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Buckeye Donuts.  Anyone who has spent any amount of time there can attest it has a certain variable charm to it.  Different times of the day, it's different things.  Morning, it's full of coffee guzzlers and donut junkies, aching for a fresh glazed or plump creme-filled bismark.  Afternoon, it's people beating the lunch rush, finding a soft, slow spot to relax and eat.  Evenings, the coffee shop mistique rises to the top amongst all other sensations -- the beatniks, the hippies, the freaks and weirdos, and everything that brings Columbus alive sits down and talks.

I listen.

I hear stories about records being released, bands playing, the goth scene, a party gone awry somewhere on 17th.  Philosophy, pop culture, retrofuturism.  Indie labels, bars, and the depravity of the human soul.  Not a bad place.

We all have places that we reserve as our seats, it seems.  You can come in, and Starkey sits by the windows, Jeff is wandering around behind the counter, emptying trash cans even though he doesn't work here.  I sit by the coffee machines, able to see the entire shop just by glancing overtop my laptop.  But it's not the loud I watch for, it's the quiet.  And quiet she was.

It wasn't the first time I'd seen her.  I knew her in name, at least.  Friend of friends was the connection.  She didn't, doesn't, know it, but I've watched her before, seen her.  I've spent a year having my eyes find her everywhere.  Never intentional, never with pattern, but there she was at the corners of my eyes.  Accidental stalking, I've come to call it.

Her seat is at the corner of the window, by the wall, away from the door.  She sits there, sipping her -- sipping is the wrong word.  Pretty girls sip, girls in petticoats and skirts and hair clips.  She gulps her coffee, inbetween flurried movements of her pen.  I glance at her work.  It is a mix of images, text.  Her art is stylized, sharp lines and sharper attitude carried in pencil and ink of men who are cats who are men who are cats who are women, dark frightening images rent of nightmares, rent of the soul.

Her beret lies on bandana, long hair tucked up beneath -- a lie she kept until she let it down later that night.  Glasses, not orange and Lennon-esque as she often wears.  Her fangs, too, do not grace her visage this night.  Her outfit? Black, a vest over a shirt; around her neck is a stamped pendant of Anubis, or Thoth.  I cannot recall, being too busy listening to her words, seeing her face.  Obsession in a coffee mug.

I sat in my spot, she in hers.  Anxious, I find myself becoming, there.  I am no good at beginning a conversation, though once one begins it is difficult to get me to stop.  So I sat and watched and waited for confidence to flow within me.  I found it in the chaos I always do -- the first reply I got after asking my friends "Should I, or should I not?" with no context was that I should.  So I did.

She was filling out job applications, muttering to herself.  The pickup line in this situation, if there was one at all, was "If you're going to mutter to yourself, I'm at least going to move close enough to hear."  I think it went over well.

We started talking about God and religion, mass of the opiates kinda stuff.  We debated, as long friends or philosophers are wont to do, and we came to no conclusions in the same manner.  The conversation migrated, turned to RP.

She's a writer, I discover.  Mostly fiction, using personifications of aspects of herself as characters.  She's trying to figure herself out from the outside looking in.  And she is so pretty.  We talk, I offer to involve her in the RP group I run, and she expressed her interest.  After four hours of sitting beside the lake, we move on to her apartment.

She has just moved in to a nice one-room flat near south campus.  We talk, more still, onward into the wee hours of the moning.  We read each other's writings, we talk of sexuality and gender, of fiction and fantasy, of religion and athiesm.  Eventually, she retires to her bedroom, I to the floor.  Sleep is had.

I awaken at noon or so, and read until four, when I awake her.  Our escapade ends, quickly and sharply and quietly as it started.  But I cannot get her out of my mind, my heart, my body and soul.

Running up the stairs to my room, I am lethargic.  But suddenly I realize, she is a muse, a Calliope entering my life with her belches and yawns and boyhood and everything that she could do and does.  Does she know it?  Will she, yet?  She gives me the drive, but she gives me sloth as well.  Ache deep within my gut, like a numb, thick hollow carved out of my emotion.

I have felt this before; moments of obession and dispair.  Of what I always felt was love.  I wonder if I was right back then, or just jaded and desiring something I didn't have, aching for adoration.  I believe in love at first sight, but I cannot get her out of my head.  She kept me from sleeping, she kept me from waking.  I give her such power without her knowing.

I didn't even get her fucking phone number.

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