“you are but a dream,
out of reach and too far deep
never to be touched.”
- dream, lukewarmcoffee
Marinette stared at her phone, sighing. The work of her favorite author never fails to leave her dumbfounded. She always admired how he had such a way with words, frequently leaving her with the feeling of nostalgia. She wasn’t quite the poet herself, but she had always taken an interest in poetry writing since she was young. She wrote and wrote, until she had no more words, until she could not find any left to write, but being the shy girl she is, all of her works either sit in her drafts, or rest on crumpled paper laying at the bottom of the trash bin.
For the past year or so, she found comfort and solace in reading poems by the author with the pen name of “ lukewarmcoffee ”. All she knows of him is that he’s a boy around her age who enjoys writing on his poetry blog, but nothing more than that. He keeps his personal details private, especially his name and appearance. He’s most known for his handwritten haikus with doodles on the sides of the text, always pertaining to an unknown muse.
Marinette sits on her chair, pulling it towards her desk, continuously flipping pages on her journal to look for a blank leaf to start pouring her thoughts on again. She begins to write, only to tear off the page and toss it in the bin. This cycle repeats for a few times with the sound of her grunts of frustration and pen scribbles which echo throughout the room. Preparing to give up and put down the pen, her phone lights up with a notification from lukewarmcoffee ’s blog. Her hand rushes to her phone, unlocking it and hurriedly taps on the pop-up.
“a lone memory
playing in my mind on loop,
your smile is priceless.”
- broken record, lukewarmcoffee
It hits her, a sudden epiphany strikes right before her eyes. There it was, the long lost inspiration she was looking for, bundled with the confidence she thought she’d never gain again. She hurries to a blank page and begins to write what seems like a parallel to her favorite author’s haiku. Five, seven, five , she thought to herself. Never has she written a haiku before, but that didn’t stop her at all, she knew deep within her heart that this was a chance she had to take.
Once she was done, she took a photo of her poem, the same way he would. She had created a blog on the same site as well, under the pen name of “ blueberrymacarons”. As a reply to his haiku, she attached the photos of her own.
“poems of a boy
with his words etched on my skin,
how do you do that?”
- party tattoos, blueberrymacarons
Marinette took a deep breath before tapping enter, quickly throwing her phone onto her bed in embarrassment.
“I can’t believe I just did that. I did not just do that.” She repeatedly said to herself in disbelief. She was never one to share her work to other people, let alone post them publicly. Unsure as to where and why she suddenly got the courage, she let out a sigh of what seemed like a mix of confusion and relief. At least she got it over with, she thought. Being a poet has always been her dream, and she knew very well that if she didn’t start somewhere, she won’t be able to be one.
“What could go wrong, right? Lukewarmcoffee has over a thousand followers and receives hundreds of interactions, it’s unlikely for him to notice mine in a sea of other various replies. I’ll just use this as practice, a stepping stone if you will. He inspires me a lot anyway, no harm in that.” Marinettte said to herself for reassurance, standing in front of the mirror. She stood straight and flashed a confident smile, but oh boy, was she nervous.
As the days passed by, her anxiety continued to rise. Nothing extraordinary happened, her favorite author continued to post poems as he usually does, making it appear that her indirect response went unnoticed. Not that it mattered, because she already knew that was going to happen, but maybe, and just maybe- she had a little hope. With a heavy heart, she went to his blog once more, and refreshed the tab. One new post has been added .
“if my poetry
pierce like needles through your skin
must you bleed for me?”
- tattoo artist, lukewarmcoffee
Marinette’s eyes widened as her face grew pale, with blood slowly rushing to her cheeks. It couldn’t be, could it?, she thought. Did her favorite author post an indirect response to hers as well, or was it just a mere coincidence? She shook her head and blinked her eyes, re-reading the poem over and over, analyzing and internalizing each line. She could feel her heart beat faster and faster as the seconds passed. Without much thought, she grabbed her journal and began to write a response.
“to hurt and be hurt
with each prick of the needle
pleasure comes from pain.”
