by KARA ALLEN, CSU Public Relations Assistant


I wrote this piece for my dear friend who struggled to remove herself from a relationship that she knew wasn’t perfect, but couldn’t find any reason to leave him. I bring to you, “Obligation”.

Your gaze caught mine from across the room and we sank into it like honey on oatmeal.
I watched your hand with the red solo cup relax as you saw my body language echo admiration.
With piercing attraction and opportunity, you come and talk to me, 
Out of obligation.

I woke up to your button down hitting me mid-thigh, and the smell of last night’s cologne on the collar.
I am greeted by your phone screen illuminating your face, highlighting the few whiskers you have on your chin.
And then you make me scrambled eggs, with some reheated coffee, 
Out of obligation.

Your friends were familiar to me, like the boys I fooled around with during sweet high school summers.
They praise you for finally finding a girl to hang around, and chastise you for not playing video games with them.
And then you say they’re not normally like this, and I laugh,
Out of obligation.

A few dates turned into a few months and your name on my lips became second nature as I showed you my favorite songs.
But you couldn’t sing them,
And you didn’t sing them,
So I changed the playlist
Out of obligation. 

“He’s so sweet” my mother whispered as you got up to take her dishes 
From the meal that I made, in the house that I cleaned, near the bed where I don’t sleep.
And then I smile and say “yeah mom, he is”
Out of obligation.

You didn’t cheat on me, and you never would. And you didn’t hit me, and you never would.
But sometimes “I love you” tasted like vinegar and diamonds are expensive and you shook my father’s hand--
So I say yes to your shaky breath and bent knee...
Out of obligation.

I wanted fog dancing on water and two day unwashed hair and the smell of puppies paws,
But you wanted bicycles and cold beer at happy hour and cinnamon in coffee.
And they were still good things,
Just not the same as mine.
And my guilt was real,
Because the problems with you weren’t.

On a path paved by expectation and caution,
I walked towards my future with a lilies in a clenched hand 

Out of obligation.


Kara Allen is a CSU Public Relations Assistant and is currently a Senior studying Communications at Minnesota State Mankato. Kara is from Grand Rapids, MN and has grown up loving to write in her free time; finding the hidden idiosyncrasies within herself through the writing. She plans on pursuing a career in Public Relations for the U.S. Army and continuing on with writing for enjoyment. 

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