Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sour Grapes.

Up visiting from a charmless winter,
She gives a sound to me.
“Here,” she says. “Take it. It’s yours.”
It carries no weight,
And it does not move me.
It is a dull gray murmur
That makes me realize even more:

I should never have come here.

Where are your clothes?
She asks me,
calling me different names
All morning.

Why did you come here?
An implication
I am currently familiar with.
Sidled with a sad indifference and
A series of regrettable decisions that
Neither one of us were prepared to make
As children.

Why are you so quiet?
In the car
Driving home,
And it lingers there,
But only for a second.

We had to shout last night.
We were dancing and then we kissed
In your sisters room
And -

Why are you so quiet?


I am looking straight ahead.
I am trying to see through
These low clouds
To better make sense
Of what it means
To get older

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

And still . . .

Something a lot of people don't know about Jimmy Carter is that he used to eat frogs. From the time he was 13 to when he was 19, he used to eat them as practice - should he ever get lost in some Georgia marsh and have nothing to eat. He cooked them over fires mostly, tried a few boiled, and once, when he was 17, he braved one raw. Just bit right into it's skull and gagged reflexively as soon as he heard that little "crunch" and "squish." At 20, Jimmy Carter ("Crazy Jimbo" to his friends) soon realized that he would never possess the ineptitude that would allow for him to become lost in a Georgia marsh.

This story is entirely made up.

I sometimes think of God this way: a made up story about a man eating frogs in a Georgia marsh.
I can't put a band-aid where it needs to go.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I could sit around and keep trying to make sense of Ulysses

Or I could just learn everything I ever wanted to know from Bill Watterson.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Informally, adiue.

You were suddenmotion
Stopped. a still-gliding
Realism suspended, looking
Down and smiling. My own tongue's
Tentative steps across a tightrope, looking
Overly aware of infinity,
and tornadoes,
Of Allocution(s)
Accidentally tripping hopelessly
over and over and over again,
Covered in salt and spit,
losing speed, but flooding,
spilling all over the world and asking:
What if you were supposed to be a second language?
"Je vous aime, aussi," You said,
And the world evaporated
into brilliant and small
Forgettable recollections;
always spinning,
always laughing,

And still–
You never lost your balance.

I lost my balance.
I fell.
I looked back and watched
As you got smaller and smaller
Until I couldn't even recognize you anymore.

You took a more convincing fall off that rope
(But don't think
I didn't see your legs shaking before.
Don't think I didn't see you
Lose your balance),

And while now,
Years later, you are trying again to walk across that string, I would very much like to close my eyes and forget
that I was
ever in a position
to look down at the world
and smile.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I just tried to write a poem.
Fuck poems.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


The sun exploded. It exploded with no hesitation. There was no forethought to it, certainly no afterthought, and absolutely no regard whatsoever for anything else in the solar system. There was a "Geeze, is it hot enough for ya?" shouted somewhere in the middle of a city, by a man of no significance, to no one in particular, and then the earth turned black like a marshmallow fallen into a campfire.

That morning, in a kitchen, just before being turned to cinders, Kelly Henderson held a frying pan under a stream of warm water in her sink to clean off the egg residue leftover from her breakfast. More than anything, Kelly wanted to learn how to salsa dance. She wanted to know what it felt like to move suggestively in public, to lead with her hips, to capture the attention of a room full of strangers. There was a flash and Kelly fried faster than her eggs.

Salsa dancing now exists nowhere in the universe because the sun exploded.

Elsewhere that day, Simon Sherman, a man who enjoyed the fact he had two first names, whistled along the sidewalk while he walked to get his morning coffee. In the midst of his stroll, he recited the only French phrase he knew to himself in his head. Je vous pense tout le temps, he thought, over and over, hopeful that he might catch a certain young lady's attention that day. There was a distinct sound, a pop, the same kind of noise a small bubble blown out of gum makes when it expands to quickly, a precipitous explosion of heat, and the girl (Eileen Anderson was her name) was no longer around (nor was anybody else for that matter) to find out how much he thought about her.

Because the sun exploded, French currently exists in only two other places in the universe.

A young girl named Lizzie woke up that morning with the vague notion that it was going to be an odd day. Having lost her grandmother to lung cancer earlier that month, Lizzie had formulated a shaky comprehension of the concept of death, though it was full of holes and abstractions. Before her Grandmother passed, she had pulled Lizzie tightly into her arms, squeezed her with what little strength she had left and whispered, "I'll miss you, my Lizzie. But don't be sad. I've been so happy with my life."

Lizzie was under the impression that as long as you were happy, death was really nothing to worry about.

Walking into the kitchen, Lizzie discovered that her Father had woken up early to make her her favorite breakfast: French Toast. The little girl smiled and laughed and whirled and clapped her hands, and then there was a flash and then there was nothing.

It really wasn't anything to worry about.

I'm going to go crazy if I don't get some sleep soon.

Years ago (pause to think of a substantial memory), when I was (young, naive, optimistic?) more fun to be around, I had this idea that things had a way of working themselves out. If this were true, (pause to think of example) you could dismantle a wristwatch, throw all of the pieces into the air, and, when it landed, expect it to reassemble perfectly to form a fully functional working timepiece. Laying awake in bed, at this junction in my life, I still can't help but ask myself: "Where am I?"

Friday, October 29, 2010

Every time Gary showered he felt guilty. How could he not, with so many people dropping dead all over the world? The warm water that fired onto his face and cascaded from his chin down to his neck, shoulders, and legs, no longer brought relief to Gary, or a sense of cleanliness. No, now whenever Gary showered all he thought about were people in third world countries who had no clean water to drink. And then there was Gary, going and making it dirty.

But was he really all that dirty to begin with?

Gary decided he would shower less frequently.

And so it was that Gary decided to only shower every other day. This worked for a while, but soon Gary was in the habit of only showering once weekly.

But this was not enough for Gary, while simultaneously being too much. He decided to modify the way he showered as a whole. Instead of one constant stream of water, Gary would turn the faucet on only when necessary, so as to not waste any more water than he needed to. Gary would turn on the shower to wet his hair, but then would turn it off to apply his shampoo, turning it on again when it was time to rinse. Conditioner and body wash were also administered this way.

This rinse cycle was successful for Gary until the winter came, when the intermittent breaks between hot water eventually led to his catching pneumonia.

Gary died.

But before he did, right before he did, mere moments, mere seconds before his neck went limp and his tongue fell loosely out of his mouth like a sock puppet on the stump of an amputee, he turned to his few remaining friends (The ones who could look past how horribly Gary smelled) and whispered, "At least now there will be more to go around." Then, promptly, he died. One of Gary's friends turned to the other and said, "Just like Gary. Always considerate of everyone else's time."

Gary wasn't buried properly and his dead body eventually contaminated a natural spring, giving an entire small town dysentery.

The End.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hurricane Season

"If you could sum up your entire life," he said, rolling over top of her, kissing her forehead, her bottom lip, her neck, moving down to her collarbone, down over her still-damp skin, to her navel, where the girl, eyes closed, concentrated on the sound of his shoulders slipping underneath the covers, receding like an ocean, his soft lips and tongue dancing gently over her body, going farther still, she the world, his mouth a careful traveler, his hot breath a hurricane, moving south, slipping past her hips, the equator, where it was clear and warm, where everything inside of her began picking up speed, where she cracked her toes and grabbed the sheets and sighed and with a sharp breath said, "Why ruin it with words?"

