The Indicator x The Student: “the breakfast date (break, fast!)”

Sam Spratford ’24 reflects on love, adolescence, and lost hopes in “the breakfast date (break, fast!),” a poem originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of The Indicator.

The Indicator x The Student: “the breakfast date (break, fast!)”
Sam Spratford ’24 reflects on love, adolescence, and lost hopes in “the breakfast date (break, fast!),” a poem originally published in the Spring 2022 issue of The Indicator. Original art by Calvin Van Leeuwen ’25. 

before i earned my driver’s license

before i learned to swerve down narrow city streets—

i fell

i fell in love with the existentialists’ sooty prose

peering into an opium abyss and seeing my reflection in obsidian and

                          when i returned home,

                     it smelled like cinnamon and soap


before i earned my too-small hips

before i learned to sever kisses from promises—

i fell

i fell in love with my friend’s soft touch

swaddling the valley of my waist and pressing lips in primordial warmth and

                           when she and i slept,

                    nightlights looked like newborn stars


dancing through L’Étranger to the rhythm of prickly smirks

i wash down heartburn with chamomile tea

with college-issued-carpeting under my feet

i don’t know much except

camus was a dick

and at some point i took a one-way ticket to someplace

my dad would have called “the real world”

quietly weeping into his steak dinner


                            up across the table

                         there is the love of my life

                       framed by noontime and neon

                             waffles and lattes


          there is nothing left to yearn for


when i go back to chicago

where lakeshore drive is bleary and damp

i will hide between skyscrapers like velveteen shadows

waiting for my friend’s parents to leave the room

but for now our chests rise and fall as

we match the pulse of

railroads and teslas

marking time

the oscillation between half-life and almost-death


what was it like to hold my breath for so long that

i felt dizzy

for that boundless, choking moment

when i believed i would live forever?