0

She Is An Apocalypse

There is a hurricane swirling inside of her. Twisting and turning, ripping her apart, emotions scattered to and fro. It rages, it never quiets, it barrels through her thoughts and through her feelings, destructive and dangerous, destroying her from the inside out.

There is a fire roaring inside of her. Burning and raging, filling her every inch with embers of pain. It roars and flares up, burning anything in its path to ashes. It’s gearing up to turn her mind to cinders and toast her every hope and dream.

There is an earthquake rolling inside of her. It is thunderous and loud, rocking her beliefs and shaking her trust. Her morals quake and quiver, giving way to self destructive decision after self destructive decision. It is dismantling her inner establishment of confidence, turning it into rubble at her feet, burying it deep beneath.

She is an apocalypse, tearing down her walls and gearing up for a final burst, charging up her sun spots to eradicate every molecule that makes her. She’s a walking nuclear war, bombs falling endlessly, blowing every bit of her to smithereens. She is a viral outbreak, sickening herself worse and worse until there’s nothing left except a corpse that looks nothing like the girl they once knew.

She will burn brightly, she will fade fast, and she will be remembered fondly, not as someone who mattered, but someone who was fascinating to watch flare out.

She is extinguished.

1

Beauty

I was once a leaf, perched high atop a tree; I was once a flower, growing from the ground

I was once a painting, made for all to see; I was once a song, a symphony of sound

But seasons change and leaves fall out, they’re stepped on, crushed to dust

And flowers are all picked out, to give to those you trust

And paintings are stored in closets, never to be seen again

And music, it becomes muted, and never makes it to the end

Everything that was once beautiful, that we held in high esteem; everything we all admired, everything that made us dream

It all goes away eventually, nothing’s as it seems; beauty gives way to darkness, laughter gives way to screams

So destroy me all you want, erase my heart and soul; quiet all my thoughts and words and take away control

Because no matter what you do, I was beautiful one day; and I know that’s more than you will ever get to say.

0

I Want To See The End

I want to see the world end.

I want to be sitting in my bedroom when they run the sirens and I can see the flames raining down outside. I want to hear the screams, the worry, the terror. I want to know for certainty that we caused our own demise, that we were the reasons for our own downfall. Our greed, our gluttony, our materialism, our egotism. I want to know we did this to ourselves. I want to see it end. I want to see the world burn, and the fires blaze and the people cry. I want to be there afterwards, to see what kind of better future may possibly come from this, knowing full well there’s no such thing as a ‘better future’ so long as we’re involved in it.

I want to see the end. I want to wander the world afterwards and tell the leftovers that they’re responsible for this. That this is their fault. That their small minded put us here. That this could’ve been avoided, had they not been so simple, so narrow, in their beliefs. Willing to just, once in a while, listen to someone else. A differing opinion, an alternate viewpoint, isn’t admitting you’re wrong, but that you’re reasonable enough to listen because you don’t know everything, and that there’s nothing wrong with that. But here we are, it’s the end, and it’s all. your. fault. I want people to feel the isolation I have felt, the hopelessness, the terror and the madness and the utter burning sensation of loneliness that comes with being the one person the world doesn’t want. Now it’s over. Now the world doesn’t want everyone, so how’s it feel to be just like me?

I don’t want the world to end because I hate it. I don’t want the world to end because it deserves to. I want the world to end so that finally, maybe finally, people can understand for once how I’ve felt for my entire life, because I don’t belong in this world, so maybe we can all belong in this new one. I have to literally wait for the world to end, for everyone to feel lost and forgotten, before I feel like I can connect with my own species. That’s a real statement on society.

I want to see the world end. I want to see the ruin and destruction and ugliness because maybe for once I could see a world that has something in common with myself.

0

Let’s Be Sorry For Everything

Sandy and Derek were sitting in their bedroom on the bed, legs crossed, a bottle of vodka on the table behind Derek and each with a shot glass in their hands. Sandy had her hair pulled back in a ponytail, while Derek was pouring a little bit of vodka in their respective glasses.

“So, the idea of this is to forgive ourselves, eachother or someone else for something with each shot,” Derek said, “That way we can stop being so damn angry about every little thing in our lives.”

“Okay,” Sandy said, holding her glass to eye level, looking through the clear liquid, “And if someone starts to veer things into a direction the other doesn’t want to go, then they can just veto that.”

