My Favorite Way To Waste Time

In childhood, declaring your favorites was a mercurial process, changing as quickly as you experience knew things and begin to think about the world in new ways. The common thread, though, is that it is always something fantastic or exciting. You have a favorite color, a favorite snack, a favorite patch of forest, a favorite park, etc. As you grow older, you still have favorites and you still appreciate all of those things, you but you start to develop more mundane favorites. Favorite soap, favorite plates, a favorite mug, favorite socks, favorite times, favorite beverage temperatures. It can seem a little depressing from the outside and it’s frequently held up as a sign of being a boring old adult.

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Growth

Arnold left his room in the dead of night, carefully stepping around every creaking board as he made his way downstairs. It was after midnight, his family was asleep, and Arnold had grown hungry.

He made himself a quick sandwich to hold him over while he pre-heated the oven. Once it beeped, and he’d finished the banana he’d taken after the last crumbs of the sandwich had disappeared, he popped a pair of pizzas in to cook.

While he waited the prescribed twelve minutes, he reflected on the constant gnawing hunger he’d felt while at school, where they wouldn’t even let him snack on the bags of pretzels he’d stuffed into his locker. He’d tried to sneak them into class by sticking them in his pockets, but the snap and crunch had given him away instantly. As had his classmates. Not even they understood what he was going through.

His parents got it, though, sort of. They didn’t like seeing him eat as much as he did, but they didn’t question his need for the extra food. He heard his dad saying something to his mom about “puberty” and him being a “growing boy.” He wasn’t sure why they thought that. He was eighteen, a senior in college. He’d gone through puberty years ago.

That being said, he was happy to let them assume whatever they wanted. They wouldn’t understand if he explained it, so he avoided it as much as they did. He hadn’t even seen a doctor about it. He didn’t want to end up in a lab.

So he ate two frozen pizzas, another banana, and then went to bed so the alien parasite growing inside him could get all the nutrients it needed. He was proud to be a dad, especially to such a special child.

Hand on my Heart

If you had asked, I’d have said yes. I never could deny you anything. You could have asked for my heart, and I’d have cut it out for you.

They say you never really know love until you hold your child for the first time. I usually like to argue with that because I feel like that denies the love of people without children, but I don’t think I can anymore.

I would have said yes. I would have given you my blessing. Sent you off with the knowledge that, even if I do not agree with what you want to do, I will always support you. But you didn’t ask.

I can’t blame you. I wanted you to be strong and master of your own destiny. I wanted you to do whatever you wanted with your life, even if I wound up trying to stop you. I am so proud you became everything I ever hoped you could.

I just wish you knew that. There are so many things I’d have said if I’d known you were leaving, so many lessons I’d have liked to teach you. But you left. Now, you have no more lessons to learn.

I saw you do an interview once, a couple years after you left. I was so proud of you. I carried newspaper clippings in my wallet so I could brag like I used to when you were a baby. The fire in your eyes warmed me even as I felt the cold distance that I could never seem to close.

One day, I hope you find this. You never replied to my emails or messages, so I hope you eventually pick up this letter. It will be too late, but at least you’ll know. I’ll always be your biggest fan.