” and she delayed her return from New Orleans; a place she felt more at home in.

The night of the Hail Satan party was rainy and cold, but a necessary event after months of the community laying low after the Ghost Ship tragedy in December. Playful costumes involving intricate make-up and attachments gave a sense of demons and Satan worshipers, even Aleister Crowley, among the usual riff raff.

Having abandoned my black nail polish and pentagrams in my teenage-hood, I donned a black dress and yellow cardigan I’d found earlier at Goodwill with “Pray for Satan” pamphlets tucked in my bra.

When I arrived, set times were backed up, thankfully, so I hadn’t missed Gibbons’ current band with Robert Quijano, (Not) Nashville Brothers kicking off the night.

Somewhere around one a.m., the announcement was made – “Russians with Rabbits are about to play!”

In a spacious living room with the couches blocking the front door and a painted sign above the mantle declaring “Best House Ever”, Mateo sat shirtless behind the drums and Gibbons wore a hospital gown with his guitar.

No introduction was necessary, they got right to business playing, at first, to a small handful of people jumping out of sync with ear-to-ear grins, then to a living room sized mosh pit.

The excitement of hearing the songs, “My Sophia”, “Rabbits in the Field” (which sent the entire room into a rampage and every person in the pit falling over each other), and “Nancy Kerigan” had hearts bursting with joy.

(On a personal level, I have never had such a great time in a mosh pit, but that’s another story.)

When they began playing their self-titled song, people dropped to their knees with hands raised, singing “I am not a man, I’m part of an exclusive clan, wear rabbit suits and Santa boots to bed” to each other before hugging.

After each song, Mateo would yell out “Who wants a CD?” and reach into a bag and hand out a random CD. None were Russians with Rabbits, but all were from the Miedlena family.

 Photo by Amy Darling  I have a theory that you can only have as much fun as the drummer is having at a show and Mateo drummed like the devil with Hell burning around us and Gibbons played like Belial leading Hell’s army. 

Photo by Amy Darling

I have a theory that you can only have as much fun as the drummer is having at a show and Mateo drummed like the devil with Hell burning around us and Gibbons played like Belial leading Hell’s army. 

The end of the set was bittersweet. That living room was hot and our older, not young punks anymore, bodies needed hydration, but this also meant the Russian and the Rabbit were going back into their hole to break up for another year.

*To protect spaces and homes, names were changed, but I do encourage you to go visit all Bandcamps and Soundclouds of the artists mentioned. Nashville Brothers can be found on Youtube or Dakota Hall Scott’s soundcloud.

 I would also like to start a petition for Russians with Rabbits to play more often or to at least record the rest of their songs.

We're Living in Dangerous Times... And I Don't Mind (Part 2)

The night after the election was dark. We carried on with our lives, Cribbage Club met at Sunset Beer, but you felt the blanket of sorrow over everyone. Chivo was slumped in a corner chair staring at his cards. It'd been his turn for a full minute, but Skramble was scrolling Facebook and not paying attention. I sipped my beer and looked around the room at the groups of friends talking under the music. A few did laugh, but it wasn't the cheery atmosphere usually found in this place. 

"Fifteen for two," Chivo said and placed a card down. 
"Oh shit," Skramble said, putting his phone away.

A text message came across my phone, followed by another, both relaying the same message:

"You guys, there's an anti-Trump protest downtown at City Hall RIGHT NOW!"

We downed our beers and grabbed a few for the road. Outside, we made the plan to meet Chivo down the street at his place while he grabbed his bike and cooler bag for the beers. 

As we rode our bikes down Sunset, I saw we were dressed perfectly -- I in my Black Flag/Bernie Sanders shirt, Skramble head to toe in black like a cat burglar, and Chivo wearing an easy to spot cow printed hat. 

Entering Downtown, we hit a red light at the Trump building (his number one financier built horrendous luxury lofts no one in the area can afford). As one of my co-horts checked his tires, the other hopped off his bike and ran to the nearest oversized, ceramic trash bin associated with the Trump buildings. He stuck his hands inside for a solid grip, yelled "Fuck Trump!" and gave a solid yank, pulling the fixture over. It hit with a soft crash with pieces spilling out over the cement like broken drywall. 

My vandal friend hopped on his bike with a quickness despite no scolding yells or sirens. 

After locking our bikes together, we walked towards City Hall to find this amazing crowd already in full chant and I instantly felt safer than I had going to bed the night before. 

Chants ranging from "Fuck Donald Trump!" to "My body, my choice!", "Pussy grabs back!", and "Not my president!" were music to my ears. Signs were held high with messages of anger and despair, but also calls to "stay nasty". 

We stuck to the edge of the crowd, making our way to the steps of City Hall, and climbing up to the top (LAPD hadn't shown up yet). Chivo handed me and Skramble a beer, we touched our cans and said "Cheers", and pumped our fist to the beat of the chants. 

