Socks and underwear

She gave her husband a kiss on his forehead before making her way into the bathroom to take a shower. She couldn’t help but smile at the sight of his socks and underwear on top of the toilet bowl tank. Every night she sees them there, waiting patiently for their owner. Ready for him.

Her husband was the type of man that was always prepared. He didn’t go as far as to wear suspenders with a belt, but he’d be lying if he said he didn’t think about it.

If you looked up proactive in the dictionary, you wouldn’t see a picture of her husband, because that wouldn’t be something that makes sense, but you get where this is going. Her husband wasn’t someone who believed in better late than never. In his eyes, it was better to be early than on time. He’d often quote his high school football coach to her, “If you’re not fifteen minutes early, you’re late.”

The first time she encountered underwear and socks on top of the toilet tank was the first night they spent together in their new apartment. The two of them were blissfully living in sin, she wasn’t yet his Mrs., only engaged to be. “What are you laughing at?” her soon to be husband asked as he heard the laugh he loved from inside the bathroom.

“You’re so cute babe.”

“Huh?”

“Red undies tonight, and socks to bed?” he didn’t answer; he didn’t have to. She made her way back into the living room to lay a big one on him before saying, “I just love you so much.”

Is it weird to have your socks and underwear patiently waiting for you all day, on top of the toilet tank, ready for when you shower? Most people might think so, she was even one of them, but she also thought some might find it weird that she giggled at first sight of this. At that moment, she never felt more convinced that she made the right decision choosing him to be her husband.

She loved his weirdness. Cherished it. Often finding herself falling in love with each of his many quirks. For without quirks we’d all be the same, and if we were all the same there’d be no falling in love.

The Future

It seemed like it was just the other day he moved the tassel from right to left, the president of the college handed him an empty folder, for some reason you never get the diploma the day of graduation. Finally a college grad after only working his whole life for it.

The world was finally his oyster after working since kindergarten to achieve this great accomplishment. 22…the sky was truly the limit. His goals were all in reach.

Somehow it is five years later. Surely that much time couldn’t have passed, but calendars do not lie. “Shit rolls down hill,” his father reminds him. So he has a shovel on his shoulder, a grin on his face, hoping to work towards a better tomorrow. Sacrificing another today in the hopes of crossing another accomplishment off the list in some far away tomorrow.

The next promotion is always within reach if you just work a little harder. Stay a little later, come in just a tad bit earlier.

Show up early, leave late. Shit rolls down hill son, so he got good at shoveling it.

 

Mixed Drinks

She was dressed to kill, all black from head to toe. Her lips the color of blood, matching the bottom of her shoes.

“A little more whiskey, less Coke,” she said while handing the bartender an empty glass stained with lipstick around the brim. He did as he was told, it’s his job to numb broken hearts.

“So what’s his name?” questioned the bartender.

“Excuse me?” she said not hiding the fact that she was annoyed at his inquiry.

“A girl like you,” he said almost choking on the words as he tried to continue, “…in a bar like this?” Motioning his outstretched hands as he did a 360 highlighting the ratty old Sports bar.

Getting the feeling that he offended her, as an apology he pointed to her drink saying, “This ones on me sweetheart.”

She didn’t speak, rolling her eyes instead before taking a large slug of her mixed drink. She could feel the heavy hand he used with this pour. Grimacing as the liquor burnt her throat.

She wasn’t the type to drink whiskey never mind Coca-Cola that wasn’t diet. She wasn’t counting calories tonight, and even though she hated the taste…she was determined to forget his name.

Her iPhone was lighting up in front of her on the bar. She was pretending to ignore it as she tried to read the text on the lock screen through her peripheral. No dice, she had left her glasses at home, they didn’t jibe with her killer outfit. It didn’t help her cause that she was starting to feel the mixed drinks.

The numbness of a buzz worked its way over her, as she started dancing in her seat to the music in her head. The game was on.

The bartender seeing her glass empty brought her over a fresh one, more soda than Jack this time around. Flipping her phone over as he placed the fresh drink in front of her. PopSocket up, screen down.

