As far back as I can remember my mind has been a playground for wild vines that wrap around themselves in a fight for slivers of sunlight. Some produce fragrant flowers. Some are outfitted with thick thorns that draw thick blood. I suppose all of them have some purpose, but as the keeper of these thoughts, I have always had a tough time deciding which are most useful, and which to prune. So they grow and tighten and somehow manage themselves within the confines of my little mind.

Only now, it’s getting trickier. Like a hard drive filled with images. Except that you can’t replace the old hard drive with a new one. And besides images, the data is mostly random. Things like song lyrics, baseball statistics, and conversations from when I was six. Some of these things are more important than others. Like the moment I laid eyes on my wife and felt a bolt of lightning strike my heart. Or watching our daughters slide from her womb into the world. These are welcome to stay. They’re useful in my attempt to be a good human on this planet. But then there are things like the time in sixth grade when the girl I had a crush on was holding my feet still during the sit-up portion of the Presidential Physical Fitness test, and in an attempt to prove my God-like abdominal strength, I ripped a fart right on her. Why does that have to stay? And why does it have to be so vivid?

I realize that every breath I take is death to another memory. I just wish I could manage them a little better. My new thoughts are darker today than they’ve ever been. I blame the vines. They have a way of choking the life out of imagination.



Jim Mitchem

The Bad Day.
Confessions of a Recovering Homophobe

Jim Mitchem

Writer. Father to daughters. Husband. Ad man. Raised by wolves. @jmitchem on twitter. First novel, Minor King, out now.

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