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streetlights

There is no easy way to say it. I was married to someone I hid from. Tucking E into a sling, I would disappear for hours saying I was going shopping for dinner, and if she fell asleep the excuse was that she needed fresh air as I sat on a park bench with her tiny hand grabbing my pinky until she eventually woke up. I would make my way along the side streets of Greenwich as the sun went down, leaning into store windows but not going in. Eventually I would go home, and as I turned the corner there was a security light that would switch on - obviously attached to some motion sensor. In those strange and lonely moments, I would talk to that light. Each time it clicked on, I felt somehow that the night ahead could be survived no matter what madness waited for us behind the front door.

That was twelve years ago.

Another life, another country.

Today, I turned a corner in Moscow with an all-too familiar bag of groceries swinging from my shoulder. A street light flickered on and all at once I…

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 in my engineer boots, drinking whiskey later that night at the Cedar Tavern, still feeling those goosebumps from behind the microphone. So, without much thought I went back to that place, in our Moscow living room. I sent the mp3 file to the editors, and moved on to the next task at hand. A handful of days later the email came, that I was going to be their next episode and then as the conversation unfolded, the next three episodes. I got their answer on the playground, with V making imaginary strawberry cakes in the sandbox and N just inches away. There is nothing like sharing good news with the people you are close to. It is their victory somehow, as much as yours. I still remember those empty days, when the victories were so hollow  - and how I celebrated them alone.

Here is part one of Albino, from a collection of short stories I will somehow put out into the world this year, called Papa on the Moon. My thanks to the good people at Sunday Night Stories, for their interest and support in this awkward, personal tale.




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