“Thank you,” she said revealing her teeth. She could tell her smile made the bartender weak in his knees as he nearly bumped into the tap while walking to the other side of the bar. I still got it she thought to herself.

After two more drinks through she said to the bartender, “I’m drunkity drunk.” He laughed, not at her, but with her.

Through blurred vision she called for an Uber. On the ride home deleting his texts without reading them. It felt empowering, Fuck him! she thought after swiping left and forcefully pressing the red delete.

She woke up the next morning, Lips still fire engine red, black dress wrinkled from being slept in. Head pounding in need of an Advil and Gatorade cocktail.

Nervously she searched through her sheets for her iPhone, petrified at the drunk calls and texts she surely sent.

To her relief, she didn’t. Not a single one.

Still shocked at her ability to abstain as she scrolled through her Instagram feed, embarrassed at how proud she was of herself.

Her phone vibrated in her hand as a text from Bartender interrupted her.

Her memories rushed back, “I’m just gonna puts you in my phone here as bartender, is that rude?”

The text was simple: Good morning, hope you got home okay. It was at that moment she knew that despite not forgetting his name she would never think of him again.

She went to her contacts, scrolled down till she reached My Babe♥♥♥, she clicked on it scrolling down till delete contact was visible. Without second thought she slammed down on the red text.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See about a girl…

The beer was cold as it hit his lips.

Refreshing as it made its way down his throat.

The lightheadedness that came from the beginnings of a buzz starting to set in. Work was forgotten about a beer ago.

Wings were thrown down on a table. Talk about the game ensued. Only interrupted by bites of chicken, licking sauce off of fingers, and gulps of beer.

One of his friends violently grabbed a bottle out of the ice filled bucket then proceeded to pull his shirt over his head and get down on one knee. The friend began chugging the beer through his shirt as the pack of pals chanted: Monster Truck! Monster Truck! Monster Truck! 

The friend stood back up, overturning the bottle to show that all the beer had disappeared. This caused the group of old pals to erupt into Rick Flairesque woooohs!

He smiled after finishing chanting with his friends. Pressed the cold beer to his lips taking another gulp in hopes to cool the burn of the hot sauce.

With the wings all eaten and the game ready to end, he took three twenties out of his pocket throwing them onto the table. “This should cover me,” he said, before taking out his iPhone to type on my way.

“Where you going?” said the friend with a dark wet circle in the middle of his T-Shirt.

“I gotta see about a girl.”

The friend gave him a confused look before saying, “A girl?”

“My girl,” he corrected. Then his phone buzzed in his pocket. He knew it was her. He took his phone out of his pocket to read, can’t wait babe.

As he said goodbye to his friends with high fives, he remembered back to when he used to come to this same bar, before he met her, when he was the last to leave. While he still loved it here, he didn’t miss the days when he used to stay till they rang the bell for last call.

He climbed into his car, pushed to start the engine. The car came to life, rattling under the hood, mimicking his eager heart thumping hard in his chest, still she made him feel this way…still just as excited as ever to see about a girl his girl.

 

Tuxedo Tears

It has been a while since Everett Mancini had worn a suit, let alone a tuxedo, but weddings call for this kind of outdated formal attire. Everett, or Ret, as he introduces himself to others as, prefers cold beer out of a can to an overpriced glass of wine, three days worth of scruff over a naked face, and most definitely basketball shorts with a t-shirt instead of a stark white collared button down with a tie around his neck.

But again, weddings call for you to wear a tuxedo, so for her, Ret went through the pain in the ass process of getting fitted for one, now here he stood, clean shaven, white bow tie around his collar, wearing his grandfather’s EM monogrammed cuff links, with suspenders hidden underneath his navy jacket, for her, because for her, there wasn’t anything Ret wouldn’t do.

It was a picture perfect day. Not a cloud in the sky. Sidney had always imagined it this way, when she was busy boring Ret with the details of how their day would go. She spoke with such certainty even though she was projecting something deep into the future. It was always going to be the middle of June. That was never up for debate. She would joke to him constantly saying, “My year, those April showers will bloom the best flowers, but sometimes them silly April showers show up in May.”

