sometimes I imagine myself
locked in a room with you
unable to get out
panic fills your eyes
painted with the colors of surprise and dismay
shades of blue, shades of brown
the color doesn't matter
your chair creaks as you shift uneasily
telling me in no uncertain terms
I am nothing special
though the words never escape your lips
for just one moment
I see myself through your eyes
khaki pants
highlighted hair
a tank top
smiling at you even though I sense
your self-proclaimed superiority wafting through the air
like the scent of a vanilla-flavored chai
a carbon copy me
placed in perfect cookie cutter form
and you know exactly what I'm like
before you ever hear me speak
you don't notice my resentment
twisting under that vapid, impersonal smile
and I don't bother to correct you
you've already set me in my proper place
categorized and labeled
assumptions chaining me down and robbing me of meaning
I have space to breathe
but not space to be myself
in the split second you define me
I lean forward and say hello
the dread glazes over
as you prepare your answer
rehearsed a hundred different times
with a hundred different people
and the only thing that changes is the name
you let disinterest coat your voice
as thick as honey in the cold
not lacking charm
but the apathy as discouraging as a death knell
ringing in the cinders of any chance we might have had
at friendship
or maybe something more
conversation is kept neutral
boring and mundane
like a late afternoon stroll along the river
you ask me about my day, my month, my life
not really interested in the answer
and only hear my voice
like a buzzing swarm of bees around your head
while you swat idly at the annoyance
I say what you expect to hear
already knowing
that you're not listening anyway
and any information pried from you
yields the same
we might as well be silent
staring at each other from across the room
our mouths moving
a motion picture washed in brilliant color
dialogue suspiciously missing
drowned out by that sadly blurred sect of sound
somewhere else
children laugh like the peal of church bells
or your friends discuss something
as unimportant and mundane
as the conversation we are having
still more significant to you
because you know them
unlike the average girl who says words that don't mean anything
in front of you, stage center right
imaging you are with them
eyes vague and in a faraway, invented place
you nod in all the wrong places
and I pretend I didn't see
while we both wonder when this will end
finally
the bolt clicks
freeing us to go
and we part ways feeling unimpressed
in your mind
I am safely crammed into your categories and labels
without ever telling you
a single thing about myself