- engraved, blueberrymacarons
She swallowed the lump in her throat and sent her response. Suddenly, she was feeling various emotions at once. Happiness, adrenaline, anxiety, nervousness… not to mention the unhealthy amount of butterflies swarming in her stomach . Marinette was flustered- her face bright red as droplets of sweat trickled down her forehead. Full of anticipation, she would check her phone every 10 minutes or so, tapping her desk in between intervals.
As her phone screen lit up, her eyes did as well. Slowly unlocking it, her eyes darted immediately towards the notifications tab. She took a deep breath, opened the pop-up, then lo and behold: “ lukewarmcofee left a heart on your reply. ” She gasped, covering her mouth in disbelief, making her phone drop to the floor. There it was, the confirmation she’d been waiting for. Marinette did not know as to how or why she got herself into this situation, however, she had no plans to complain.
A few months passed, several haiku exchanges later, Marinette found herself with a rekindled passion in writing. Whenever she had to write back to him, the words from her mind that transfer to her pen flow naturally onto the paper, as if it was meant to be. She found comfort and joy in her little interactions with the author; they didn’t write to each other as often, but they never failed to miss each other's posts, as if they were both anticipating a notification from each other. With that, her blog started gaining attraction and followers as well, as if the other party’s followers have seemed to have caught on with the pair.
“Ah shoot,” Marinette whispered. “I’m out of pages.”
She closed her journal and began to rummage through her shelf, looking for blank journals- or even at least a blank page. She glanced at her trash bin for a moment, noticing the hefty amount of crumpled paper which she could have saved if she didn’t rip them immediately after getting the slightest bit frustrated. She sighs and proceeds to pick out journals and flip through them, when suddenly a piece of paper falls to her feet. She tilts her head, as she doesn’t remember placing any notes in between her journals. She picks it up and reads it.
“Another haiku? It looks like how lukewarmcoffee writes his poems! Even the handwriting is… huh?” Marinette cuts herself off, pulling up a photo of the said author’s handwriting, comparing it to the one of the note in her hand. “No way…” she murmured.
“Ms. Dupain-Cheng, I believe it’s your turn to present your poem to the class!” Ms. Bustier said as everyone’s attention turned to Marinette. Shy 3rd grader Marinette slowly rises from her seat, nervously walking towards the front of the class. Before she even began, whispers echoed across the room. She looks at the piece of paper in her hand, gulps, and begins to speak.
“M-My parents own a bakery, w-we sell croissants and pastries, all of which are very tasty!” Marinette read, only to be laughed at by her classmates. Feeling embarrassed, she ran out of the classroom to the playground and sat on a bench under a large tree. Tears rolled down her cheek as she threw her paper on the ground.
“Hey.” a voice said. Marinette quickly wiped her tears, looking up at a boy around her age, with black hair with dyed blue tips. He picked up the paper and proceeded to write on the back side. Marinette tilted her head in curiosity, patiently waiting for the boy to finish whatever he was scribbling. Once he was finished, he handed her the paper.
“I passed by your classroom and heard your poem, I think you did great!” The boy said with a smile. Marinette’s lips slowly curved into a smile, holding on to the paper he gave her. “My name is Luka, Luka Couffaine.”
“Couffaine.. Oh! Could you be Juleka’s older sister?” Marinette asked. “My name is Marinette Dupain-Cheng.”
“Mhm, that’s me. You have a lovely name, Marinette.” Luka smiles.
Marinette blushes slightly at his sudden compliment, “Thanks, Luka. And for this too!” She smiles back, waving the paper he gave her.
“It’s nothing. You should get back to class, I need to get going as well. I hope I can see you again soon.”
“A-ah, yeah! Thank you again.” Marinette replies, getting up from the bench. She walks back to the classroom, but before she enters, she waves Luka goodbye, and he nods his head in acknowledgement.
Marinette shyly walks back into her room, quickly sitting in her chair. The whispers and laughter stopped as Ms. Bustier gave the class a scolding for doing so. She breathes a sigh of relief, then looks at the back of her paper.
“drown out the noises
they don’t know you like you do
do what your heart says.”
Marinette smiles from ear to ear, pressing the paper against her heart.
Marinette quickly flips the paper, only to see the poem she wrote in 3rd grade, barely legible due to the fading of the pencil lead. Then it hit her. The haiku, the penmanship, the alias. It all made sense, how she senses a pang of nostalgia whenever she reads his work, how she finds comfort in him and his words, and how she finds it so easy to write again- because of him.
