with bravado

one man's 29-year-old quest to live and share a worthy story

sunday post: life in images.

Sunday Post Me

Queens Plaza. The train lurched and hissed, shrill roar, metal colliding cinematically against metal; hardly anybody even looked up from their phones. Michael sank a bit further into his coat, his scarf lifting up and around his mouth. He’d found an edge seat, snaking his left arm through the metal bars, gloved palm holding one for support. He closed his eyes, heavy exhale, and felt himself begin drifting under.

The secret to sleeping on trains, aside from never telling your mother, is embracing the commotion. Periodic lurches, electronic voices announcing stop numbers and closing doors, the shuffling of feet, sighing negotiation of personal space, whirrhiss, beginnings and endings. Welcome it all, bizarre lullaby, and you might find some rest in the midst of all the everything.

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sunday post: on breaking.

Sunday Post Dec2.jpg

Thursday afternoon. The day began under blue skies, but a cloak, cool and gray, fell over the world around the lunch hour. Energy for the work week has become the last mile of a marathon –– arms no longer open to the wind, eyes fixed on the finish line, soon we will be there.

‘Hello,’ a student greets me, grinning at my office door. I’m focused on an email (always, always focused on an email), so I promise her I’m just about ready. I type a response, reading it aloud to ensure I’ve got the wording right. I set my monitor to rest, turn to her and raise my eyebrows. ‘Coffee?’

We venture to a spot nearby, place our orders at the counter –– soy latte for me, black coffee for her. By some stroke of fortune, we snag a table by the window, conversation framed like a portrait for the abundance of passersby. We dive in, and all the familiar elements emerge first: things are busy but moving, there’s a lot to get done, where’d the semester go and thank god for winter break. Suddenly, just beneath something she says, I sense pain. My mind presses me to gloss over it, move the conversation forward, but my heart digs in. So I ask her if she’s being gentle with herself. Her eyes water. The conversation swells profoundly, vibrantly human.

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sunday post: reliable narrator.

Sunday Post88

I’m beginning to suspect I’m not the hero in this story. Not always, anyway. Maybe not even most days.

I’ve got the best of intentions, of course. I gathered them with great care, actually –– ran my palms over the world as I ran through it, mined lessons from the wounds in my sternum. Brave, I etched into my forearm, reminding me that, if I can be brave, even when it’s daunting, I may not have so many nights sharing an empty hotel room with regret. Love, I scribbled onto every page, into the margins’ margins, embarking on a mission to wander the world and leave love letters in my wake. Gentle. Kind. Sincere. Authentic. Warm. Inspire good things. Leave people braver/kinder/gentler/mightier than I find themLive and share a worthy story.

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sunday post: time travel.

Sunday Post 8

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade opens with a chase sequence. In particular, the sequence stars a teenaged Indiana, already jumping train cars and braving danger in pursuit of keeping museum relics out of the hands of the greedy. The sequence results in failure, however; Indiana’s father forces him to return the artifact, and young Indiana bows his face, in dismay, to the floor. When he lifts his face, the scene has changed, and he is now Harrison Ford. All at once, the boy is a man, and he now has the power to right this wrong.

At the age of seven, while waiting to be let out of the school bus, I studied my sneakers and tried to bring this magic unto myself. Blink, I practiced, and you’ll glance up and won’t be a kid anymore. I tried and tried, but it was to no avail.

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sunday post: slow down.

Sunday Post Today

The wheels of my plane hit concrete at 11:43 PM, jarring the plane enough to wake the toddler two rows ahead of me. He began to cry, his mother hushing him and looking around nervously at other passengers. She met my glance, and I flashed a gentle smile. She returned to her baby. I returned to my phone. You may now use your mobile devices, our flight attendant said airily, my thumb rolling through Twitter in the hopes of perusing without hearing about Trump. You may disable Airplane mode. I’d disabled it on the decline, messages leaping from the sky and into my palms. I smiled. Tiny rebellions.

I spent the previous weekend in New Orleans with my father and brothers. The King men. We set out to have a weekend we’d remember forever, and, I thought foggily on an Uber ride back to my apartment in the City, I think we succeeded. Slushies in foam cups, patio conversations about life and politics and how freaking lucky we are to know each other. Tears, laughs, hugs, because now we had time to say what we’d been carrying for each other. Groggy walks in the morning contrasting bombastic nighttime wandering.

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sunday post: on mess and magic.

Sunday Post 9

I was 25 years old when I fell apart for the first time. Until that moment, I thought, my life held up to pretty close scrutiny: I set goals and reached them, I was smiling in all the pictures, I’d closely managed my brushes with heartbreak. In short, I’d ‘kept my shit together,’ a 25-year tightrope walk, each step careful and anxious, but poised and pleasant to the outside eye.

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sunday post: what i know about love.

Sunday Post 10

Three weddings, and they’ve all begun the same way: I meander into a coffee shop, order an iced coffee with soy, settle into a table next to a window. There I sit, pull my journal open to an empty page, uncap my pen. Inhale, exhale, my fingers tentative. What is it, the blank page whispers, you want to say to them about love?

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