contributors drew alderfer cover
james sanders p4-5
jacob sanders p6-8
adria mercuri p9
dave losso p10-12 john zylstra p13 2
Issue FIRST LOVE “When you fish for love, bait with your heart, not your brain.” -Mark Twain WELL, FIRST LOVE. It’s one of those subjects, similar to dreams, that is just so personal. It’s the kind of subject where you can really start to understand the core of a person. It’s a major turning point, the first hurdle for most. A fork in the road for some, either way it’s unavoidable and unpredictable. The first experience of love grows inside a person, and it is likely to take control of the wheel. Plus it lasts FOREVER... I encouraged the contributors to explore the boundaries of a theme that could very well be trite. To my advantage, I had certain people in mind for his issue, and they were obliging. I’m very proud of the lineup of contributors for this issue, and I can honestly say that everyone was very passionate about the subject, including myself. Thanks so much to them, and you. Enjoy. Jacob Sanders
WHEN PEOPLE DESCRIBE the sensation of discovering their first love, I am reminded of a feeling I originally experienced at the age of six. Before there were vintage band t-shirts at department stores and everyone and their infant grandchild wore them, I was a kid who was turned on to The Beatles. I received a greatest hits cassette on the Christmas of my sixth year, and though I had heard them many times before, I feel that morning was a genuine experience of first love. I remember the unwrapping end and the cleaning begin. As my cousins began rolling toy trucks across the floor and assembling complicated structures for the sake of momentary amusement, I walked off into the side room by myself and put the headphones to my ears. Having the exhilarating sounds of the Fab Four explode into my impressionable mind changed me and my perspective forever. As I said this was all before the mainstream came back around to The Beatles, so this experience was seldom shared with my peers. In fact, the older I grew there were more kids my age who thought it was funny or strange that I listened to music from an era before my own. Eventually, the memory of that moment became eclipsed by the preferences of my
became eclipsed by the preferences of my football-playing, professional wrestling-fan friends, and it was as though I had forgotten myself. Going into my freshman year of high school, priorities in life had changed drastically. I found myself having more conversations with friends about what certain girls might be doing rather than the more immature arguments of only a year before. This wouldn’t have been such a difficult experience for me if it weren’t for my irrational anxiety around females. Wouldn’t you know, it was just my luck that a few girls had taken an interest in me that year. There were days when the group of boys I was included in and their group of girls hung out for aimless walks. I was awful at making conversation with any of them. A particularly bad instance occurred when I was explaining how to throw a shot put to one of them and nearly brained the young girl 10 ft. ahead of me. For a while there, I didn’t think I would ever be able to successfully communicate at all. Then one day while being one of the three lingering members of our bunch, that conclu-
sion changed. On yet another aimless walk of ours, I began to sing “The Fool On The Hill” vacantly to myself. “But nobody ever hears him, or the sound he appears to make, and he never seems to notice...” And just then startling me out of my little world, the young lady who had apparently taken an interest in me asked, “What song is that?” Looking back, I know I must’ve been a bit taken back but reacted enthusiastically. For the first time, someone expressed an interest in something so dear to me. She even listened to my long-winded response with actual attentiveness. Then, she shared with me music that she loved. Music she too felt like she couldn’t share with others. That night we exchanged emails and recommendations. This was the beginning of a lifelong mutual admiration based on musical inclination. Only two weeks later, we became high school sweethearts, and you had better believe I became smitten. I remember one particularly sensational night
of talking on the phone with her for hours. During the call, I had been skittishly sorting through old boxes when I came upon all of my old Beatle tapes from when I was only in elementary school. I’ll never forget that moment because, after years of tuning out my original treasure, it was as if I had discovered The Beatles all over again. Now, I look fondly on those young naive days with my first serious girlfriend, but of course as all things do, our romantic love ended. There were days of emotional torment between the two of us and regret over lost time with many loved ones in my life. However, I choose to recollect on the positive moments we shared. And even now when I begin to wonder if I will ever again find another person to share this deeper connection, all I have to do is listen John, Paul, George, and Ringo to know that love exists within me. “Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time, It’s easy, All you need is love...”
