An American Dream

Athens, 1939

I was drinking my morning coffee on the terrace, same as I do every morning, with the roar of car horns and ambulances sweeping through the streets below my feet. The buzz of this city pairs nicely with my mood: anxious, restless, and excited. Athens never skips a beat, not even then in 1939 when war is beating down Greece’s door. I lift the welcome mat behind my chair, the place I stash my father’s finest cigars, and light one up before the big journey. Inhaling the smoke from that flavorful montecristo, I remember thinking about giving them back to him before I take off, but then he’d realize I took them, and saying goodbye would have been much more burdensome.

I toss the ashes out from the tray over the railing and make my way back inside, the cigar tucked neatly inside my pocket. Mother is packing away everything I don’t need, the routine of her hands and feet masking the worry on her face.

“Ma.” I wait for her to stop folding my socks, socks I probably won’t need. “Ma, please stop. It’s almost seven, I have to get going.”

She doesn’t stop. Instead, she continues to fold my shirts, my pants, my underwear, and all other items that will most likely be thrown over board if I am caught. I rest a hand on her shoulder, humming her favorite old folk tune. She relaxes and I can almost see a smile tugging on her cheek. “The boat will be cold at night,” She finally looks up at me, “At least let me pack you a few extra pairs of socks.”

“Nicholas,” My father enters the room. His hair gelled tightly behind his ears and gut tucked firmly beneath his belt. He places today’s paper on the counter and picks up his coffee with both palms. I assume it’s so that he has an excuse not to hug me goodbye. “All packed I presume?

“Yes, Papa.”

“Got your bags?”

“Yes.”

“Crew pass?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure that thing will work?” He eyes my white pants and jacket with the navy blue trim, then studies the identification pass strung around my neck.

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Too Frigid To Swim

Miles of restless blue waters

Shatter against the sand beneath my toes.

November is too frigid to swim

And the ocean is widowed once more.

Parted from the charm of summer and her honeyed warmth

The ocean morns his once crowded beaches.

Eighty-sixed and forgotten,

He looks to me, the last of his most loyal patrons.

I dip my palms in his salty tears and breath in his briny scent.

My body quivers at his arctic touch and I shy away.

The waves are furious, rising tide and begging me to stay.

My sandals have turned into snow boots,

My towel has become a tunic.

You have become cold and I have become reserved.

Summer will shine her light again and the others

Will run back with their bear feet.

However my toes will always be covered

And my heart will never be thawed.

False Epiphanies

My creative writing class teaches us about the art of different topics in writing. This week was all about epiphanies. Here is the fictional snippet I wrote during our 15 minutes of free writing class time. 


Then it hit me, Jack thought of me as more than a friend. His smooth talk and charismatic flirting, the way he sprinkled on the compliments as we were growing up. That blue eyed wink – oh – that baby blue eyed wink.

That evening after everyone had gone to bed, I snuck out of camp to find his tent. I knew exactly which one was his, the olive green with five gold stars on its fabric. Approaching his tent I became wary of the noises inside. There was laugher, female laughter. Jack was not alone.

I knew then that his infatuation with me was not real, but a tease of my own imagination. we had grown up together, of course I would have confused his charismatic personality with that of flirting. We were friends, and that is all we would ever be. I backed away slowly, keeping my head up high and my breathing low as I disappeared behind the trees.

Journal Entry #19

~Early Summer Vibes~

I drank with my boss last weekend.

It was pretty cool. I work as a life guard now, doing absolutely nothing for 8 hours a day and getting paid minimum wage for it. The other day I spend a straight 3 hours playing cards games with my fellow guards. Later we watched movies and ordered Chinese food. I left with a solid $67.2 and not a single person drowned. Not a bad deal if you ask me.

Chris is the head life guard over at my pool. He’s a short guy with a big personality. Recently turning 24, he’s a bit older than my friends and I in age, but I think we’re at his level in other things…

Dani kinda likes Chris. I can see why, he’s not terribly good looking but it’s something with his persona, maybe the way he smiles or the way he manages a pool. I’m not sure what it is, but I can see it. So I got close with Chris at work, it wasn’t difficult. He’s so open and talkative. He’s probably my favorite person to spend 8 hours with at this place.

