Conflict Avoidance

Posted on 2 min read

I’m eating store bought sushi and drink a premade smoothie when the woman comes up and starts gesturing. I look around. I haven’t said a word to anybody, because the few tables at the front of the grocery store are completely empty. “Sprinchst du Englisch?” I ask. “Nein.” She keeps gesturing, and I realize she doesn’t want me sitting there. I think because I was supposed to have bought something from the bakery by the entrance. “I thought this was a part of the grocery store.” I try to explain. She gets aggressive, her voice carrying across the store. “Ok, I’ll go buy something,” I say. I try to finish …

Prix Fixe

Posted on 1 min read

Every time I come to Paris, it’s different. More approachable. Friendlier. Is it because I have more money? It’s like New York in that way. Manhattan felt untenable in my 20’s: hard to traverse, too expensive, too old. Paris was worse. And now, for the most part, my interactions are patient and connected.  The people seem happy. Their English is better than where I live in Germany, and the French language easier to get my hands around than German. As long as we avoid the main sights during tourist hours, it’s so livable that I forget that it’s Paris. I like how it feels here. …

Henri

Posted on 2 min read

Oppéde is a somewhat modern French town close to the villa. It’s less beautiful than the other impossibly beautiful small towns in the area (Gordes, Ménerbes, Roussillon), probably because it is more recent. A run-off of people who descended from the hillside after “Old Oppéde” began to dissolve a hundred years ago. We start off early and hike up the hillside into Old Oppéde, knowing that it is a “ghost town”, but little else. What I discover is probably the most beautiful place I have ever seen. It’s not actually a ghost town, but it was at one time, and what does remain is mostly ruins. The only homes that …

Soft

Posted on 2 min read

I get to the villa in the Luberon region of Provence late on Monday after a horrific crisscrossing of Germany, Belgium and France. France is once again one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. In the past it has been Paris (obviously) and rural Bordeaux. Now it is the small villages stretching east of Avignon. The compound is built around a vineyard outside of Oppéde, below the ghost town of “Old Oppéde” that sits visible in the hillside. And what strikes me beyond even the undisputable beauty, is how little I have to say about it. It’s not because I find it uninspiring. I just can’t believe …

Back to Ohio (Part 3)

Posted on 19 min read

— Day 3 I can feel something shaking my arm and a presence near my face before I open my eyes. “Time to get up!” Zoe’s standing next to the bed, her eyes big and excited. I look past her at the clock. It’s 5:59. In Colorado it’s 3:59. I’m not even aware of my eyes closing again. “Sun is shining,” she says, pushing harder on my arm. “Yep. I’m getting up.” A faint amount of light is coming in through the drapes. How did she know it was time to wake up? I walk to the bathroom. She tries to follow me into the toilet. “No honey, just Dad,” …

Back to Ohio (Part 2)

Posted on 19 min read

— Day 2 I wake before my alarm. My heart’s racing like I was being chased by a tiger. I don’t bother trying to go back to sleep. I thought I had pulled the window shades closed, but a light emanates through the crack where they meet. I shuffle to the bathroom, take a leak, and turn around to see myself in the mirror. I know I’m not hungover. I know I’m not strung out. But you look like you are. My skin is loose and colorless and there are dark circles under my eyes. “Fuck you!” I scream at the mirror. I swipe my dopp kit from the counter …

Back to Ohio (Part 1)

Posted on 4 min read

— Day 1 I pull into the East terminal of the Denver International Airport and follow the road as it snakes around the parked cars. Driving by, I watch closely for any open spaces in the sea below. The sign leading into the ramp says the parking lot is full, but I don’t have time to back-track to off-site parking. I see an open spot in the far corner and speed up to catch it. I jog towards the terminal, my bag bouncing behind me, and skidding onto its side whenever I run over a rock. By the time I get to the elevators I’m breathing heavily. As it glides …

Ça Va – Flash Fiction

Posted on 3 min read

Walking through the 12th arrondissement, I find the café on the Rue de Charenton. She’s usually late so I settle in. I resist the urge to look at my phone and instead order a coffee in broken French and watch a series of small dogs walk up and pee on the same small tree. “Hey.” I turn in my chair and see beautiful tan skin. I take it all in quickly: long black hair, dark circular eyes, almond shaped mouth, in a small frame.   “I thought you’d be late,” I blurt out. She smiles and pulls out the other chair. “Is that how you remember me?” She has the same …

TRANSPARENCY – Flash Fiction

Posted on 3 min read

I walk in, gently sliding the heavy glass door behind me, and sit down at the table. “Oh. Could you open the door?” he asks. I look behind me at the glass walls and door. Everything translucent. I look back at his smiling face. “Sure.” I stand up and slide open the door. “Thank you Stephanie. Well, should we jump in? Great. Here were your quarterly goals.” He pulls up my goals on a large screen television mounted against the only non-glass wall in the room, strategically visible to everyone outside of our glass box. “You did a great job on these two.” He circles Q1 Tax Prep and Saratoga …

Glasgow, First Impressions

Posted on 2 min read

The young Scotsmen waiting to board their flights all have the same haircut: buzzed on the sides, cropped short to middle length on the top. It’s jarring only in its mass coordination, as if an entire demographic decided to replicate a specific footballer. The officer working passport control is friendly and chats with me about his trips to Minneapolis.   “Welcome to balmy Scotland,” he says, as he hands the passport back to me. The taxi drive into Glasgow is shockingly colorless. And it’s only after I’m dropped off at my hotel and I explore on foot that I begin to get a feel for the place. All the buildings …