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I want to stay with you as long as you’ll have me.

This is specifically for you.

If you’re reading this it’s because you’ve taken the time out of your busy day to read other works of mine and have decided to follow my profile.

First of all, I just want to let you know how meaningful that is to me. The fact that you’d read my work and often comment really means a great deal. We may have even shared a few back and forths in the comments section (and if I missed some of yours I’m sorry. I don’t mean to. …

No, really. Kick back and listen while I read my stories to you.

Who doesn’t love a good audiobook?

I know I sure do.

And even when I love to read, there’s just times I can’t get to it. Or I can’t concentrate. Or I just want to pop on something I can fall asleep to.

That’s why I’ve decided to start recording some of my own stories, just for you.

No, I didn’t use any text-to-speech bot, or pay someone to do it. The voice you hear is mine. I do add in some sound effects and music for atmosphere (because I love when audiobooks do that).

The three I’ve prepared for…

I intended on leaving it buried.

Lights dimmed to twilight overhead.

The cabin disappeared into a constellation of attendant call signs.

Just after midnight, the jet engines yawned awake, stretching their wings.

I leaned back into the window seat. Little to see but glowing red batons in a sea of black, I slid the shade shut.

The steward directed the attention of passengers to monitors on seatbacks. Seat belt fastening instructions for anyone who hadn’t been in a motor vehicle since the 60s.

I closed my eyes, wishing for sleep, but knew it wouldn’t come. I never slept on flights. Not well, at least. A man…

For anything new to begin, something must first end.

Coldness reflected off the gray paint in the bedroom.

An empty room, except for a lonely bed.

An empty bed occupied by myself and my thoughts.

Wrapped in white bedding, I hid my head from the void around me. I didn’t want to look. I didn’t want to accept. I didn’t want the life I now lived.

Clouded sunlight from the window above failed to warm the blanket. The open window letting in a Michigan January made sure of that.

Suddenly lost in a very real reality I didn’t know what to do. …

I needed it to be different.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked.

I nodded swiftly, a reflex before my brain could catch up.

If I let myself think, If I let myself sift through memories, my entire body might shut down.

My bare chest pressed against her exposed skin. She lay there, calm, looking at me. My body shook From fear. From excitement. From a bottleneck of emotions, I didn’t fully understand.

A sliver of moonlight sliced in through the lone window above the bed. It caught just enough of her eyes. I looked away. They weren’t the eyes I knew. The…

Sometimes your memories are all about the smell.

There’s something about smell.

Aroma. Odor. Funk. Musk. Whatever you want to call a smell, there’s something about it.

You hate it. You crave it. You miss it. You gag at it.

Few senses instantly pull the kind of physical and emotional reactions as smell. If I ever walked past my ex-wife in a crowd and our hands touched, I wouldn’t recognize it to be her. But the smell of her hair would pull me around. Would fish for memories. Memories that might pull my lips into a smile or a frown.

All the power of a smell.

And yet…

Where does the love go?

Readers please note: this story discusses suicide. If you need help, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The wooden pew moaned under my weight.

Under the weight of the room.

Under the weight of the silent people in it, afraid to speak. Not sure what to say, or how to say it.

The moan lingered in the air, trapped under the roof of the funeral home. Or maybe I held onto it longer than it ever existed. The idea it had once filled the room and yet no longer existed.

Like the idea of the man in the closed casket…

It’s difficult to stop when life is on autopilot.

Another sign for the roadside attraction.

Another sign, counting down the miles.

I had no itinerary. I could stop if I wanted to. When I wanted to. But did I want to stop? Should I keep going? I look to the seat behind me. One dog leans her head out the window, ears catching the wind, tongue flapping in the breeze. The other dog’s head rests on the seat divider. She’s watching me. Waiting to see what I’ll do. She’ll go where I go. What choice does she have?

I scratch at her wide head. Pit heads are perfect for…

While driving through space I texted back in time.

I didn’t know if I should do it.

The message typed out, the “send” button waiting.

If I pressed it, would things change? Would something inside of me open? A light inside of me once out suddenly dim, growing brighter?

Would emotions come back I’d long left behind? Buried in the past, yet resurrected with the press of a glass screen?

I sat in my parked truck, tank full, the gas station overhang protecting from rain.

I turned the screen off.

I turned it back on.

The message remained.

The number long-deleted yet long stored in my own memories hanging…

You can’t always live your life for someone else

A million voices.

A million reasons to go. A million reasons to stay. To pick up everything and move. To remain contempt and remain.

The desire to explore a new life. To try a new location. To experience new surroundings. And yet the thought of others tugs at you like a firm hand. Your family, your friends, your nieces, and nephews and the guy who knows how you like a sandwich made.

It’s all there, pulling you back, whispering into your ear to stay. To remain. But do you listen to yourself and let your own mind decide? …

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