Ret wasn’t the type of guy who knew much of anything about flowers, but he’d bet she was right, she always was. There was little doubt in his mind that these gardens had never seen a better bloom.

As the breeze blew just perfectly through Ret’s slicked back jet black hair, cooling the heat given off from the new summer sun, a tear fell from his brown eyes temporarily staining his white button-down as he caught sight of her deep in the distance in nothing but white.

Ret wasn’t trying to hide it as he reached into his breast pocket for his flask, also his grandfather’s with EM monogrammed into the silver. He opened the top allowing the smell of the Jack Daniel’s to linger in his nostrils for a moment. Then he lifted it to his mouth allowing the warm whiskey to pass through his lips. The expression on his face unable to conceal that it was whiskey he was drinking, as you could tell the big gulp he had just taken burned the entire way to his stomach. Still, that didn’t stop him from lifting the silver flask back up, taking down another sip, then another, before killing the contents of it. Ret used his right forearm to wipe his mouth choosing to leave the tear on his cheek as he continued to stare out in the distance at her.

You probably guessed it by now, Ret isn’t the type of guy who let his emotions show very often, let alone shed tears in public, but everything changed when it came to her. Ret realized he was only truly himself because of her. He was different, thanks to her, but not thanks to her in a sarcastic way, different doesn’t always mean bad, in this case, the furthest thing from it.

Ret put the flask back in his breast pocket, wishing he had more whiskey to help him suppress his tears. So he just watched, and waited, as the distance between them grew less and less. Her hand through her fathers arms, his behind his back at attention. Just like the first day he had laid eyes on her, the only thing he could tell for certain was that she was beautiful, even though the only thing he could tell for certain was that her hair was long and blonde.

Ret drifted off, reminiscing of the first day he had met Sidney. She wasn’t a cheerleader, but still she was hanging around off to the side during football practice, watching. When he first noticed her in the distance looking like a scout paying close attention to detail, he could not stop peeking over his shoulder trying to catch another glimpse of her. Even though she was far away he could tell she was beautiful, despite the only thing his eyes could tell for certain was that her hair was long and blonde.

At this point in time, Ret wasn’t QB1 yet, he was a freshman, brought in to be groomed behind the senior quarterback Max Patterline, who helped lead this team to a state championship last year. Though everyone and their mother knew it was the defense and running game that were responsible for the trophy in the school lobby, and Patterline mostly was in charge of not screwing anything up.

It was easy to tell that when it came to playing quarterback, Ret had it, whatever it was. The game was slower for him then it was for others. He could easily read a defense and it didn’t hurt that he had a cannon for a right arm. Still he knew it would be hard for coach to bench Patterline for him coming off a State championship.

With practice being over Ret made his way towards the locker room but was intercepted by a stunning blonde. “Hey QB1,” she said sounding excited

Ret looking over his shoulder for Patterline but not seeing him replied back, “Hey,” as if he was asking a question.

“What you unsure if you wanna talk to me or not?”

“No it’s not that. It’s just that I’m not QB1. Patterline is. School won the ship last year with him.”

“You’re not QB1 yet,” she rebutted as she playfully punched his shoulder pad. “I seen you out there, you ain’t half bad. It could happen. Probably sooner than you think.” There was an awkward pause before she spoke again saying, “Aren’t you going to ask me my name?”

Ret was caught up in the beauty of her eyes, them being a color he had never seen before. He could not tell if they were more green, or more blue, but he was intent on finding out. He stuttered as he replied back still not asking her name, “Yeah. No. I mean yeah, I’m Everett Mancini, but all my friends call me Ret.”

“I know what your name is. I just spent the last two hours listening to coach scream Mancini wrong read! Mancini my sister can throw harder than that!” Even though he still didn’t ask she told him her name, “And, I’m Sidney, by the way.”

Nervously scratching the back of his head due to embarrassment Ret answered, “Well nice to meet you Sidney. I gotta get washed up and changed quick, you going to still be around in like 20 minutes?”

“Make it 10 Mancini. I can’t wait around too long for the back-up QB,” she said as Ret for the second time caught himself lost in her eyes.

