January Eighth

Five years prior to January 8, 2017 was a day in which I thought my life was over. I was 18 years old and on the cusp of maturity but also flailing my arms while trying to grasp the rails of life. I was mature enough to take care of myself and survive college classes but not mature enough to actually attend them. I was able to maintain a relationship but I was unable to maintain emotional stability when it ended. Details to come later, but keep reading. 

I need to rewind here and explain a few things. It was three months ago that I moved to Austin. Since I’ve been here, I believe I have relished in my independence and have been put in some amazingly uncomfortable situations. I have met people and have grown close to people that have truly become a huge part of my time here. One of them I met at Starbucks. His name is Colby.

Meet Colby.

Now I’m not sure how many times you need to go to Starbucks to become a regular but I became one in no time at all. At the Starbucks that sits on the corner of 38th and Guadalupe, I found a home. I would take my books and my laptop and plant myself in a chair for five hours before going home to continue doing the same thing.

One day though, after a monotonous routine of this and that — I came across a guy working behind the counter. He was (is) extremely warm and inviting, the friendship that was to come was a no brainer. What really gave it all away was when we discussed the book I was reading (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris), and he — on his break — went and got me his favorite book by the same author. I thought, if this is meeting new people — why are we so afraid?

After that, I would go to Starbucks just to hang out with Colby. I would sit there and make faces at his —  we would text while he was in the trenches and I on the other side laughing at his misery. And soon enough, we developed a friendship outside of the corporate chain.

A few days ago I was going through my Instagram to find the picture I posted of this cup he drew me and noticed the date on the photo. It read January 8th. When I saw it, I laughed to myself and recounted all the details from above. Thinking about how lucky I was to meet this friend, when five years prior I felt stuck. Five years prior, I was ending a relationship that I didn’t want to end. I was crying in my car on the street outside of my best friend’s house wondering what the hell just happened and why. I remember lying on her bed trying to piece the string of events leading up to this devastation. And then I asked her, will this shit ever get better?

Colby caught me attempting to draw. He is the artist, not me.

While a lot has happened in the last five years, I feel relief of the possibilities that life has to offer. I’m sitting here now — at 38th and Guadalupe —  thinking about how far I’ve come from that place on that one street five years ago. I’m reminiscing to the night Colby drew on this coffee cup for me —  thinking of the talks we had and how he told me that his favorite band is modest mouse (angst). He told me why he likes Frank Ocean and why his art matters. We shared stories and silence and that’s something I’m grateful for.

I couldn’t have predicted this life five years ago, and something about that excites the hell out of me.


  1. Ashley, you’re really growing as a writer and I love tuning in here and there to see what you’re up to and how life is going for you. I can only imagine how exciting/scary it must have been to get up and move to Austin just like that but it must be one incredible time of self discovery! Your honesty is such a powerful gift and you use it so well in your writing. Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing. Also, so glad that you have found friends in that wonderful city that I miss so so much!

    Take care!
    Your Friend,

    1. Thank you so much!! This means more than you know. I will keep on keeping on. I hope you and the wife are loving your new adventure in NYC. Can’t wait to see what you guys do.
      Much love x

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