I start thinking about how I met this girl in high school. I said something. She said something. Ten years later, I’m pushing the kid on the swing and thinking—what happened to my life?
I tell him, thank you, but I’m thinking he was working on a mid-life crisis before he even graduated. Welcome to my world, I say, and I read this: And there is no tomorrow there’s only right here and now.
SELF PORTRAIT BY JAMES A BIRD 34THPARALLEL MAGAZINE ISSUE 38
I taught English at that wilderness asylum they call our high school for over 30 years. In those three decades there was plenty of muddy water under the bridge. I’ve seen the gym, all decorated for homecoming, burn down. I’ve seen negotiations burn down, too, and an ugly strike that gave us a master contract. Then I watched the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party burn the master contract. Maybe that’s where things started to come loose. Or maybe it was letting those boys kill the chickens for a class project. I sat through a lot of losing sports seasons, taught through my share of hangovers (teaching through a hangover should be part of the certification process). I taught Macbeth and Hamlet until the words, words, words took root in my …