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Sam was exhausted. Six months after Eric left for Chicago to pursue his acting career, she could no longer live with the burden of her constant and overwhelming loneliness. Every night its weight pressed down on top of her until it became so heavy she could no longer draw a full breath. The strain of her loneliness reminded her so much of Eric, of his heaviness, of his body on top of hers, she feared that without it there would be nothing left to remind her that love was a tangible thing.
“I miss you,” she would say, quietly into the phone at night.
“I miss you, too” he said, his voice distant and reassuring. “We’ll see each other soon. I promise.” But night after night his promise felt farther and farther away.
Sam sat up in bed one night and stared at the phone. She admitted to herself that she was lonely, but refused to present herself desperately, and decided against calling Eric. An hour passed with Sam sitting up like this, staring at the phone, clock ticking. Taking a deep breath she nodded to herself and bit her lower lip, reaffirming her own quiet contemplation. Pulling off the covers she stomped confidently to the closet and swung open the doors. She felt around blindly on the top shelf until she located an old shoebox. Bringing it back to bed with her, she opened it to reveal a small handgun. She picked it up and frowned, bobbing it to test its weight.
She hated guns. She pleaded with Eric to take it with him to Chicago when he left, but he instead insisted she keep it for her safety. Setting it aside, she closed her eyes, looking deep inside herself in search of her loneliness. When she found it, with great deliberation and care, she plucked it out.
Loneliness in hand, she bounced it up and down to test its weight. Aside from the fact it was lighter than she expected, it was a different color, too. She folded it delicately and carefully placed it into the box. Having been satisfied with this arrangement, she picked up the handgun and fitted it snuggly next to her solitary ribbon. She returned it to the closet and hopped playfully back into bed for her first restful night of sleep in six months.

With the absence of loneliness, Samantha got along swimmingly. There was noticeable improvement in her demeanor, especially at work. She smiled more, helped more, and was friendlier with her coworkers; especially their most recent hire, Brad.
“You seem lighter,” He said one day, after a group of them had gone to lunch. It should be mentioned her appetite was better, too.
“Are you saying I was fat before?” She joked, in that annoying rhetorical way all women do, in matters regarding weight and size.
“Not at all,” he smiled. “I just think you look unburdened, is all.”
She touched his arm. She liked that idea.

That night, Samantha told Eric about her day, he about his.
“I miss you,” he said.
Samantha smiled through the phone and nodded her head. A warm silence filled the line. It quickly became hot and uncomfortable. Eric cleared his throat.
“Don’t you miss me, too?” he said.
Samantha furrowed her brow. “Well, I remember you more than anything else,” she said. “But, it’s strange; I hardly miss you at all.”
“Oh!” She exclaimed, suddenly remembering. “And I love you. There’s that, too”
“But you don’t miss me?”
“Not really.”

Samantha fell into a deep and despairing depression. It must be recognized that a symmetry exists between all emotions. If one becomes engorged or shrinks (or in Sam’s case, disappears entirely), other emotions, when triggered, will overproduce as a means of compensation. Realizing that without loneliness she lacked the capacity to miss Eric, Sam was filled with sadness. This sadness ballooned and doubled in size to fill the spot where loneliness once belonged. It sank down inside of her with a weight that Samantha had never before experienced with loneliness. At least with loneliness, there was optimism. But her sadness was so thick and viscous it was all she could do not to think about the handgun she had neatly tucked away.
Dragging herself out of bed, she scrambled to the closet and ripped open its doors, falling to the floor to look for more shoeboxes. When she found one, she again looked inside of herself and – without the same generosity she had applied to her loneliness – tugged out her sadness and shoved it in the box. She sighed, relieved.
The alleviation was momentary.
Unhappiness inflated inside of her, three times its usual size. Samantha groaned, bloated with melancholy. Frantic, she tore through the closet for another shoebox. She jerked out unhappiness, threw it into the tiny, cardboard coffin and firmly shut its lid. Her relief was again abbreviated. She was filled with four times the usual amount of dejection.

This cycle continued into the early morning.

When she wrangled out dejection it was quickly replaced with depression. After depression she wrestled with gloominess, despondence, glumness and misery. When she ran out of shoeboxes she scrambled into the kitchen to fill her pots and pans with woes. Tightly securing their lids, she treated her heartaches like shamefully burned dinners. When she ran through her cookware, she used Tupperware containers, her laundry hamper, and vacuum bags.
As the early morning light dusted its way through her windows, Sam sat upright on the floor. Breathing heavily, she registered her surroundings. Containers stuffed with low spirits – all shapes, sizes, and colors of them – littered her apartment. There was vagueness to the clutter in front of her, and it made her feel strangely unbalanced; like someone had snuck into her body and hollowed out her bones. She tried standing. Wobbling to her feet, the soft fingers of the sunrise slowly stretched into her apartment and warmed her. There was lightness inside. Without sleeping, she showered, dressed, and left for work, elated.

“What is it with you lately?” Brad asked, squinting into the bright afternoon sun as they left the diner. It was just the two of them at lunch. “You seem light as a feather!”
“I don’t know,” Sam said, unable to keep herself from smiling. “I feel like I don’t have a care in the world anymore!” She closed her eyes and let the sunlight lap at her face.
“I don’t know how you do it,” he said. “I think it’s incredible you can live like that, ya know? You’re just, WOW.”
Smiling even wider, she hugged him. She enjoyed the broadness of his shoulders, the softness of his cheek. She wanted to hug him longer, but needed to get more shoeboxes.

That night on the phone, Samantha looked out to the street curb where she had brought out the garbage. Droplets of water formed on the black bags in the night’s drizzle, making them glow orange under the streetlight. She found this both symbolic and beautiful. In fact, everything was beautiful. Without anything inside of her to make her sad, there was nothing left in the world but beautiful things. Like Brad and his shoulders.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am right now,” she said to Eric. “I can’t find a single thing to be sad about. Everything is wonderful!”
“What about the fact we’re not together?” he asked. “Doesn’t that make you even the littlest bit sad? It breaks my heart everyday.”
With the onset of guilt, Samantha felt like she swallowed an anchor. She assumed (wrongly) that she had ridden herself of weight related emotions, but guilt differs from sadness in the way it’s self-inflicting. Without saying goodbye, she hung up the phone and clawed her way into the living room, where a new stack of shoeboxes longed to be filled with her feelings.

Unburdened by guilt, Samantha slept with Brad. There was no reason not too; none that she could think of anyway. She was free to scratch his strong shoulders, free to have him kiss her on the collarbone; free to call out his name during sex in the bed she used to share with Eric. She was curious at first as to why her love for Eric didn’t intervene with her decision to sleep with Brad, but she hadn’t taken into account that without loneliness, love has no balance. For Sam, love lost its vigor – its shine.

Everyone knows fear of loss is what makes love so strong.

After sex, Brad became affectionate with Samantha, nuzzling her neck while he whispered about how wonderful he thought she was. She enjoyed this at first, but soon grew bored with it. She took out her boredom and put it in a box. Without boredom, there was no way to contrast excitement, no way to discern between dullness and enthusiasm. To avoid Brad’s affection, she removed her own. Now, whenever they slept together, Samantha laid perfectly still; like a cold, rough brick.

Eric called. “Why haven’t I heard from you?” he wanted to know. With great ease, she told him about Brad. She went on to tell him that since she wasn’t lonely anymore, she hardly noticed he wasn’t around.
“I don’t even recognize you.” Eric cried through the phone. And while Samantha could no longer feel guilty, or sad about the way she had treated him, she did understand where he was coming from. Nodding to herself while he sobbed, she quickly scribbled down understanding onto a notepad. When the phone call was over she put it in a box and tucked it away with the rest of her collection, so it too could gather dust and grow stale.

Brad stopped sleeping with Sam after growing tired of her indifference. Sam would have removed her indifference but was indifferent to it. Eric no longer called. Love withered up and bounced around uselessly inside of her like a dry, dead fish. She casually tossed it aside one day like a tissue she had used to blot a scab with. Her relationships at work began to suffer.

“Sam’s a bitch,” Brad said. “A stone, cold bitch.”

But this did not bother her. By the time this was said the only emotions she had left to speak of were practicality and indifference. She felt it impractical to have friends in the workplace, and removing practicality seemed too impractical.
Sam went on to rent out the extra room in her apartment where she stored her emotions. She felt it very practical to do so.
“What should I do about all these boxes?” The grad-student renting the room asked.
“Just do whatever,” Sam said. She was very indifferent about it.