“Sure, that sounds fair,” Derek said. Sandy threw her head back and took her shot, then wiped her mouth on her arm and exhaled, shaking her head a little. She finally looked at Derek and grimaced.

“Ugh, I forgot how sick Vodka makes me,” she said softly, “I’m really sorry that I made things hard when we were first getting together. I’m sorry if I made you so uncertain about me, yourself or anything else. You don’t deserve that.”

Derek smiled and took his shot, then gave a gross look on his face, nearly gagging, “Oh jesus, you weren’t kidding, that shit is tough. Ugh. Alright, well, I’m sorry if I ever get on you for complaining. You have every right to be upset, because shit sucks for us. I’m sorry if I ever made you feel like you can’t speak your mind.”

Sandy nearly blushed, feeling so lucky to have him, as he poured them another set of shots. Sandy pushed her bangs from her eyes and stretched her legs out, resting her feet in his lap, looking around their bedroom.

“I think I wanna redecorate,” Sandy said, “This place is lacking any sort of personality lately. I think we need to do something about it.”

“I’m good with that idea,” Derek said, as he finished pouring and started massaging Sandy’s feet while she took her next shot. She hissed through her teeth and shook her head a little.

“Well,” she began, “I guess I’m sorry for Reggie. When I was in college, I took this class about feminine representation in literature, specifically when written by straight guys, and how they’re rarely heroines and when they are heroines they’re overly sexualized because that’s the only way they can see us. Anyway, there was this girl named Regina, or Reggie, who sat in the class a few seats down from me. We started talking, we became friends and went to parties and stuff together since we didn’t wanna go alone, even though once there we usually just made fun of the people there. I guess she wanted to get to know me cause she was gay and one night she suggested we make out, just for something to do.”

“And?” Derek asked.

“…well, we did. We did…more…than just make out. Point is, the next day she completely blacked me out, like it’d never happened. So, for someone to make the claim that only men can see women as objects is an unfair subjection, because let me tell you, some women are just as predatory. Made me feel sick with myself, and so I just went and hooked up with multiple girls that year, so I guess I apologize to myself too for putting myself through that,” Sandy said, sighing and looking at her empty glass, “…I’m glad you never do that to me.”

“Of course not,” Derek said, “Bottoms up.”

He threw his head back and took his drink, exhaling afterwards, and then squinting. He finally opened his eyes, looked at Sandy and felt tears swell up in his eyes.

“I’m sorry for…” Derek started, but he couldn’t figure out the words he wanted to use. After a few moments of pause and reflect, he finally managed to say, “I’m just sorry. I’m sorry to everyone who’s ever had to put up with me. My parents, any friends…you, most of all.”

“Ditto,” Sandy said, “We’ve been kind of bad for eachother, but at least we recognize that, and we know it’s wrong, yet inevitably a part of being in a relationship, and we try to fix it, unlike other people our age who simply say if someone treats you bad once or disagrees with anything you say then you should dump them immediately. Ridiculous. That isn’t a relationship. That’s narcissism. There’s a difference between straight up abuse and disagreement.”

“Right, right,” Derek said, chewing on his bottom lip, “I’m going to get another bottle from the corner store, this one barely had any left in it. I’ll be back in a few minutes.”

As he got off the bed, he leaned down and stroked her cheek with his fingers, then grabbed his jacket, pulled on his shoes and headed out the door. Sandy laid on the bed, looking up at the ceiling. Eventually, she got off the bed, got her laptop out and started doing some research. She eventually wound up with a phone number, which she plopped into her cell and dialed.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings. Four-

“Hello?” a voice asked, “Carter residence.”

“…Reggie Carter?” Sandy asked, wondering if this was a bad idea.

“Yes? Who wants to know?” Reggie asked.

“I, uh, I’m…Sandy Price, we…we went to college together and-”

“Sandy?” Reggie asked, her voice staying the same deadpan it had been since she’d answered, “Good lordy, what’re you doing calling me this late, or, at all?”

“My…boyfriend, guyfriend, whatever, we’re sitting around and just talking about things we’re sorry for and…and I thought about you. I thought about, like, the time we spent in school together and shit and how like, I don’t know, how we hung out and hooked up and I felt-”

“I am really sorry if I made you feel bad,” Reggie said, interrupting her, “I…I don’t like stopping people from speaking but I need you to know that, I feel really bad about it. You have to understand, my family was really close minded and conservative and I could never discuss anything about how I felt to anyone, so to find someone who…who I guess was kind of like me, it felt freeing in a way, you know? But I know I essentially came off as predatory and like I used you to figure myself out and I apologize if that’s messed with you over the years because that was not my overall intention one bit. I was just really focused on figuring me out after all those closed off years living at home.”

