Then and There

The Grass is Never Greener, Vinnie Hagar

Mom used to tell me kindness is always the answer. At my Lutheran Elementary school we used to watch videos of starving children in Africa and be handed small purple boxes to collect change in. I still don’t think I understand how to eat meditatively. Oprah talks about how she also has this issue, so it must be real. I meet other women who have also never been loved and I feel better. It’s not only me. Sometimes I wish there was someone always there to explain the things that are too difficult to ask Google. Why do some people fall in love more than others? What will this mean? The only reason I watch people’s Snapchat stories anymore is to see who is getting bad tattoos. I saw one girl with a large comic style gravestone on her arm commemorating a dead grandfather. I see butterflies on toes and peace signs with crosses in the middle. Some placed next to infinity signs from 2015. I came home to mold growing in the bottom of my mug shaped like a cow. I was too lazy to scrape out the leftover wheat cereal I ate in a tin cup one day so now I just don’t use it anymore. I really only ever hangout with the same two people. I think that’s how it’s supposed to be. Some days I don’t do anything and I tell people I did anyway. How do you non-depressingly tell someone you stared at a wall depressed for two hours? When I was a kid I used to see dogs and wonder what it was like to be a dog. When I was a kid I used to see adults and wonder what it was like to be an adult. Sometimes now I see a dog and I wonder what it’s like to have a dog. Sometimes now I see a kid, and I wonder what it’s like to be a kid. Rick and Morty keeps reminding that nothing matters. I keep reading Chuck Klosterman articles and wondering where the female Chuck Klosterman is. When I was a kid I wanted to be a 6’5’ white man with blonde hair, a good chin, a nice brief case, and fantastic charisma. Sometimes I get on the elevator with a kid with blue hair. They always talk, to no one in particular, about everything on their mind. I’m the only one who ever looks at them and responds, or at least nod in reply when I don’t feel like speaking. And they look at me, and they know I’ve listened. We’ll say nothing when they get to their floor. And the doors will shut and I’ll think about that for the next sixty seconds. Mom always said kindness is the answer. I wonder if she knew how vague a piece of advice that is.

About the Author

Megan Byrd · Hofstra University

Megan Byrd is a senior Creative Writing and Fine Arts student at Hofstra University. Her work has been published in Windmill and Newsday. “Then and There” first appeared in Font.

About the Artist

Vinnie Hagar · Anne Arundel Community College

Vincente “Vinnie” Hagar graduated from Anne Arundel Community College in 2017 with an Associates Degree in Art-Visual Design. “The Grass is Never Greener” first appeared in Amaranth. More of his work can be found on Instagram @vinniehager.

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