The people sitting next to me carry on their conversation as I write, write, write and try to figure life out. I drink too much coffee to try to focus on the things I need to do only to find myself in a place of restlessness because cold brew has way more caffeine than you anticipate. But it tastes too good to put down, so I keep losing focus. I didn't want to think about life that much anyway.
Lonely smells like black coffee on days when you wake up too early and you look around to see no one sitting next to you. That's when I'm awake enough to notice and coherent enough to care, but I drink my coffee anyway and try to ignore the feeling. It always passes. Coffee is good company.
Sometimes you wake up too late to sit and drink and you don't get the chance to feel anything. On those days I rush out the door, get a coffee to go and drive along to wherever I need to be. The thinking comes later when I'm stuck in traffic with nothing to listen to but the songs on the radio that keep repeating.
When traffic is slow enough to roll the windows down, lonely smells like the heat flowing in. It swirls around the air above and around the passenger seat and I remember all the time I spend without someone sitting there and the times when it was occupied. The windows don't ever stay rolled down for too long and I turn up the volume to the music I don't particularly like because it floods my mind. No thinking, just slow movement.
Traffic itself never bothered me much. It gives me time to think without distractions from anything other than people who drive worse than me. It always exists in L.A., but it always ends. I always get to where I'm going. But the real heart of lonely smells like the soap or cologne or whatever you used to wear that made you smell the way you did. I can go days or weeks or months without remembering the ins and outs of what you smelled like, but enough people in the world wear it to make it come back and make me remember when that smell was everywhere. Now it only exists to make me ache for a second before I move on with my life. Lonely smells like you.