Fiction On Odyssey: Bitter Warmth

Fiction On Odyssey: Bitter Warmth

"I quickly caught a glimpse of the shorter, yet too familiar red hair I last saw standing still on my sidewalk five years ago."

7
views

Last week, chapter one was released, so here's chapter two of my short story, "Apologies Not Given"

Seth (2018)

Lyrics to "Sugar Man" played a constant, vicious loop while I awoke this morning. That alone would be enough to drive anyone mad after a while, but that feeling of insanity comes faster with the realization that it's just another memory tied to you.

Sighing, I kissed my sleeping wife, Suzanne, on the cheek before slipping out to grab a cup of coffee, a taste I have yet to acquire while heading to my decent job while "Sugar Man" plays through the speakers of my two-door Camry. Only Vicki could play this song on repeat without getting sick of it. Why do some of my days consist only of thoughts of you?

Suzanne has lived in this tiny, Midwest town her whole life, and I think that may play one of the most important roles of my love for her – she's never left. Suzanne has no intentions of leaving: no deep-rooted urge to pack up and explore unfamiliar territory; she thinks everything she needs in life can be found somewhere within this town, this justified when she met me, she proclaimed at our wedding at the only church in town.

A big, open, white church nestled on a hill I looked up to quite literally and figuratively. I knew I wanted to get married in this church from the day I first saw it with Vicki five years ago. Suzanne also loved this church, as she has been sitting in these pews every Sunday since she could last remember. I don't think Vicki ever stepped a foot inside the church – "I have no place being somewhere I know I don't belong" became a song I wish I never heard.

With Rodriguez on repeat, and laughing to myself thinking about Vicki going to church, I suddenly craved a bitter warmth I once found in paper cups filled by a young, still hopeful, less experienced barista in a usually empty coffee shop on the corner of Main and 1st Street. The atmosphere of the coffee shop, on this Tuesday morning, mirrored the eerie, unusual feeling I had lying in the pit of my stomach. Standing in this wrapped-around line, I quickly caught a glimpse of the shorter, yet too familiar red hair I last saw standing still on my sidewalk five years ago.

I could walk out – be the one to leave first this time. I could pretend this was just a joke, pretend I never loved her, pretend I learned to live without her, but that's only all partially true. I always dreamed maybe one day we would laugh about the time she left, in this very coffee shop, but now that we're here, I don't feel much like laughing. I watched her order her coffee like she was a movie I didn't want to miss. Our lips moved in harmony, whispering, "Large dark roast – 1 sugar, no cream, 3 shots of espresso, please."

Popular Right Now

Professional Athletes Are Paid Too Much

Are pro-athletes really deserving of the monetary commission they receive?
17201
views

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

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

5 Things That I Encounter While Driving And How I Am Still A Safe Driver After Them

Stay in your lane, my friend.

5
views

When I began driving as a 16-year-old, I was terrified that I was going to do something wrong. On the road, it's easy to mess up, swerve into another lane even just a little bit, or be in the wrong in a car accident. There's, unfortunately, an endless amount of things that can happen on the road and already do every day.

With a lot more practice driving in the past 5.5 years, I've learned a lot about my own style of driving as well as other people's. I never come across the same people on the roads, but some of their actions are similar, if not the same as others. Driving like an idiot has become a new trend on the road nowadays. I don't know who started that, but it's bothersome to the safe drivers who are trying to get from point A to point B.

Over the years I've driven on my own so far, I've encountered lots and lots of different scenarios and I've learned from each of them. In turn, I've become a much more defensive and safer driver.

1. People in a huge hurry.

Photo by Jaromír Kavan on Unsplash

It's inevitable, there are people who are in a hurry to get where they're going. I understand if an emergency arose, but if it involves getting somewhere and not running late, people should plan to have more time for their commute. Instead, since they don't, they believe that swerving into lanes in order to get in front of people is a problem-solving way of driving.

Their logic is: if there's enough room for me to squeeze in between two people, I'll do it so that I can get where I'm going faster. Lots of people think that if they get past a traffic mess or get past slower drivers that their problems will be solved and that they'll get where they need to go on time. Since this is not the case, I leave enough room in front of myself and other drivers in their automobiles in case something like this happens. I don't want to be at fault for someone else's mistakes.

