the seemingly never ending story

I am nervous about going to Pride this Saturday. But am I not supposed to go because I’m a little scared? That’s silly. I’m nervous about even going to the movies, to be honest. I remember a few weeks after the shooting, I went to see a matinee of Finding Dory with my mom. A man walked in a few minutes late and immediately my brain went to: Where are the nearest exits? What can I make into a weapon? How fast can I crawl?  

I am nervous because when I moved to California and went to a doctor to get my medical marijuana card, he saw that I’d written PTSD on my application and asked, “Are you a veteran?” I told him I just moved here from Orlando, where 49 queer Latinx people were killed at my home nightclub. He shrugged. Not a veteran. I told him I also had carpel tunnel from writing, fully a lie. He nodded in approval. 

I am nervous because when I told someone else I felt like I had PTSD, she asked, “Were you even there?” She backpedaled after that, said something like, “Not that it matters.” But like, it was too late. She said it. 

I am nervous because when another woman asked about the heartbeat tattoo on my wrist and I answered honestly, she turned and theatrically whispered, “Yikes. You never know what people are going to say.” That’s when I knew to start lying and telling people that it’s just a check-mark. I got it in college when I was drunk. Haha. 

A weird thing I wrote about my tattoo that I don’t plan on using for anything:

Back in the sleepy town of Riverside, California, weeks go by between mentions of Pulse. Discussions of news fatigue crowd already packed Facebook feeds. How can we balance remembering Pulse and still find time to follow seemingly never-ending stories of government corruption, civil rights violations against indigenous people in Dakota, Russian intervention in the presidential election, African American men, women, and children murdered by an increasingly militarized police force, the defunding of Planned Parenthood, novel voter suppression tactics, violence against transgender men and women who dare to use public restrooms, and so on? How can we remember the past, when every day the future feels more obscure and volatile than ever?

I have not seen a single Pulse t-shirt in Riverside. There are no murals with rainbows or doves representing the 49 victims, no #OrlandoStrong bumper stickers. When I moved across the country, I imagined it would be a relief to not be constantly reminded of the shooting, but I did not imagine that talk of it would completely die.

At a Middle Eastern restaurant, a waitress recently pointed out the heartbeat tattoo on my wrist. “Does it mean anything?” she asked, making pleasant small-talk. She had a tattoo of a square on her index finger and she was interested in knowing if mine hurt.

I thought about telling her. It’s a heartbeat. A pulse. I got it in the days after the shooting so that I wouldn’t go a day without remembering.

She looked like she may have been in her 20s, tired but strong enough to do this for a few more hours. The restaurant was congested. A belly dancer was shaking her hips between the tables, and a father at a nearby table egged his toddler daughter to go dance with her.

The waitress waited for my answer, her pen on her pad like a therapist. I could have, like so many other times when I decided to be honest about the tattoo, ruined her night, or at least made her momentarily uncomfortable. But there is a fine line between remembering tragedy on your own terms and springing it on an unsuspecting stranger.

“It’s just a squiggly line,” I told her, shrugging my shoulders.

Riverside may not remember Pulse, but it has plenty of scars of its own to confront.

My first week in the city, scoping out my new school, I found myself passing through a tunnel that leads to campus. Painted on its walls is a mural. There are black scientists, brown bodies frozen in yoga poses, indigenous and white children playing with baskets. I stared blankly at a life-size depiction of an Asian man in a laboratory coat holding a glass vial, wondering who he was and what he did to warrant being remembered. The mural had long ago been neglected. When I stepped closer, I could see cracks in the paint near his face like wrinkles. 

In Orlando: The 49 doves painted on the wall of an Einstein Bagels, the hands spelling out the word love in sign language on a pizza shop downtown, the rainbow section at the Orlando City Soccer stadium. Long after we remember Pulse, is that all that will be left of us, too? Those who lived will remember the dead, and when we die and there is no one to look after our murals, then, at last, will we be done with this mess of remembering and finally free?

“What about your square?” I asked.

The waitress finished jotting something down on her pad, then looked up at me and smiled.

“Oh, it’s just a square,” she said. “It doesn’t mean anything either.”

The belly dancer spun the little girl in circles. Mimicking the older woman, she pressed her small hands on her hips and shook them from side to side while her father gave her a thumbs up. The song ended and they both took a bow. For a moment, the restaurant erupted into applause, the belly dancer blushing in the limelight. She walked the little girl to her family and deposited her into her father’s arms. I looked back down at my tattoo, the ink already fading in places where my friend didn’t stick the needle deep enough. One-by-one, the clapping dropped away and we all turned our attention back to our tables.