“I understand,” Sandy said, “I really do, like, god, living with my mother…she still doesn’t even understand who I am and why I’m not just like her, ya know. It’s so goddamned frustrating.”

Reggie giggled and sighed, “Sandy, I’ve thought about calling you, I really have. I just figured you didn’t want anyone drudging up shit from that point in time, like maybe you were just trying to black it all out or whatever, but I’m really glad that that isn’t the case.”

“What’re you doing up so late anyway?”

“Well it’s not like it’s a school night or anything,” Reggie replied, laughing, “No, my wife works nights so I sleep alone most of the time. I was just reading when you called.”

“Anything interesting?”

“Not really, symptoms of illnesses.”

“Are you a doctor?” Sandy asked.

“I’m sick,” Reggie said, stopping Sandy in her tracks, “I…uh…I guess about a year ago I had headaches and my hair started to come out a little, and I felt really nauseous, and I found out I have leukemia. It’s not life threatening just yet, so don’t worry, but it is…it’s scary, but we’re dealing with it.”

“I…I’m so sorry,” Sandy whispered, “I had no idea, obviously. I hope you’ll be okay.”

“Listen, why don’t we meet for lunch or something next week, and we can catch up more? I’m really tired these days, as you can imagine. I will call you tomorrow and we can set up a date or something,” Reggie said, and Sandy told her that would be fine. As they said their goodbyes and hung up both ends, Derek came back into the room with a bag. He dumped it on the bed, and out spilled another vodka bottle, a baby ruth and a horse racing magazine. Sandy held the phone to her chest, pacing back and forth at the end of the bed.

“…if I ever get sick, leave me, ok?” Sandy asked, “Don’t…don’t try and be all noble or whatever, just go. I don’t want to put you through that and have yet something else I’d need to apologize for in hell.”

“I like that you recognize you’re likely not going to heaven,” Derek said, smiling as he opened the bottle, “That’s nice, modesty is important in a friend.”

“There’s too damn much to apologize for,” Sandy said, sitting at the end of the bed, “I…we can have an entire drinking game dedicated to saying ‘I’m sorry’ but in the end, I’m going to just keep adding onto that list, having more things to be sorry for, and there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to get through them all by the time I die, that’s for sure. So, don’t become one of those people. If something happens to me, just leave and go about your life, because the last thing I need in addition to dying is also to hurt you.”

“That sounds fair enough,” Derek said, “…and you’re right, there’s too much to apologize for. That’s the problem with mistakes, it’s not something you do once or twice in your life. It’s something you continue to do forever. You will always make mistakes. They might not even be big mistakes, like hurting someone you shouldn’t have or whatever, but just little things, like parking in a handicapped spot and then someone else comes along who needs it. Mistakes make up the majority of our time here on earth. Memories are often just the things we’ve deemed good because they’re the things we didn’t make mistakes in. That’s why we remember them. We filter out the bad stuff so we can have nice things to look back on. But…when it gets down to it, the thing we do most in life is fuck up, and I guess that’s okay, because at least we know we’re not the only ones doing it. Everyone does it. That’s some level of solidarity, I suppose.”

Sandy reached for the bottle and took a long drink from it before handing it back to him. Derek unwrapped his candy bar and broke it in half, handing one half to her and then eating the other himself. Sandy filled her shot glass again and drank it.

“I’m sorry we decided to play this,” she said.

“Yeah, me too.”

0

So She Made Planets

She can create planets on a whim.

She’s had this ability for as long as she can remember. She can recall the first time she made a star, while playing outside one soft summer afternoon, at her daycare, waiting for her mother to come and pick her up. Everyone acts like it’s something special, but it isn’t, not once you’ve done a hundred thousand times, it becomes just as mundane as any other talent or skill. She can remember sitting with some other kids during lunchtime in elementary school, wowing them with her abilities to be able to create meteors from thin air. She became a magic trick; something kids asked for at their birthday parties, something adults used when out of town family members dropped in and wanted an experience. But she didn’t mind, she liked the attention, and she liked showing off her abilities.

