[Image: “The Lost Love,” by Bjöks]
The Bay Bridge was backed up at five o’clock. Maggie tapped her index fingers against the steering wheel, beating the rubber to some tune on the radio. The snapping trail of ocean air shifted through her windows with the breeze as she pressed the sunroof button and pointed her face up, eyes closing, the long overdue spring falling in over her peeling leather seats.
There were only fifty yards or so until the bridge met the other side, but for the first time in months Maggie didn’t care how long it took to get home. The day had been an easy one, just minor tasks and wrapping up her work on the recent Burmen Pharmaceuticals assignment—another class action. The partners even let everyone at the office out early. Right then she was content to sit, docked in unbroken sunlight and waiting for the next six- or seven-foot advance. She looked back down at the car ahead of her, Will’s Dartmouth-green sedan with the “Live Free Or Die” plates still on it. Pure coincidence that it was him, but the fact it was made her remember Monday:
“I’m done. I’ve had it,” Maggie had told him, pouring a cup of coffee. She and Will took their breaks at the same time every day, having a cup of coffee, sometimes going to the first floor’s cafeteria for a sandwich and soup or Clam Chowder Thursdays. “I can’t work on assignments like this anymore.” With another sip she sat down in the stacking chair across from him at the break-room table. “Every time I get handed one, I tell myself this is it, this is the last one I’m doing. And then I do nothing, I just wait for the next one to come.”
Will shifted in his seat, uncrossing and re-crossing his legs, continuing to scratch blue coconut trees with his pen on his empty Styrofoam cup. Other times it was a seascape or a flower, barracudas or a hawksbill turtle. Maggie thought they were fairly extraordinary little sketches, their complex details deserving a better canvas than a throwaway cup: Maybe, she wrote at night, that’s why he does it. The irony. But if that’s the case, it’s wasteful to use them up like that.
Genius weird, not kidnapper weirdwas how she described him to herself. You know, just quirky, a little awkward. But it’s kind of charming. It was seven months ago, shortly after Will started at the office, that she had put her feelings in writing, detailing it all in the composition book-turned-journal she kept beneath her bed—a place for thoughts that were more intimate than status updates, that weren’t meant for a friend’s quip or thumbs-up.And his chest, his face, even his hair is just damn hot. He doesn’t look like a lawyer, like he stepped through a lawyer carwash in the morning and into his suit. She told herself not to be interested, being nearly six years his senior: I’m sure he sees me as an older-sister type. And you can’t go anywhere with that.
In the break room on Monday she had smiled saying, “I want to pack up and move to your drawings.”
Will didn’t even look up. “Do it,” he breathed with indifference. “I’m on this beach right now, waiting for someone to go snorkeling with me.”
“Yeah. Well, if it weren’t for real life, I would.”
“Yeah.” His voice grew small, subdued. “If it weren’t for real life, I would too.”
Maggie smiled pitiably. Will had told his mother that he’d be a lawyer about a year before she and his father died in a car accident outside Portsmouth. There was no drunk, no teenager, just iced-over roads and shitty luck. He had only once talked about his inheritance, but Maggie often heard him on the phone quietly contesting and negotiating with people he described as old cousins, old aunts, and old uncles. She assumed the inheritance was sizable since his father had worked as a contractor for the Air Force, but it seemed he was pushed to split it up among his extended family.
He probably could still afford to do it, she wrote, to just leave everything. He could leave the cold and go live under palm trees and lay on the beach. At least until the inheritance runs out. By that point he could have a dozen well-connected friends in that place, and any one of them might be able to help steer him towards a job.
“But Will,” she started then sighed, measuring the sympathy in her tone. “I’ve probably said it before, but your parents would’ve wanted you to be happy.” She had said it before, at the end of January, in the same conversation she told him their intimacy had no future.
Will sketched on, not even glancing at her. She felt his awkwardness thickening the air around her, and she broke into a sweat. It wasn’t unusual when she was talking to him—to sweat a little. He hasaweird effect, she once wrote in her journal. And she had grown fond of the mild discomfort she had to fight through to talk to him.
“Wadoodle again?” she asked.
He looked up and smiled. “Wadadli? Or Waladli, actually.” His eyes stared—large bowls of dark syrup—and then moved beyond her into some thought. They stayed there for a moment looking at nothing in particular before he went back to pressing pen to cup.
