Eleanor reads the invitation again. She hasn’t seen Tom since high school. Spinning her wedding band around her finger, she checks yes to the RSVP, underlining it twice, heart thudding in her chest.
The ceremony is brief. At the reception, Eleanor’s husband taps his smartwatch with a look. She swallows a sigh and scans the crowd. Tom sees her first; their eyes lock. Pulled together by a hundred what-ifs, they embrace goodbye. The years melt away to when they were teenagers before she chose someone else, and everything was possible. They hold tight for several seconds longer than they should.
–––––––––– “As a kid if I was in the middle of a good book, I would fake being sick to stay home from school and finish it. I aspire to write stories that compel readers to finish them.” – the writer
Another rejection, another sleepless night, another dagger in my heart. I stumble and fall; I don’t feel anything. My vision ripped from me I plunge into darkness; I don’t feel scared. I whimper, screaming inaudible; I feel numb. Something appears in the pit of my stomach; it crawls up my throat; I feel a sensation. As I begin to taste it, I beg my throat to keep it; I feel a tingle. The words burning into my tongue, I cry out for you; I feel fear. I know you won’t come; now I feel everything.
–––––––––– “I write so I can breathe.” – the writer
My seat on the bus faces the back. A man with red and green facial tattoos, wearing a black singlet and no mask stands up. He speaks loudly as if in conversation with someone on a non-existent phone. He bends down behind a young woman in the seat in front of him. Ear buds in, she’s unaware.
He coughs over her shoulder — deliberately, dramatically — into his sleeve, near his elbow. Then he does it again, phlegm rattling. He stands up and begins to move towards the front door. No one speaks. People look away. All is quiet on the bus.
––––––––––– “I write to make sense of life and sometimes my own reaction to life.” – the writer
In a box there sits a letter from an old friend; a few words that say: I am fine, but you are not and will never be again. You need me to be gone.
That day: the last day, we went for a nice drive and laughed like maniacs. You were always good at that. Laughing is what made us close, but then life happened, and your laughter turned into sobs and tears. It wasn’t funny anymore.
On this page, the only thing that remains is the word I, which holds an unbreakable promise.
To my love, I am sorry.
–––––––––– “I write to keep the wolves at bay.” – the writer
The human mind in perennial discontent never fully appeased, agitated with intensity, perpetually stretching itself beyond recognition for the divine-designing Mind of God; restless too of heart, pained by the sensuous world’s fast-fading beauty tempered with ambiguity at every memory’s turning towards the mysteriously magnetic still point pointing due north through a crucible of sublime melancholy and exaltation, the crux of soul and heart rising.
––––––––––– The poet is a college professor of religious studies.