I am faded, baggy, v-neck sweatshirts over lacy tank tops, and comfortable sneakers. I am strong coffee, dark chocolate and red wine. I am bagels with cream cheese, and I am croissants with bitter dark marmalade. I am funky hats and dangly earrings and hair color subject to change without notice. I am pen and ink and 0’s and 1’s and words and music and rhythm. I am jazz and blues, old standards and folk music – music of conscious, they call it now – a cup of classical, a peck of pop and rock, a glimmer of gospel, and just enough country to make things interesting. I am purple and faded black and forest green, alternating with fiery orange and red. I am eggplant and tomatoes and garlic and olives. And I am also grilled cheese sandwiches and bowls of chili. I am the scent of damp earth, and I am the essence of freshly -cut flowers: irises, calla lilies, and sunflowers. I am books and quilts, cuddly dogs and mugs of tea. I am a little bit techie and a little bit traditional. I am good grammar, mostly, and proper table manners. I am coppery lip gloss and fuchsia toenails. I am dark eyes, and a light heart. I am a daughter, a friend, a lover, a woman, someone’s muse. I am the darkest hour of the night, and the first ray of morning sunshine. I walk in the moonlight and dance in the rain. I am shy in large groups, with bouts of situational extroversion. In my head I visit other worlds, but in my heart I am always home. I am funny, caustic, sarcastic, and snide. I tease with affection, not malice. I am water and fire. I love and I am loved, and I am both yearning and happy. I am verbal snapshots and mental images. But most of all, I’m just Melissa.