Sam lived practically and indifferently for some time. It made the years go by very quickly. Worrying about things or celebrating holidays or looking forward to anything seemed redundant. It wasn’t convenient and she no longer cared.

One day, Sam searched her room for a missing sock. Reaching under her bed, thinking she found it, she grabbed hold of a soft texture and pulled. It was a long since discarded emotion. Turning it this way and that in her hand, she tried to place it. It would be impractical of her not to find out what it was before throwing it away. It turned out to be worry. Once it took root deep inside her, she erupted into tidal waves of anxiousness. Her insides felt like a washing machine.
Samantha was distraught. When did she become so barren? She worried she would never laugh again. She worried she would never cry again. She worried she would never love again.
Oh God, she groaned.
She worried about Eric. She worried she would never see him again, or speak to him again, or make love to him again. Frantically, she made her way to the phone and called him. A brief conversation revealed he was engaged to be married, and very happy. Also, he would like to never hear from her again. She hung up. She worried she waited to long to reach out to him. She worried where the time went. She worried she would soon be too old to ever be in love again.
Where did her love go?
Samantha pounced on the door of her tenant’s bedroom. “Tenant!” she cried, beating the wood with her fists. “Tenant!”
She never learned her occupant’s name. She never cared to. She now worried this approach was too impersonal. The tenant came to the door.

Sam: What did you do with my shoeboxes?
Tenant: Threw them away. You’re not angry are you?
Sam: No, but I’m terribly worried.
Tenant: Maybe they’re at the dump?
Sam: Yes, that seems very practical, but I’m worried it’s too late.

At the dump, Sam took one look at the mountainous range of hot trash before deciding that diving in to look for anything would be impractical. Then she worried. Then she didn’t care. She wanted to cry, but couldn’t because she had no sadness. She concentrated hard on what it might feel like, but it was no use. It was like trying to draw a picture with an eraser.
“See anything you like?” a voice behind her asked. She turned to find a dirty man in a dirty jumpsuit, walking up to her and smiling. She looked him up in down. She worried he might try to kill her and then bury her in garbage. “You don’t look like the usual crowd of people who comes around here looking for stuff,” the dirty man said, smiling and wiping his hands off on his jumpsuit. “I’m George; I work here.”
He nodded to her. He knew better than to offer his dirty hand.
“I’m Sam,” she said, turning back to the garbage. “I’m looking for shoeboxes.”
“Yes, shoeboxes. There were very important things in them and I’m worried I might not get them back.”
“Things like, Jewelry?”
“No. Sentimental things.”
“I think I know what you’re talking about,” the man said, fishing for something in his pocket.
“You do?” said Sam, turning, conscious of the fact she was supposed to feel optimistic.
From his jumpsuit, the dirty man produced a small, colorful article and rubbed it between his thumb and forefinger. He looked down at it fondly. Clearing his throat, he said: “A few years back we got all these shoeboxes. They were piling up all over the place, a big Mountain of ‘em. We thought it was a shoe recall so we opened ‘em up hoping to get some crappy free shoes. But instead it was just these textures and colors.” The man looked up and smiled. “All of these beautiful consistencies.”
“Did you find any love?” Sam asked.
“There was a box that kind of gave me that feeling,” the man said, looking up. “I mailed it to my sister, though. I thought she would have appreciated it more.”
“Can you tell me how to get in touch with her?”
“She lives in Chicago,” he said. “I think she’d be pretty reluctant to give it up. You can have this one, though.” Reaching out his hand, he handed her the material he was holding. “Sorry it’s so dirty. I found it in one of the boxes, next to this lonely little handgun. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away; it was the most beautiful color.”

Back at home, Sam looked at her discarded practicality and worry on her floor. She tried doing away with indifference but didn’t see the point. The clock beside her bed read 11: 41 P.M., while she played with the soft texture in her hands. She decided that it was, in fact, a beautiful color. Looking deep inside of her, she carefully put it back in the spot she had pulled it from, and immediately felt the weight of it push all the air from her lungs.

-Ian Rowe

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New (old) town

And in a fury of optimism, I am off.
March, the only reference to the clock,
Spinning, Sings:
“It is dark here.
There is newness where you cannot sleep.”

I am waiting.
For that sudden ease of optimism, again
With my coat on
My heart, sagging, like an old elephant’s face,
only just as grey, speaks softly
“It is dark here. You have slept here before.”
You can speak up now, I say
It is only me.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


You blink hard, squinting to double-check what you’re looking at. You can’t believe your eyes. There is just no mistaking it. You are looking at the fossil of a house cat. At first glance, you believed it to be a Smilodon, or Saber-toothed Tiger. You and your colleagues had come to believe you’d made a startling discovery, changing the placement of the saber-tooth from the Pleistocene epoch to the Mesozoic era.
“My god,” you say. “Can it be? The saber-tooth first emerged in the late Cretaceous? This is revolutionary; this will change everything; this will make us famous!” But upon closer inspection it is revealed it is not the fossilized skeleton of a baby saber-toothed tiger, swallowed whole by a Tyrannosaurus Rex. It is a house cat. And what’s worse, you have reason to suspect it is your house cat. After all, you are a respected paleontologist and your cat is missing. You have many respected friends, in many respected fields, in many respected scholastic communities. Scientists. Physicists. Mathematicians. Surely, one, or all of them, could have broken into your home and played a practical joke on you, sending your cat back to the Cretaceous.
But why? You think to yourself. Why would they do such a thing? You tell yourself to be rational. After all, you are a respected paleontologist. You have done nothing wrong to provoke this kind of misconduct from your friends. You praise their accomplishments. You répondez s'il vous plait to their social galas in a timely fashion. You even gave one of their children an Iguanodon thumb on their birthday.
Surely, this cannot be the case.
But it is, and you realize this shortly after the X-rays have confirmed your greatest fears. This is your cat. There are fillings on the cat’s teeth from the time your wife made you take the cat to the cat-dentist. There is a sudden bubbling of resentment in your stomach. It rises up through your esophagus and seeps out of your throat, filling your mouth with a hot, sour taste. You try to place it. Your indignation tastes like asparagus.
Your first thought is to be angry with your wife for making you take the cat to get fillings in the first place. The bill from the cat-dentist was unbelievable. Who started this monopoly on cat fillings? And, of course, she made you pay for it. It wasn’t even your idea to get the cat; technically the cat belonged to her. This makes you even angrier. There is a second gush of anger. It fills your mouth with an even hotter, sourer taste. It is directed at your respected friends in the scholastic community. There is no longer any doubt in your mind. They are responsible for this. You are sure of it. This is the only explanation for the placement of your cat. By filling your T-rex’s belly with your housecat, they have completely overshadowed your fossil findings by unraveling the mysteries of space and time. They have time traveled your cat.
People will not even recognize the massive bulk of T-rex fossil that took you months to uncover, you think. Week after week of your sweating and scraping, your scratching and persistence, undermined by a Felis Catus! Anybody who lays eyes on this gorgeous discovery will immediately look past it and instead see a housecat named Wiggins, whose three back molars are covered with dull, metal fillings. Even your colleagues, those same colleagues who dug by your side for days and weeks and months, dusted and toiled and labored with you under that hot, Arizona sun, can now only see that stupid fucking cat.
“This is so exciting!” they say.
“Wait until people find out about this!” they say.
“Wait until we share this with the world!” they say.
“Now, now, now,” you say, trying to calm the hysteria. “There is no reason to get excited. For all we know this cat could have just wandered into the Cretaceous era by accident. Poor little kitty probably just got lost.” But you know this is a lie. The second these words dribble from your mouth and fall flat onto your shirt, you feel the same sensation you feel when you scratch sandpaper: agitated shivers. Your neck grows hot. You feel angry, betrayed. A few of your colleagues stifle their laughter at your wandering cat hypothesis. Maybe they’re in on it, too, you think. Maybe they all thought it would be funny to spoil your hard work in the desert. Maybe they all thought it would be hilarious if they cheapened those hours you spent in front of your dinosaur books as a child, dreaming about this moment, about this moment of yours they have ruined. You suspect your wife is behind this, too.
This her way of getting back at you for complaining about how expensive the cat’s fillings were, you decide. Maybe she’s sleeping with the Scientist. The Mathematician. The Physicist. Maybe she’s sleeping with all three of them. Maybe they’re all fucking right now, you think. Humping and groping and sweating and laughing, thrusting and coming and howling at your expense – at the idea of how ridiculous you look. You were a rational and respected paleontologist. Now you are certain of nothing. The only thing you can be certain of is this: no one will ever believe you when you tell them your cat sauntered in the Cretaceous era and was eaten by a dinosaur. No one is ever going to believe that at all. It is probably one of the most stupid things that any one person can hear. Telling somebody that your cat got lost, and was eaten by a dinosaur?