“L.C.… Luka Couffaine… Lukewarmcoffee… of course! It makes so much sense!” Marinette exclaims as she connects all the dots in her head. She couldn’t figure out whether it was by chance or by fate, but whichever it may be, she felt ecstatic.
After a whole flashback and several realizations later, she finally found herself a blank page in one of her journals. She sits down and writes with excitement.
“i’ve drowned out the noise
they won’t know me like i do
but would you like to?”
She posts it on her blog, not as a reply under his poems, but as a standalone post, tagging his pen name. She does her usual habit of checking it every 10 minutes, but to no avail. Eventually, minutes turned into hours, hours turned into days, days turned into weeks. This is the longest she hasn’t heard from him, could it be that he just didn’t see the notification? Though it seemed unlikely, as it wouldn’t normally take him longer than a few days to respond. Marinette was growing impatient, and was losing hope as well. Maybe it isn’t him, she thought, might as well have been a coincidence.
She goes to his blog one last time, hoping for a miracle. She refreshes it, and to her surprise, one new post has been added.
“under autumn leaves
awaits a boy who's longing
to see you again”
- 3pm invitation, lukewarmcoffee
Marinette’s eyes light up, quickly checking the time. She had around an hour before 3 p.m., and she knew exactly where to go. Without hesitation, she packed her phone and the piece of paper into her bag just before hurrying out the door.
Her previous school was not more than a 30 minute walk from her house, it’s fortunate that she didn’t move cities at all. As she slowly approaches the playground, she sees a bike parked nearby, as well as a boy sitting down on the bench under the tree- the same bench she sat in years ago.
The boy had black hair with dyed blue tips and black nails, wearing a blue denim coat, a black pair of ripped skinny jeans, and black sneakers as well. He was humming, appearing to be preoccupied with whatever he was writing down in a tiny memo pad. She slowly walked closer, with every step feeling more and more nervous, her heartbeat was so loud he could probably hear it. He stopped moving his pen, and looked up to the dark blue haired girl standing before him.
“To see you again,” Luka spoke. “is to read all poetry, in sync all at once.”
Marinette’s eyes widened, realizing he even spoke in haikus. Her hands started to fidget as she was trying to look for the right words to say. “A-Ah, I.. um.”
“You tend to express yourself better in poetry than speaking, do you?” Luka chuckled. Marinette quickly opened her bag and grabbed the piece of paper, showing it to him.
“You wrote this, r-right? Several years ago, in this exact spot.” Marinette asked.
Luka nodded his head, motioning for her to sit down next to him. She was hesitant at first, but sat down next to him eventually.
“Did you know it was me…? You know, the entire poem exchange thing…” Marinette trailed off.
“Not really, no.” Luka shook his head, “but I had a hunch, it just felt right, writing to you, I mean, it came naturally to me.”
“Me too!” Marinette yelled, “I honestly had no idea until I found this lying around.” she said, motioning to the paper once again. “I put the pieces together from there.”
“Did you and Juleka move schools after?” Marinette asked. “I never saw the both of you again after that.”
“Mhm, my mom works as a boat captain, so we aren’t really in one place for a long time. We recently moved back here, though I’m not quite sure for how long.” Luka responded.
“Oh, I see…” Marinette said. “Thank you, again, for this- as well as all the other haikus, who would’ve thought, huh? What a small world.”
“It’s nothing. To be frank, I’d like to believe its… fate.” he said. “You know, I decided you'd be my muse from the day I saw your eyes light up when I handed you that note back then. Moving forward, I've never seen anything like it- or even comparable. Your genuine happiness fueled my creative passion, and has led us up to this moment. They say art and poetry can make you feel things, but I believe in that moment... you were art itself."
Marinette’s face turned red quickly. She panicked, unsure with what to reply.
“Because you're the most extraordinary girl, Marinette. As beautiful as a prose and as sincere as a poem. You’re the muse I’ve been writing about since the first day we met.” Luka said, looking directly at her.
“Was that a declaration of love?” Marinette asked, letting out a soft chuckle.
“One of the most beautiful ones you’ll ever hear.”