Cake in the morning

Cake in the morning

The wedding cake sits uncut in the grand hall. Lights twinkle and dance around the room, through gold streamers hanging from the ceiling. But on my wedding night I find myself conversing with myself. Only myself. Those thoughts not worth sharing, or too personal, or too embarrassing to share. With friends or anyone else. Age has never been a hindrance to me. Nor would I let it be tonight. Not wearing (dad)-blue jeans and New Balance shoes with a hoodie stamped with my daughter’s college. Not ravaged by divorce, or bittered by tragedy, or lost completely in the unending march of time. That is not me. But she, my beautiful 19-year-old bride, so pure in white, glowing so earnestly in the center of the room. Still young enough to understand that you must give off light, not reflect it. Most people have none. She, so young, is willing to be my wife out of the innate respect that come from connection; the deep feeling inside that transcends milieu, that should be called love (though, certainly not of the natural, meet-cute kind Hollywood would have us create from dreams and fantasies). And I, myself, being the only person with whom I can discuss it. I have no desire to be… used up? Not at all. Well one might think that it isn’t really their choice. Time has a funny way of taking everything from you, including your youthful vigor. If I might be so bold? You might. Focus not on how you might stay young. Focus instead on who you are no matter what your age. I am seventeen years...
I am everything that is wrong

I am everything that is wrong

I am everything that is wrong with my generation. I am Millenial that would rather sit in bed all day with a laptop than go to work and make money. I watch porn when I have deadlines. I get dressed only if I’m going to be in contact with other people. I want to do better, but I don’t. I look for the easy way out. I go to the bar with my friends and laugh and drink all night when I have to get up for work in the morning. I spend my days being lazy and my nights doing whatever I want. I know my grandfather is judging me (or I would if I believed in heaven, which I don’t). I am wrong because I know I could be someone great if I wanted to get out of my warm bed on winter mornings. I know I should be someone great, if only I could be convinced that would make me happier than I am here under the covers. I know that I should (could?) be someone great, but when the most important things in my life are my pizza, my computer, and my cat it’s hard to stay motivated. I might die alone. Or I might find a girl that believes all of these things the same as me and we’ll stay in bed together watching Netflix and debating whether or not peanuts are a better snack then popcorn, and then realizing that if we just get Crunch ‘n Munch we can have both. I like to stay in bed and read. Right now I’m reading Yasunari Kawabata’s...
Rusty

Rusty

She was known around the neighborhood. We called her Rusty because there was a rumor going around, probably started by one of the kids who didn’t know anyway, that the hair between her legs was the red color of rust and aren’t the neighborhood kids so funny? I didn’t know really what she did. I asked my older brother why no one in the neighborhood would talk to her, only cars from the other side of Empire Street. He laughed and he slapped me upside the head and told me not to be an idiot. “You know what she does,” he said. “I don’t.” My brother stared at me. He said, “She has sex for money. She’s a prostitute. You think she is standing outside at the end of the block for what? She waits, they come. They pay.” As far as I knew paying for sex was something that only happened in movies and it made me feel some strange kind of way in my stomach I can’t describe. Who comes and who pays? Teachers at school maybe. Or the people I see on television. My brother shook his head. “It’s no one we know,” he said. “Guys who come up from the sewer.” I was 10 years old and only starting to understand how the world works. I went one Saturday afternoon after a bad rainstorm and asked her about it. I was a scrawny kid with glasses and probably not at all threatening and she looked down at me with a crooked smile and patted my head with her hand. Her nails were long, too long I thought,...
Thank you, mom

Thank you, mom

The first thing I knew about my mom was that she loved the countryside; fields of grass and flowers in the summer and white snow in the winter. The second thing I learned about my mom was that her patience was as long as the Mississippi River, was as wide as the Grand Canyon, was as deep as the Pacific Ocean. But when it was gone it was gone and not coming back. Thank you for loving me when I know it was difficult so do so. I got sick a lot. I would stay home from school. Physically sick, or just sick of all the finger-pointing, teasing classmates that took so much time out of their day to make other kids miserable. Thank you for taking care of me when I was sick, even (or especially) the times I didn’t have a fever. And thank you for taking care of me, but also for not taking care of me when it was time to stand on my own two feet. You knew as well as I should have that you weren’t always going to be there to pick me up, so thank you for giving me two feet to stand on and carry me when you couldn’t. What I never learned about my mom was what she gave up to have me. To make me. To create me practically out of thin air, like magic, like nothing. I never learned that she dropped out of college to give me a life. That she quit her degree in biology to create mine. That I became her life in a...
An old man’s story

An old man’s story

I’ve discovered both how long and how short my story is. I know how much can happen in a moment, but also that, in the end, all moments will drown in the waves of time. I know how you can miss a whole forest by just looking at the trees. I must deal with my importance, and my insignificance, and try to find a balance between the two. I get lost somewhere in the middle, knowing that what I do and what I say and what I feel is eternal, and meaningless. An old man’s story I still remember how her skin felt beneath my fingers. Because I am old now I have had a chance to look back and understand things I never understood before. I can appreciate these moments, keep them from slipping away from me. I have no regrets. My only sadness is that both my wife and my son are gone before me. My wife was a good woman, and she went in her sleep. When I remember her, I remember her young. I remember her smiling, soft to touch and light to laugh. The way I married her. The way we were to each other inside, and out. My son’s death was less so. He was a pilot for a cargo company. He flew all around the world. On a return trip from South Africa one night near Christmas he ran out of fuel about fifty miles east of Nova Scotia. He was forced to land his plan in the freeze of the Atlantic Ocean. He jumped into the water without his suit on....
Conversations with a whorehouse doorman (NSFW)

Conversations with a whorehouse doorman (NSFW)

A doorman sees everything. It’s part of the job. And when you work the door of a popular brothel on Große Freiheit Straße (“Great Freedom Street”) along the Reeperbahn (Europe’s largest Red Light District), you see more than your fair share. But it’s not just about nightclubs, 6AM shots of brandy, or prostitution. There is a lot of history in St. Pauli. A million stories running through the cracks and spilling out onto the street. A million people with a million different views, scents, and sounds for the world to absorb. A doorman, then, becomes more than just a doorman. A doorman becomes a gatekeeper of experience, a holder of secrets, a monolith at the mouth of pleasures, memories, emotions. This is one doorman’s story. The doorman POV I start when the sun goes down. The Reeperbahn is busy most nights, but especially so on weekends when the suit and tie people don’t have to wake up early in the morning. Mostly I give directions, tell people where to go. I tell them not to come inside unless they want a woman, and if they want a woman that they have to pay. I am like a stoplight. You know? I say when to stop, when to wait, when to go. People listen to me. They must. We get the kids drunk asking how much, how much. Some of them serious, most of them not. I don’t want to be mean, but I must be firm. If they can’t pay, or they are too drunk, then I tell them to leave. They listen. I’m not supposed to be physical unless there...