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OPTIONS

It was beautiful.

The weather had been insane the previous night while I had been pulling a double at work. It rained buckets. It was no better that morning as I was awakened to heavy rain as if it was ice pallets aiming for a person's face at a rapid pace. There was even thunder and lightning.

But now?

Now the sun shined. It felt nice to the skin as I made my way to the nearby Target. Since I was wearing a light hoodie and long black jacket, I was glad for the light breeze that came with the sun.

I never felt so out of place.

The stares. The way some of those people looked like they were confused. Or the looks from the one of thousands of closetcases that make up Little Rock's populace. The way I noticed all of it as I texted new York Glenn and didn't care. I felt so New York-y.

I simply did not belong here anymore.

But...where did I belong?

I HEART NEW YORK

Speaking of New York, my storage unit was still out there. Just thinking of it made me flashback to 2010. It made me think of the fun, excitement...and yes frustration...of living in New York, trying to get a foothold there.

Instead, I slipped...and fell...

...back to New York.

I...should have never gone.

It was like what the economy had made it. I should have been more sure of the job I was offered, and made sure it was not a scam. I should have allowed myself to grief my father's passing. I should have...

Woulda...coulda...shoulda.

Hindsight really was twenty-twenty.

And yet I saw New York everywhere. It was in the commericals on television from that Love ad to an Image of the Brooklyn Bridge. It was on the license plate of the stray car I would see as I walked home from work. It was in the shows I watched.

And I wasn't there.

Would I ever make it back there?

I saw so much marvel there. A foreign movie only theater with a great crowd. A 24 hour Starbucks. All walks of life living in a constant state of being. And the ability to have a celebrity walk up to you randomly. Yes, it does happen. And the clubs...

When I was in college, a lot of my friends always said one thing to me. Given my experiences in Arkansas, they thought that I would thrive in a bigger city. And...they were right. It was only six months, but I thrived in New York.

Except I couldn't find a job.

***

"Hey, Diego!!" Glenn announced on the other side of the door.

By other side of the door, I meant my door to my room.

"Hey, Glenn!!" I replied.

Then I continued what I was doing. Soaps or music in my ear, I sat on my laptop. I knew Glenn wanted to chat. However, I hd began reearching. And research took a lot of time.

I would return to New York.

But...first...

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

I had a plan.

The major networks all had writing programs. It went without saying that some were easier to get into than others. Most of the submission periods were in May. A potential candidate wrote a spec script, filled out the paperwork for it, and then submitted it.

I had sat down and wrote a spec script for the TV show CASTLE. I was a big fan of it and the actor Nathan Fillon. It was a show I would not mind writing for. But could I get the voices...?

Yes. I got the voices of the characters. I double checked by watching episodes from Season 3 which was where I set my spec script. I even got the quirky humor down. Once an ending was decided on, I could submit.

Then my father died.

***

I'm not sure when it started.

The time? Last year?

Maybe it was the comfortableness of being around books. Maybe it was the fact that my coworkers were transferring to new lives while I did nothing, but stay in place and work. Maybe it was the fact that Glenn's company got sold, bringing out a side of him that was best called shady and my loathing of anything called drama.

Maybe it began...with seeing my family again.

My mother reminded me. My sister reminded me. My brother reminded me. It was that time of year again. It was time to remember my father.

My father had passed in October. Since then, my family always visited the grave site. They always paid their respects. At first, I was in San Diego or New York. In later years, I usually was at work or could not deal at all.

This past year, I decided to go.

My brother picked me up. It was surprising to talk to him since we had a falling out when Dad passed. Yet, there he was...with my niece I had not seen in years. We drove, reminiscing about childhood, soaps, and music.

As we gathered with my mother and my sister, I thought about my life. It's funny how many years I was lost in my grief, simply going through the motions of work, eat, sleep. Glenn once said that it was like my hope and dreams died when my father did. As my niece and brother took pictures of me and our various family members (including aunts), I realized with certainty Glenn was right.

Where would I be right now if my father had not died? I could say with certainty again, I would probably still be in California. Either commuting for L.A. to network or in L.A. working on my writing career. More than likely I would not be dating, either because I did not want to be distracted from my dream or because the 'boys' would be playing their games. I would be living.

There was one point I kneeled over my father's grave with my family all around me. I was lost in my thoughts. And my thoughts only said one thing.

I was so tired of not living.

THE STRAW THAT BROKE...

It went without saying.

A black man lose his job, they get depressed for a few days. Then the black man hit the ground running, in search of a new job.

A white man lose his job, they lose their EVER LOVING MIND.

That was the case with Glenn.

It did not matter that he had savings. It did not matter that he had an excellent next egg. It did not matter that he had a year before any major decision were needed since his company needed him for the transition. He lost it.

And I...simply let him. People dealt with their job loss in their own way at their own time. It helped that I had already began my chances. That included hours of research for potential second jobs, saving money, and formatting my novel. Being a writer was solitary.

Apparently, someone could not comprehend.

So the day that Glenn wanted to discuss rent and house related stuff and chose to do it like a lunatic 17 year old was not taken very well. I had not paid rent as well as I would like to due to me leaving one of my jobs. I was also saving. The search for a second job in Arkansas led to nothing for me.

What surprised about that day was not what Glenn said, but how he said it. He said a lot that was already on my mind like rent, direction, and chores. However, he apparently thought I did nothing in the house, which ws a lie. He also thought and I quote that I 'used him.'

That cut to the bone.

Roommate used Glenn. And apparently as Glenn revealed was still suing Glenn to get out of trouble he didn't have to be in in the first place.

What also surprised me was my reaction to Glenn's verbal assault. I took it like a man. Then I talked to him like a grown-up to another grown-up. The look on Glenn's face? Priceless.

I think he thought it was going to be a knockdown dragout fight with me. In hindsight, it might have been a long time ago. When I was younger.

That was key.

When I was younger.

After years of dishing out the drama, I now was over it. So I now loathed it when someone threw it at me. Even moreso when it was unnecessary. There were multiples ways Glenn could had come at me. He aimed for the way that would mot likely cause me to react. That was all over his face. what was also all over his face was the surprise and shock of realizing.

That I had changed.

What was not on my face until much later? The hurt of my friend...one of my closest...trying to pick a fight with me. The fact that in order to make himself feel better he turned to make me feel worse.

That day I lost all trust in him.

And when a friendship lost truth, it lost everything.

EXPLORING OPTIONS

I waited.

The bus station was pretty packed. It was an hour layover. I had been away from Arkansas for hours.

My friend Jame had my stuff in storage.

Glenn's good-bye that morning...could have been better. After a day of packing for me and a reminder from him to not forget to say good-bye, I made sure to tell I'm I was leaving. A part of me thought awww, given how little we talked the last few weeks. Instead, of true good-byes. All Glenn asked was for the house keys.

Alrighty then.

Like I mentioned, my stuff was in James's storage. James took me to the bus station. James waited with me for the bus station.

It was nice knowing as I left Arkansas who my friends were.

There was also something I wanted to do before I made it to California.

It stared in front of me. It was almost like we were two competitors looking eye to eye, trying to see if either of us would flinched. But the screen never changed. Neither did the button. The button that said one thing.

SAVE AND PUBLISH.

And I...did not flinch.

I clicked the button.

And 12 hours later, it was done.

I was a self-published writer. Just in time...for me to return to San Diego.

But...what would be there?


 

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