“Right,” Maggie said. “Antigua. Wadawdle or Wadiddle or Wad-ever. You’re wadoodling.”
On a weekend in early January, days after they had begun their discreet relationship, Will described for her the trips to the island he took when he was a kid while lying next to her in her bed, telling of the island’s history—the Arawaks, the Caribs, Columbus, its supposed Amerindian name, Wadadli, being corrected to Waladli, and how locals favored the double D—and describing for her the magic that glowed in the ocean at day and spilled out onto beaches and into the sky at night, magic that didn’t require you to have a lover to perceive it or appreciate it, just your own eyes and skin. I want to see it, I want to know it so badly, she had written later that night after he had fallen asleep. I think I love him. But she couldn’t sleep with these last words sitting in her journal, feeling them like spider bites. She finally snuck out of bed, making sure she didn’t wake him, and scratched them away into a thick inky highway.
In the break room that Monday, still drawing on the Styrofoam cup, Will said, “West of Nevis, like Saint Kitts and Nevis. Top of the Lesser Antilles.”
Maggie dropped her eyes to the table, staring at the specks of gray on the laminate surface that looked as distant as stars. She wondered if she was responsible for his apathy, if this was still the result of telling him they had to stop seeing each other, or if it was because of his parents. And her thoughts grew defensive: You had to end it, she told herself, and you still hang out with him at work; he’s lonely, that’s it—no siblings, no pets, no friends; the only child of two people from green-eyed families who only reached out to him to ask for more money; he’s been in town long enough, but he doesn’t go out anymore; invite him out this weekend, or maybe help him find a puppy.
“You know,” Will said, nudging the pen back and forth over a small spot at the bottom of the cup, “after childhood, after college, the average American life is something like fifty-five years. About four hundred eighty-thousand hours. And each year we lose more than three thousand clocked in at work, at offices and cubicles. Boxes. Like these cups.” He nodded toward the corner of the room where the cardboard boxes of dispensable cups sat. “Just waiting. Eighteen years of our lives waiting, of that fifty-five.” He stopped drawing and looked at her. “Over thirty percent of our adult lives will be spent as boxed-up Styrofoam cups. And then,” he looked back down, “one day, used and done.” He gave a tight-lipped smile. “A bit careless, isn’t it? Just accepting that kind of negligence as necessary?”
She dabbed the sweat at her hairline with a finger. “Did you memorize all that?”
He shook his head. “I looked it up earlier. But I was just sitting here thinking about it before you walked in.”
“I don’t think we’re like Styrofoam cups.” Maggie leaned back in her chair. “Even if we’re in,” she lifted her hands, giving the rabbit-eared index and middle fingers a gestured pull: “a ‘box,’ cups are just cups. Even yours, with all their fancy tropicalness. And if you constantly feel disposable, you’ll end up being disposed of. Ha!” She grinned, satisfied at taking the metaphor a step farther. But the pleasure fell away quickly, as she feared it might’ve been insensitive.
Will went back to drawing. “I think it’s negligence. Breach of duty, care.”
“All right, but to who?” Maggie said, her voice moving to a more supportive composure.
“The country. The world. Posterity. Or”—he paused his pen midair, staring hard at a single spot. “Actually it’s negligence per se.”
This one Maggie knew inside out, and she smiled. “What statute?” She leaned back again. “I may be a paralegal, but I’m a damn good paralegal.”
Will glanced up and caught her eyes for a second before jolting back to the blue palm leaf. “Yes, you are. Prettiest, for sure.”
Maggie blushed as another silence swooped in and another bead of sweat formed at her hairline. “Thanks.” She dabbed again at her forehead. “So? What statute?”
Will’s eyes narrowed as he thought, and his pen slowed down into wavy contours. “The law,” he paused. “The law of intergenerational justice.”
“That’s not a thing,” Maggie snapped, folding her hands on the table with a smirk. “Sounds nice, but it’s not a thing.”
Will sketched another moment, adding a sturdy minor line of blue. Then he stopped completely, put the cup on the table, and twisted it toward her.
Beautiful as always, she thought: The place I want to be. But she didn’t have a moment to speak before he went on.
“We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution.”
Maggie’s hands jumped off the table and over her head. “That’s not a statute.”
