Photo by Mario Gogh on Unsplash

Oscar took his time twisting on his blue tie, staring at himself in the mirror. It was Wednesday — that’s why he was wearing blue. Always blue on Wednesdays he recited to himself, then shuddered. Shut up, you loser.

Did he really have the energy for another one of these? To plaster on that innocuous smile and run through his usual, “Excuse me,” “Mmhmm,” “Of course,” “Thank you,” “Yes sir,” with all the characters in the depressing sitcom of his life?

As he looked at himself in the mirror more closely, he realized his hairline seemed to have receded even…


our room

Photo by Mink Mingle on Unsplash

in that room, i inhaled hundreds of late summer nights through the holes in the screen; cicadas and suburban silence. i hid under heavy covers, whispered into the sweaty house phone, begged the pale blue walls to tell me what was next. i tried on different faces, a naivete so pure it was almost grotesque. in the same room, you wrestled multiplying devils. in the same bed, you bargained with God for more time. one night, you had a dream that angels were beckoning and you took the first step toward them. at dawn, you ran to Mom…


Photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash

i like to see how far i can go. first the water, then the highway. next i’ll cross it. or, down six miles of sidewalk ribboning between shiny sharp buildings. 746 people, 39 bodegas and 5 rats along the way. there’s a girl who does the same thing—only it’s her local theme park and a spinning teacup. around and around and around and around she likes to go. always after five too, because once the sun sets, at that speed, the carnival lights begin to look like they’re dripping. then there’s the man who drives the roads at night until…


Photo by Matthew LeJune on Unsplash

i’m eating rice at my kitchen counter while the ceiling fan whips a too-cold breeze around the room. every seven minutes, the horrible creak of a construction crane splits the silence, nearly hitting our window every time it tries to reach the roof. the clock on the stove is blinking blinking blinking and i haven’t cleaned the French press yet. let’s start that differently: i’m sitting at my kitchen counter mesmerized by a 21 year old TikTok star trying on a bikini haul. her fingernails are dirty and somehow it makes me feel that she’s sad. despite her big pink…


the sky is just beginning to blink its eyes blue, and a lawnmower is vibrating itself awake. a tangle of branches shivers — it hasn’t begun to sprout leaves yet…


Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

the bed was an island we’d trek across daily. together, we unearthed thousands of patches of cool sheet and fourteen million stonehenges made of pillows. we rushed to show each other every time. on saturdays, we’d make out for an audience of screens. when i was bored of the plot, i liked to imagine we were everyone’s favorite characters beyond the fourth wall. everything was quiet yet loud in that way it can be. just a bedroom, but also a moonbounce. or the moon. a solar eclipse. Miami for the first time. at night, i was obsessed with the sound…


Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I’m leaving you, she announces over breakfast, and he asks her to pass the toast. Later that morning, the pill bottle is empty, but he’s still on his way to work. By noon, she’s fingering cucumbers at the supermarket, her nails shredding the slick skin, and he’s reminding himself not to discuss things with the watercooler. As he signs all his emails with the key to his apartment, she’s making the checkout guy believe in God. At home, the carpet clings to the floor, sizzling with their footprints. …


every morning i light all six candles and obsessively check the plants. tongue extended, the flame tries to lick the driest leaf but misses every time. is that what you call a ritual? there’s something that makes you hope it’ll catch. the air conditioner coughs out dust and heat all day, and i can never figure out how to fix it. my hair sticks to the back of my neck and the houseflies slide down the walls into sweaty little heaps. once an hour, an exotic bird screams for help from my landlord’s apartment two stories below. i long for…


Photo by Ryan Wilson on Unsplash

every morning my roommate turns the bathroom light on and i turn it off. it’s the routine we comfort ourselves with before we waste time brewing coffee and agonizing over how orange the egg yolks are. then it’s my job to close the curtains before we remember the world has been flicked off its axis. that easy. nobody wants to see the happy arms carrying groceries as if all is well. sometimes she cries or i do but neither of us look. i think we wish the air tasted like something other than summer. fear, or dread, or at least…

Abby Kloppenburg

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store