That’s just going to sound fucking ridiculous.

-Ian Rowe

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm (not) going crazy.

Me, me, me; me – me: me, M(e), [Me]. {ME}, and of course (me).

Infinitesimal: A summation of the concept of self. I (we); a meager stream of consciousness, taking up physical space, left to entertain the grandiose delusion that I’m (we’re) supposed to be important, that I (we) matter, that I’m (we’re) meant for something "bigger." At a young age, I (we) learned about and formulated a shaky comprehension of life’s briefness. One day, I will die. It was terrifying. Then I (we, still) got older, again, and accepted the fact that death was inevitable and universal, still terrifying. (knew it was coming, knew it wasn't about me anymore, about us!) So I ignored it and continued to waste my time as though I (We, we, we! Us, us, us!) had an endless supply of it. Someday I’ll (We’ll) get older again, and then (WE WILL ALL) die. I'm thinking about salt. Now the universe. Now, eternity. Infinity. Because they are one and the same. The universe is eternity, eternity the universe, infinite. Because eternity is everything and nothing all at once. Because eternity is God and God is both eternity and infinity, everything and nothing, simultaneously all at once within a consciousness(us); those of us who believe in something, the rest of us in nothing, because eternity is the only truth and the only one remaining constant because it is the only constant. And even then, it can't be real, because it will outlive us all and be a memory of an idea. You can try to concoct meaning from its abstraction, but in the end it will swallow you (us) whole. There is bigness that exists outside of self (outside of me! Outside of us!), but we don’t really look outside of ourselves long enough to get there. Or maybe we do. But just in case we don’t, take everything I say with a grain of salt, because I’m only an optimist, after all.

I (We! & You! & Us!)






Having spent time reading this, you’re already that much closer to eternity. We are (in)finite. We are all part of it right now. And now, and now, and now, and now, and always. But don’t panic, (Live! While there's still time!) because now is what’s important. Here is what’s important. The(y)re (You!) are!

And now

And now

And now

And now

And always,

I am happy. And I hope you (we) are, too.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Jesús & Alma

And so it began with a spat of irreverence. They couldn’t believe he had said it. Or she. The story hasn’t gotten to a point where any kinds of characters have been established and there is no discernable sex for our protagonist, if the story even has one. After all, irreverence is just a word in the dictionary. But this is trite and circumstantial because the story is, after all, (indirectly) about Jesus, as he was a Nazarene. There was a great hullabaloo about his homecoming –given it was only his second time returning to this perpetually uninterrupted, spinning blue tear we call earth –and everybody was besides themselves with joy, and everyone could hardly believe it; with the exception of a young girl named Alma, who lived in the Port of Spain and didn’t believe it was Jesus at all.
Alma,” her Father said. “Why is it that you cannot see what’s in front of you? Why is it that you cannot see that it's Jesús who has come back for us?” Alma only half listened to her father while she drew circles in the sand using a stick. Without looking up, committed to her unremitting nonchalance, she said: “Pero Padre, it cannot be Jesús, because where is his great, big, round belly?”
Perplexed, her father cleared his throat and squinted at his daughter. “Alma, mi Dulce,” He said. “Jesús does not have a great, big, round belly.”
Pero, he does,” she said, looking up. “And where is his great, big, bald head?”
Mija,” her father continued, “Jesús does not have a great, big, bald head.”
Pero, he does,” Alma insisted, putting her hands on her hips and stomping her small foot into the hot, dry ground. “And where is his great, big, toothy smile!”
Mija, Jesús does not smile because he sees all that is wrong in this world, and so, for that, he weeps for us.”
“Than that is why it is not Jesús,” Alma said. “Because he is looking at all the wrong things.”
And with this, the little Spanish girl named Alma, who lived in the Port of Spain, put down her stick and ran laughing, carelessly and free, towards nothing in particular. Hence why it is that all children are Buddhists: because they are happy with nothing and believe happiness to be the only one true religion.

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Two Weeks

This is the actual letter of resignation I turned in to South Beach Grill

To whom it may concern, regarding further employment at the South Beach Grille

It is with great disdain that I write to you this letter, as it signifies the end of my employment here at South Beach Grille, a job that I have grown to love dearly over these past one-and-a-half years. It pains me to inform you that my last day of employment will be on August 14th, 2010, as I will be pursuing greener pastures in the shapely form of drunken sorority girls in Gainesville – specifically those in Delta Gamma, who have a reputation for being especially slutty. But I must confess. The real reason for my departure is not just my dislocation from the greater Saint Augustine area. No, I have decided to seek further employment elsewhere, where the employees are rewarded for their heroic efforts in the workplace with shift drinks; where the shift drinks flow like the waters of Ponce De Leon’s fountain of youth and into my mouth; a fountain of shift drinks. My untimely employment here at the South Beach Grille did not properly prepare me for the removal of the shift drink. For three months I toiled and slaved into the spring season, eagerly awaiting the arrival of my 21st birthday, anxiously anticipating that ice cold, alcoholic token of appreciation: a draft beer. And then, in a flash, it was gone. Ripped from my tired and thirsty fingers, a certain anxiety set in. Without the promise of shift drinks awaiting me at the end of a busy Friday night shift, there was no light for me at the end of that perilous tunnel - only endless droves of Southerners requesting – nay – demanding that I bring them a four-ounce cup of ranch for their twelve-piece, fried shrimp dinner. The endless refills of sweet tea, the recanting of our (unlisted) salad dressings six times per table (why, why, why doesn’t anybody listen to me when I explain to them our menu! Hell, why aren't the salad dressings listed on the menu!?), and enduring the endless repetition of the phrase: “What do you mean you’re out of seafood platters?” Yes, without that lukewarm Bud Light glowing for me on table seven, I can simply bear it no longer. And it’s not just the customers that have lost their sheen – even the past times here at the Grille have grown dull and stodgy. Gambling on sporting events, whispering “balls on chin” past the tables, singing along to the original South Beach musical “weeded in the square,” even the penis jokes, at one time making me burst into uproarious laughter, have gone (much like their counterparts) flaccid and soft.

But it wasn’t all bad times at South Beach Grille. There were good times. Losing $100 dollars in fantasy football, burning my fingers on our shoddily poured hot white chowder (hilarious!), getting roofied at the Christmas party, fifty percent off food, stealing corn bread, 86’ing happiness, and last but not least, all of the sexual harassment - truly glorious amounts of it. (Although, I must admit, I am disappointed by the fact that every single time I stood naked in the supply closet, covered in our pasty bulk-order whipped cream, the only person to ever walk in and partake was James, from the kitchen. And I mean no disrespect to the man, but I simply cannot be involved with someone whose face is ninety percent beard.)

