Fiction On Odyssey: Leaving You Was The Heart-Break I Never Let Myself Experience

Fiction On Odyssey: Leaving You Was The Heart-Break I Never Let Myself Experience

You still smell like coming home.

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Following chapter two of my short story, here is chapter three! This week's chapter includes both character's point-of-view.

Vicki (2018)

I don't know what kind of out-of-this-world force drew me back to the town I left behind in my memories, collected under dust and layers of regret, five years ago, but something about this still-need-a-jacket weather, beautiful pink sky from the rising sun, this Tuesday morning drew me to the coffee shop I continued to crave as time slipped away. Rather than the usual quiet hum of soft, peaceful melodies playing overhead, a constant buzz circulated as if everyone in this town wanted their morning coffee at the same time, from the same place.

I recognize almost everyone – the barista is another new, fresh face probably trying to make a couple bucks to take his temporary girlfriend to a movie on the weekends with the car borrowed from mom until curfew is the only thing ruining their night. "I hope he stays like this," I thought to myself, but instead, I said, "Large dark roast – 1 sugar, no cream, 3 shots of espresso, please."

Almost snatching my coffee from the already forgotten boy behind the in-desperate-need-of-oil, wooden counter, I made my way into the caffeine-craving, zombie-like crowd. A familiar hand reached out, grabbing my arm and pulling me in like a remembered habit. Looking up, tears formed heavily in my eyes. My cheeks were red; I could feel it. Words wouldn't come out, and for the first time when it came to you, I didn't feel like running.

Before we sat down at the same table that remembered more stories, we whispered like secrets long ago, than we did, your arms pulled me into an embrace that I can still feel when a stranger in a supermarket smells of "Ocean" cologne and smiles the same welcoming smile I can still see when I close my eyes. You still smell like coming home.

Seth (2018)

"You'll regret letting her leave again," the desperate voice in my head warned. Nervous, I reached out, grabbing your arm a little too roughly, your coffee puddling on the roof of your lid. Daunting grey eyes quickly met mine causing not only time but my heart to stop. I wonder how many times I've been asked my favorite color, only to be consumed with the memories of watching your eyes slowly open every morning like they were unsure of their decision. Whose life were you trying to live?

Just before you sat down at the table that still held our whispered secrets, I drew you in my arms like I did so many times. I never thought there would be a day we would share a last embrace. You smelled like experience and a home you never belonged to.

Vicki (2018)

Laughing over cold coffee, it was hard to think about why it was so easy to leave you. Sitting here, hidden away from the rest of the world, my job, your job, family, I never wanted to leave. I think if I let myself, if I planted my feet down and glued them to these hardwood floors, I could grow old with you in this coffee shop on Main and 1st Street, whispering more forbidden secrets to our table that has now become a confidant.

A puzzling, playful look came over your face as you inquired, "Did you ever start that bluegrass band?"

Laughing, I shook my head as I sipped my coffee.

"It was more of a one-man-band that had a good, living room, one hit wonder."

"Your hair has pink in it."

It was a simple statement, a clarification, yet it came out in a tone that was thick with confusion and a simple sadness that might confuse one who wasn't quite comfortable with your disappointment.

"I always do what I want."

Faintly, you whispered, "I know."

Changing the topic from my latest instrument failures and possible regretful hair colors, we settled on a conversation I never stuck around long for personal affairs. Five years ago, I predicted we'd meet here to talk about your wife, and your new life, and your mundane daily routine. I was right. You spoke about your job in a way I never heard you talk before – with a certainty and confidence you never carried before. Confident that you hate your job, that is.

"Quit."

"I don't just up and walk away from things" came out a tad bit harsher than you had expected it to.

Wincing like I just took a physical blow, I pursed my lips and nervously checked my phone like I was expecting a phone call just to avoid the intensity from your eyes that I could feel burning more holes in my soul from across this table. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to offend you; I was just trying to make a joke."

