Just months ago, I released my first book, “We Always Find Ourselves Here,” and it was a thrilling experience – available here.
I am happy to announce that I am officially over halfway through the manuscript of my second piece, yet to be officially titled. An excerpt is below – enjoy!
THERE REALLY is nothing more boring than corn – no matter how you dice it up. Always the same shape, always the same color – neatly in their rows, growing as they should, producing as they are asked.
Unfortunately for Ohio, it’s one of the only things the tiny towns thrive off of – something most people in the town can’t stand.
Tom used to love to hide in their rows, however. Ever since he was a kid, and escaped a whooping from his father by hiding in their cover, he thought of them differently than most.
Sure, they all look the same, neatly together, looking like a comb when you drive by them. They were something special to him, a place where he could always run away to when he couldn’t face the worries of the day – even as a kid.
Whenever anything went wrong, a day turned sideways for whatever reason, Tom could always escape to the fields, run around, and hope to get lost. Only to eventually sit down and look up at the sky, watching the clouds go by. They were always there, watching everything going on down below, laughing, he thought.
They also meant something to him that most people didn’t think about – his hometown.
There was always a certain feeling about Ohio. The people, the way of life, everyone thinking it was some back country – and it some ways it was. But at the same time, it was what raised Tom, it was his hometown. And no matter where he went or who he talked to, it was always going to be what made him, him.
No one was really talking, just listening to the music, watching the world go on beyond the windshield. The long, winding country roads before them, miles before they would finally hit a good highway that would actually they them somewhere.
Tom thought about what everyone else was doing. People he knew forever from school, what they were doing at the same moment. Were they going off on their own trip too? Were they trying to figure out what they were going to do with their lives? Where they also on some dusty road, driving across state lines just to get some relaxation before life happened? He never knew, and the not-knowing always bothered him.
More than anything, he knew that for the rest of his life, he would never be able to see how people’s stories ended. He would never know how they resolved their cases, figured out their paths, or anything in between.
He’d never figure out how it ended between the couple that had been dating since middle school. He’d never know what happened to the class President after he graduated (or didn’t) from his prestigious school. For all Tom knew, he could end up being a car dealer, or he could end up being a CEO. He would never know how their books would end, their memory would forever be frozen in time at the exact moment of graduating, their lives forever sealed at that point.
Maybe that’s why everyone get so shocked when people have aged at their reunions, he sometimes thought to himself. Because to them, their friends were sealed at that point, never aging, never growing older – our brains unable to finish their stories themselves. Like everyone expects their classmates to walk in, still being eighteen and young – aging not something that a person can truly comprehend.
But then Tom would realize that he himself was a mystery, just as much as his classmates were. They would never know who he would become, what he could accomplish, or even who he would marry.
To most, it wouldn’t matter – his memory fleeting away into the cornfields of the town. But to some, and even if just rarely, he would come across their mind. A memory of Tom would come floating out of nowhere, only for them to question his current existence.
Just as much as people are mysteries to us, we are just the same to each other. No one really knows anyone else – at least not everything. Our minds can’t comprehend nothingness. And when that happens, sometimes we just make things up.
Maybe this person is in jail, maybe this person stayed in the army – sometimes we never know, so we let out minds decide for us.
Maybe to someone, they would eventually think “oh Tom? Yea he probably owns his own business.” Maybe they would think he became a math professor. Or maybe they even just thought he took over the farm.
He would probably be so many different things over the years to so many different people – but he would never know, and the paradox would start all over again.