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Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

While sitting for an interview, President Barack Obama, a comic book aficionado, was asked to name his favorite superhero. He responded to the question with a reference to Spiderman and…Conan the Barbarian.

Really? I thought. Conan the Barbarian? Well, to each his own I guess.

I wished that I was the one who’d asked him that question. After he’d have put forth his choices I would have asked, “Do you think you are a superhero?”

Because that what he was for me and millions of other citizens of the world, a real life superhero. Outsized expectations had been placed upon…


I used voices to gain control and then I lost control

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Photo by Ronnie Overgoor on Unsplash

When I was in my second year of junior high school I would tip my desk chair until I felt the rail touch the wall, rock back and forth, and then reset the desk chair onto the classroom floor. I would do this in full view of my educators, who never offered to discipline me for this action, so I kept on tipping my chair back until the front two legs were suspended a few feet into the air.

One afternoon in social studies class, while rocking my chair back and forth, I finally lost my balance. My arms and…


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Photo by United Nations COVID-19 Response on Unsplash

It was the middle of October when Emily called, a young, besotted woman intent on venturing outside the country.

“I need an expedited coronavirus result,” she said. “My boyfriend is waiting for me in Peru. He is a really great guy and I haven’t seen him in such a long time.”

My immediate thought: That’s not fair.

Epidemiologists and other health experts had issued warnings against extensive and unnecessary travel for fear of spreading the coronavirus. I’ve heeded the advice of the experts, constricted my travel to encompass driving to my job, exercising at the neighborhood park, and shopping at…


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Three months before I was to enroll at Boston University, my father secured a second job driving customers through the Denver International Airport in wheelchairs. “It’s only temporary,” he said one evening during dinner.

Guilt surged through me, as I assumed that he was working the second job to pay for my college education. Grants and loans paid for the majority of my tuition and boarding, but there were still two thousand dollars that would have to be accounted for by my family.

“How long is temporary?” I asked.

“I’m thinking just the summer, but I don’t know,” my father…


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Photo by Tusik Only on Unsplash

Ring. Ring. Ring.

No one is answering.

Ring. Ring. Ring.

It suddenly pauses, leaving me eager for some kind of reply. I hope to hear a voice on the other end of the phone line.

The next few seconds pass without a response from a human being or automated answering service. There is no boring elevator music to tide me through, no beeping or thrumming sound to give me confidence that I will eventually be connected to the first line of entry. It’s just silence. Dead. Freaking. Air.


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A year after my father passed away from cancer my mother started to muse aloud about marriage and progeny. Not for herself though, for she was focused on finding a suitable woman for me, her beloved and only son.

Momma doesn’t want me to be left alone after she has passed on from this world — the prospect of her son being a single man after her death contributes to her sleepless nights. “My children are taking care of me and I am so grateful for the help,” she said one afternoon. “ I am retired and with no husband…


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Photo by Ann on Unsplash

Bearded, bespectacled, and long haired George leaned back into his chair and said, “This Covid-19 virus is the worst kind of a cock blocker.”

My eyes grew wide. For George had uttered the word “cock blocker” in a hospital workspace containing more than eighteen-hundred employees, seventy-three percent of which are women.

I threw my head back: “Ha. Ha.”

The blue hospital mask redirected my breaths toward my eyes and forehead. I inhaled. My breath smelled of partially digested mix strawberries, orange juice, and oatmeal. Wow, I thought. Is this really how my breath smells when others are within distance? Large…


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Photo by KOBU Agency on Unsplash

November, 2012

That biopsy needled must have been at least foot long, as well as metallic, sharp, and all around frightening. To witness the thing made an already crisply chilly hospital room even colder. I looked over to the hospital bed where my dad rested, his back exposed to the world. Then I turned my attention to the nurse who was preparing to plunge the needle. I closed my eyes before the needle was to pierce the skin, and waited. I heard my dad gasp, a signal that the needle had been plunged into his tissue. …


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Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

October, 2012

Dad was reclining in his favorite blue chair, staring at the flat screen television, absorbing the national news of the day. He was seventy years old then, balding and paunchy, and in his ninth year of retirement from the airline company.

Dad had suffered some serious health scares recently. It was one crisis after another, and then another one after that. The most recent scare took place a month prior, requiring that he spend an entire night in the hospital. Age was catching up to him despite all that he’d done to preserve himself — he’d lived a…


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Photo by Jaroslav Devia on Unsplash

It had been spelled out to me in a lucid dream. P-O-R-T-L-A-N-D. Portland. The morning after I’d surmised that the dream was referring to Portland, Oregon, one of the crown jewel cities of the great northwest section of these United States. An abiding belief in the presence of the omnipresent God and mental illness spurred me toward a fateful choice: I was going to chase my dream.

So I boarded an Amtrak train bound for Portland.

I disembarked from the train in Portland, Oregon, without a solid plan, a deliberate choice as I didn’t want any of my enemies —…

Eze Ihenetu

I am a teacher, essay writer, survivor, foodie, and politically obsessed progressive. ep2ihenetu@gmail.com

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