A tumbleweed evening. Life rolling by in snares, snagging itself on unemployment. I’m scratching the surface of doubt, watching these jobless days turn the scratch into a pessimistic chasm that deepens with every razor blade minute chipping off the clock. The stars of this night shine down in lazy light, hanging there in the sky, where they have always been, watching me crack up in wishful thinking. I close my eyes and create all the pictures of what life should already look like: that big porch that goes all the way around, with a nice swing in the tree, the leaves falling over the house and into the lawn like delicate paper trails of love which lead me to the girl who wears my old baseball shirt, swinging under that moonlit tree with a brilliant smile on her face.
Somehow I have turned twenty-seven without much to show. The museum of me looking sparse, in need of artistic pieces and victorious sculptures that can fetch a few dollars or at least the admiring, flirtatious gaze of a woman who thinks I can mold a perfect life for her.
And this employment predicament…why so repetitious? Like a yearly comet that burns into the telescope, obscuring my future with fire tails. Tell me it will be alright and I’ll show you my snarling teeth. Trying to find motivation to alleviate the concern, there in the morning with the computer running me head-on into applications. And there is surely a better alternative to electronic submissions and impersonal resumes. The modern job search drowns in anonymity. And I’m supposed to float in this?
All of me ricochets off these midnight walls. This old bedroom seems foreign. Childhood plaques of sporting achievements have dulled into silent bronze trophies I no longer hang on. The first letter a girl snuck to me in high school drips off the bookshelf. Walls decorated with forgotten memories held in photos I rarely look at. A journal from youth filled with words written by a boy who had yet to learn what the moans of a women meant. The bed creaks under my contemplative weight. And the pressure of making something of myself seeps into every pore, stifling the optimism I sometimes wear like a sweater with unraveling threads.
Then the morning breaks with the repairing sun. Golden rays of positivity squeeze through the half-drawn blinds. I introduce myself to the new day with a few yawns, hair a mess, eyes chalked with sleep. I throw on some clothes and stare out the window at this tired hometown I have stumbled back into after a lengthy stint in Europe. Everything seems familiar, with some changes here and there, old neighbors moved away, a few trees cut down and different cars parked on the black asphalt streets. But I’m no longer the boy who used to play baseball until the night stole the light from the world. I’m no longer a kid with unwavering optimism. Instead, I am a young man losing the young, trying to find a direction to feast on, trying to find a dream to invest in, while the economy bandages itself, promising better jobs.
This morning meal goes down well: eggs and a few slices of leftover chicken to energize the momentum in me. So I type solemnly into this journal, and watch the butterflies outside fly in and out of tangles, while pressing forward, always forward, until I can find an ad on a job board that intrigues my curiosity, enough so that I am able to break through the monotonous routine of filling out applications to find legitimate hope in landing a job that can bring an everyday smile to my face, like waking up in Barcelona with the beach breeze tempting my toes, like staring into the steely eyes of the Eiffel Tower, like painting myself in Madrid with tapas and cigarettes smoked in charming alleyways, like falling in love in London with all the English accents. That’s what my career should feel like.