Ret never showered after practice, choosing instead to wait until he got home to wash up, but today, with her waiting outside, he scrubbed harder then a frustrated mother trying to get crayon off the wall. Never in his life had he washed up, dried off and gotten changed so quickly, as he couldn’t wait to get back outside of the locker room to her.

He saw her in the distance again reading a book as she waited. When he got close enough, he could see that it was his favorite book in her hands, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. “Love that book,” Ret said, as he got close enough to Sidney.

“I can’t get enough of that Ponyboy Curtis,” she responded. “This has to be close to the tenth time I’ve read it.”

“I love the part about watching sunsets. I think it’s really cool how we all see the same sun, no matter where we’re at in the world.”

“What’s a jock like you doing reading books? Aren’t you supposed to be pumping iron instead?” She exposed her smile, a smile that could stop time, a smile that would make any guy jump through hoops of fire to get her to crack one.

“Shh,” he said with his pointer outstretched over his lips. “Don’t tell anyone. Maybe that’s why I’m only the back up QB, too much reading, and not enough iron pumping. Not to change the subject, but how you getting home Sid? Is it okay if I call you that?”

She smiled at him then said, “Well you’re walking me, duh?”

“So a back up QB walking home a non-cheerleader that seems to know a lot about football,” Ret postured as he pretended to drop back with an invisible football in his hand, “Go long!” he yelled. And to his surprise she started running. He launched an imaginary football in her direction. She made a leaping catch and spiked the football throwing her hands in the air. Ret ran towards her to celebrate the fake touchdown not knowing he’d never be the same again. From that first day Sidney made him different, good different, and he knew it.

 

Another tear dripped down his cheek as he thought about the favorite touchdown he ever threw. It was the first time in his life where the two things he loved the most came together.

After they finished their touchdown celebration Ret and Sidney began walking towards her house.

Ret asked, “So what you doing hanging around practice?”

“I love football,” Sidney responded. “Always have since I was a little girl. I used to watch with my dad every Sunday.”

“Used to?”

“He passed a while back. Heart attack. He used to joke that the New York Jets were the reason his blood pressure was always so high. Anyway I still watch every Sunday. I feel like he’s right there next to me screaming at the TV along with me.

My dad taught me a lot. I swear before I knew my ABCs I knew what it meant for the quarterback to be in shotgun. That’s why it was no bullshit when you should be QB1. Trust me I know what I’m talking about. You got it.”

“I don’t know. The way coach barks at me all practice it doesn’t seem like he thinks that.”

“He’s riding you, because he knows you have what it takes to be great.”

“If you say so.”

“Trust me,” she said before smiling at him, and he knew he could.

The rest of the way they made small talk, what’s your middle name, favorite color, all the nervous questions boys and girls ask each other when they’re nervously fifteen and unsure of what they’re feeling.

“Well…this is me.”

“When can I see you again Sid?”

“I’ll be at practice tomorrow, you could walk me home and I can walk you through all the things you did wrong. I didn’t want to hurt your feelings since we just met today, but try not staring down your first read. If you had a better free safety he’d of took your lunch all practice.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“I look forward to it. See you tomorrow Sid.”

They didn’t know how to say goodbye to one another so they just stood there in silence. Before Sidney smiled at Everett and ran up the stairs. Right before she turned the doorknob he called out to her, “Hey Sid!” She turned back to hear what he had to say. “When you watch the sunset tonight, think of me, cause I’ll be thinking about you.”

“Stay gold Ponyboy,” she said back through grinned teeth.

That night Ret watched the sunset through his bedroom window. Thinking about Sid. Only fifteen he didn’t know what he was feeling as he caught himself again wondering if her eyes were more green than blue or blue than green. He laid on his bed throwing the football just high enough that it almost hit the ceiling before it came back into his hands. He couldn’t wait for practice tomorrow, for once not because he got to toss the pigskin around, because he knew she would be there.

It was odd for him, being excited for something other than football. Ret always had a football in his hand. Constantly getting scolded by his mother for playing with a ball in the house. Countless vases and picture frames were broken as footballs took awkward bounces around the Mancini house.