“No, better. The Preamble is constitutional.”
“In what court?”
Will lifted his arm and pointed toward the ceiling: “The Supremes. It should be a limitation. Which you should embrace, Miss Alligator-Fruit.”
This was a double-dig; Maggie was the outspoken libertarian of the office—gay marriage? Good. Legalizing pot? Sure, fine. But federal income tax, the Commerce Clause, and Obamacare? Living-document bullshit. Alligator fruit was a less common name for avocado—“Reptile shell and a yellow belly,” Will explained the first time he called her it, after she had ended the relationship. He apologized later but not before Maggie scribbled a half-page of FUCK HIMsand denigrations in her journal. After that she began to think the page proved her affection, though, because he had said it with such sadness. So she tore it out, only to then hate her self-editing and glue-stick it back in onto the next page.
“I’m sorry,” he added, looking at her with his syrupy eyes. He moved his look to the starry specks on the table. “That was a bit much. I didn’t mean it like that. I’m sorry.”
She sighed loudly. “It’s okay. I get it. I understand.”I think I love him, Maggie remembered writing. She leaned forward over the table, wrapping both hands around the cup sewn with blue lines, studying the grooves scorched with ink and ignoring the large palmettos. “Do you like dogs?”
“I’ve been thinking about death.” Will stared at the empty side of his cup. “What it would feel like to leap off a building,” he said, his arms leaping out suddenly like a skydiver’s, and he smiled. “The seconds just before and after. Do you believe in Heaven?” His eyes locked with hers. He didn’t blink. She maintained it for another moment, longer than she could bare, and then looked away. “Don’t answer,” he said. “Whether you do or don’t doesn’t matter.”
Maggie swallowed as she felt her heartbeat quicken. “So why ask?”
Will looked again to the cup. “If we don’t get to see each other again—at the end, when it’s over—then it’s all for nothing. It’s all inherently punitive. So, I’ve been thinking about dying, or maybe faking it, and then going somewhere. Just disappearing. No more texts or emails or living in a culture that—or a world, really—that revolves around frivolities, the release of Marvel movies, political melodramas akin to midday soap operas. No more cubicles or clocked hours. I’ve been thinking about what it must be like to live without it. A digital death, I guess.” The small roll of laughter he let out with that was cut short: “I guess I’d have to be dead, though, to really get away.” He finally looked at her and noticed her mouth hanging open, staring. “Yes,” he said, standing up. He lifted the Styrofoam cup from her hands and took it to the water cooler. “I like dogs.”
Maggie maintained the silence for another moment, wondering what she was supposed to say to that, and finally let out an anxious laugh. “I’m glad to hear that because it sounds like you hate people. Like you really hate people.” She knew she said “people,” but she suddenly realized that she had actually meant herself, and an urge to deflect boiled over. “Just go. Just leave. Why would you have to die or fake your death? Delete all your accounts. Get rid of cable. Or do all that and then just go, and take whatever money you have. Why not do that?”
Will rubbed his eye with a whole hand as if some bit of dust had fallen in. “I don’t hate people,” he said with an added emphasis on the last word. “I love people.” He took a small sip and stared into the water. “A lot.” And suddenly Maggie thought the whole conversation was about her.
“Last weekend my ex-girlfriend got married in Northampton.”
Or maybe not, she thought: Maybe it’s about this. And she tried to think if she had ever heard about this girlfriend. “I didn’t know you had an ex.” She paused, wondering if she too now counted as an ex. “Were you two serious?”
Will gave a glum smile. “It doesn’t matter. She’s an ex, and exes are exes.” He pushed his tongue against the wall of his mouth and cleared his throat. “I’m like an O. I need to find an O.” In a second his eyes jumped from a hard stare into hers to the cup again. “Or maybe I need a Z.”
“I think a vacation is what you need,” Maggie said with a teasing unconcern and a shrug. But his eyes didn’t leave the water in the cup. “You know what?” She leaned closer, over her coffee so no attorney passing by could hear. “Let me know when you do it,” she whispered. “Give me a sign. I’ll meet you there.” She pointed to the Styrofoam cup. “In Antigua.”
