Worrying what my boss thought annoyed me. Planning my schedule around other people's opinions gave me a headache. It was time to teach myself that "I matter." That it's okay to stand up for myself, it's okay to speak with confidence and to have (a little) swagger.
Despite my best efforts, I still manage to suck at life. Despite taking an antidepressant, I still manage to have bad days. Remove the shiny gloss of the internet and you’ll find a sub-thirty-year-old man weeping on the couch. It’s quite specular when your four-year-old daughter comforts you in her squeaky, undeveloped voice. “It’s okay, Mr. Giggles thinks you're cool."
They plastered the posters everywhere. “Send. Them. Home.” Cracked, creased, and worn, they swept in and out of the legs of children playing ball in the streets. They littered the walls, the profiles of mothers and fathers, farmers and entrepreneurs staring back, a bounty thrust on their head. Whipping in the wind, posters on the surface suffocated those far beneath and the charred remains of the towers, broken down to only a few stories, projected the faces of the missing alongside the mugs of the abhorrent.
The renowned 1929 edition of The Guide to Glorious & Wild Birds of Achoa National Island gave no advice on how to deal with the island’s monstrosities once you discovered them. This was two-fold. First, its editor, St. Timothy’s Press, assumed you were not dumb enough to approach the creatures and second, a bird of underestimated strength mauled the author who ignored the first assumption and created it in the same moment.
Death came, not in the night, but on a Friday afternoon. Directing his ‘92 Chevy pickup, he followed Rt. 29 past St. Peter's Cathedral and the “Welcome to Hell” graffiti spread, and pulled into Sal’s diner. A neighborhood nook, it sat by itself as if reflecting on its own broken life. There were more exciting joints in town but Sal’s was consistent and consistency fell in line with the patrons' midwestern theology.
My wife is a Long Island local but moved away fifteen years ago. She breathes Long Island, eats Long Island, and even fights like Long Island. She wears Long Island like a thick coat and our daughters—half Long Island(ian)—need to understand who made their jackets.