There’s no life on her planets. They’re barren and cold, desolate, uninhabitable. All of these things are small, no bigger than a softball, but still, they’re hers, and she loves them. She spent a lot of her teenage girls in her bedroom, record player on repeat, laying on her back on the floor, just reaching up into the air above her face and creating entire galaxies. A black hole here, a milky way there, a star system, an asteroid field, you name it and she’d make it. She could entertain herself for hours with this. As with all novelties though, it faded with time. Life overtakes hobbies. The things that make you happiest fall by the wayside, even if they’re magical and not mundane in the slightest. She had to study. She had to date. She had to graduate, get into college and get a job. Not because she wanted any of this, but because everyone told her to.

“Making stars isn’t going to guarantee you a future,” they’d tell her, “People want real work skills.”

Resume after resume, essay after essay, lecture after lecture…spending countless, sleepless nights in the school library, trying to finish that paper due the following morning and instead finding herself blipping whole new worlds into creation in the palm of her hand, with the flip of her wrist. It got to the point where it didn’t bring her happiness, because it wasn’t what was “supposed” to bring her happiness. Marriage. A family. A career. Those were what happiness was to be reserved for. Not making stars. Not making planets. After a while, she’d spend all day long at work, come home and go to sleep. Go out with friends. Go out on dates. Soon she never made stars at all.

And then one day, she found she just didn’t want to, and this upset her even more. How could something so special, something so many people had, at one point in time, fawned over her for and told her was unique, was a gift, become so…so boring and unwanted? Even to the person who controlled said gift? Nothing lasted. People came and went. Jobs began and ended. Now she just sits on her bedside, in the dark, in her pajamas, repeatedly making planets and stars and meteors for the sake of doing something, anything at all, and not feeling totally and completely useless.

And then one night, she made a planet, and it was inhabited. This had never happened before. The people on it, they appreciated their existence, they thanked her graciously, they’d needed her to be. She was useful. Important. They enjoyed what she’d given them. They enjoyed her. She was loved. She created another and another and another, filling her bedroom over the following weeks with tiny, inhabited planets, and finally accepting this was who she was. She wasn’t like all the other people. She could do things they couldn’t do. She could make planets.

So she made planets.

And she was fine with that.

0

Will Work For Poverty

Sitting in their booth at a high end Mexican Restaurant, Sandy Price & Derek Fisher each had a drink in front of them, both wearing their ‘sunday best’, and both completely pissed off by everything they saw around them. Sandy took a sip of her drink, set it back down on the table and folded her arms, scoffing.

“Money is no object to those who have it,” she said under her breath, “We didn’t even get to pay for this ourselves. Your parents paid for this. That isn’t a dig towards you or your parents, for the record. It’s a dig toward poverty.”

“Well, with your job, we won’t be poverty stricken much longer,” Derek said, opening his menu and rubbing his nose on his jacket sleeve, “Do you want to split a big plate of nachos or something?”

“Look at this woman,” Sandy said, and Derek lowered his menu to see her nodding in the direction of a woman sitting a few tables away in a backless black dress and her hair done up, wearing an emerald necklace around her neck. She was appearing to laugh at the guy she was with.

“What about her?” Derek asked.

“She hates her date,” Sandy said, “She’s poor, but she’s with him because he pays for things. That’s not a dig against her either, it’s again a dig against poverty. It makes you do things you normally wouldn’t. She wants to be able to partake in the things everyone else does, so she sticks it out with this guy, who isn’t necessarily a bad guy, he just isn’t her type, so she doesn’t have to feel that bad about her financial situation. Society has made you feel guilty about your fiscal standing. They’ve turned being poor into something shameful.”

“I mean, sure, but does that mean she doesn’t deserve it? Everyone deserves some niceties, right? Your bank statement shouldn’t dictate your self worth, or whether or not you get to treat yourself every now and then. She’s doing what it takes to get by,” Derek said, “Besides, how can you tell she’s poor?”

“Her heels are tearing, see where the heel is on her shoe, and the fabric of the shoe is coming up? Those aren’t real emeralds, they’re fakes, albeit convincing ones at that, and I saw that exact dress at a discount shop a month ago for about 7 dollars,” Sandy said.

“You’re like Sherlock Holmes,” Derek said, “It’s pretty impressive. Why’s this bother you so much?”

“Why doesn’t it bother you?”

“It does, but I also want to have a nice time. If she’s allowed to, why aren’t we allowed to take one night off and just enjoy ourselves?” Derek asked, and Sandy sighed, scratching the back of her head, pulling her hair up into a ponytail.

“You’re right,” she said, “I’m sorry. Let’s just order.”