I looked out at all these people, mad as hell, and not afraid to show it, yet keeping it peaceful. I went from fearing my fellow Americans to believing them... at least most of them. 

Suddenly, the crowd began to move north. 

"Let's go," Chivo said. 

So we joined the march down Spring Street, chanting still, and when we finished our beers, we stuffed them in Chivo's bag instead of leaving them on the street. 

A trash can was knocked over and the crowd turned on the person, yelling "PEACEFUL PROTEST!" while a small group cleaned up the spilled garbage and set it upright. 

My heart warmed as I saw a group, both men and women, wearing white shirts with "Rape Survivor" written across them. I ran up to them, voicing how amazing and brave they were to do this and we group hugged. 

As we crossed the overpass, we realized the march was headed down the 101 freeway on ramp. 

Shit was about to get real. 

To be continued....

Ask a Punk

I spent New Year's in New York City, staying in Brooklyn with a friend from LA and her roommate, also a LA native. My friend, already hooking me up with independent bookstores (where my books seem to be selling *brushes shoulders*), she also put me in contact with the people at The Glove, an underground DIY space. 

When I spoke to Lily and Cameron from The Glove, they told me the only show they had booked during my NYC visit was a Ghost Ship benefit. This delighted me more than they could have expected since I was co-organizing a Ghost Ship benefit with the Los Angeles DIY community set for the week of our correspondence. 

During our back-and-forth, I was never given the address for The Glove, thinking I would find it or some hint online, cross streets/look for the vampire mural/four doors down/knock twice, pause, knock three times, but there was nothing.

Having finally gotten the address from my friend (123 Fake Street), I set out dressed like I was in Siberia instead of forty degree NYC. I was staying close enough I could just walk there, though my sense of direction was entirely off since this was only my first full day in the city and I was still hungover from a wild greeting to Midtown. 

I found Fake Street and took a left into what seemed like an industrial neighborhood. To my right was a balcony to an obvious bar, though it would be cool to see this attached to a DIY (maybe some day when it is easier to make DIYs legal). As I walked along, I couldn't find an address on any of the buildings until I heard faint music nearby. 

The building next to the balcony had an awning with "123" across the front, then I noticed an open door with balloons attached to it. I shrugged in my head and kept crossing the street, but when I saw three classily dressed men also headed to this door and two women come out wearing proper clubbing dresses and heels, I slowed my roll. 

I hadn't been to any DIYs in NYC, but Julie and I came from the same LA scene; then again, her style had grown and she'd been living in the city for a few years.... 

"Maybe this is it....?"

A door a few feet to the right on the same building flung open just as I stepped onto the curb. I saw three dudes come out and the inside of the door was covered in sharpie marker drawings. On the ground was a line of music equipment. 

This was the entrance to The Glove, my heart sang. 

I walked up to introduce myself, but Cameron knew who I was straight away and welcomed me inside. 

The event was beautiful, the crowd was gorgeous and as eclectic as our scene in LA. I could not have asked for a warmer welcome to a community who doubles as extended family as we find out we know the same people, venues, and are all in the same fight to protect our spaces.

We're Living in Dangerous Times.... And I Don't Mind (Part 1)

Okay, that's not entirely true, plus it's a line from my second favorite Mateo Katsu song, "Forty Hours". We are living in dangerous times, but I do mind. I'm also conflicted on what I believe is dangerous... my fellow Americans or the government.

The Obamas said their final farewell yesterday, today we face down four years of Donald Trump. I've been relatively quiet about politics, both on and offline, following a fight with my brother in early June that left us not speaking until shortly before the election in November. Videos and memes were posted repetitively, so I found sharing ridiculous .gifs and photos of me and Sigmar more conducive and comforting to all involved on the internet. 

It didn't change that I felt strongly about this election, even though I voted third party. I have been called "irresponsible" for doing this, but much like a beloved chant, "My body, my choice", my vote, my choice. I'm also tired of choosing between a turd sandwich and a giant douche (thanks South Park). 

The night of the election, I lay on the living room floor with my computer hooked up to the projector livestreaming the results. My roommates, Tawni and Brett, were in the chairs on either side, and our other roommate, Jeremy, was watching in his room. We watched as, one by one, the states turned red and voter turnout numbers continued to show much lower than last election. Jeremy's visits to the living room with sarcastic talk about Canada, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic dwindled. Tawni, a single mom of mixed race, stated several times how scared she was. Brett, deflated, was the first to stand up and leave the room by saying "I can't believe this is real." and went to bed. Tawni was next. She left the room with tears in her eyes. 

Alone, I closed up my computer and turned off the projector. I did a perimeter check of the house, including a double check of the locked doors, and slept with my pocket knife near my bed. I was laughed at by a man the next day, he said "You're in LA, what did you think was going to happen?" I responded with two things -- "Do you really think LA is clear of Trump supporters? And you're also not a woman, you don't know what it is to walk down a street and an eye over your back at all times, wishing you'd grabbing some new mace/tossed your pocket knife in your purse/walked with your keys between your fingers/tried to lose a car full of drunk bros who decide to follow you from Echo Park to your front door in Glassell Park." 

