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."


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."

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Professional Athletes Are Paid Too Much

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

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.

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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.


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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