I’m nearly 28 now, but in high school before I knew how the world worked and yet felt pretty dramatically confident there was no place for me- I would often skip class and sit on the floor of our local Borders bookstore on the corner of 59th and Columbus circle. It was there that I had created a safe space from the relentless tormenting of my peers. I would sit for hours, reading Calvin and Hobbes in the travel section where I would then sneakily slip the comics behind catalogues about Rome and Egypt so that no-one could buy them. And there they would safely wait for me until the next time I needed to get away. Eventually I left high school behind and found out later the book store had been permanently closed. To commemorate my time there, I had a tattoo made of Calvin and Hobbes sitting in a box (traveling through time).
As I pulled up to a stop sign, just miles past my childhood home, I caught a glimpse of my feet. Overcome by both horror and amusement, I sighed. “Happy 2021” I grumble-giggled to myself. I was on my way to a dental consultation, in slippers.