How funny, she thought now, and she turned up the car stereo. She and Will had hit it off as soon as he started at the firm the summer before, fresh out of New England Law School. They flirted over autumn, at pubs after work on Fridays, and on New Year’s they slept together after heading back to her apartment from a party at Bull Feeney’s—to listen to her records, they had said at the time. She couldn’t let it continue, though. The partners had a hardline rule against intra-office dating—a secretary and a paralegal were fired the year before, after a Christmas party led to a not-so-hidden affair. Still, Maggie let it go on for sixteen weeks, thinking each day at work of telling him that she couldn’t take the risk anymore. But at 3:30, two hours before they got off, a happy excitement ran through her, and she grew scatterbrained and silly until they were alone with each other at 6:00.
It’s so extreme sometimes, she wrote. It’s an impulse or desire (or ache?) to see him and touch him, to kiss him. When I hug him it makes me feel like this is right where I’m supposed to be, like we’ve known each other so long. I get so unfocused and dizzy beforehand that I’m pressing the button for the wrong floor in the elevator and trying to push doors that you have to pull. And I should know I have to pull them because I’ve used them a thousand times. But I still push until I remember again. I love the feeling though because I know it’ll just be us soon with the whole night ahead. How can I end it? I don’t know if the job is worth it. Is it? I think I’m in love. And while the last five words stayed an hour after she put them down, her sudden waking brought along the sharpness of her black-tipped pen, and again she churned the idea into twisted rail lines.
On the bridge, the DJ’s voice began from the car speakers as the song faded out: “It’s the Skipper here with you on this Friday afternoon, and man”––he paused and began again in a tranquil, suave tone: “I hope that wherever you are, the office, at home, in the car, that those windows open. Just a spectacular afternoon we’ve got today. Seventy-three here at Monument Square, and it’s going to be nicer this weekend, folks. You know, sometimes,” he reflected, “I wish we had this year round. Piña coladas every day. Maybe we should all just pack up for, oh, I don’t know, Antigua and Barbuda. Or Bermuda, Bahama. Come on, pretty mama.” He laughed. “Get those bathing suits out of the attic because beach time’s almost here. And don’t worry. I’m not beach-ready either. Imagine an overweight Sasquatch skipping down the coast. Be great for terrifying children, I suppose.”
Maggie felt her hair falling over her face, letting out a laugh, and looked in her rearview mirror to adjust her sunglasses as the DJ went on:
“Anyway, we needed this, didn’t we? We’ve earned it, I think.”
“Hell yeah we did,” Maggie said, still fiddling with her sunglasses and thinking about Will. Her affection wasn’t so hidden, even after she had talked to him about ending it, even after she had ended it. Other women in the office said they’d be a cute couple, furthering her interest. But maybe they just want to see me fired, she wrote in her journal.After all, it was only her fourth year at the firm and she was making better pay than any other paralegal. Who the hell can walk away from 56K?I can’t risk that.
“Yeah we did earn this after that winter,” the DJ said. “Really, what a winter we had. But have no fear, spring is here, kiddos. So we can all breathe a little easier.”
Will’s green Civic again moved forward a few feet before braking hard. Maggie sat staring into the few yards of bridge between their vehicles, suddenly remembering New Year’s, the intensity of it—their shadows pressing on the walls, his face in the glow of outside streetlamps. It had been four months since then, and almost three weeks of nights alone again, of small talk over coffee and lunch, of throwaway cups inked with exotic island palms, ocean, and sea life. She pictured herself there, lying next to him that night, naked under his arm and the thick covers of her bed, as the cheers and yells of drunken revelers continued to bounce up from the thin cobblestone streets well into the morning.
Afterward, maybe a half-hour later, he kissed me on the forehead, she wrote soon after he left on New Year’s Day. He thought I was sleeping and he kissed me on the forehead. I didn’t react. I just pretended to keep sleeping like I didn’t feel it. But I did and I didn’t know what to do except to keep pretending to sleep. It seemed like such an honest moment. It was so sincere. It felt like a moment that meant a lot. I didn’t want to ruin it for him, to open my eyes and say “Thank you! I’m awake!” I’m not sure whether it was that he did it or that I stayed quiet, but something about it scared me.
“How about some lovin’?” the DJ asked, pausing as if waiting for his audience to chime in. “I’ve got something from Mr. Spencer Davis here. And, honestly, I think some lovin’ will get us back into that warm-weather feel. Here we go on Portland’s only classic rock station.”
