The biggest challenge in summer when below the age of ten was killing all the flies. Three or five of the shining green insects would land on the flat stones that created a short path to my house. I would have to time it well, making sure they wouldn’t have enough fractions of a second from the moment they sense my sneaker to it coming down “hard.” Back then it was hard to me, but what strength does a five year old really have in the leg muscles? Enough to take away life purposely.
I’m not killing flies at eighteen. Those stones have been replaced with shale, but the flies don’t care about the difference. They’re smaller; I’m bigger. Though I won’t kill them. Instead my interest lies with sitting in as much sun as possible to balance out the cool breeze that needs to take away the problems. I’d rather sit and stare at the passing cars until they all drive away with my thoughts and concentration instead of stand and stare at rocks like a predator. Rather, like a kid.
My hopes aren’t for stepping on every single fly before they escape, or for the few thousands of dollars I need within days for college tuition and housing. I crucified them with faith. I am rooted to the stones of my home with the same fear and anger growing in my parents. The two (not my parents) are like tumors, spreading and mutating for as long as my entire life and more.
I am probably not going anywhere in the fall unlike last year. I’ve stopped believing, and haven’t given Journey the chance yet to change that. Yet I continue applying and calling for jobs, sometimes determined only to become bitter. Retirement incentives are getting served to people like a daily special while state budgets are kind of like those drugs that the FDA never approves. You hear about them, anticipate a decision, but in the end you still have your disease and empty wallets.
I don’t know how to find $500 dollars in a week, and I’m not old enough to sell my eggs. Then again neither do I have a healthy enough lifestyle to do so.
Humans find creativity and broader minds in times of desperation.
Now - multiply me by a number I cannot accurately imagine. You have the rest of America’s struggling college students craving an education. All those classes we skipped in high school and assignments we never completed, the tests we cheated on, the essays bullshitted, they’re a twinkle away. FAFSA and loans are the new deadlines with social security numbers and pins more important than what color crayon you got in your box of 200+ crayolas.
But I’m not looking for Obama to bring me to my feet and keep the tears from coming in response to fearing another yelling, frustrated parent, or for my state to give back the state aid to my friends. I’m trying to find my own solution. And I hope I find it before it’s too late.
Here’s the great goddamn kick - my tuition bill is just under $3,000. I’m one of the fortunate ones, unlike the tens of thousands of students out there with tuition bills five or ten times the amount of mine. And not all of us can have a scholarship.
I swear for the first time I’m seeing in color. And what better time than fall? We’re all coming alive as things die. We prepare for change. But we is nature I think. And with all these colors the birth of fall during a comfortable cold and start of death is beautiful.
- my small notebook
I ate my fill of delicious BBQ and good breakfast food (so. much. bacon.). Food prep for these days isn’t a chore, but instead relaxing, like when my father makes jars of jam. I watched him de-bone a turkey for twenty minutes, as he contemplated what to do with it on the grill. Mother made stir fry after cutting the beef. My grandmother and I cracked black walnuts on the porch, enjoying the beautiful weather. A joint in my right ring finger still aches from having it slam against the chair when slipping from the crank handle. It feels like I punched something - and poorly at that - but not this time. The chose is fun. Tedious, yet calming. Simple as a task, though not always easy.
Dinner ends. The weather is still beautiful.
An hour or so later my father asks if I’ll join him on a walk with our dog: his girl. We’re fortunate that a park is only minutes away from us, and after all of that bacon I need some excercise.
A good though uneventful Fourth of July starts to end in time with the setting sun, and my steps are just a few paces from my dog. What she really does is trot, until she stops from picking up an interesting scent. This evening she trots a little closer to me. Then she sways. Now she’s falling over with her back legs spasming and mouth foaming. Kneeling calmly but freaking out mentally, I think, “Are walnuts poisonous to dogs?”
My dad is oddly calm, his voice soft. We are fortunate: I joined this walk; I have a cell phone; we live no more than ten minutes away, and my mother isn’t picking up. And as a woman stares at me, because I am screaming and looking upset and frantic, I can’t run home fast enough. It would have been nice to discover just how out of shape I am in a different way.
Ten or fifteen minutes after she fell we’re at the park with the car. She’s walking, but panting with a sort of miserable look. Another ten minutes gone and she’s back to fairly normal, plus a limp of the back leg. We’ve gone from scared to borderline paranoid this fine night.
I can’t look at the tender turkey in the fridge anxious for that future sandwich, or think of cobbler. Fireworks are just loud tonight. I saw my first fireflies of the summer this Fourth of July anyway a half hour after running away from my dog. Too scared to see her dead and too desperate to get a hold of my mother, I wanted to sprint all the way - and even failed at that.
Fireflies and breezes. Nostalgia and seizures. Fortunes and tears.
Fuck. I’m going to have to crack the rest of those black walnuts, and just tell myself I didn’t nearly kill my dog. My dad has reassured me that it was a tiny piece, and something like that shouldn’t have caused her that kind of nerve problem. I tell myself to remember what he said, “Are walnuts bad for dogs? -” “Raisins and chocolate are bad for dogs-” “Should I not give this to her?-” “No, go ahead. But that’s it.” And I tell myself that I didn’t hear my dad scream as I ran up the hill path.
And I wonder… where do I go from here?
Time has not moved at all.
It’s not as if what is happening right now is bound to change the way things are. Why do I care so much, why, and possibly, always about the wrong people, to those who hardly need me back?
What was it again, that quote which…
a fly caught by the fish
on the tongue,
to ponder thoughts
too dark for digestion.
as the silvery mouth opens up
and in that single moment
the fly is
A hundred eyes
unveil the cloudy parched sky
that reflects off the surface
and reveals only the illusion of space
trapped in a ripple
like the image of a face
looking down upon the wavering nights
thinking about the freedom
found in the mouth
of a fish.
A victim of loneliness, of fear, of abandonment, and somewhat, of inferiority. With the mind knocked down on the four corners of my dungeon, I am everyone’s horde in a place I call the falling sun. Terror in every second of my life is turbulent.
Losing the impulse. Losing the faith. Losing the…
There’s a vulture on my shoulder
And he’s telling me to give in
Always hissing right in my ear
Like it’s coming from my own head
It’s got me mixed up, trying not to give up
Tell me there’s a way to get out of here
Oh, fixed at zero