A Beautiful Question of Where & When // Sample Chapter

A Beautiful Question of Where & When by Ashlee Craft - Cover
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& I saw you standing there, hands in your pockets, holding tightly onto the back of the train, rails rattling beneath you, rails rattling & shaking your trembling bones / you were afraid, so afraid, but you did not show it / I never saw it but your world was always crashing & burning & breaking around you & you were looking anywhere, anywhere for light /

you turned to the great scholars & the famous quotations & the popular phrases people turned to / but the speakers listed on the walls did nothing to move you; you had heard all of them before, but you knew that there were people more skilled at telling you who you could be, & maybe should consider being, than those who would never know you

sure, big names & prestige in their names made them famous, made them popular choices for who you should turn to in generic abandon / they said the big quotations that everybody knew by heart, household names & words / & sure, some of them had the experience necessary to be able to say such speeches of “motivation” & to try to move people to their feet & inspire them to become great / but they did not know you / they could not tell you the very things you needed to hear / & they do not know you like I know you / they do not know the way your brow wrinkles & your face falls when things go wrong / they do not know the song that plays inside your soul, that you dance to with every step you walk / they do not know what words will make you strong again & the exact words that should be chosen or what exact tone of voice to say them in / they do not know when to say the words & they are not there in person to look you in the eyes & make sure you know that you’re going to be okay / they do not know you like I do

they do not know you like I do


sitting in the sand trying to find

raindrops, you lost

your heart somewhere in the soil,

when you thought that gold was more important than soul

so you traded it in

at the pawn shop, thinking that by

becoming something no one should ever be

that you would become GREAT

as you put it


you recklessly ran out into the thunderstorm, pouring rain soaking you to your skin / & you were shivering out there, not caring what happened to you, because you didn’t think that you were good enough / you didn’t think anybody cared if you did it or not / I saw you running across the pavement in the storm & it made me afraid / you’d rushed out there because you couldn’t handle it, anything at all, & couldn’t accept the sudden ferocity by which you felt the torrent of rain inside of you : crashing down / I tried telling you I loved you but I screwed up & you didn’t know what I meant / why didn’t I just say it outright, instead of trying to use symbolism you couldn’t understand to try & explain my feelings to you? / you misinterpreted what I said as meaning that I loved someone else, because maybe you couldn’t believe that someone like me could actually love you as deeply as I did

but I do; I love you more than I can write

so I ran out into the rain storm after you, into the thunder & pouring torrents of rain / I ran after you, the rain soaked me to my skin & blinded me / I shouted your name over & over again / but my words were lost in the thunder & splatter of droplets on cement / I saw you up ahead / “I don’t care what happens to me” you shouted, stopping / rain dripped from your hair into your eyes & I couldn’t see whether you were crying or not / I caught up to you, without hesitation I wrapped you in my arms / your skin was so cold & you were shivering / I wrapped you in my arms & just held you, out in the rain storm, held you as tightly as I could

“well, I do.” I said / “let’s get you home & get you dry”

but still I couldn’t find the courage to actually say how much I loved you / not even then / but maybe you would find the words yourself, hidden in between “home” & “dry” / maybe you would know what I meant


you came to me when you were broken, when you looked bleak-eyed at everything, when your eyes were dull & your feet stumbling & your footsteps lost & your heart hurting & existence aching;

in the sound of the sand, blowing in the sea breeze / in the sound of the rain, rhythm beating on pavement / you seemed to die inside every time the rain fell & you were lost out on the ocean alone – I watched you crying in the corner all by yourself because you thought no one would ever want to hold you again – you tried reaching out towards people, but every time you started to get close, they threw you out into the storm again & screamed in your face that no one could ever love you


you stood in the shade, in the shadows

trying to force a smile on your face

as I walked by,

so that I would love you because I saw you were not cracked,

not broken

but the cracks in your heart

refracted the light in your eyes

& I reached out to you anyways,

because I knew how it felt to be the one standing in the shadows,

hoping someone would see me

Triangles in the Sand

glittering robust mountains / gaining ground, you forgot where you put the kaleidoscope & then lost your photo of the future you held tightly in your mind / so you set to writing aimless books, trying to tell people who you were & why you were here, but all you ended up being was sad / you stood there barefooted on shards of glass you thought were sand, & your feet were painful & bleeding, but you thought that was the way it was supposed to be / you lived like that for a while, resting in between cups of coffee & the stressful conversations you held with me over the phone / you tried to keep up your facade but facades only last so long / eventually the mask disintegrates & you are left with nothing but your own skin / you came to me seeking something you never had found before, someone who really did love you just the way you were / someone who saw your flaws, saw your face without the mask you liked wearing so much, someone who saw all the beautiful parts of you & all the ugly parts, one of the few people who could actually say they knew you, & I still loved you anyways

I loved you like no one ever had loved you before / I was the one person you never felt uncomfortable around & who never made you hurt & who never broke your heart but helped it heal / one day I told you I loved you, & you started crying, because no one had ever said that to you & meant it so completely before / you fell asleep on my shoulder just as inspiration struck / & that was how you became okay with everything that was going on / that was how you learned you would be okay

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