It was evident from his first day of peewee football that Ret was going to be a star. Even at a young age you could tell. As he got older both his love for the game and body grew making him the perfect combination of physical talent and passion. It wouldn’t be long before every college in the county wanted Ret Mancini to be the quarterback of their team.

Sidney and Everett shared the sunset that night, even though neither of them was certain the other was watching. It was a mediocre sunset, yet special to the two of them, as young love filled their hearts even if they did not know it yet.

Fredrik Backman does it again with Beartown

Beartown — by: Fredrik Backman

In BeartownBackman pulls at your heart strings like a guitarist from every angle. His ability to make you relate to every one of his characters is unparalleled. Their emotions are your emotions, their feelings your own. It doesn’t matter whether that character is a fifteen-year-old girl, or a seventy-year-old hockey coach, you feel what they feel, you are who they are.

As you turn the pages you are going to want a highlighter or pen nearby as Backman’s writing will make you fall in love with words. Even with using the vernacular everyday language, his writing hits you so deep as it feels poetic. Every sentence was carefully thought out, every word specifically chosen to hit a specific emotion.

You will laugh, you will cry; you will feel anger, you will feel happy; you will feel scared, you will feel brave. Most importantly you will feel how others feel, relate to things that seemed unrelatable, understand what seemed impossible to comprehend, see things from different points of views, from vantage points you could have never imagined.

While the story revolves around a hockey team in a town that resides in the middle of a frozen forest we can all relate to it regardless if we couldn’t tell a hockey puck from a baseball and despise the cold. Backman has a uncanny ability to make you understand things you thought you could never comprehend and make them feel as if they have been your favorite things since kindergarten. You will fall in love with the forest as you understand its deeper meaning; love hockey even if you never watch a game or skate on ice.

“This place has a way of grabbing hold of your insides that’s hard to explain. On the one hand, there’s all that’s bad about–and that’s a very long list– but there are a few things that are so good that they manage to shine through the crap. The people, most of all. As tough as the forest, as hard as the ice.”

Once you pick up Beartown the only thing that will be hard is putting it down. Fall in love with hockey even if you never pick up a stick, become one with the forest even if you never go outdoors. Let the words lift you like you are gliding across a rink. Let Backman make you fall in love with a place as undesirable as Beartown.

“This town doesn’t always know the difference between right and wrong, I’ll admit that. But we know the difference between good and evil.”

 

How College Failed Me

I’m not a psychiatrist; I’m not a psychologist; hell technically I’m not even a writer…I’m just a regular guy with a regular guy’s opinion.

Despite receiving my diploma, after four five years, I still failed. Or what I  should say is, I was failed. College failed me, and continues to fail us all. As student loan debt is climbing ever so close to an astounding $1.5 trillion, the debt owed for our degrees is breathtakingly around $620 billion more than all Americans owe on their credit cards. Still blindly we pressure teenagers to sign up for six figures worth of debt, without properly educating them, solely because going to college is what you’re supposed to do…

Growing up means realizing you are not going to get to hit home runs or score touchdowns to pay the bills. The dreams you had as a kid slowly become unattainable. For me it was around the seventh grade when I realized that the hard decision I thought I was going to have of choosing between the NBA and NFL was not going to happen. Since I wasn’t going to score touchdowns or hit jumpers to pay the bills I had to rely on my back up plan…college.

The mind of a 16 year old boy doesn’t leave much room for anything other than girls and sports. Leaving some of us to go through the motions and wing the college decision. You don’t think of the opportunity cost. It isn’t your fault, you weren’t taught to think this way.

Opportunity cost is simple, it is what you need to give up in order to do something else. For example you can work at McDonald’s full time for $9.70 an hour for four years or go to college for $35,000 a year. One will earn you $80,704, while the other will cost you $140,000 before the interest compounds against you. Making your opportunity cost to forgo working in McDonalds and going to college instead $220,705.

No teenager looks at going to college like a business decision, despite the opportunity cost in the above example being expensive, almost a quarter of a million dollars. They don’t think this way because they were never taught to think this way.

