The Academic Press

"Why sales?" The national sales manager at the prestigious university press wanted to know. He sat across from me at the round table in this tiny window-less meeting room next to a senior sales rep. I'd expected this question. Prepared for it. Of course they were going to ask why an ESL teacher suddenly wanted…

The Album of the Year

When Felix updated his facebook status to say, “we are never ever ever getting back together… like ever” in August 2012, it felt like a personal attack. We’d been broken up officially for just a little over a month at that point. I’d yet to hear the would-be iconic song, and it was humiliating to…

The Tiers

"The wedding cake comes as three tiers. We can either keep them separate, or pay $100 to stack them together," I explained at the dinner table at our mini celebratory engagement BBQ with my family. I pointed my chin at my mom as I added, "the guy at the store said the stacking would be…

The Language Barriers

Language. It separates us from animals. It facilitates communication of complex and abstract thought. It's highly technical and nuanced, yet mostly automatic and natural. Language barriers exist in any instance where the language of the participants doesn't match up precisely, for whatever reason. If you don't know the right language in print, at your job…

The Day After Father’s Day

“I’m here,” read Seth Grady’s text, as if I’d been expecting him.“Here where?” I texted back on my q9 keyboard. Across from me Luna, the other co-op student at this elementary school sat cutting out half-sheet booklets for tomorrow’s lesson.“At St Amelia’s,” Seth replied. “Where you told me you’d be.”My eyes widened as I stared…

The Reccurence

I’m driving. A red corvette through a sandy dessert expanse that I’ve never visited before. On my left are jagged copper cliffs. I miss the sharp turn and suddenly my car has flown through the guardrail. For a second, I’m suspended in midair, looking down at the dunes below me. Then I realize that I’m going…

The Mama

Mama gave birth to her first litter of kittens at the far end of the park. She nestled herself as far away from the playground as possible between the weeds behind the bench on the trail that led down to the woods. The air was cool, the rain fell hard, and Mama knew something was…

The Gunman

It was my first day teaching the pathway program at my school. I'd worked hard in the general ESL program as a rookie, and I'd been promoted to the big leagues. I was feeling good. Teaching pathways meant a new office, a different boss and added responsibility. Students had to pass my course in order…

The Ultimatum

She gave him an ultimatum. She said he had to marry her within the next year, or she was done. She'd been with him for years already. She still had a bit of a wild side to her back then. She liked having a bit too much to drink and having to balance on a…

The Office

“Yo, MC Rydes! How you been?!” Read the familiar and yet novel text in my inbox. I almost laughed out loud as I read it. It could only be from one person on earth. Javier Alonso, my old buddy from elementary and then high school. “Javi!!!” I responded, a big smile on my face. “I’ve…