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 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 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…

The Grey Tabby

The first cats I ever met lived underneath the massive pine tree in our backyard. Two tuxedo cats. My brother and I would go out and try to play with them when they'd wander into our plastic play house. My mother cautioned us never to touch them because they might be diseased. The next cat…

The Move

It's hard to see them coming sometimes - fundamental changes that irrevocably alter the whole makeup of your life. It feels like day in and day out, nothing really changes. The days feel long and monotonous. Same couch, same pandemic, same life. But these small, seemingly inconsequential, things happen every so often. You sell your…

The Alternative

Paul and I were driving south down California's glorious coast in our rented yellow Camaro. We were on our way back to Redondo Beach from a night camping in Big Sur. I was exhausted. The night had been freezing, with a hazy mist that I hadn't expected in sunny California. We didn't bring an inflatable…

The Villages

When I walked to the local hardware store to pick up a replacement piece for my ceiling fan, I hadn't expected them to be open. I'd expected a routine curbside pickup. Once I arrived, I remembered that these stores were deemed essential businesses, and that I would actually have to enter the store to get…

The Cheats

I sat at the back of the class entranced in my work. I was halfway through writing Eminem's second verse in Renegade diagonally across the plastic cover of my red history binder. I blew the glittery black gel lightly to dry the words before starting the next line. "Do you always write with your face…