Phrases like opportunity cost, compound interest, and return on investment will draw you a blank stare from a classroom full of high schoolers. If you ask them what they expect the principal on their student loan to be after four years of college they will be confused as to what Mrs. Johnson has to do with their student loan.

They can however tell you that the c in a^2 + b^2 = c^2 is the hypotenuse and that the opposite sides of a parallelogram is equal in their length as well as their angles. Yet, they do not know that TDA is short for tax deferred annuity never mind what a TDA is. 401(k) never made it into the curriculum despite almost all of us needing one to survive if we are ever lucky enough to retire.

I realized this in my last semester as the safety net of college was getting ready to be ripped out from under me. I had invested five years during the prime of my life, yet nothing I learned was going to help me one day be a better husband or father. I was supposed to be a man, but never did I feel more like a boy.

What am I going to do about this, I thought. So I skipped my next class and walked to the Barnes & Noble in Union Square. I picked up a book titled Rich Dad Poor Dad, and couldn’t put it down. It seems laughable that I felt I learned more from its 336 pages than I did in college. But it helped change my thinking. That day I made a pledge to self educate, and could not read the books I picked up fast enough.

Countless hours wasted on Shakespeare, made me think I hated to read, when truly nothing excites me more. The wizarding world of Harry Potter, the dystopia of The Hunger Games, and the mentors I’ve gained from non-fiction.

Struggling through Chemistry made me think I hated science when the science behind computers lights my soul on fire. Watching simple HTML code make a website come to life. While the amazing developments of artificial intelligence and machine learning, are fascinating beyond belief.

Calculus stomped out my love for math with derivatives and functions, while nothing is more interesting than analyzing the percentages that go into return on investments and compound interest. As long as that interest in compounding for you instead of against you like your student loans, credit cards, or mortgages.

Regardless of what our degree specializes us in we will all be paid in money. We all want to own homes, drive our own cars, invest in the stock market, yet were never given the tools to understand how to educatedly do so despite the diplomas that we hang on our walls.

I have learned so much after graduating college. Through trial and error, of course. But making mistakes isn’t all bad like school makes you think. Making mistakes is how we learn and correct it getting ever so close to our goals.

College promises to make you a well rounded individual while it specializes you into a distinct industry. Teaching us outdated information as it struggles to keep up with the ever changing economy we are getting ready to join. We should demand more from our colleges instead of just blindly feeding 100s of thousands of dollars to them for the sole purpose of needing to check off a box on our job applications.

We know we deserve better, now it is time to demand better. Just because it failed me doesn’t mean college has to continue failing those who come after me.

 

Get your copy of Vincent Monteleone’s Dying to Live

A Year in Review

Ten, nine, eight, seven…we count down as another year gets ready to pass us. 365 days disappeared; 52 weeks gone; 8,760 hours no more; 525,600 minutes finished.

A 7 changes to an 8, just as it did the year before when a 6 turned to 7.

Some years seem longer, some seem years seem shorter. Some years feel bigger, some years feel smaller.

Still you continue to count…six, five, four. You’re excitedly nervous, while being pessimistically optimistic. You’ve grown another year older, although another year wiser.

Three, two, one…all together a portion of the world finishes counting. Guys kiss their gals. Ladies kiss their fellas.

Nothing stopped, though something new has started.

Time waits for no man as we all wait for Friday, except for our diets cause those start on Monday. Why choose today, when tomorrow seems perfect?

“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have all the facts.” (To Kill a Mockingbird

I dress up my lies with flavorful language, as I once again count down from ten for a new beginning. This time its an 8 to a 9, after 365 days somehow flew by.

“I lie to myself all the time, but I never believe me.” (The Outsiders)

Each second was precious, all 31 million 536 thousand each year has to offer. As we focus on ten of them with our family and friends.

We count down…as the clock never stops ticking. Still looking backwards as we try to move forward.

The moment is the moment regardless if you missed it. The moment is the moment don’t forget to live in it.

Get your copy of Vincent Monteleone’s Dying to Live

The Magic of Santa

The best word to describe the ride home was nasty. The wind was no one’s friend as it blew the snow from east to west and west to east. The windshield wipers could not keep up with how fast the white powder was falling.