South Beach was so much more than just a job to me. It was a test of my truest character. Something changes about a man who drinks until four A.M. and then wakes up at six o’clock for a breakfast shift (still drunk), where he is again hassled by Southerners for a 4 oz. cup of ranch to go along with their pancakes and early morning cup of sweet tea. Seriously, Ted, whose idea was it to serve breakfast at a seafood restaurant? To quote the famous philosopher, Daft Punk, South Beach has made me “harder, better, stronger, faster.” The accumulation of so much rectitude in such a short period of time has been, to say the least, truly awe-inspiring. I will never forget my time here at South Beach Grille. All of the memories at table seven, all of the laughter, all of the hangovers, all of the write-ups, being weeded in the square, and how you totally didn’t fire me. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, a thousand times, Thank You.


Ian C. Rowe

P.S. The purpose of this letter was to inform as well as to entertain. Most of these “facts” are made up. Nobody whispers balls on chin past tables, never have I waited naked in the supply closet (although James’s face is ninety percent beard), and never have I waited tables still drunk. (Or have I?)

Seriously though, please don’t fire me before my two weeks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The War - Chapter One

I didn’t mean to start the war.

In no way was that my intention. Mostly, I just wanted to be left alone, which is why I had them turn their attention elsewhere in the first place. The ants and the bees, that is. The Puerto Ricans didn't really buy into it, but my track record with them really wasn't ever that great to begin with. It started the summer before my twenty-second birthday. I was working three jobs then, and I really didn’t have time to clean up after myself. That was the same summer I switched to drinking hot tea, too, because all of the coffee I was drinking was starting to make me anxious. But I really can't go blaming it all on the hot tea. Mostly, it was the honey. Really, that’s the only way to drink the stuff is by sweetening it with honey (the tea that is) otherwise, it tastes just awful. I really have been going off on a tangent here. Let me get back to how the beginning. The day the war started began like any other day before it. I had woken up before sunrise to complete a brief shift at a broadcasting station, where the only other employee I worked with was still drunk from the night before. Once finished, I would change into restaurant attire and drive across the bridge to wait tables by the ocean. Depending on what day it was, once my shift had ended, I would either go home and drink until I fell asleep on the floor, or, I would sit by a tall door and check the dates on people’s driver’s licenses.

"Five dollars please," I would say.

"Forget it," they would say, and they would then proceed past me through the door I sat in front of.

Ultimately, the job lacked certain pleasantries.

But again, I am getting ahead of myself. It was not that day. The day in question – the day everything started – was my evening off. I had come home late in the afternoon, reeking of fried fish and potatoes, showered, and then pulled out a bottle of clear, sweet rum to drink. Tiptoeing through the clutter in my apartment (remember, I’ve been working three jobs and haven’t had time to clean yet) and making my way towards the cupboards, I sagged with disappointment after opening them to discover I had no clean glasses to drink from. I was actually going have to wash something. Setting my rum on the counter, I made my way to the sink and turned on the hot water, grabbing a jar of green scented soap and pouring generous amounts of it into the sink's deep, steel basin. Only when I reached over to pull from my dishes did I finally notice the ants.

There were two rows of them marching over the counter, each with their own different agendas. The first row, a neatly filed uniformed row, marched purposefully back and forth over the grout between the tile, busily making their way into my empty tea cups, scouring at their bottoms for dry crackled flakes of crusted and neglected honey. The other line marched forwards only, making no attempt whatsoever to march back with all the others. Instead, they danced drunkenly in circles around glasses half filled with my clear, sweet rum.

“What in the hell is this?” I said angrily to the small moving lines on my counter. The ants pretended to ignore me. I cleared my throat. "Excuse me," I said. "But what in the hell is this?" One of the ants rummaging through the honey stopped what they were doing and twiddled their antenna in my direction. As if inconvenienced by my question, the ant begrudgingly pulled out of formation and scuttled to the edge of the counter to peer up at me.

“What in the hell is what?” He said, in a small yet unmistakably self-important voice.

“What in the hell is all of this,” I asked him, pointing to the other ants and stretching my arms out lengthwise to emphasize to him that “this” was, in fact, the intrusive manner in which he had entered my home. “You can’t just invite yourself into someone’s house like this.” I said. “It’s rude. Don’t you ants have any manners?” The ant clicked his mandibles and shrugged his shoulders. His rudeness, and blatant disregard where my feelings were concerned, was incorrigible. But this wasn't really what upset me. What irritated me most about the situation was the way the other ants managed to collectively ignore me as a whole. Even as I stood there in front of them adamantly protesting their being in my home, they continued to march coolly between my tiles in rows of two, and dance ludicrously around my cups in the kitchen.

“It’s never been a problem before,” the ant replied, clicking. “Why all of a sudden is it such a big deal?”

“Before?” I asked, squinting. “How long have you been coming here?”

“Oh, for weeks now,” the ant exasperated, further twiddling his antennas and shaking his head from side to side. “You’ve just been so busy, so busy you haven’t noticed. But you can’t blame us. We’ve got all the sweet golden flakes and magic dancing water we could ask for. The hill has never been happier.”

“Yes,” I said, “that may be so, but, what about me? What will people think of me if they discovered that I allow ants to come and go as they please in my house? I’m sorry, but such behavior is intrinsically frowned upon in my society and deemed unsanitary. I'm afraid you have to leave."

The ant stood defiantly before tromping rows of apathetic brethren, clicking his mandibles, antenna wiggling. He shook his head from side to side and said: “No. I don’t think so. We like it here too much. We like to eat here, we like to dance here, and we intend to keep it that way.” Unfazed, the ant spun around and fell back into formation among the vibrating score, charging dedicated and steadfast to his hill. I responded to this rudeness promptly, by wiping all the ants into my sink with a sponge, drowning them in apple scented suds and hot water.

Friday, April 30, 2010

A story to come based on the following sentences.

When she told me what happened I was cheating on the New York times crossword puzzle. I wasn't listening the way I should have been because I was trying to figure out thirty-four across and staring at Theresa's legs. I was trying to think of an eight letter word for Greek column while at the same time trying not to think about sex. I wasn't trying to think about drowning.
I wasn't trying to think about anything.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


There is a kind of therapy called "Free Association Therapy," (Freudian psychology or psychoanalysis) I think. No, I need to correct myself here, I don't think that it's real - I know that it's real. I'm just not sure if I'm doing it right now. I very well may be, but I very well may be wrong too. More often than not, I am wrong. Who knows? Maybe I just wanted to talk to myself. Or maybe I just wanted to tell a story. Hell, I don't know, maybe I just wanted to tell hundreds of abstract autobiographies about myself.

Their plot summaries would read, as follows.

1. There is a boy who longs for something.
2. He does not know what it is.
3. He never finds it.
4. He dies hungry.

For commercial purposes, sometimes the stories will go like this:

1. There is a boy who longs for something.
2. It is purpose.
3. He falls in love with a beautiful woman.
4. Death is inevitable but never mentioned within the story.

Here is flash fiction I wrote based on a word I saw in the dictionary:

I remember the first time I was to ride an elephant.
"Father," I said. "I'm scared. What if I fall?"
My father shut his eyes tightly, and his head fired backwards from the sheer force of his own ferocious laughter. He ran large, ringed fingers through his thick, tamed mustache.
"My son," he said. "You do not want to fall. If you do you will break your neck, and if that does not kill you then the elephants feet will surely trample you. Hold on tightly to the howdah and you will be fine." He proceeded to place his hands around my frail wrists, pulling my palms up to his face and placing them onto his plump, round cheeks. "If all else fails Nima," he said, "You can grab hold of my whiskers!" He laughed again, and with a mighty rumble, shook the earth. As he roared, I watched his mustache dance happily above his many crooked teeth. Two charcoal handles doing a boogaloo over an open smile, his face growing redder and redder.

- I may be going, or very well already may be, insane.


Keep away from women who self indulge.

On the young.

