Dreams & Aspirations
Featuring stories by writers Kristopher Jansma, Amy Dupcak, Elizabeth Davis, and Zack Graham; performed by actors Matthew Alford, Hannah Seusy, Kristen Calgaro, and Heather Lee Rogers. Hosted by Andrew Lloyd-Jones and Nancy Hightower at KGB Bar on 7th December 2016.
Yusuf, the sixty-something year-old tour driver, arrived before sunrise to collect me at the Hotel Atlas, the hotel named for the mountain range we’d tour, the mountain range named for the one who carried the wide world on his back. Beneath fading stars and indigo sky I followed Yusuf through the Old Medina alleys to the bus. He held my hand as we crossed a busy roundabout. We passed men wearing business suits and a woman selling coffee from a thermos, and I had some, but Yusuf didn’t. He seemed to be a man of kindness.
Jessica ordered the baby girl from China or Thailand or Korea (the Website hadn't specified). A stone-faced woman rang Jessica's doorbell, handed her the child and refused to accept a tip. Jessica named her baby Sam. Jessica's parents said how cute Sam was. Jessica's friends tickled Sam's belly, making Sam giggle. Sam preferred cottage cheese to baby food. Sam slept through the night most nights, and when she cried, she never cried longer than a minute or two. One day Jessica was at the grocery store when the cashier pointed at Sam and said, "her lips... don't you think they're a bit... low?"
I hadn’t made any promises, the way some Catholic girls do. I wasn’t saving myself for any person, place, or phase in life, nor did I want to get it over and done with as soon as possible. By tenth grade, all I’d decided were two important factors: the relationship had to last longer than two months, and The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails had to be playing.
Many of us had been unhappy with Vice Principal Jackson for some time preceding the incident. Over the years we, the faculty of Saint Bartholomew’s Preparatory Academy for Boys, had witnessed Vice Principal Jackson break every rule in the book – if not once then several times – but many of us believed that his antics bestowed a certain “character” upon our school that was genuinely appreciated by the students. Only after the incident did we see just how wrong we had been.