Just your basic, garden-variety fiction dweeb. :-)
Elephant in the Room
I was a really lucky kid. Every evening, my dad would settle down on the couch between my younger sister and I-- both of us clutching a sippy-cup of warm milk-- and read us a bedtime story. We had an impressive collection, thanks to a bountifully stocked, local, used bookstore. We were also privileged to attend children's night at the public library every week, where a friendly librarian entranced an entire crowd of youngsters with a story followed by a craft project, and returned home with two borrowed books apiece. My parents didn't give us the world; by inspiring a love of reading from a young age, they gave us worlds.
I don’t know why I reclaimed the locket. It wasn’t exactly a family heirloom— I’d traded a handful of arcade tickets for it when I was in the 4th or 5th grade, and swapped a scratchy hemp cord for the cheap chain after it turned my neck green. Frankly, I’d forgotten it existed until the dented metal heart resurfaced as I rummaged through the boxes stashed in the hollowed-out wall of my stepfather’s basement. Nevertheless, I impulsively stuffed it into my backpack.
More Than One Thing
"You can be more than one thing, y'know, dad. I'm still an artist." This is one of my father's favorite stories to tell about me. On the morning of my first day of kindergarten, he held my small hand in his large, comfortingly calloused one. Together we watched the yellow bus trundle cautiously into view. I have no memory of the bus driver's appearance as the doors hissed open: only the impression of a serenely smiling adult in casual yet complete control of this massive machine, entrusted with conveying myself and my peers safely towards our future.
Styx and Stones (Unbreakable Souls)
To say that it was a quiet morning on the river of death would be simultaneously accurate and fallacious. It’s always quiet, and never definitively morning; on the river, there is little need for sound and less still for the concept of time. This space between life and afterlife is a literal grey area, the dove-soft sky separated from the deep, somber waters by gentle tendrils of mist. The waves swept the hull of my boat like a mother’s fingers against her child’s face, fond and protective, and my passenger peered over the side at their reflection.