Blake rounded the final bend and glanced backward, noticing Eugene was gaining on him.
“Sometimes I wish we had more...”
Learning to Love
In my youth, I thought that love was a tightening in my chest as timid fingers brushed the hand of a girl. I thought love was the shortness of breath, the hurt, as my grandfather’s ashes were buried in the garden. I thought love was my bride, beaming, as she walked through the church to recite her vows. But today, as my son’s little knees bend in time with Good Vibrations and his laughter invites me to dance; I realize that I’ve held a narrow view of love thus far. So, I’m finally open to learning what love truly means.
It was a thing of beauty. The rubber chicken swung back and forth, back and forth, back and forth in a hangman’s noose. This was moment middle school boys dream of, the reason we skipped our after school activities, snuck into the school’s theater, made dirty jokes about “choking it,” and ascended to the heights of the catwalk. The fowl dangled there in center stage, just behind the curtain, swinging, swinging. The following morning, the intercom crackled and a livid voice demanded that anyone with information should come forward immediately. We gave each other subtle glances, never saying a word.
Blue Ridge Nightmares
I don’t know how many accidents happen here each year, but I’ve died forty-three times tonight: one death for each curve in the road. My dad is driving. Usually, he’s the least dangerous person in the world. He’s the guy who brakes hard on yellow and then sticks it in reverse, returning to the white line before the light turns red. Seriously, I've been there when it's happened. But on this road, late at night with headlights coming from all angles, the only thing to do is bury my head in a pillow and wonder if he’s going too fast.
As my boy played next to me on the bed, I dozed off for a moment, only to jolt awake with an overwhelming sense of gravity. I leapt from the mattress even before the THUD- even before his tiny voice screamed out in surprise, pain, and betrayal. Beth came running in, demanding to know what happened as I scooped him up off the floor, burbling, "oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh, please, no, I'm so sorry little boy, I'm so sorry little boy, so sorry..." Later, four firemen reminded me to be more careful in the future.
She warned us that if we waited until the last minute to work on our midterm papers we’d receive no better than a D. I should have taken her words to heart, but instead, I procrastinated until three days before it was due and wrote all night, handing it in half-drunk on lack of sleep. When the essay came back, graded, I dropped the class. It was the sloppiest thing I’d ever composed and the highest grade she’d ever given anyone. I couldn’t continue listening to her tell us not to drag our feet, when it apparently worked out fine.
Blood Red Summer
The only time I ever took a beating was during the first year I went to summer camp. A bunch of us were waiting in line for the snack shack and I made a snide remark about this huge kid who was teasing me. Moments later, I had my back up against the side of a wooden barn and I took blow after blow my to face until my nose exploded. My shirt was ruined.
Ever since Mr. Brown’s prized milk cow, Bernice, jumped over the moon there was an all out war for his attention. The chickens were determined to peck out the world’s largest hole, the pigs planned world domination, and the horses soon embarked on expedition to the bottom of the sea.
Death by Meatball
Harold's body had been there for at least a month by the time Bradshaw's team found him. He lay dead in a pool of his own vomit, hair still combed in a greasy part and eyes glazed over. He was dressed in his favorite t-shirt. The stench of rotting flesh was overwhelming. Hardened policemen turned away to keep from becoming sick.