DOG by JACOB SANDERS SO I WAS POSSIBLY a sociopath as a child. Maybe not, maybe I was just skeptical of who to trust. I distrusted everyone. To me, everyone around had their motives and
intentions. Â Even when I was being cared for and tended to lovingly, it seemed suspicious. Iâ€™m not sure why it was this way. Maybe I was just a dumb shit little brat. But when I was 11, my mother found a puppy that had been abandoned near the school
Jacob Sanders where she worked. Its an exciting experiunconditional love beaming from this char ence for There are twoperson. types of A people—antelopes and lions;ismatic, you’re fahazel-furred miliar with how this thing. works. The a young moment that has little It’s antehard to lope avoids any dude humming the Macarena. In our present era, you’re only allowed to write songs about been beaten to a paste by TV commercials pinpoint the moment that I connected with dancing are hip hop in genre (e.g. “Teach Me How to Dougie”). The lion punches the throat of any dude who and sitcoms, the “new puppy experience”. her. Just over time I guess even the most Just a new toy, basically, for my brother and cynical, self obsessed little boy will let his me. But as time went on, I experienced the guard down. It was at that time I learned
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that animals have their own personalities, and are extremely loyal and affectionate. We would sometimes play around, sometimes go on walks, but it’s the everyday interactions that are most satisfying. Just having a companion who is willing to sit around all day with you. To live out the dull moments throughout each passing day. Time goes by without notice. The energetic and curious pup turned into the lazy old house dog before our eyes. And like a flower throughout the season, she lived lovingly and then one day she was lying, cold and dead. She’d lived the full cycle. This was life and death, something that was only abstract and distant before. It’s unbearably saddening when i wonder how the last moment felt for her. The last breath she took when she laid on the floor. The last thought. Life had crackled and burned through her in that Indiana house, and now the fire of life would terminate there. It seems selfish to simply chalk this up to a lesson in life. But until I came into contact with a joyful dog, I hadn’t understood love. And it’s most urgent because all life is fleeting. As time goes by, I start to see that same essence in all things.
7 Adria Mercuri
SHE WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL a 5 year old had ever seen. 1992. I sometimes say--well I don’t say--but I think that I was born a hopeless romantic. If I wasn’t born it then I certainly know how I became it.
The late 80s/early 90s was a hotbed of lustful garbage on television. America had finally gotten comfortable with two people sleeping in the same bed on TV and now guys in puffy shirts and Zubaz are having “quickies” with their secretaries. Yeah, I learned what a “quickie” was before I learned how sex worked. THANKS 90210.
Brandon Walsh’s smooth moves and also experiencing Danielle Steele TV adaptations. Again, why am I being exposed to Irish counts having affairs with noble women? Because that shit was beautiful. And I loved the idea and every bit of it. Her name was Kim. I’m calling her Kim because her name was Kim. I know you’re supposed to change people’s names when you’re writing non-fiction but this was an important moment in my life and to not call her by her real name would be stupid. I declared her my girlfriend the moment I saw her. Yes, even in kindergarten I had the confidence of a Saudi shah. If you read the title you’ll have guessed by now that she’s the fire chief’s granddaughter. She was. Now, you’d think that would make her family some illustrious fire department legacy but I don’t think that was the case. And this isn’t some Romeo & Juliet type story. Her family probably still does not know I exist as a human and would definitely not be keeping us apart. Especially since the extent of our relationship was maybe she smiled at me once and then I started planning our wedding. I picked this title
because I wanted it to sound like a Michael Chabon novel, ok? I looked up Kim on Facebook before I started writing this. She lives in New York now. I wish I could say I knew she’d always end up there like Felicity or some shit but I have no idea. I can barely remember what she looked like back then. I just remember nice black hair. That could be anyone. I can’t remember if the valentine I gave her was handmade or a very special pick from my box of perforated, cardstock probably-NFLmascots-or-dinosaurs-skateboarding-themed valentines from Jewel. I don’t remember what it said. I don’t remember if I went poetic or just filled in the “To” and “From” and let the fates decide. All I remember is Brittany (also her real name because it’s important I remember my first ever encounter with a bitchy friend) telling me the next day that Kim ripped it up and threw it in the garbage. Was I hurt? Of course I was hurt. I was a little person with the emotional capacity of a five year old and the romantic ambitions of a guy who wears silk pajamas. That was soul crushing. At the time I mean literally soul crushing because we
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continued from page 11 went to a Catholic grade school and I believed in shit like that. That was my first taste of the inevitable. I would know that feeling over and over again but in different ways. I will say, to my knowledge, that’s the only time someone’s ripped my valentine up. I dunno if that outweighs the upgrades to cheating on me or calling off a wedding but it never stopped me from spending the next 20-ish years looking for one that wouldn’t rip up something I worked hard on. I found one of those. I met her the same night I did one of the stupidest things I’ve ever done* and she still said “Why the hell not? At least he’s not a dogface.” ** I gave her a valentine a couple weeks after meeting her. It’s hanging in the office of our apartment. I made it by hand. It says: You go hard in the paint. xoxo I’m an idiot. * Dancing with a bar stool to “Devil With A Blue Dress” by Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheels ** I paraphrased that.
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