There was once a little girl named Zooey who used to play with toy horses. She stopped one day after finding her mother fast asleep in a bathtub full of warm tomato juice. They never spoke again.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


My dream is to write a story so hilarious it will land me on the Conan O’ Brien show. After being invited on to the show, they will lead me into a room where I will be powdered and prepped and prompted. A stagehand will walk into the room - at some point - and say, “Five more minutes, Mr. Rowe!” and I will swallow a knot that has been clotting in my throat for the past hour. I will crack, “Okay!” back to the stagehand before he leaves, and then spin my chair around to look at myself in the mirror. When the door is closed, I will reach up to stretch out my shirt collar. I will pull, and I will tug, and I will sweat, realizing only too late that I am being cooked alive inside of my suit. I will brush this notion off as ridiculous. I will try to locate the source of my soaring body temperature as something other than my nervousness, coming to the conclusion that my suit is actually several sizes too small. I will realize that my pants are too tight, my tie is too tight, my shoes are too tight, and my belt is snapped on so tightly that it is cutting off the circulation to my penis. My entire suit will be filled with water, essentially transforming me into an Indian sweat lodge. I decide to myself that I will charge anybody who hugs me 100 dollars. I begin to shift uncomfortably in my seat.

“We’re ready for you Mr. Rowe,” a man says to me, poking his head into the room as he holds a clipboard tightly out in front of him. He has on a tiny black headset with a tiny black microphone rooted sternly in front of his tiny black mouth. He will be wearing a tight black T-shirt with a tight black belt and tight black pants and shoes. I will walk too closely behind him and be overly aware of the swishing my footsteps are making as I shuffle my feet down the hall. He will sweep me beside and I will be catapulted onto the stage and into a million people’s living rooms. I am now stumbling towards an eight foot tall Conan O’ Brien. I will stick out my palm for his handshake only to have my hand swallowed by his own. He will start to shake me. He will shake me with so much ferocity that I will feel overwhelmed and begin contemplating striking him in the groin. This way, if I run, he cannot chase me. I decide to not kick him in the groin. When we go to sit down, I suddenly realize how large Conan O’ Brien’s head is. I realize that Conan O’ Brien has the largest head in the entire universe. It is huge. If Conan O' Brien wanted to, he could swallow me. That’s how big his head is. His head is bigger than I could have possibly ever imagined - bigger than should ever be humanely possible; bigger than I could have ever written about. They don’t make font big enough to describe it. 3,677 of the earth’s suns could be fitted into just one of Conan O’ Brien’s pores. His head is that enormous. I will then realize that Conan O' Brien has been speaking to me, and I haven't heard a word that he's been saying. I have completely forgotten that I’m live on the air.

“What!?” I will shout, panicked, my voice cracking like an eggshell because of how terrified I am. He will just laugh.

“So, Ian,” He’ll chuckle, that famous Conan chuckle. “How big is my head?”

And then I will blink. I will remember that the entire reason for me being on the show is because he has read whatever it is that you just read. What I just wrote, this, right here, now, is the entire reason that I’m on the show. I will have forgotten that I wrote this excerpt to be funny, only I didn’t realize how large Conan’s head was going to be. Bigger than I could have ever imagined.

Bigger then I could have ever written.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I used to have nice shirts once
Nice shirts in grade school
I would tuck them in
Tuck them in and wear a shiny black belt -
An oil spill glittering neatly across my waist.
I tied my own shoes
I combed my own hair
But only after I had doused my head
I would part it
Determined to impress Courtney Conrad.
I would stand up straight to speak
My voice, frail and soft like a slice of bread
- ringing out -
Hello Hello Hello!
I would chirp in a high pitched voice, swinging my arms down the hallways as I charged
Hello Hello Hello!
A smile of mismatched piano keys
Hello Hello Hello!
Singing to her off key on the playground as I dangled upside
I was very in love then
In grade school.
When I was very young.
Hello Hello Hello.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From Africa, With Love.

Did I know the giraffe was going to jump out of the convertible? What in the hell kind of question is that? I don’t speak giraffe. The giraffe did not communicate to me that he was going to jump out of the car and hit his head on the bottom of the overpass. Of course I didn’t know the giraffe was going to jump out of the convertible. Giraffe’s are supposed to be well behaved! At least that’s what I always learned on the Discovery Channel. I don’t even know how he got his seatbelt undone; giraffe’s don’t have opposable thumbs you know. How did I manage to get the giraffe into the car? Why, Mexicans of course. I mean hello you dummy, you know the ones – the ones always standing out front of the home depot? The ones always looking for jobs? Granted, they were a little hesitant at first when I showed up in my cherry red, Sebring convertible with the top down, shouting for them to go on ahead and hop into the back of the car. But you say one word enough times to them no matter what it is, and it’ll become work, work, workwhich of course translates into pesos, pesos, pesos – which in turn becomes pennies on the dollar. Great cheap labor those Mexicans.

Why did I steal it?


Sir, if I have to explain myself than you are obviously too stupid to understand it, and explaining myself wouldn’t make any bit of difference. I don’t need to explain myself. And don’t even bother with all of that, good cop, bad cop mumbo jumbo. Everybody already knows that cops are all assholes. How do I know that? You mean, how do I know that!? Well officer, I once got pulled over for speeding while my wife was in labor in the back of our car – you know, the back of my, cherry red Sebring convertible? Well, when I get pulled over I says to him,

“Officer, you gotta be kiddin me! You gotta let us go! My wife is in labor!”

And he says: “Sir, have you been da-rinking this evening?!”

The nerve!

Anyways, I say to him,

“As a matter-of-fact officer, I have had a couple of da-rinks this evening, because as you see– me and my wife here were at the Applebee’s enjoying our happy hour. And I mean, officer, it wasn’t my first choice to drive, but you see, you can’t just help not going into labor, just about the same way you can’t help not resisting a good sale on Happy Hour drinks! I mean, talk about a bargain on drinks! And I get the Long Island Iced Teas too! Because, you know – you get more bang for your dollar that way. And my wife here, well, she’s trying to be healthy for the baby, so she drinks Cosmopolitans, on account of all the cranberry juice they put in there. You know, the juice is good for the baby.”

So, the officer looks at me, and then he looks to the back seat and says –

“Sir, there is nobody in your backseat.”

And when I turn around it dawns on me that I’d gone and left my wife at Applebee’s. And she was squirming and bleeding and screaming and squirting baby juice all over the place back at Applebee’s. And that’s why, to this very day, our son’s name is: Long Island Applejack Cosmopolitan Rixie.

But back to the original reason for this story. The reason I think all cops are assholes is because – Oh, you mean you wanna hear the giraffe part of the story?


Well, there I was – at Applebee’s – minding my own business and trying to enjoy my Long Island Iced Teas, when there was this party, making this big ole fuss. And I’m just trying to watch some goddamned baseball, but that’s not happening on account of how goddamned noisy all these people are being. And you know how it is with baseball – it’s such a high-octane sport – you need to watch it with your full attention. Anyways, I go over to them and I say,

“Hey folks! What’s all the commotion about?”

And they look at me kind of like, hey, who the hell is this handsome fella? But then one of the girls turns to me and says, (all snooty like, mind you)

“Well, our friend here is going to Africa.”

“Africa!?” I say. “ Africa? Why in the good Goddamn would you want to go to Africa? You know how many people are trying to leave Africa?!”

“Well,” the girl says. “Even if we explained it to you, you probably wouldn’t understand.”

“Wouldn’t understand!?”

“Yes, you wouldn’t understand.”

“Africa. I wouldn’t understand, Africa?”

“Yes. You wouldn’t understand Africa. Now please leave. You’re ruining our party.”

So I said: “Oh, I’ll leave. But I’m coming back. I’ll show you Africa.”

And that’s when I left to go get the Mexicans, to go break into the zoo, to go and steal the giraffe. Because there are giraffes in Africa – get it? And I was gonna take it home and teach it how to shit on command, because I was going to take it to that bitches house and have it shit all over her house and lawn. And possibly her car.



Because nothing says, “Fuck You” like a giraffe does when it’s shitting all over your shit.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Awk. Conversations # 3

The following conversation takes place in the kitchen of a house party.

