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if it was bad enough for him

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” ― Ernest Hemingway

in between each set of shots he’d stop and talk about short-stories, poems and authors. apparently he’d gotten a degree in english literature, and over the course of an hour he would teach me that i know barely enough to carry on a prolonged conversation on the subject. it wasn’t a date, but i couldn’t shake the feeling that dating was probably just that awkward and uncomfortable.

i’d filled up on smiles before i left home that morning, and about thirty minutes into our session, i’d used them all up just as he was heading into a philosophical hemingway discussion which was perfect because i had some darkness saved up too. he said few people liked hemingway and that although even less could stand to read his work, he was a beacon of hope. well then he had my full attention, cause as a teenager i was an old man and the sea hag and cause beacon was a pretty big claim.

“how so?”, i’d asked.

he said that hemingway had married so many times that marriage was his way to example hope. well then he lost me, cause if marriage was hope then so was divorce, and where does the merry go round stop, i wondered. i nodded and grinned, cause it was all i could do not to bring up death, the suicides of his family members that preceded his, or how some folks use writing as a tool to stoke the fires of their mental health until they can’t or won’t, but if the space between can’t and won’t is the distance between hope and despair, then opinion is a train hardly fit to travel there.

no one really knows the fare that life will charge or the distance they’ll travel at the steep cost of healing. what i do know, is that whiskey burns put out fires that weeds between our words fail to ignite.

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