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Where are you right now?
Until I made the decision to quit debate in my junior year of high school, debate was my Thing. I was thrilled when I started the ninth grade because I was finally able to join the high school team. I spent the days I had practice getting home well past dark, I hardly saw friends on the weekends because I was competing in Pennsylvania or upstate New York or a New England city I hadn’t even heard of before, and I spent most of my free time reading philosophy that I am now mature enough to admit I did not quite understand....
It really wasn’t that bad, I tell myself for the 100th time, burning my fingers on hot fries from JJ’s, aimlessly swirling ketchup around with them.
The belly of the cathedral is cavernous. Buttery light streams through stained glass and pools on the concrete floor. It’s hollow and holy, and the echoes of tourist footsteps fill the space where kings were once crowned. They seek tranquility or spirituality, or a postcard to show to friends back home. The cathedral is in the center of Reims, in the Champagne region of France, a city a train ride away from Paris. I spent my first two years of college living in Reims, a walk away from the cathedral....
Last summer, I had four wisdom teeth yanked out of my mouth. In the days afterward, I was puffy-cheeked and achy-jawed, with a stubborn, drug-induced droopy eye. I was comically miserable....
There’s a book on my shelf called Your Personal Horoscope 2017. Inside, there’s a glossary of astrological terms—grand trine, karma, retrogrades—followed by personality profiles, horoscopes, and month-by-month forecasts for each sign. The profile for your sun sign, the one that most people are familiar with, will tell you which sign you are most compatible with; particular colors that will promote love, romance, and social harmony in your life; and your strongest virtues. From the horoscopes, the heart of the book, you can learn what’s in store for your career this year or if you’ll encounter any health issues, among other predictions. (Although as author and top astrologer Joseph Polansky is careful to point out, he offers an astrological perspective on health, not a medical one.) The author writes encouragingly, more than willing to welcome neophytes into the world of astrology....
Content Warning: This piece deals with issues of death and grief.
When the music stops, they’re leaning backwards close to the ground, holding a final pose just above the ice and smiling. After a beat, the applause begins—there is an uproar from the crowd. The two dancers stand still—looking at one another for a few moments, shocked and ecstatic. It is 2010, and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir have just secured gold at the Vancouver Winter Olympics....
I ground my heel into the patch of lichen clinging to a wayside boulder, about a hundred yards from where my mother stood. She was pointing up to where I could not see. My boot paled under the swinging shadow of overhanging ivy—it was the same green as my home, which sat on the border between town and township, middle and middler class. From this angle, farther up the curved slope of the trail, my mother seemed to have buried her whole hand in the roots of a nearby tree that clung, high above her, to the mountainside....