Thursday, April 30, 2009


Your doctor had an unusual way of grinning.

You think about it as you lie in one of his examination rooms, biting absent-mindedly at your nail, a dark IV dripping into your arm. When it slurps away to nothing, the nurse replaces it.

The doctor said to wait and relax. The IV would kick in about an hour, and he'd be back then.

You nibble away at a little corner of your index finger and try to count ceiling tiles.

You think about the doctor's smile again. Something about it was vaguely sinister. He showed a lot of teeth.

You keep biting.

How many times has the nurse changed the bag now? Four? Five?

How long has it been?

A sharp snap wakes you up - you chewed off your entire nail. Your finger is killing you. Now that you think about it, though, everything hurts. Your heart is pounding. Your head feels like it's in a vice.

And then the blood comes.

It leaks out of your fingertip, slowly, thickly, like molasses, and, unbelievably, it's as black as night. Clots exposed, it stretches like gum before it breaks, splashing to the ground leisurely.

As you collapse to the floor, surrounded by mountains of empty IV bags, gasping for breath, you watch the the doctor stroll in, grinning.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

After The Break-Up

Dave and Rachael broke up. It was messy.

After the break-up, they didn't make a huge effort to hide their mutual hatred. Dave was constantly bad-mouthing "that bitch," and, while Rachael publicly declared that they "were still friends," I wasn't buying that she "accidentally" sent his naked pictures to the whole school.

Two weeks later, I was on a two hour trip jammed into the back of Dave's Mini-Cooper, Darlene.

Rachael was sitting shotgun.

It turns out that before Rachael and Dave's falling out, they had bought four concert tickets for a show in Buffalo. I guess they were planning on a double date or something. My best friend Jon was supposed to be coming too, but he canceled right before we were leaving. Something about his mom dying.

Rat bastard.

Dave and Rachael weren't the kind of couple that would avoid each other after the break-up. They still sat next to each other in German, their cute smiles replaced by burning glares of hatred that would undoubtedly start fires should they be focused with a magnifying glass. They didn't even change the duet they were singing for the school recital. "Falling For You" comes off differently when one of the performers is actually pushed off the stage.

And so here I was, an unfortunate victim of fate and friendship, stuck in the back of a car with two teenagers who hated each other.

I thought about the pros and cons of a tractor trailer hitting the car.

"So," said Rachael.

I mean I would die, obviously.

There was an uncomfortable silence.

So it would probably be about a break even.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Conversations Destined to End in Silence

"Can I borrow a pencil?"

"Sure, but it doesn't have an eraser."

"That's okay - I NEVER MAKE MISTAKES."

"What do you want to do?"

"I dunno. I could laugh at you."



"I wish there was someone else in this room with me."

Monday, April 13, 2009

I'll Change for You

I met a girl on a bet.

I told her my name was Theodore, and that I had eleven cats and all of them were named Oliver. I said I played ukulele. I said I once accidentally killed another kid in my karate class with nunchucks because that's just how good I am.

She was getting off the bus and suddenly I didn't want to leave, so I told her I lived around here and asked if she wanted to get something to eat. She suggested sushi; I said I was allergic. We got tacos instead.

When I told my friends about it I pretended I thought it was funny.

She sat on my floor and ate Reese's Pieces while I painted the apartment I had bought in the area I got off the bus on that first day - I said I was redecorating. She told me she wished she was closer with her sister. She told me she liked the way my sweatshirts smelled. I told her all of my cats had mysteriously been killed by the same disease.

We were snuggled up on her couch, watching what she thought was my favorite movie and eating what she thought was my favorite food, and she asked me why I had never played ukulele for her. My heart sped up. I told her my ukulele was broken, and then I rushed to the store and bought one.

Four days later I played her the song I had pieced together from instructional youtube videos, and when I was done she told me she loved me. Staring her in the eye, my mouth cracked into a tiny smile, I told her I loved her too.

It was the first thing I said to her that wasn't a lie.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Monday, April 06, 2009


Our music department takes a five-day-long trip every other spring to an exotic location, and this year it was Disney World. It was late at night - 12:30, maybe. I was outside my third-floor room, leaning against the railing in a manner I hoped was casual and hoping my girlfriend would glance out her window and think about how cool I looked (I didn't look cool).

The sprinklers had turned on, and I closed my eyes for the sounds around me - the splashing from the curiously piano-shaped pool in the distance, the muffled laughs of students behind closed motel doors. The air was sweet and damp; the wind light and warm.

I heard a door slam from the first floor and opened my eyes in time to see an elderly woman toddling gently onto the lawn, clutching a water bottle. She walked up to one of the sprinklers on the lawn, glanced around, gave it a kick, and rushed back into her room. The sprinkler erupted immediately into a geyser, continuously shooting a barrage of water straight up about five feet.

As I stood out on the balcony that evening, the sole witness to a dumbfounding act of defiance, thinking about my marvelous girlfriend and hilarious roommates, quietly watching a broken sprinkler saturate the grass around it and turn the neighboring sidewalk into a muddy river, I couldn't help but stare up at the sky and marvel at my life.