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Albino (part one)

I began writing Albino two million years ago. I had an editor then, who lived a few blocks away. We would meet for breakfast on Avenue A, quietly forking into home fries as we discussed the structure of the story - the economy of objects. A dollar bill was not just a dollar bill in this story, it was connected to thought and action, to music and transformation. This was the story that told me there was a whole book to dig into, mining for diamonds in the backwaters of America, turning over the ugliest rocks to better understand relationships between fathers and sons.

Last week, I stumbled across a call for submissions - not for a journal, but for a podcast where the work of new writers was read aloud. I thought back to a reading I had done of just the first few pages of Albino - a messy hero's journey,  a young man and a guitar, a man with loss and regret, a man that still had something to lose. That reading went well, enough that I felt a strange elation stepping off the stage i…

approaching the unknown


The map shows a long slooping arc of train tracks that lead west, above the city. I sit with Eve, our bags nested against our legs as we leave the airport. There are no announcements, so I check the names we slide past against the directions. I think it will take us 30 minutes to get to Corinth based on all of this.

People climb on, groups of young girls in tiny outfits with pink lipgloss and rolling eyes. An old man and a child, women who might be on their way home from the office. The stations grow closer together, and now the car is full. Eve looks at everything, leaning over to me from time to time.
“I have no idea what anyone is saying.” She tells me. “But some of the Greek letters, I can read them.”
A woman climbs into the train, her skin the color of warm rust. A baby rests its head against her shoulder, crying. A man is with them, and a young boy. Their clothing hangs off of them, barely more than shorts and flip flops.

The sun is starting to go down, and we are whipping past clumps of olive trees. There is dust in the air, and the sky glows a pale pink as we make our way. The car begins to empty. I have some idea that we are just a few stops away now. The directions show Corinth at the edge of the map, with an arrow into nothing beyond it.

A woman in a uniform is making her way through the seats, punching a hole in each ticket. I am convinced we are the next stop so we yank our bags to the doors, ready to jump out if we are at the right place. All at once the man and that woman with the baby are shouting. Words are splashing around the car. Two tough guys in sunglasses jump from their seats, fingers jabbing in the air. The man is standing with his feet apart, as if a wave might be about to crash over him. Eve looks at me. I shrug my shoulders.
“I don’t think they have tickets.” I tell her. “Maybe they are refugees.”
The man’s voice climbs, a long painful string of words coming from him. The men interrupt him, and the man is waving his hand at the tiny woman in the uniform. Now another woman joins in, calm, convinced. There is no way of knowing anything that is being said. Somehow it feels like both sides are completely in the right. The man’s wife curls herself around the baby and makes her way to the doorway, the young boy follows his face a defeated mess. I move our bags as the train slows down. My head yanks out, looking to see if this is our stop. I have no idea. The tough guys are pushing the man towards us, and I put Eve in the corner behind me. It feels like we are about to move past those defiant fingers in the air to knives and fists. I feel like a fool for taking the train not a taxi.

The man steps off as the doors open. He spits at the people inside. Their hands are high in the air, as if this happens every day. I see it is not Corinth. We were standing in the doorway for no reason. Our stop is actually twenty minutes from here.




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