These last four installments of the series told me they’d prefer to be presented together. 


You were the fourth reason I went to Emerson. The first three were purely academic, and I honestly didn’t know you would be there until after I already got in. Plus they say college is where you find yourself, and part of finding myself was finding you.


You were the fifth student of mine that reminded me of a woman I met while backpacking in Southeast Asia years ago. But you reminded me of her the most. It wasn’t just your appearance, I think it was also the way you answered my questions the same way she would-with her own question at the end. You also seemed to have the same pattern of freckles on your chin. But the way you pulled at your ear when you were taking notes? That reminded me of me.


Your class was the sixth one I took on Eastern philosophy. I think you figured out who I could be when I used the phrase “carpe noctem” to explain the importance of balance in whatever culture we were discussing that day. It is because you are the one that taught it to my mother outside a hostel in Phuket. She describes that night as the night Latin was resurrected from the dead. She always tells this story when she’s making chai tea with bourbon, and it is always deep into the night.


One day, I found you in the seventh row of the classroom wearing my t-shirt.

And I instantly returned to a night with who I now knew was your mother. We had met at the ice machine on the second floor of a dirty little hostel in Phuket. She needed ice for her bourbon and I needed ice for my tongue from burning it on a gulp of chai tea. She had noticed the cup in my hand and motioned to it with her eyes before saying, “I’ll share if you do, looks like you need some of this…and I definitely need some of that.”

For 31 days straight we drank chai tea and bourbon through three countries together, until the night she went to the bathroom and never came back. The note she taped to the bathroom mirror only said, “Oliver-part of you will always be with me (I wasn’t kidding about stealing your high school baseball tee). Carpe noctem.”

I stopped you on your way out, “Olivia…that shirt-”

“It was my father’s,” you said.







For my Uncle Vinny

You never let us get away with not laughing for more than a few minutes at a time. Even if it was at the expense of you making an ass out of yourself. “Somebody has to,” you would say. You are why we are funny-the reason we learned how to make each other laugh is because of the strange language you taught our family. I just realized I know how each of our faces change and contort when we are cackling with wild abandon because of something you said, or did, or walked into the room wearing. I can see our nostrils flaring uncontrollably, our eyebrows reaching our hairlines, and our cheeks bunching up like swollen tomatoes.

When I think of you, you’re making that same face you make when you know you’re going to laugh before you can make it to the punchline. I see you squeezing your eyes and lips shut, holding up your index finger to tell us, “just give me a minute, it’ll be worth it.”






If we ever found a way to travel back to our earliest thoughts-do you know what yours would look like?

I remember seeing a picture of you at your mum’s house, you were probably only two, on the kitchen counter in the middle of five or so six packs of Budweiser. I wonder what you were thinking then. Were you thinking you were getting away with something big?

Because, in that picture, you’re making that same face you make when you drink the last beer in the fridge.

And you think I don’t notice. But, I do-and that’s why I hide an extra one behind the cashew milk.


Stories in the second person:a micro post series (1)

Everyday, for the next week, I’ll be posting a new micro post in the second person. I guess I just really like you. 



You never have a problem with trying the strange things I always want to try. Like hot yoga, which you knew I wouldn’t like, and I didn’t, or the time I switched to cashew milk. You didn’t even flinch when I wanted to try flax milk . But, that’s the thing about you, you let me figure out all by myself how stupid I am.

Is it stupid that this is why I like you so much?