Hey, does anybody here want to go pick up Casey?
(dropping cocktail shaker into the sink, eyes widening) Casey!? She's in town?
(Squinting profoundly) Yes, of course she's in town . . .
I'll go pick her up! Where is she?
Are you sure you're not too drunk to drive?
Who me? I've only had like, one drink. I've been too busy making drinks to actually have a drink.
Alright well, I'll let her know you're on your way to pick her up.
Excellent! Where is she?
Her house.
Where is that?
You've been to her house before, don't you remember?
I've never been to Casey's house . . .
Yes you have, the house with the pool, remember?
(Widens eyes again and then squints them with a kind of disappointment) Oh . . . you meant, Casey, Casey?
(Annoyed) Yes, Casey.
You know what, actually, I'm drunk after all. I've been drunk this whole time. I can't drive right now. See, that would be absolutely silly.
You just said you've only had one drink . . .
Yea, but, I've been having sips of all these drinks that I've been making, so . . . I'm drunk now.
But you were fine to drive like five minutes ago?
Yea, but, that was when I thought I was going to pick up Casey - not Casey.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Down They Forgot

Their relationship existed on a plane of both conventional and unconventional levels, varying in degree from elaborate romanticisms of quixotic intention, to (despicable) acts of treachery that they would later exercise against one another. They did so without malicious intent, but managed still, nevertheless, to contrive harm to one another. They were both hopeful and naïve and optimistic and cursed with the inability to know any better. (This affliction is often referred to as "youth.") They met in high school. He was a transfer student who was drunk on attention, and she was a girl who had recently blossomed but nobody had noticed. As far as her peers were concerned, she was still the same girl from eighth grade who had braces and uneven limbs, and long and gangly forearms covered in thick, dark, bristly hair. Unbeknownst to her peers however, her braces had since been removed, and the dark hair covering her forearms had since faded to a softer, lighter, peach color - consistent with the average color of forearm hair for a beautiful woman’s forearms. She had also since grown into her gangly and uneven limbs by sprouting long and lustrous dancers legs; so tall and lean you could climb them for days and still never reach the top of them. He had noticed her. He had noticed her right away in fact. He dropped everything he was doing on said half-day of school and walked boldly up to her and befuddled her with his brevity when he said something to her she never quite expected to hear.
“Hello,” he said. (That’s not quite it, but trust me it’s coming soon.)
“Hello,” she said, squinting at the strange boy who had a particularly large forehead and an uncannily charming smile. He had one dimple. The boy, who was hardly two inches taller than she was, had bowed legs, and when he walked, his feet faced outward, making him duck like in appearance. Because of this, he waddled more than he actually walked. He operated with almost none of the consistency exercised by most bipedal mammals, and everything about him seemed to be coated with layers of clumsiness and folly.
“I’m ___ ” the boy said, and he stuck out his hand.
“Hello ___,” she said. “I’m _________.”
(In case you couldn’t tell, the names in this story have been excluded because of the story’s personal nature, and I would very much like to protect the identities of the two subjects that the story is based off of. However, if you feel so inclined, you may bubble in the names of yourself and your own significant other, or, if you don’t have a significant other, perhaps just the names of two of your friends, or even just two names that you find particularly entertaining. As a suggestion to the reader, try making the boy’s name monosyllabic, and the girl’s name trisyllabic.)
She reached out and shook the boy’s hand, and when she did, a nervous energy transferred through him and into her body, and she felt suddenly hurried and flushed with anticipation. She turned to look for her sister behind her, knowing she would only need raise her eyebrows to a specific degree to grab her attention – as she and her sister spoke an eloquent kind of unspoken language.
I will explain that further in just a moment.
When Bethany (the girl’s sister) saw the look that her sister had given her, and saw that her sister’s hand was encased with the hand of a boy whom she had never seen before, she knew that her sister needed her assistance.
She rushed to her aid.
As the boy shook the girls hand, he felt as though he had suddenly disappeared. Before she turned unexpectedly, without warning, he was rising from the bottom of the ocean, staring at the sun as he floated upwards, at it’s light, glittering off the center of a hundred angry storms, ripping apart a turbulent teal surface. As he floated, the boy held his breath, as though to prevent himself from drowning.
The sister (Bethany) appeared next to the girl and smiled curiously at the boy, as if to ask him what his intention with her sister’s hand was. (He was still shaking it.)
“Holy shit, there are two of you,” he said, feeling the girl’s fingers slide from his grasp.
They were mirror twins, meaning their fertilized egg spilt late – around 9 to 12 days – and if it had managed to spilt any later, the girls would have been conjoined; hence the brilliance of their bond unspoken.
The girl and her sister rolled their eyes at this statement, in unison, but in opposite directions – one rolled left and one rolled right – because for as long as they could remember, they had been ridiculed, harassed, gawked at and marveled at, sought after and teased, and berated with questions regarding the abnormality of their zygote. This boy was no different than all the other boys before him.
“Yes, we’re twins,” said the girl, exasperated and disappointed.
“Which one is the best?” asked the boy.
This was the statement that had befuddled the girl. This was the question that the girls had never before received as twins. It caught them off guard. They had often compared themselves to one another, feeling inadequate in regards to certain genetic traits that had been dominant in one twin and recessive in the other, (fuller lips, a thinner face, ect.) but no one had ever dared ask them about it. No one ever demanded that they make the decision about whom the better twin might be.
“What do you mean?” asked Bethany, although she already knew damn well what he meant.
“I mean, which is the best twin? Between the two of you?”
“We don’t think about that,” the girls said, in unison.
“Well,” the boy said. “There’s only one way to find out.”
Without hesitation, as the boy seldom hesitated and often acted out of impulse, (A trait the girl would later learn to both love and hate about him) he turned around and backed into the girl, bending down to pick her up from the back of her long, slender legs – which he noticed were both soft and firm – and he hoisted her up onto his back.
“Hey, you there!” The boy shouted to a blond haired youth walking by the unfolding circus scene. “Grab this girl’s sister here and throw her onto your back!”
The passerby smiled, and for whatever reason, perhaps because he was influenced by the boy’s infectious personality, he tossed the girl’s sister onto his back. While it wasn’t mentioned in that exchange of dialogue, it must be said that the girl was adamantly protesting that she be put down immediately. However, it also must be noted, that through the inflection of her voice, the boy recognized that the girl was smiling as she said this. Bethany couldn’t help but notice her sister’s sudden enchantment with the situation, so she also put up a faux struggle.
“What now?” asked the blond.
“Now, we race!” said the boy. He hopped the girl up higher onto his back and turned to run straight across the middle of the school’s courtyard, while the girl bounced and laughed and smiled on his shoulders. The girl, who hadn’t known the boy for more then four minutes, was all at once excited and scared and nervous and hopeful. When they reached the end of the courtyard the boy set her down, turned around, and smiled.
“It was nice to meet you,” he said, grinning, his dimple carving so deeply into his cheek that it could have been filled it with a large marble.
He turned and walked away.
They would not speak again for another year.
That was unconventional.
However, as beautiful and heartfelt and as innocent as their relationship had begun, unfortunately, much like life, it would end ugly and twisted and sour. Ultimately, it would become so violently unrecognizable, that the children mentioned in the beginning of the story, would never believe they turn into the people mentioned at the end.
But we’ll get there.
In the year that the boy and the girl didn’t see each other, they often thought about one another, wondering about where they might have been and what the other might have been doing. They would catch themselves thinking back to that one frivolous memory that they shared for a handful of minutes on a single afternoon. They lived completely separate lives. The girl experimented with drugs and alcohol and had her first sexual experience at a party with a college boy whose name she never learned. They were kissing on a bed when he put his hands up her shirt, and he began moaning into her ear as he kissed the side of her neck. The girl felt embarrassed. When he did this, she raised her eyebrows to a certain degree and was hopeful that her sister might come in and rescue her. When she didn't, the girl closed her eyes and thought back to the time that a boy ran her across a courtyard. The boy, who was socially awkward and especially nervous around crowds, tried to compensate for the fact by also experimenting with drugs. This had ended disastrously for him. Because the selection of drugs that he experimented with was of a particularly dangerous variety, he overdosed. When the drugs began to take hold, and his eyes rolled back into his head while he heaved with convulsions, he could have sworn that he heard the girl laughing. The last thing he remembered before slipping into unconsciousness was the feel of her weight on his shoulders. The girl started listening to punk music. As a result, she began dating the lead singer of a local punk band, “Everything Is Shit.” The boy went to a Detox center in the mountains and wasn’t heard from for a month. He learned how to play guitar and began writing terrible songs. When the next year finally came, and the boy and the girl had accumulated an unsettling amount of experiences that made them both cringe and burn when thought about, they were assigned to sit next to each other in a French class. When they saw each other, they smiled.
