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…
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. …
“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…
The announcement went out.
Tagged to a series of photographs. Photographs are heartwarming, representing the story of someone’s love. Of their path together. Of the moments they shared and experiences tallied.
And now they’re getting married.
The ring sparkles, even if you find it tacky. Their smiles couldn’t be bigger, even with imperfect teeth or signs of age around their eyes, imperfections can’t hide their perfect happiness.
You don’t sigh. You’re not mad. And yet there’s something inside feeling off. An emotional chain that slipped the spokes when seeing the post. It doesn’t make sense, and yet it does.
Life has a way of presenting you with random encounters. Strange lines of dialog. Out there interactions and weird experiences.
Sometimes you’re left with nothing more than fractured ideas or broken memories. Pieces you can’t do much with other than brush them aside and wait for the day an experience presents itself to you with a crack at the edge. A crack that perfectly accepts the fractured idea you’ve stored in the back of your mind all these years.
And yet other times you’re able to use these strange experiences right away for good. At least good for yourself.
Our world violently shook. The foundation of our temple, for which we had built, cracked and split under the mounting tremors. The split concrete of broken love bisected us. I on one side. My wife on the other. Pillars toppled. The fog of smoke and masonry dust filled the air as everything else collapsed. Our marriage. Our relationship. Our love.
We looked to each other as the world burned.
We walked the final days of man and wife. The divorce wouldn’t go through for months, but we both knew when we flew back home, our feet stepping down onto familiar…
The woman excuses herself, pulling the shopping cart back to open the walkway. She laughs, but I cannot see her smile. The lines of her lips, the swelling of cheeks, the blushing of skin. All of it hidden by a mask. Her exposed eyes meet mine before drifting away. A gateway to the soul, but the mouth is a gateway to emotion.
I continue with my own shopping, passing person after person. Mask after mask. A sea of eyes perched on the fabric walls containing their emotions. Blocking away their feelings. …
Time erodes all things.
It passes like a dream on the other side of memory. Impossible to recall and yet it left its mark. Time moves about you, circles you, smooths you, hardens you. Anything not interwoven into your very being may break free under the constant current of time. Ideas, thoughts, passions, relationships.
Some are slowly sanded away, grain by grain, time smooths away the unnecessary as it cuts its own path. Other times, the break is sudden, violent, damaging. A tree giving way on the edge of rapids, giving itself up, its roots still stuck in the earth.
A few months back I published a little article titled, “Medium is Dying. Follow Me.”
The basis of the article was two-fold. First, due to changes within Medium, the powers that be were having certain publications prohibit, or heavily censor, many of my stories.
At the time I had two stories run back-to-back that net about a quarter of a million views, and within those views, some less than pleased heads were turned. That lead to a phone call from a higher-up, and an essential blackballing for an extended period of time.
I’m a middle child with two sisters. Growing up I regularly came in contact with their boyfriends and, frankly, I regularly came in contact with boyfriends I didn’t like.
Perhaps I was overprotective mentally of my sisters. Maybe I knew they could do better. Whatever the reason, few crossed my path that I cared for. Throughout my adolescent years growing up around my sisters I tweaked and finely tuned my d-bag meter to the point I believe it’s extremely accurate.
Following high school, I’ve only made one real lasting guy friend. Guess I never found the need to add to…