2. People out to get you.

Photo by Per Lööv on Unsplash

Call me paranoid, but I have a strong belief that some people like to act the way that they do on the road in order to ruin someone else's day. Even if this isn't the case, there are people who can still have malicious intentions. These can involve someone cutting me off without using a directional to let me know they're merging into my lane or even people who try to merge into my lane in front of me with very minimal space. When drivers do this, they're stressing me out because I leave enough space in case I need to slam on my brakes in case of an emergency, not enough for someone to squeeze into my lane and make me slam on my brakes to slow down to let them in. The reason I leave space in between myself and other drivers is not that I'm welcoming someone into my lane so that they can get their way.

3. People clearly distracted.

Photo by Alexandre Boucher on Unsplash

Look, I understand that it's IMPERATIVE that you talk on the phone while driving. All power to you. My car has the ability to call anyone for me hands-free, as well as text someone for me and not have to lift a fingertip off of the wheel. Isn't that also why we have Siri? iPhone users, it's become so easy to text, call, email, etc. while driving now.

A lot of people are victims of texting and driving, but if there's traffic on a road with stoplights, or we're driving on a one-way road where we can't pass others driving too slow, it's a courtesy to put your phone down to make sure you aren't going to run into the back of someone. One thing I notice with distinctly distracted drivers is that they'll brake more often for no reason when they're distracted. It's because if someone is looking down or away from their view of cars in front of them, they'll constantly brake more in hopes that they won't accidentally run into someone. But what about the people stuck behind them who are wondering why the people in front of them are braking so often? Not to mention that there's usually not anyone directly in front of them, so it makes it much more obvious that they're distracted.

In hindsight, it's much better to just wait until you're stopped. Please and thank you (:

4. People who tailgate.

Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

This is something I'll never come to terms with.

Why people need to tailgate me is beyond me. I used to have a habit of doing it myself but realized how unsafe it was and how quickly something accidental can result from it. That's the thing - if I'm being blatantly tailgated and someone runs into me, it's much more intentional than it would be if it were a different circumstance. So to an extent, it's not "accidental".

I'm a person who is very conscious of people around me in all directions, so I know when someone is riding my as*. I don't just stare directly in front of me, I can see you tailgating me. My strategy when this happens is to slow down even more to tick off the driver behind me in hopes that they'll get fed up and kindly (but never actually kindly) merge around me.

Another useful strategy I use - not as often because it can be unsafe - is brake checking. I'll do it so that the driver behind me knows that I'm very aware that they're there and what they're doing to me, but it's not recommended for anyone to do. A safer option is the former.

Something I'll notice when I have a tailgater on me is the fact that they'll flash their lights at me in hopes that I'll either move out of their way or speed up so that they can get around me. All that makes me want to do is get neck-and-neck with the people in the other lane and drive alongside them, trapping the tailgater. I'm a petty driver, so don't cross me.

5. People being stupid.

Photo by Bailey Hall on Unsplash

This one might sound pretty broad, but let me explain.

This is for those people who think it's a good idea to pull out onto a road when they clearly see someone driving in the right lane going 50 m.p.h. For those who think it's a wise, smart decision to cut someone off who is already driving at full speed.

I HATE YOU AND YOU'RE THE REASON I HATE DRIVING.

Lemme just say that I did not think people were actually this stupid, but boyyyyy am I wrong about that one.

Not only are people stupid in this way, but are simply careless. If they pull onto a road into a lane that I'm in, and I'm already going 50+ m.p.h., they don't care about me. They know I'll have to either slow down or somehow merge into another lane in order to miss rear-ending them. But it's not like I just have to tap my brake pedal when this happens. Oh, no honey. It's the fact that I have to slam on my brake pedal in hopes that I slow down fast enough.

If you're one of these people, please re-evaluate these decisions as well as your own life. Quite frankly, that was meant to be a joke, but it's actually literal because it's life or death on the roads and not a lot of in-between.

If you haven't seen all of these different types of drivers on the road, bless your heart. They're coming.

I only wish I could avoid these types of drivers at all costs, but unfortunately, I cannot. They always find me and they always irk me (:

PLEASE make conscious, smart, INTELLIGENT decisions while driving. You could put not only your own life but some other innocent person's life at risk. Think before you act. It's that simple.

Related Content

Facebook Comments