"It's okay, I get it," I quietly offered; although, I didn't. How many times could I apologize for something I never should've apologized for in the first place? I will not be sorry for the things that I feel, yet here I am, doing it again five years later with the same guy in the same place, picking up the roles of the same life I tried to run away from. Quickly rolling my eyes, I thought, "How could he joke about me leaving like it was nothing?" Leaving you was the heartbreak I never let myself experience.

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Professional Athletes Are Paid Too Much

Are pro-athletes really deserving of the monetary commission they receive?
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For generations, children have aspired to become professional athletes. In the 1920's children wanted to be Babe Ruth; in 2012 children wanted to be Derek Jeter. The list of pro-athletes that influence the younger generation can go on and on. Looking back on elementary school yearbooks, the most common profession for youths has (and will continue to be) a professional athlete. Whether it involves the MLB, the NFL, the NHL, or any other professional league, children tend to pick this profession out of love for the specific sport. Yet, these innocent and uninformed children seem to strike gold by choosing one of the most economically successful jobs in the world.

While professional athletes dedicate most of their life to their respected sport, the amount they are paid to simply play games is absurd. For example, the average salary for a professional football player in the NFL is $1.9 million per year. Keep in mind that that is average, without external endorsements. Therefore, some athletes make much more than that. The crowd favorite Peyton Manning averages $19 million a year. Sports other than football also have averages that are incredibly generous. In the world of golf, the popular Tiger Woods makes more than $45 million a year. These pro-athletes make millions of dollars, most of whom have not received an outstanding education. In fact, some have not even received a college diploma.

Zooming out from the glamorous and indulgent world of professional athletics, taking a look at other professions seems to be much less appealing. How is it that jobs that are vital to the success of the public receive much less commission than jobs that revolve around running to catch a ball? The average pediatrician makes $173,000 a year. The average teacher salary is $50,000 a year. This does not mean that a professional athlete is any less of a hard-working, devoted, deserving professional. This also does not mean that the athletes have not pushed themselves and worked incredibly hard throughout the years to get where they are, but it does mean that there is a line where inequity takes over. Fame and fortune are showered upon athletes. Is it truly necessary to average out millions of dollars per year when people spend massive amounts of time researching and developing new policies, cures, or other ways to improve the condition of the world? The salary and status of professional athletes seems to be a major power imbalance in the world of careers.

Cover Image Credit: i.ytimg.com

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Poetry On Odyssey: Hyperbolized Emotions

A poem written to describe the way my fellow writers feel emotions, and how hard it is to feel them so deeply.

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The trope that I feel more, harder, crosses my mind often.

It's been said I feel too much. Maybe that I don't know how to stop.

But is it because of who I am, or is it because of what I do?


It's always been easy for me to put it into words.

My pain floods the inside of my mind and holds my soul captive.

My love for you runs through my veins, coarse and thick.

I could go on, but you get the picture.


People ask me, how do you feel so much?

I wonder, how can they feel so little?

Is it not normal to feel the way I feel?


It's been said we exaggerate the emotions we want to focus on.

We place them under a microscope and watch them enlarge before our eyes.

"I feel happy today"—no, the light shines through the rose colored windows,

brightening up what was dark yesterday, erasing the sadness. That's it.


It's not hard to feel the way I feel. At least not to me.

But I often ask myself, would I feel this way, this much,

if I didn't try to write it all down?


I can't answer, because the truth is, maybe I don't want to know.

The way I feel—more, harder—is instinctive.

Why would I want to trade the depth of my emotions

for something shallow and simplistic?


But I guess feeling less might be useful sometimes.

The times where all I can think is my heart is a bruise,

getting poked at constantly, exasperating the pain.


Instead, I would say, "my heart hurts."

It's not poetic. It's not romantic. It's not really anything.

Still, it would be the truth.

And maybe the truth is all I need to say.


The thought of you fills my every moment,

the way the stars fill up the night sky—little by little, one by one.

Doesn't that just sound better than saying, "I miss you"?

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