After more than twice the time it normally took to get home from the office, finally he arrived. The rapid snowfall covered up the footprints his wife had surely made earlier.

He opened the door, kicked his feet against the threshold to remove as much snow as possible before entering. Took his shoes off and made his way up the stairs into his apartment.

His wife was in the kitchen as he hung his jacket on the banister to dry. Before he could make it to the couch she intercepted him with a hot cup of coffee and a kiss. “Doesn’t it look so beautiful she said to him.”

She was right. The Christmas tree was lit, the ornaments glistening, the blinds were risen allowing the falling snow to act as a backdrop. Their fireplace, while electric, was roaring, bringing warmth into the room. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas.IMG_0073
He sipped his coffee while getting lost in the ambiance. Allowing his mind to drift off to the magic filled Christmases past.

His younger sister would awake him by calling for him, “brotha, brotha” still too young to completely annunciate her words. Being aware of what day it was she didn’t have to say anything further. He knew why she wanted him up.

The pair would then race down the stairs hand in hand. Last night there wasn’t anything under the tree. This morning, PRESENTS! 

Torn wrapping paper filled the living room floor as toys were freed from their boxes. A grin like no other on each of their faces, a smile like that only a kid on Christmas morning can glean.

“Look brotha look,” year after year his little sister would say, “he ate some of the cookies and drank half the milk…I guess he really is real.”

“Of course he is,” he quickly informed his baby sister, “mom would never get us all these presents.”

As tradition would have it they changed from their p.j.’s into their Sunday’s best to head on out to Grandma and Grandpa’s, where just like always, Santa had also stopped there.

<<>>

Year after year, tradition remained, presents magically appeared under the tree on Christmas day, and to Grandma and Grandpa’s they went. The gifts got more expensive, Power Rangers turned into Computers, Barbies to pocket books.

Everything was the same, just as everything was different. As one thing that never existed, was the one thing that was missing.

No half eaten cookies, or half drank milk, we knew Santa never really came, but still every year we missed him. The magic in the myth, the power in his legend, gone from Christmas made the day seem less special.

He snapped out of his daydream, his coffee cool now as he was awhile lost in his thoughts. Luckily, for him, Christmas was once again special.

Santa was back, though this time much different. The cat out of the bag, the secret still known, as he spoke to his niece that night on the phone.

Excited as only kids waiting for Santa could be, she said to her uncle, “Santa’s coming for me!”

The Uncle once again gleaned a smile like no other, for his niece brought what was missing back into Christmas. The magic in his myth, the power in his legend, for Santa is real, just as long as you let him.

Get your copy of Vincent Monteleone’s Dying to Live

11:11

“It’s eleven eleven,” she said.

“Yeah; so? What’s that mean to me?” he replied.

She was confused as to why he was asking her such a silly question. “Make a wish,” she said, biting her tongue as to not say duh.

Still just as baffled as he was a second ago he replied back genuinely asking, “Why the heck would I do that?”

“Because it’s eleven eleven silly. It’s the only time in the day when the clock shows four numbers all the same.”

Certainly you can understand how this was far from something that made sense to him. Wisely, he kept his skepticism to himself. It was moments like this where she made him happier than a kid with a balloon.

What could he possibly wish for? Wishes weren’t meant for guys like him.

He knew as long as he had her he didn’t need to believe in silly things like the clock showing all ones, four leaf clovers, or rabbits’ feet. She was his pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, his penny on heads.

He wrapped his arms around her, hugging her from the back, his whole life being a sweet talker, he whispered into the ear of the love of his life, “I don’t need any wishes.”

“Why’s that?” she quickly replied.

Mimicking the 1965 Sonny & Cher classic he answered,”I got you babe.”

The clock now read 11:12 as she turned around to kiss him hard. Before they knew it, the cable box showed that it was well past midnight.

Since that day he couldn’t help but notice the clock twice a day when it showed nothing but ones. He didn’t wish, just thought of her. He’d leave the wishes for someone else. Once you have the girl of your dreams what do you need with wishes?

 

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