Life: A User's Manual

by Carson Reynolds

In an empty business district on the weekend I feel like a salmon swimming downstream during the spawn. Everyone rushes out of town while I rush towards the vacuum left behind. I begin to play the tape backward until the last keyframe.

Here are some pairs of places visited and books read…

Montpellier: The Master and Margarita
Petrolia: Life, a User’s Manual
Seoul: Clockers
Hiroshima: Blindness
Shikoku: Out Stealing Horses
Kyoto: Persepolis
Brighton: Darkness at Noon
London: Moby Dick

While flying to Seoul, I had a novel experience. As the plane made its way across the peninsula I dozed with eyes closed. In the uncertain belt between alertness and wandering thought there was a flash and bump. The sensation was written off as an artifact of near-sleep until the captain announced that the plane was struck by lightening.

Six weeks ago my wife gave birth to our first child: Akira. Bit by bit I’ve relived the moment by feebly expressing our joy to my friends and family. The philosopher within capitulates before questions like “what is it like to be a parent?” Perhaps the answer is something like this.

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