As the six-note bass line steadied with the drum, and the organ shot in at a holy height, the driver-side door of Will’s car opened.
“Hey!” Maggie joined in with the vocals.
Will stepped out, the same tune blaring from his opened door, with his white button-down still tucked into his dress pants and a loosened knot on his red collegiate tie—his Friday tie, Maggie called it. He smiled at the sun as he walked back to the trunk of his car. When he looked at Maggie, his smile grew. Then he turned and opened the trunk. He reached in and grabbed his orange backpack, which held a water bottle in one netted pocket and a plastic bag always filled with granola or some cereal in the other. It was the same backpack he brought to work every day, the one that had earned him the nickname “College” from the partners. He turned again and looked at Maggie, still smiling as he swung it over his shoulders. He raised his hand with a small wave.
She smiled, laughing. “What the hell is he doing?” she thought aloud, taking her hand off the steering wheel to wave back. Then she raised her shoulders and hands, mouthing, “What the fuck?”
He dropped his arm and wrapped both his hands around the straps of the backpack. He nodded, still smiling wide, as though thinking about something ironic or memorable or sentimental. Then he said something to her, something like “See ya later,” only it wasn’t “later.”
The two lines of cars were both moving again, but Will’s car sat driverless in the right lane, his door still hanging open. Cars behind Maggie began honking and she looked back in her rearview mirror. A guy with his hand pressed against the horn finally let go, leaned his head out the window, and barked, “Get back in your car, asshole!”
Maggie looked ahead at Will. He reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a pair of ten-dollar plastic red Ray-Bans, turning and looking out at the bay as he slid them on and took a few steps back toward the left lane. Then, still smiling, he dashed forward. In two swift bounces he leaped up to the top of the side rail, then high and off into the blue sky—his arms outstretched as a skydiver’s, embracing the rush of air pressing against his face and through his opened fingers, and he disappeared beneath the cement siding.
“Holy shit.” Maggie jumped out and ran around her car to the side of the bridge. Others did the same, and a large crowd formed around the back of the green sedan, still blasting the Spencer Davis Group: “And I’m so glad you made it, so glad you made it.”
She stood with her hands flat against the steel guardrail, staring down into the dark bay water eighty feet below. She watched the ripples swell out in all directions as the buoyant chorus carried on for another moment; then the song moved back into the bass line.
He made it, she wrote in her journal one night late in May, just over two weeks after Will was gone. She listened to the Spencer Davis song over and over, trying to deflect her nervousness and fear with a three-minute dose of 1960s pop, but it began to haunt her. Rescue divers found his shoes out in the deep of Casco Bay, and a few days later his shirt and tie were pulled up on a lobster trap near Cape Elizabeth. But they didn’t find his body or his sunglasses, or his orange backpack. And, she heard from the rumor mill at the office, his bank account had been emptied the day before. He definitely made it.
The obituary in the Press Herald was pathetic, she thought. The only information it provided was his name, age, alma mater, hometown, and the name of the firm—as if the writer grabbed what he could from Will’s Facebook profile and said, “Okay, it’s all we need.” It read, . . . died tragically in what authorities believe was an extreme practical joke during afternoon traffic on the Casco Bay Bridge.
They’re full of shit, Maggie carved into her journal. If they only knew the truth. If they think it was a joke, a prank gone wrong, they’re a bunch of fucking idiots. The police had questioned the entire firm about their relationships with Will, especially Maggie, being that she was directly behind him in traffic that day. She didn’t mention anything about their relationship, fearing it would inevitably get back to the partners and she’d then be subject to some ex post facto firing, or maybe something worse.
“We were close,” she told the sheriff’s officer who interviewed her. “He was a really good friend.” But she told him about his family, about the cousins and aunts and uncles that called him—at work, she said, and at the bar on Fridays—and made him split his inheritance. A day later, when the sheriff’s officers were through interviewing but still holed up in the break room, she overheard the sum: “The account had five thousand.”
$5,000 is more than enough, she wrote that night, for him to get there and set himself up. It’s enough to rent a small place and remake himself. He took it and left. She left the journal alone for an hour, lay in bed, and then returned to it. When she did, she skipped half a page and wrote, He took it so they wouldn’t get it. She put down her pen and traced the letters with her finger. At the period, she tapped the page and then closed the book slowly, beginning to cry.