When the boy realized he was interested in her, he was unsure of how to approach her. Because she was intelligent, she was also intimidating to him. He was often at a loss on how to speak to her. One day, while experimenting with new ways to initiate conversation, he was stricken with a brilliant idea. He found her sitting alone along the east wall of the school one day looking down at a book between her lap. He called out her name, and with a calculated underhanded toss, he lobbed a water bottle above her head. When the girl heard her name being called, she stopped what she was doing to look up, only to be hit square on the nose with a bottle. She threw her hands over her face and when she pulled them away there was the faintest touch of blood on her fingertips.
“What in the hell is wrong with you?” she asked him, before sliding herself off the wall and marching towards the bathroom.
The boy’s logic was sound. She had spoken to him.
The first time the girl realized she was interested in him, she had abandoned plans with her boyfriend to study French at the boy's house. They didn’t study anything. She chased his cat.
When he could tell that she was getting bored and contemplating leaving, he suggested that they go for a walk. He took her to a rickety old dock by a river, and when the sun began to set on the water he spun her around to face him and kissed her.
The first time he knew that he loved her they were laying in the back of a van. He smiled at her with his eyes half open in the dark and he kissed her soft, parted lips, elated that he finally felt comfortable amongst the grooves and curves of her body. He carefully eased off of her and watched her eyes glow between flashes of light, as the van rocked slowly past streetlights on the highway. They had been dating for two weeks. He told her that he loved her, as he often did things compulsively. This made her uncomfortable, so she told him that they shouldn't see each other anymore. After three days of not speaking, the boy had decided he’d had quite enough, and he showed up at her house one night drunk and uninvited. Knocking on her window, she opened it for him when she recognized who it was, and he quickly scrambled through it and collapsed onto her floor.
“What are you doing?” she hissed in an intense whisper, fearful that he might wake her parents. Standing over him, she began to giggle as he grinned stupidly up at her.
“I’m not sorry I said it,” He said drunkenly, before closing his eyes and splaying on her floor. “I meant it. I love you, and you love me too. And if you don’t yet, you will. I promise.”
He opened his eyes and looked up at her and smiled. “I missed you,” he said.
She smiled uncontrollably back at him, at his amorous display of stupidity. “I missed you too,” she said.
This made him smile even wider. She could have jumped into his dimple if she wanted to.
She didn’t realize that she loved him until nine months later. He had assembled a group of "musicians" to perform at a local battle of the bands. As each member played music off time with one another, he laughed it off and smiled and people cheered. She realized that the boy was a fool, but he did what he loved, and he did so unapologetically. Everything he was passionate about made him happy. She realized that he loved her in a way that she would never understand, and for that, she loved him. She loved him for being able to love her with such unrelenting fervor.
Two weeks later, they slept together for the first time - after prom.
All of that was conventional.
He watched her dance. He met her family. Her father overheard them in her bedroom one night after he had snuck in through her window. Enraged by the sound of teenage copulation coming from his daughter’s room, he assaulted the door with a cannonade of fists. The boy, panicked, rushed into her closet and covered himself with a tutu, as it was the only thing available to him for which to cover his nakedness. The father, blind with rage, punched open the bedroom door, and entering the girl's room, demanded to know were the boy was. He was fully prepared to attack him for touching his daughter - his beloved little girl. The girl simply quivered under her covers and the father turned to the closet. Throwing open the doors, he decided that he was going to choke the boy; possibly to death. As he reached out to grab him, the boy, who was stood naked and helpless in the girl’s closet, looked at the father and smiled. The father suddenly couldn’t find it within himself to clobber him. The physical reality of seeing the boy standing naked in front of him, smiling, covering himself only with with the thin, pink fabric, conflicted the father so much that he forgot how to be angry. He let him go.
However, he did keep the boy’s clothes, forcing him to drive home in nothing but the tutu.
The boy and the girl broke up. He kissed someone else and hated it. They got back together. When the girl thought that she was pregnant, she made her sister punch her in the stomach as hard as she could. She did not have a baby.
He graduated from high school and did not get into any colleges.
She had another year.
She graduated from high school and moved out of state to attend college.
He continued to love her with indomitable ferociousness, and despite being several states apart, they stayed together . They began to drink too much in separate states. Cracks began to form in their relationship. He got drunk and kissed other girls. She became involved with another man. Presumably, his appeal to her was that he was a corporate man, as he waited tables at the Outback steakhouse. The boy meagerly scraped by waiting tables at a mom and pop pizzeria. When she visited him they popped pills together and rolled around on the floor. They laughed. When he visited her, they took mushrooms together and laid down on the floor and stared vacantly at the ceiling. He told her that he loved her. All she said was,
And then she kissed him. It tasted funny because she had been licking the walls.
One night, while they were apart, the boy felt particularly lonely and depressed about the pressures of adulthood and newfound responsibilities. The weight began to heave down heavily on top of him. She called him that night crying and said,
“I want to move back home. I want to be with you.”
She gave him something to live for. He saved and planned and prepared, and six months later he flew to pick her up and bring her back home with him. The night before they moved, he caught her sneaking out under the garage door. She was going to say goodbye to the other man that she had been seeing. The boy told her to go because he loved her. He was a fool who loved her too much and he wanted nothing more then for her to be happy. When they came home together, she moved two hours south and attended a new college and did not have any money. They did everything they could to make it work, but when it was never enough, the boy began to drink heavily.
One night, it was his birthday, and when she drove up to see him, he went out on his own and left her at the house. When he returned, looking straight past her, he walked down the hallway and crawled straight into bed. When she pulled up the sheets to climb in next to him, he rolled over and pushed her out.
More cracks formed.
Every time they had sex they were trying to prove something. He was drowning. For the first time ever, she loved him more than he loved her. They went to a wedding. She caught the bouquet. When the garter was thrown to him, he let it bounce off his chest and land on the floor. He walked away unabashed. He found her in a dry bathtub later that night with her arms folded across her chest. Her makeup was smeared, and it dripped down her cheeks. She looked beautiful and sad. They made love on the bathroom floor apologetically.
They did not see each other for one year.
The boy continued to drink uncontrollably until one day he realized that he was alone. He quit drinking and a veil was lifted. He remembered the girl. He remembered what she looked like and what she laughed like and what she felt like. He wondered what had happened to her, where she went, and where she lived. He called her on the phone and they talked for four hours. He smiled. His dimple began to carve its way back into his cheek. She said that she would like to see him again, so he drove two hours to see her, smiling the whole way down. The world was better again. He was better again. He was smiling and feeling so much better that the entire world could have fit into his dimple. They met at a restaurant. She came with a man.
The man made her smile.
The boy got up quietly from the table and left his dimple and the world behind him in the restaurant.
That night, the girl turned over in bed and wrapped her arm around the man that she lay with, turning her mouth upwards unknowingly while she slept. She dreamt that she was being carried. As she was, she smiled and laughed and gazed across an endless blue sky.
Two hours away, the boy lay awake in his bed. He closed his eyes and tried to make sense of the weight that sat so heavily on his shoulders.