Derek ran through the menu items once again when a waitress stopped at the table, asking if they were ready to order, and before Derek could reply, Sandy finished her drink, looked up at the waitress and asked her, “How fucking miserable is your existence?”

“Can I not take you anywhere?!” Derek yelled.

“It’s pretty miserable,” the waitress replied, to both of their surprise, “I have to spend all night waiting on people who often are pieces of entitled shit, giving them food I can’t afford myself, and then go home to an apartment I can barely afford. Yeah. It’s pretty terrible. I’d much rather jump in front of a garbage truck than continue to collect this scam of a paycheck.”

“I like her,” Sandy said, “She’s got personality. So tell me, sit down, please-”

Sandy patted the booth seat and the waitress sat beside them.

“-are you looking for anything else?”

“You mean job wise? Why bother? Everything is taken or unavailable. There’s no middle ground. Being poor is now my full time occupation. Do you know how much work it takes to lie to the unemployment office just so they’ll continue to give you unemployment checks? Literally being unemployed is more work than being employed. You apparently can’t be poor if you’re making too much, even if what you’re making isn’t enough to live on. No, you gotta put on your worst clothes, not shower for a few days and then go lie to these people simply so you can afford to both live somewhere AND eat for another month.”

“Just once, just one night, why is that too much to ask?” Derek mumbled, rubbing his eyes with his palms, “Every single time we go somewhere it’s something. One of us gets a stick up our ass about how things ought to be, that we can’t enjoy how things are at that moment in time. Like when I yelled at that couple who took that parking spot or the other week when you told me you wanted to jump out our window. We can never live in the moment, because apparently the moment is never good enough.”

“Don’t you think that’s a problem?” Sandy asked, “Shouldn’t that realization say enough to warrant you to want to change things?”

“But change isn’t instantaneous, Sandy, it doesn’t happen overnight. You don’t just wake up after years with depression and think ‘gee, I feel great today, guess I’m cured!’. You have good days, you have bad days, and eventually the good days outweigh the bad days and that’s when you start realizing that you might have a handle on this depression thing.  Yes, I want change, just like anyone else, but if change is all I ever focus on, I’ll never have any fun at all.”

A moment of silence passed between the three of them.

“Are you gonna finish that?” the waitress asked, as Derek slid the remainder of his drink over to her. He sighed and looked around at everyone else in the restaurant.

“We sit here, or wherever we decide to go, and we criticize and nitpick and yeah they’re bullshit, these people are assholes, they’re making everyone else miserable, but ya know what, at least they’re enjoying themselves. Don’t we get to enjoy ourselves every now and then? Isn’t that allowed? Sure, this girl might hate her date and she might only be with him so she doesn’t have to be unhappy about her financial situation all the time, but god, at least she’s enjoying what he’s giving her. Have we become so entrenched in what we don’t have, what we can’t attain, that we can no longer appreciate what we do have, what we have attained?”

“Your boyfriend’s right,” the waitress said.

“He’s not my boyfriend,” Sandy said, with Derek echoing her sentiment.

“Well, whatever he is, he’s right. Yeah, I’m mad as hell about my life. I’m a young black woman working at an nice mexican restaurant, and not even real mexican food, but what white people think mexican food should be, and they don’t even fuckin’ tip me. Not just because I’m black, but also because I’m young, and tips are a ‘handout’. I work hard. I bust my fuckin’ black ass every single day just trying to make enough to feed myself, and still I gotta cater to some dumb bitch who thinks racism ended the same year as Hee-Haw. But still, every now and then, I do take stock of what I have and what I’ve done and enjoy that. If I lived my entire life in misery, I’d never get anything done.”

Derek and Sandy exchanged a glance and the waitress finished the drink and then stood up, wiping her apron down.

“Now, can I take your order, or are we gonna continue Sociology 101?” she asked.

“…give us a few minutes,” Sandy said, and the waitress turned and left. Sandy looked into her now empty glass as Derek took his jacket off and put it on the booth top behind them. He exhaled and looked at her.

“I think we should break up,” Sandy said.

“We’re not even dating.”

“That’s what makes it so difficult,” she replied, “I’m not doing anything but dragging you down into my filth. You have the capacity to be uplifting. Be inspirational. Look at what I’m doing to you, look at what we’ve done to eachother. You’re right. I can’t be happy. I can’t make you happy. Nothing is worth it.”

