Justin Skolnick lives and works in Portland.

School counselor.

Originally posted to blockquote.org on in Chicago, Illinois

Her office radiator clangs. She leans to gape at me through Coke bottle lenses. Her alto is a rattle and her teeth are all wrong. “I’m afraid I’ll always be alone,” I say. I am nineteen. “Maybe you’re supposed to be alone,” she erupts with a grin. Some then-undiscovered part of me recoils. She pulls two weeks of Paxil from a drawer and eyes my guitar case — she knows my instructor. “Tell him I said hello.” He is wincing, fifteen minutes later, and then he looks at me, and casts a kindly smile. Then he says we should tune up.

Back inside my dorm I turn the Paxil over in my hands. In an instant the box becomes a portal to the future. It’s the kind of future that I can make a definite choice about, right then and there. Post-its slide to make the box a place inside my desk, in case I change my mind. I don’t.