Regina’s Raspberry Jam

jam

Everyone loved Regina’s raspberry jam. No one could get enough of it, either. As fast as Regina could produce it, it’d get bought up and consumed within the first couple days. No matter what she did, demand always outpaced supply.

From the moment that one popular food blogger mentioned her jam, Regina was inundated with orders. Something about the jam was extraordinary. No one could quite put their finger on it, either. People even went so far as to investigate the suppliers of the raspberries to see if they were selling Regina something special, like a hybrid variety or something. Nope. Just regular, organic berries. They were high quality, but nothing you couldn’t find at a Whole Foods or another high-end retailer. Continue reading “Regina’s Raspberry Jam”

Something horrible is happening to me on Myspace.

(A scary story about social media.)

I’d completely forgotten about Myspace. Like, I’d forgotten it even existed. Never mind the fact I used it like a fiend at the peak of its popularity and I had countless photos and messages and connections still there, frozen in time, so anyone could see what a disaster I was in my early 20s. A couple weeks ago, I got an email warning me about some major hack that resulted in tons and tons of accounts being compromised; a compromise so severe that for some people, every shred – every bit – every datum – of their personal information could have been stolen. Then I remembered Myspace.

My early 20s were a bad time for me. I was dealing with a number of undiagnosed mental illnesses. Still, back then, I never thought anything was wrong with me at all; I just figured that’s how I was. I was a sad person. I was a volatile person. Not once did it cross my mind I had legitimate problems for which potential solutions existed. Instead, for years, I bathed in static and lassitude interrupted by bursts of rage and terror. Continue reading “Something horrible is happening to me on Myspace.”

Pretty Little Bugs

As one might imagine, a degree in Film doesn’t immediately lead to job offers. At the age of 23, I was desperately looking for a job – any job, really – but if I could find one that used my talents and my passion, I’d be ecstatic. When I refreshed the job section of Craigslist and saw, “Cameraman Wanted” with an email address, I shot off an email as fast as I could and within an hour I heard back.

After a brief email exchange, the next day I ended up interviewing with a thin, well-dressed man in a beautiful midtown apartment. The man, who introduced himself as Andrew, was polite and straightforward. “Do you have any moral issues with homosexuality and filming homosexual acts?” he asked, studying me for a reaction.

Continue reading “Pretty Little Bugs”

Comfort Food

My wife lost her battle with bone cancer a year ago. I have no one.

I’ve worked from home for the last six months. My employer has been sympathetic and accommodating after everything that happened. Too many workplaces neglect and end up getting rid of disabled employees. I guess I should feel valued.

Breakfast was mac and cheese left over from the night before. I hadn’t made enough for the meal to be even remotely satisfying. Stock prices and quantitative analytics spilled from my computer monitors as I tried to concentrate on work. My eyes kept drifting over to the picture of me and Brynn on our wedding day. I have no attention span when I’m hungry.

I groaned as I lifted myself into a standing position. My knees were shot. I made my way over to the kitchen pantry and got a bag of chips and a bottle of soda. Coughing as I trundled across the office over to my desk, I’d already opened the chips and was pushing them into my mouth. As I walked by and saw my reflection in the glossy murk of my hibernating television, I could swear I saw Brynn standing by my side. When I blinked, she was gone. Just like a year ago. Continue reading “Comfort Food”

Sprouts

My sunflower seeds started talking to me last month. I couldn’t believe it; I’d been lonely for such a long time. It felt good to have friends. I bet it was my mom who asked them to keep me company. I miss her terribly.

The clearest memory I have of Mom was when she told me that all the beauty in the world grows from something small. I was helping her in the garden, and we’d just planted sunflowers. My favorite. A couple days later, she showed me the tiny, burgeoning sprouts that would eventually become the towering, yellow flowers I loved so much. She repeated what she told me about beauty. I remember being amazed. I’d wake up every morning and head outside and check their progress. Each time, they were a little bit bigger. Continue reading “Sprouts”

The Little Ghost

When the little ghost first starting coming to me, he whispered nice things that made me feel good.

“You have pretty hands.”

“I love how you do your nails.”

“How did you get your skin to be so smooth?”

He stayed with me all day and all night. As the days went by, though, I must have done something to make the ghost angry. Instead of mawkish pleasantries, the messages grew negative.

“I’ve seen other girls with prettier hands.”

“What happened to your nails?”

“I’m sorry your skin looks so dry nowadays.”

I started to get upset. I’d grown fond of the little ghost. Since he’d always been so positive, it was comforting. But once he started to get mean, I wondered what I’d done wrong. I didn’t want my ghost to feel like I’d disappointed him. Continue reading “The Little Ghost”

My Constellation

December 10, 2015.
My last day on Earth.

From the moment I was capable of proper self-reflection, I knew there was too much of me. I filled more space than any person should. I would study the area around myself and imagine lines drawn between my body and the objects nearby. The lines were too short. Stout, vulgar lines barely spanning the interstices I used to prove I wasn’t sharing mass with the walls and furniture.

A plan bloomed within me and seeded the foundation of my identity. As I was shuffled from foster home to foster home, I began to restrict the amount of food I consumed. The general lack of care for my wellbeing, which I’m certain would have devastated the psyche of other adolescents, was my greatest advantage. With each refused meal, the lines separating me from the mass of the world grew longer. I bathed in the reinforcing glow of success. Continue reading “My Constellation”