A few sentences from Sundown

I saw Sundown as she was and as she would always be in my memories, fragile and lonely and in need of a friend, someone to trust, a young woman with dreams and hopes without clarity. All of the time I spent with her went by too fast and yet my last memory of her seems to slow down, way down, as if to draw out the pain and remind me of regret.

One day Sundown had led me by the hand from the backyard into the tool shed behind her house and stood close to me, so close, her pink shirt pressed against my jacket, her hands on my shoulders, her face so close that a whisper sounded like a scream. The shed was dark and dirty and wooden and full of tools with fresh coats of oil to keep them from rusting. I could smell the oil and old grass, and I could see slivers of sunlight coming through the window as the afternoon was giving way to early evening. I saw everything except Sundown.

Developing a writing habit

The thing about being a writer is that my ideas and my words are my currency. If I don’t capture them in something I lose them. And I have too many lost story ideas, too many lost quotes, too many lost opportunities. So the habit of writing is just a matter of overcoming that loss.

Awkward silence in conversation

“Would you like a coffee?” he said.

“No thank you,” she said. “Sorry I’m late. This Panera is hard to find.”

“It’s ok. I almost didn’t make it myself.” The truth is, I didn’t want to come at all.

“Yeah, when your dad set up this date, I wondered. I guess he figured since I’m 20 and you’re 22, we’d be a good fit.”

“Is your hair naturally blonde?”

“Yes, it is. I guess I’m lucky to have nice hair.”

“Mmm, yeah,” he said. It distracts people from your horse face and horrible overbite.

“I dropped out of high school and I hate my job. I hate the people I work with, I hate the children, I hate everything.”

“Oh, that’s too bad. I’m a fan of Schopenhauer. His writings about living in the present are very compelling. You should read his work. I think you’d get a lot out of it.”

“God, I need to find a new job. Mine is so boring. And the part of town where I live is so lame too.”

“I’m sure you’re a lot of fun on your own.” Ugh. “I want to be a writer. That’s what I plan to study when I go back to school this Fall. I want to introduce a new style of short story, something that reflects what our generation is looking for in modern writing.”

“Oh, right, um, that’s nice,” she said. “I think writing is a good thing to do, but I don’t really like it.”

“…”

“Awkward silence!”

“What kinds of books do you like?”

“Romance novels.”

“Well, it was nice hanging out with you, but I need to get going. I’m going to a bookstore before they close.”

“Oh, ok. Well, text me if you want to hang out sometime.”

“I will.” I won’t.

Home is where I belong

All roads lead me back to where it all began, where I hope it ends, but not before I want it to, not until I’m ready. You’ll see: there will be a barbecue, and boats, and people eating ice cream cones while classic cars drive up and down a road that is only one way, their hoods tied down and locked and their headlights covered in acrylic. The sun will peep in and out, shining down on the water and back up at itself, smiling in its own reflection before shyly hiding behind clouds.

The sky turns a special shade of blue at night. Azure and azul and bleu and blau. There’s nothing else like it that I have ever seen. The air outside is cool and calm. The soaring trees move not at all; it is only after I stare at their tops that they finally seem to budge.

Or maybe it’s me.

COMMISERATE! COMMISERATE!

Daleks make me feel sad. Every time I see them in episodes of Doctor Who, I secretly hope that they’ll finally agree that their survival is more important than the extermination of, well, every single living thing in the universe.

They’re so cute, with their cute little ears that glow cutely when the Daleks not-so-cutely shriek, er, speak, and their cute little eye-noses that go up and down as they struggle to process the emotions of everyone around them. I love the slow turns of their heads, seemingly deliberate, limited not by technology but their patience for the as-yet unexterminated creatures that deign to still exist.

I love their little plunger hands, and their shower-head optical assemblies, and the whirr of their movements as they shuffle about, whirring toward the Doctor and his companion, or a hapless victim, before they take flight and rapidly ascend and descend while attacking all the humans running in fear.

Every now and then a Dalek opens up and reveals its inner Dalek, a gross, congealed mess of effects, and I shake my head. I don’t like to think of my beloved Daleks as so ugly. I like the black casing of Dalek Sec, before he merged with a human and wore spats and a zoot suit. No, I like my Daleks like I like my cats: cute and cuddly and bent on domination of the universe.

The first Dalek I ever saw was trapped in a sort of disturbed museum, and the whole thing reminded me of that episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation entitled “The Most Toys,” in which Data is abducted by a fervent collector. Anyway, Rose touched the Dalek and it gained consciousness and then it died. All the Daleks I’ve seen die have either been by each other or Rose. You know, I don’t think I’ve seen the Doctor specifically kill a Dalek, now that I think about it. He shows them compassion.

Think about that: Compassion for the most dangerous entity in the universe, compassion that leads to the survival of a species of creatures that would rather be alone in the universe than come to terms with their own emotions, creatures that consistently and fervently try to kill the Doctor and everyone else.

Maybe the Doctor sees them the same way I do: too cute to live without.

Shortness Sweetness

I always fancied myself un enfant terrible, albeit un who grappled with the expectation that he must fit in. Perhaps the surest path to being avant-garde is through uniqueness masquerading as conformity.

I had a teacher once who could not pronounce foreign words with any kind of accuracy. Adagio became “A-duh-joe.” Hearing it made me feel anything but at ease. I dared not correct her. Nothing angered her more than having her errors pointed out to her, with an audience of students no less. She was in charge of the spelling competition. I couldn’t accurately spell the words because I couldn’t understand what she was saying. It was my first taste of my shortcoming masquerading as unfairness. I learned to adapt after that.

Or “A-duh-put,” as it were.

Questions

Do you know where you’ll be when you die? Will other people be there? Will you wish you were alone? Will you be able to say your last words? Will someone hear them? Will you choose your words carefully? Will they be by what people remember you? Will people remember you? Will anyone you dislike show up to your funeral?

Do you think other people wonder when they’ll die? Will other people be there when other people die?

Will you miss life?

Will life miss you?

that’s my good boy

Hiro is my dog. He is a chocolate Labrador Retriever. I love him more than life itself.

The origin of Hiro’s name, the story, goes like this: we were on our way to my brother’s house to watch “Heroes” when we stopped at the Lab breeder and found our dog. There was a character on that show named “Hiro.” And further to that, Zoe was reading Snow Crash at the time and was totally in love with Hiro Protagonist, the main character in that book. It all came together. My dog’s name is Hiro.

Anybody who is a dog owner knows how awesome dogs are. Anyone who knows a dog owner knows how crazy we are about our dogs. But you see, my dog is special. He’s not like other dogs. Hiro, well, Hiro understands me. Hiro knows what I’m feeling and how to make me feel better when I’m sad. Hiro knows how to make me feel like someone really understands what I think and feel.

“Pish posh,” you say. “My dog does the same thing. All dogs wag their tails when their owners are excited.”

Sure, sure, that’s true. And your dog is awesome too. I love other people’s dogs. But the thing is, I’ve spent my whole life feeling completely and utterly alone on this planet, and Hiro is the only other living thing that seems to be in tune with what churns inside me. Other people try, and I love them for it; in fact, I don’t want them to stop trying. But Hiro, well, Hiro just fucking gets me.

Sometimes I like to think that Hiro was sent here with me in my spaceship, and we got separated after the crash. And just by chance, we found each other, and now he brings peace to my turmoil.

Or he’s just a dog. I don’t really care. As long as he loves me and snuggles me and looks at me with that Lab face when I look at him, I can accept what he is. And maybe, just maybe, I can accept myself too.