This year, on the brink of my 40th birthday, I’ve begun to covet other men’s motorcycles.
Every time I hear a bike engine, that seductive grunt, I whip my eyes to the road. I want to see the bike, badly. I need to know, “Can I picture myself on you?”
I’m not interested in bikers. I hardly look at them. Some well-meaning folks endure their midlife crisis by ignoring the bikes and climbing onto these bikers.
The voice box is a pink, slick mass through which air blows. It’s an alien with a toothless smile. When its folds, the vocal cords, work properly, they press together as we speak, mirroring humming lips. Air slips through the cords. They quake and can vibrate up to 1,000 times per second. That rattled air becomes voice.
I lost my voice at 15. I sounded like a boy hitting puberty, as my inflections became an unpredictable mash of breaks and warbles. …
When I was 12, my mother and I were in this ongoing argument. She wanted me to grow up to become a trophy wife; I wanted to grow up to write one really cool novel and then die while I was still hot.
I mean, she wasn’t that explicit about it. Whenever the topic of my future came up, she’d begin by naming the only two rich person professions lower-middle-class parents know (doctor and lawyer). It was plain for anyone to see that I had neither the interest nor aptitude to become a member of any of the life-saving professions…
LEVEL columnist Aliya S. King got hitched last year, and she came away with some advice for anyone thinking about popping the question: no Jumbotrons, first of all. Also, consider asking what type of heavy metal your partner wants to wear on their hand for the foreseeable future. Most importantly — especially in the middle of a global health crisis — be ready to commit.
26 years ago I popped the question to Karin just before she boarded the plane to go back home. My exact words were, “SO. You…
I’d been married eight years when Brian sat next to me at a writers’ workshop. I didn’t know his name was Brian then… I didn’t know him at all. Being new to the workshop, I’d taken my own seat in the circle of writers, and busied myself by reading through the stack of writing samples I’d been given when I walked in. With my eyes down, I saw his cowboy boots first. That caused me to look up slightly at this man who, staying true to form, also wore some kind of jacket that I guessed was called a duster…
My charming, brilliant, handsomely dimpled, fun-loving husband of 18 years and father of our three sons, ages 12, 13, and 16, killed himself on July 2, 2018.
He was 46.
Was it situational depression after nearly a year of unemployment following previous decades of professional ups and downs? Was it undiagnosed mental illness? Was it noble devotion? Sacrificial, as his letters suggested? Was it desperation?
Or was it, as our oldest son, Logan, said, “A lapse in judgment?”
Or, as our middle son, Grady, asked, “Did Dad love us too much?”
I think it was some combination of all of…
I’ve always admired handy people: people who can build things or weld things or do under-the-hood things. I’m not a handy person and most would say that I’m downright useless when it comes to completing even the simplest of home repairs.
I think it’s in my genes. My mother used to say my father had “feet for hands” and told tales about how he almost set the house on fire while changing a fuse. Because of this, he was always outsourcing projects elsewhere — minor plumbing issues, lawn mowing, driveway repaving, oil changes. I made a mental note and swore…
Cleve’s prosthetic leg stood in the corner of my living room, its plastic foot still wearing his khaki Converse shoe. It was the third anniversary of his death, and I stared at the socket that once held his nub, remembering its shape. After the amputation, it was rounded, a pink scar cut clean across the top. As the muscle atrophied, his flesh hung like a boneless chicken breast, the scar left amorphous and supple.
On April 1, 2006, men were hiding in bushes on the side of a steaming-hot road in Ramadi, Iraq, when the Humvee driven by my husband…
My wife, Ayu, expresses her feelings for me through her cooking.
I first tasted this behavior at our wedding. That day, possibly the happiest of her life, she arranged a whole tray of sushi — salmon, sea urchin, herring roe — to rival those served in fancy restaurants. It stirred me. Who cooks right after exchanging wedding vows?
When upset, Ayu’s culinary choices become stingy. On one occasion, after we’d had an ugly fight, she gave me an apple with a fork stuck in it. She had eaten dinner first.
Wide-eyed, I asked her, “Is this a joke?”
Here’s a conversation.
Him: Oh, you’re home. I had a shitty day at work. [Slams door.]
Her: What happened?
Him: They’re restructuring the deal. This means I have to do a fresh set of due diligences. Fucking brutal. I’m going to be at the office till late every single fucking day this month.
Her: Oh, that’s awful.
Him: Awful? That’s the best you could come up with? Never mind the fact that I haven’t gotten any sleep in, oh, weeks and weeks. I’m running on empty. Less than empty.
Her: I’m sorry, baby. That’s so difficult.
Him: I should just…
A publication from Medium about humanity: yours, mine, and ours.