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Slow motion

May 2, 2015

He spent their vacation taking videos of the mountains. He watched his footage in their hotel room in the evenings, while she drank glasses of wine and read her book on the balcony.

She grew impatient by the third day, angry that he was filling up their camera cards with high definition files.

Why not just take a photo? she said. It’s not like they’re moving.

Oh, but they are, he said. It’s just that they move slowly. If you wait long enough, you will see what I mean.

…..

This story first appeared on 100 Proof Stories+, a new publication I’m curating on Medium. If you want to tell stories in the 100 Proof style and have photos to go along with them, I’m accepting submissions for this new venture.

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Landlocked

April 30, 2015

In a landlocked town in a landlocked state, he built a ship in the backyard. He hoisted the sails on windy days, and it strained the hawsers that held it to anchors sunken into concrete. He polished the figurehead he found leaning against the wall of his father’s garage and installed her, her face to the sky, her breast to the fence between his yard and the neighbors’. His wife called him Captain after that, and some days, after she left for work, he called in sick and spread out his charts, planning his next voyage.

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Mission Pentecostal

April 14, 2015

Inside the storefront Pentecostal church, the preacher exhorted his flock in Spanish, and two small girls beat tambourines, blue and pink streamers tied to the side of their instruments flailing in time. I locked eyes with one of them as I passed the doorway, both of us wondering where the other was headed. Outside, women fried plantains in bubbling oil, the scent blessing the sidewalk. I nodded at them, and they nodded back, and I wondered how they managed to hang on here, with their food and their prayers, as the city turned as if from water to wine.

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Fear of flying

March 28, 2015

We cannot correct for the determined, for the mad, for the exhausted. We cannot correct for sudden downdrafts, runways turned slick with invisible ice, eyes blinded by an unexpected lightning flash. We cannot correct for the broken wire, the critical screw unspooled from its threads, pieces of bird thudding through the blades of the engine turbine.

We cannot correct for any of these, and so we buckle in, open a magazine, close the shade, and exhale. We hope. We fly. We land as safely as that moment allows.

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Let it get bigger

March 4, 2015

She remembered fishing the big river with her father, the tiny fish gasping in the air. He released it from the hook, tossed it back. Let it get bigger.

But it was my first catch, she whined.

Love, too, proved slippery as a small fish. She tried every line and net she could, but love escaped her efforts, or was just too small and had to be thrown back.

She heard her father’s words: Let it get bigger. Somewhere, beneath the murky waves, love grew day by day, just waiting for her boat to linger at the surface.

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Moths

February 28, 2015

Words cluster about my head like moths most days, teasing me with wing-beaten currents, but they dart away when I reach out to catch them.

I would like to turn off the light that draws them to me, just dim it long enough for them to move elsewhere. It is exhausting, the constant chasing of small, winged beasts, the fear that even if I do catch one, the brush of my fingers against their hair-like scales will bring it down, take away its essence. Is it worth catching one only to learn it will never fly again?

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What I will not get to see

January 14, 2015

I have taken photographs of my son every day of his life. The images scroll by—smiles, frowns, a pout, mouths frozen in screams.

But he is already half my height, and yesterday, when I drove by a school, I watched the children at recess and thought about all the things they do that their parents don’t see, all the experiences that go undocumented as they emigrate to adulthood.

Life slowly fades like an image in bright sunlight. There is no reversing it—I already miss what I will not get to see.

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