I am nervous because I have probably one of the strangest essays I’ve ever written coming out on the anniversary. An essay I worked on at the graduate school that I get to go to because I didn’t end up going to the bar that night. An essay that marks the first piece of writing I’m getting a real check from (not $13 for an interview, not $20 for a book review). I’m nervous because I feel guilty succeeding but also have an immense pressure to. Even as a queer, brown, Latinx person from Orlando, I sometimes ask myself, “Who are you to tell this story?” 

I’m nervous because I don’t want to have to keep talking about it, but who else is going to keep that place alive? 

I don’t have a lot of pictures from Pulse, but these two are my favorite:

When I was 18. This was probably my first or second time there. I had to sneak out of my bedroom window to get into my friend Jose’s car because, duh, my mom wouldn’t have let me go. Jose was a drag queen–and in retrospect, kind of a bad one. He had one dress and used his real eyebrows. But he got me in for free. I was obsessed with Myspace fame at the time, and because I wanted to look like the kind of person who went to bars, I had him stop in the middle of the dance floor and take pictures of me looking cool and distant, too busy to look into the lens or reflect on my own eyebrow journey. 

A few years later, I finally found the lens. But by then I had already lost my dang mind. 

Our mysterious picture from Moho House just got released and let’s take a closer look upon this candid scene and try to gather exactly what is going on here.

For all of us, the man above is a new character being introduced to the series, Nigel. He is played by Michael York, who has been a reoccurring famous voice actor to the show- you might know him best as the veterinarian Dr. Budgie who appeared as both in episodes Lisa the Veterinarian and Pork and Burns. Because of York’s occasional appearance, we won’t have any idea whether or not Nigel will be a one shot or reoccurring, but it is a good detail to keep in mind.

Nigel is explained by the synopsis that he and Mr. Burns wager whether or not he can break up the Simpsons. Yes, this sounds like bottom of the barrel plot scraping considering for Burns’ deviousness, marital affairs is something he never fools around with given his sacrosanct values despite his misanthropy. It seemed the writer shoved that detail to the side unless Nigel INSISTS upon it. Speaking of Nigel, from the synopsis, we can presume he is probably a friend or acquaintance of Burns because of how Monty is willing to toss something valuable at a bet, and Burns hasn’t been known to do that except only with friends and friendly rivals such as Aristotle Amadopolis and Rich Texan (who he shared more animosity with in The Seemingly Never Ending Story.)

As seen above in the picture, we see Nigel plant a kiss on Smithers, if not nearly throwing himself on Monty’s lackey. Now what can we gather from this snapshot? Well for one, Smithers’ body language. He is tossed into this situation, surprised obviously from his arcing eyebrows, similar to when Moe kissed him all of a sudden in Flaming Moe. However, Smithers is also leaning away which seems to indicate that it was also a violation of his personal space and unwanted. His bewilderment however seems to take the reigns, and whatever follows will certainly be towards Nigel.

That brings up another speculation - why is Nigel kissing him?

I can only think of a few things; this scene happens at the end of the episode where Nigel loses that bet with charisma and attractiveness on breaking up the Simpsons and decides to kiss Smithers to inflate his ego in desperation to see if he still has it.

This scene happens in the beginning when we are introduced to him and Monty and find out that Nigel is a gambler, a betting whore who would do anything for the thrill of the chase and financial payout (see what may be in his hand, it looks like pearls or some jewelry,) and he does it because Monty bets him (and maybe its a contest on who can kiss Smithers better?)

Another yet simple and innocuous point, those might be breath mints in his hand and Nigel is making an introduction as a famous Don Juan and Burns dares to test his ego.

Or scenario four: Nigel is a raging bisexual or gay and we are introduced to this detail only through him kissing Smithers (maybe as a bet,) which leaves the possibility that he might hit on Homer instead of Marge to fulfil this bet. Considering that there is another promo pic of Nigel seated next to Homer fresh from work or a work party and drinking at Moe’s Tavern (because under the coat we can see his work tie) this could very well be a possibility.

Whatever the case, there is another detail about this picture is how oddly framed it is for a promo pic, likely because it appears to obstruct something behind Smithers? The way the picture is cut, I wouldn’t be surprised if there is something going on that gives more detail to this scene, probably Mr. Burns standing near Smithers. Time can only tell whether or not this hypothesis is correct.

For now we can only wait for Smithers to be kissed by one ancient, suave billionaire this season.

Love is Blind

Character: Dean

Reader Gender: Female

Request: “Hey there! Saw that your requests are open. Love your writing. <3 Could you do a DeanxReader one shot where the reader gets temporarily blind because of an explosion or something like that and Sam and Dean have to take care of her. Maybe she could be a really stubborn and has a bigh crush for Dean. Thanks!”

Warnings: Swearing, Feelings of panic, basically if you don’t like seeing people get hurt or blinded, this may not be for you

Word Count: 1735

Summary: After the reader stays behind too long when a house is set ablaze, they end up losing their vision and have to be put on constant bed rest, much to their dismay. 

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