A Pear Tree for Me
It was my first summer in east Tennessee. I hadn’t wanted to move there, but my father’s job was more of a priority than my feelings, so we went. We arrived there, and I hated it. Everything was so slow when I was used to the fast-paced life of the city, the food sucked, and one can only hike and see the mountains so many times before it gets boring. I was always more of a beach person, and there are no beaches in east Tennessee. That first summer was an eye-opener for me when I realized I couldn’t get a lot of the same things I could back home, and that I would have to be stuck here for at least three years until I graduated high school (if I didn’t run away and emancipate before then). All I wanted was to be able to do the same things I enjoyed before we moved, but of course, that was impossible.
Dear Son, I remember the long winter days in Connecticut. As a child, I loved them. Waking up to see snow falling in fluffy, white flakes like little bits of cotton floating down from the sky and coating the yard, watching my breath frost the window and pressing my nose against the cold glass to get a better look outside, feeling the warmth of the old cast iron heater against my hands after I came in from playing in the snow, sipping hot chocolate in an oversized mug, the thrill of missing a day of school and getting to stay home, enjoying the winter wonderland. Christmas was always the best. Our neighbor had a pond in his backyard and when it froze over he would decorate it with a bunch of Christmas lights, deer, angels, all glowing in the night to create a fairytale scene on the pond. As I got older, I played less and shoveled more. The cold irritated me, freezing me from the outside in on my short, half-mile walk to school. In college, my car slipped on some ice and I narrowly avoided death. My love for winter came to an abrupt halt, one that caused me to move halfway down the coast to South Carolina.
The Light Was Green
The light was green. The newly installed red light camera caught the whole incident in one photo, one moment in time, forever frozen in that frame, forever etched into my memory. I used to think those cameras were stupid, just another way to take money from people for being one second behind the light. Now I wonder how many times one of those cameras has proven someone else’s innocence.
Bull of the Ball
“Did you get the sheep?” “Well…” Lenny remained silent as they walked over to the truck. “Well, what? Did you get the sheep or not?”
Apocalypse In a Castle
“Vasquez.” I felt someone nudging my foot. Pulling my wool blanket tighter around myself, I turned my face into my pillow, trying to hold onto sleep.
I know your secret
For as long as Irma could remember, she had lied about her age. When she was 20, she told people she was 15, and at 30 told people she was 22. It was lucky for her that she had always looked young, but as she approached 50, time started to catch up with her in the form of wrinkles, sunspots, and lines around her lips and eyes. She cursed her younger self for not caring so much about skincare and thinking she would always look young, naturally. But no longer could she pretend she was so much younger than she was. People would be able to tell, and then they’d call the Council. In the Land of Wraith, people weren’t allowed to live past 50, and those who tried to outlive their predetermined time of death would be hunted and killed. Irma didn’t want to die. She had a ten-year-old son and a twelve-year-old daughter. She couldn’t bear the thought of leaving them alone. It was unnatural, but that was what the Council mandated, and they had plenty willing to enforce it. So, Irma lied.
“Can I get you folks anything for dessert?” the waiter asked us, smiling kindly. Alex flipped open the small, black dessert menu and ran a finger down the list of items.
“Smile,” the photographer said, shaking a rattle in Aurora’s direction, trying to get her attention. The camera clicked away in the hopes of catching one shot where Aurora wasn’t looking at the bale of hay she was perched upon. Her one-year-old senses were easily distracted by simple things, such as how the rough hay felt against her small hands. Getting a photo of her looking up would prove to be difficult.