“Don’t give me that college grade Kafka bullshit,” Derek said, “Something is worth it,  but it’s not worth everything. I don’t care about you because it’s the right thing to do, I care about you because you care about me, because somebody has to. You’re unhappy, you’re miserable, you want to kill everything you see, but I accept that because I understand. I’m the same way. I just mask it better than you do. I manage to hide it behind this exterior of pleasantness. Don’t you dare sit there and tell me that the work you do with those kids isn’t worth it. I’ve seen you working. I know how happy it makes you. You’re not broken. You’re just frayed along the edges. You’re not a shattered plate, you’ve just got some cracks.”

“…maybe instead of breaking up, we should become a real couple,” Sandy said, “Maybe the problem isn’t that we’re bad for one another, but that we’re so good for one another that we don’t want to take the initiative and actually make it official. Maybe the uncertainty of what we are is what’s making us angry.”

Derek waited a moment, and then smiled. He took her hand and looked at her eyes.

“There’s a lot of happy people out there, why would I ever want to be just like them? I like being a little bit sad. Uniqueness is underrated. They say everyone is special? No. Everyone is so much alike that it hurts, so the fact that we are unhappy, that we’re not mindlessly just taking everything at face value, that we can see how bad things can be…maybe that’s what makes us real. Why be happy like them? Let’s be sad like us.”

“You’re such a fucking loser,” Sandy said, “You’re seriously the biggest fucking loser I have ever known, with the most hackneyed, cliche pseudo intellectual uplifting faux psychology bullshit spewing from your mouth…but the reality is you don’t believe it. Everyone else who says things like that…they believe it. You don’t. You just say it to make me feel better, and I appreciate that.”

“Of course I don’t believe it, who actually, honestly believes in garbage like that?” Derek asked, laughing, “But it makes you feel better, so I say it, because that’s what caring for someone else is about. Doing whatever you can to make them feel just a little bit better. You wanna be miserable? Fine. Let’s be miserable. But at least recognize that we can be miserable together, and that that’s more than these people have. Being unhappy together is better than faking happiness with someone you detest.”

The waitress reappeared at their table, pen in her hand, waiting for their order. Sandy and Derek looked at her while she waited, then they both stood up, put their jackets back on and Derek reached into his back pocket where he pulled out a twenty dollar bill and gave it to her.

“Fuck your establishment,” he said.

“Amen brother,” she replied, as they left.

0

Time Capsule

Every year I go to my father’s for his birthday.

I don’t take him out for a meal, or to see a film or anything like that. We talk for a while, I give him his gift, and then we do what we’ve done every year for the last 7 years…we open up his time capsule. Inside, there are 5 items, each as important as the last. We take them out one by one, examining and discussing them. The first is a beautiful, golden ring. He puts it in the time capsule, because he wants to make sure it never gets lost, and he wants to give it to me when I get married. He says it’s a perfect fit, and I know it’s true, because I’ve tried it on. On the inner curve of the ring, there’s an inscription that reads, “Your smile is my oxygen.”

Next would have to be the camera. It’s a small, black camera that he took all of my childhood photos on, and that he took every photo in general on for as long as I can remember. He and my mother bought it at a thrift store before they got married, and he’d used it ever since. He even took every photo from their honeymoon on it. He tells me that I should do the same, ‘keep it in the family’, so to speak.

After that would be the corsage. It’s a beautiful shade of pink, and it fits perfectly on my wrist. It was my mothers as well, and she was the one who put it into the time capsule. He got it for her on their prom night, and she still cherishes it he says.

After the corsage comes the key. It’s the key to the first place my parents owned. It was their dream house. He says my mom wishes they still lived there, but I know better, that she’s happy where she is now. She’s happy where they are. But, that aside, it’s still an important piece of their history, and therefore, it’s made its way into the time capsule.

Finally, the last item in the box is a baby photo of me. It was taken by that same camera, in the hospital, mere moments after I was born. In the photo, my mother is holding me, beaming so happily, and my father says it’s her favorite photo of all time. After we’re through, we repack the time capsule, put it back onto the top shelf of his closet and go to dinner. We do this every single year.

We do this every single year, and we will continue to do so. We do it for mom. She’s been gone a while now, but they made that time capsule together on her deathbed in the hospital, where they spent her last days together. She told him that this way, they’d never be apart. This way, none of us would be apart. My father won’t admit it, but he misses her more than he lets on, though he tries to stay strong. But, if you look at just the right angle into his eyes, you can see her, still caught in his gaze, looking just as beautiful as the day they met.

We miss you, mom.

Dad especially.