To be continued.... 

Put Your Crocodile Tears in Your Alligator Purse

Lord, I wish I could take credit for that line, but it was Poni who said it. 

We're living in a scary time right now as our political leader taking office puts several of us back in a greater jeopardy than we have been in after, it seemed like, progress was being made. But politics aside... 

It's scary being a woman, even as a strong, empowered woman I do fear for my safety at times. Thankfully, I haven't had the trouble in Los Angeles small town folk worried about. Honestly, I think ran into more issues with people growing up in Catt County NY than here. 

Still, though, I am aware of the dangers and that is why I am ever so thankful for my friends. 

One night in November, I had my feelings hurt and my heart a little broken. A stupid story with the same old Endless ending -- me sobbing in a place not meant to be cried in. This time it was the grass in front of "Olive Garden"** and this time I had friends taking care of me.
For a moment, I was left alone in the wet grass, shivering with tears running down my face while Criss ran inside to find Chelsea. A small crew headed back a house came out the gate to catch their Uber, I didn't know all of them, but I kept my head down in hopes of being invisible when I felt a hand on my shoulder and B-Rad say "Muffin, are you okay?" He knelt down to my level; I couldn't see his face in the shadows. I managed to say "Yeah, Criss is getting Chelsea." He took my hand, the rest of his crew were calling for him, and said "are you safe?" I confidently said "Yes, I'm just heartbroken." He hugged me quick and started towards the car. "Okay, but you're safe, right?" I said "Yes" again and returned an "I love you" that he yelled just before climbing in the Uber. 

There are people in this community who go out of their way to make me feel like an outsider, like I don't belong among my friends.

For a while I would ask myself these questions because she made me believe maybe these people aren't my friends and I don't belong. Maybe I was wrong in feeling like I was finally starting to know who I am. She made me forget that night I sat outside in the cold, shaking from emotion, with Chelsea's sweater draped over my shoulders and Criss' jacket on top after B-Rad checked my safety, and Poni hugged me tight when we got inside, then Chivo and Amy walked beside me as we all left at the same time and Donnie held both my hands while saying "Muffin, I love you, how are you getting home?". 

The moral of the story, maybe she's right, they aren't my friends because they're my family. 

**The location is not actually Olive Garden, but for reasons the location name is being kept secret (unless you know where I'm talking about).

Ch-ch-ch-changes

New year, same Endless. 

Hi, I'm Endless Meghan. You're free to call me Meghan, Endless, Endless Meghan, or "you can call me Susan if it makes ya happy." What you'll find here are stories, thoughts, experiences, and maybe a few confessions if you're lucky. 

Today, I bring you a quick anecdote about my favorite coffee mug. I love mugs. I don't have a big collection because I get stuck on one and never let it go for one sentimental reason or another my roommates usually don't know. I don't tell them and they don't ask; if they asked I would tell them, though. 

Some time between 2012-2013 I started working at Nickerson Research where I met my friend, Kevin. It was love at first sight. He was unavailable and I was still healing from a bad relationship. Later, after the staff was cut in half, I spun around and joined him at his desk for the remainder of our time. We were like the Valiant brothers in Who Framed Roger Rabbit sharing that desk to the point of having matching mugs. 

They were office mugs, the Batman mugs, we just claimed them as ours since there was little competition for them. Every morning, he'd make the office coffee as we, the staff, got our bitching out before the boss showed up we settled into our roles of quiet office workers. 

For a year, I sat across from Kevin (often calling each other "muffin" but that's another story for another time), sharing M&Ms, kicking each other under the table to wake each other up, and cheers our morning coffee with our Batman mugs. 

January 2014, Kevin moved back to San Jose to be closer to his family. I stayed at our desk, anxiously awaiting his visits that became fewer as the months went on.

At some point, we were given generic coffee mugs with lids, though the regular mugs never left the office.

The last time Kevin came to visit, he was there for four hours in the morning. He poured a cup of coffee and sat with me like always. He flashed a beef stick at me and I scolded him because of recent health issues he was dealing with. The day went on, I felt like my heart sat in my throat the whole day, even as he leaned around his monitor to get my attention. We met like secret lovers with our faces looking down the alley way between our monitors. He said "Muffin, you're so beautiful."

That was the last time we saw him. He died three days later.

I stole this Batman mug and told Jo she should take the other one; we agreed Kevin would've wanted her to have it.

We're months away from the three year anniversary, I'm still processing my emotions from the loss, though I know he's never far. Still, each morning, I have my coffee in the Batman mug so I can, at least, pretend I'm having coffee with Kevin (Muffin).