She blamed his family, the cousins and aunts and uncles that played him out of the rest of his inheritance. If only she’d said something, she thought, and she reimagined his quiet phone calls:
“I can’t anymore,” Will said into his phone, his shirtless body turned toward the corner of her bedroom. Maggie stared at the silhouetted turtle tattoo on his shoulder—the one he said he got to remember the night he and his father scooped up misdirected hatchlings heading toward the neon lights of St. John’s. He put an arm out and touched the doorframe to keep his balance as he slipped on a sock.
The air inside was cold. It might’ve been March or the end of February.
She pulled her comforter over her chest and stared up from her bed at the last bit of blue daylight that stretched like a plank of wood across the ceiling.
“Okay,” Will said. “I’ll see if I can, but that account was supposed to be for me. We agreed.” A muffled shout came through the speaker and he dropped his foot to the floor. “No, it’s not.” He glanced back at Maggie and mouthed, “I’m sorry,” but quickly turned his body toward the corner again. “I’ll call you back tomorrow after I check. Bye.” He slid his phone down into the back pocket of his pants and looked to the window.
Maggie sat up in bed and let the comforter fall below her breasts. “You okay?” she asked. She patted the empty spot in bed next to her. “Come here.”
The distance in his eyes left as he moved in; he put his head in her lap.
“Fuck them,” she said. “Keep the money you have left. I’ll sell all my things. We’ll move to Antigua.”
His eyes got large and the corner of his mouth turned up. “I love you,” he said.
By summer Maggie’s blame turned to guilt: I let him die. I watched him die. Then the loss grew to be her own as she remembered soft moments between them: He held my hand at the movies. He gave me kisses while I slept. Do I hate myself so much that I would let him go? These thoughts filled page after page of her journal until she stopped writing entirely. She pushed the composition book into the back of her dresser drawer in July, deciding she didn’t want to look at it again, that she didn’t want to think about Will and what-if’s.
On an afternoon at the end of August, Maggie sat at her office computer, staring at the language of another lawsuit against Burmen Pharmaceuticals. Behind the onscreen document was a webpage she brought up every few days—days when the weight mounted and she missed Will the most. She had emailed the site to herself after she quit writing in her journal at night, and on the days she felt her life slipping into clocked hours she looked over the page, the updated flight listings to Antigua—dates, times, prices. She stared at them, sometimes for entire afternoons, until everyone else in the office had left and she could cry to herself in the empty break room. The way his lips moved when he looked at her that day, right before he jumped, made her know he said something like, “See you there.” And she desperately hung onto the thought.
When she knew no one else was around her desk, she clicked over to Will’s Facebook page. See you in Waladli, she wrote in a message. But his profile hadn’t changed. It was filled with the RIP’sand I miss you’s of people he never mentioned, complete strangers to her, and probably to him, she thought. Then she moved to the break room for a cup of coffee—something, anything, to wake her from the bout. When she returned she sat the cup down on her desk, scanning its blankness. She moved her mouse over the purchase button for a flight: Continental, one-way, transfer in Atlanta, leaves from PDX tomorrow morning. She stared hard at it, imagining Will lying under palm trees and coloring in the inked sketches of his Styrofoam cups, bringing them to life. There were so many cups she wished she had saved from the landfills that would never preserve his existence. They didn’t belong there; they belonged on millionaires’ shelves, in their viewing cabinets, or in museums. Somewhere safe, somewhere they can be forever. For as long as Styrofoam lasts.
She imagined seeing him. She imagined those first few seconds when she would find him, walking up to him on some sunny, boundless beach next to waves that rippled with magic. Kissing him, hugging him, confessing that she loves him, that she always had.
She stared at the screen for a minute longer, still imagining the moment. Then she pictured herself without her job, without her downtown apartment. Without her parents two hours south in Waltham. She cried. And as she did, she set the cursor on the X in the corner of the screen. She squinted again through tears at her blank Styrofoam cup, then shut her eyes hard and clicked it.
Louis Di Leo teaches fiction, creative nonfiction, and rhetoric at Florida Southern College. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast MFA program and the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He also holds a JD from Florida Coastal School of Law. His work has appeared in The Caribbean Writer and Welter, and has received a notable listing in Best American Essays 2015.