I’m not sure when I noticed it, maybe I’m just imagining it, but from my first day at work I thought there was something fishy about the way he treated me. Always making others do my work, complimenting me at every chance, and texting me outside of work. I wanted to get close with him for Dani, for my friend, not for myself. The worst part is that I’m actually loving the attention.

He noticeably became upset when I told him about Mark. Well, I didn’t tell him. It slipped out from others. He jumped right back up from it though, which I was happy about. But he hasn’t stopped treating me with extra attention. Maybe he hasn’t been flirting with me and that’s just how he talks to women? A lot of guys have flirty personalities. Or perhaps he’s not giving up despite my being in a relationship with another man for 3 1/2 years.

I invited him to come hang out with us last Friday night. I wanted him to get closer to Dani, whose also a life guard for the same company. It looked like it was working. We went to some fair by his house for an hour, got pizza, played pool and then he suggested he buy us alcohol. Now what kind of 20 year old would pass that up? One too many shots later I was buzzed and eventually gone. Our next stop was karaoke and I killed that mic with every fiber of my being. That dance floor is still oozing from my sweat. I knew my actions were completely unattractive and that was somewhat done on purpose. Mark was there too, and surprisingly got along with Chris very well. They’re Bro’s now, I guess you could say.

From the corner of my eye I could see Dani leaning on his shoulder, he’s drawing her in closer, smiling and laughing, probably at my terrible mic skills and dance moves. That’s beyond the point. I don’t know what happened, maybe nothing at all. But it was sweet to see them together. And I probably will, since he wants to hang out with us again.

I came into work the next day with a hangover and sun glasses to hide the shame. Chris was smirking at me as I walked in, and I knew what he was thinking. So I said it first. “Please, don’t fire me!”

We had a good laugh, then took out the playing cards and continued on our shifts. Our long, but not ever boring shifts.

The Crosswalk

The city life is never, can never be discreet. Heavy metal polls with green glowing men signal for pedestrians to cross.

The crowd moves forward. Men and women in gray and black business suites step confidently into the street. Beside them are skinny teenagers with baggy clothing and large headphones to block out the city noise. They stare down at their feet, shoved aside by the occasional skater, kicking his back foot off the pavement to zoom past Cruella and her tiny, pocketbook-sized puppy. The skater skims her fur coat as he passes her by, causing Cruella to lose her footing and lurch heal first in a liquid filled pothole. The water is dark and muddled. Her fist is raised at the young man as she inspects her ruined louboutin, but he is already gone. Businessmen and women walk on by, not even a glance in her direction. The dog begins to bark assertively, until a young boy pushes passed the crowed to aid the distraught lady and her petite companion. He helps Cruella finish down the crosswalk with only 2 seconds left before the green man turns red. She is not grateful, but the boy is not fazed by her thanklessness, there is only kindness in his heart.

The green man is gone, he has moved across the street to let a heap of new pedestrians make their way down the crosswalk: another confident businessman, another quiet teen, another discourteous skater, another Cruella Deville, and another kindhearted civilian.

Scraps – The Nutty Compliment

Yesterday I went to see the nutty professor to talk about our last test, maybe score a few extra points. I thought his grading was a bit unfair, so I took a stab at it. Surprisingly, he said something that made me smile, and not those fake smiles you give a professor to kiss his/her ass. He told me I was a good writer. “Where did you learn to write like this?” was all he continued to say. “Half of what you wrote is completely wrong, but it was so beautifully written I couldn’t mark you off.” I left his office with nothing accomplished but a compliment and a stupid smile. I guess I’d rather be a good writer.

Scraps – My Fault, Apparently.

I think everything Is my fault when it probably isn’t. Most stuff, at least.

This morning I woke up early to attend field work. Jess, my carpool, never texted me to come to the parking lot when she was outside (per usual). I thought, maybe she over slept? I texted her about ten minutes later asking where she was. She responded quite nastily, by blaming it on me.

She broke two phones in the past week and didn’t have my number. She waited for me outside for 5 minutes just incase I thought to come out. I should have “touched base with her” because we haven’t had field work in a few weeks.

I franticly apologized, because that’s the kind of person I am. I don’t think twice about taking the blame, I just hate when things get ugly.

I probably should have told her to f*** off and touch base with ME if SHE’S the one who didn’t have my number. Because how was I suppose to know that? We had class yesterday or she could have sent me a Facebook message.

Either way, I need to stop blaming myself for these kind of things and start standing up for myself. Not everything is my fault.