Someone in Asheville is in love with a girl named Laura. I know this because I read it.

I imagine a person deep in love, a young person, mid-20’s, like me, out for drinks at the French café on Biltsmore Road in the downtown part of Asheville, with friends, trying to get past it, to replace thoughts of Laura with softer thoughts, with clouds (alcohol) or oceans (orgasm). To drink heavily. I imagine this person drinking more, until, having to pee, they wander to the red-walled bathroom and stare in the mirror at the dirty hair and burning eyes Laura rejected, did not want, did not love, and not knowing what else to do, the body tenses, the mouth mutters a high-pitched whine, and a fist crashes through the burgundy paint, through the crusty dry wall, exposing pipes and bar lines and the other inner guts of the café.

I know this because I read it on the wall. I love Laura, someone wrote, and I never know what to do—so I hit things and cry sometimes.

I wonder how long that’s been there.

Joseph Riippi was born and raised in Seattle but now lives in Manhattan. He has been a staff writer at several magazines and newspapers, and is currently the Art and Opinion Editor at Beyond Race Magazine. In 2007, he won the Farmhouse Magazine Annual Prize for Fiction.