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The Last Few Years...

By Aaron Burch

I turned 40 and got a promotion and went to a lot of movies and watched a lot of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and the state where I live legalized recreational marijuana then I turned 41 and went to the Kentucky Derby with my wife and to Fort Lauderdale with my wife and then I bought a new car and drove across the country by myself, east to west, and spent the summer with my childhood best friends, then, at the end of the summer, drove across the country by myself again, back the other way, west to east, and then I got divorced and moved into an apartment, taking with me mostly only the essentials and what was most obviously mine instead of ours but also the big comfy couch that we had gotten from our neighbors when they moved away and didn’t want to take it with them, and I didn’t get internet because I wanted to spend all my time just reading and writing, and I read a lot and drank a lot and listened to a lot of records and went on a bunch of dates and had a bunch of sex and the city where I live opened its first dispensaries and then I turned 42 and then COVID shut down almost the whole entire world and so I finally got internet in my apartment and started watching more TV shows and movies at home and I read less and listened to fewer records and drank even more—probably too much, but also very possibly the just right amount; who can say, the world seemed to be ending—and then the government sent everyone stimulus checks and so I used mine and bought the biggest TV I could find that cost the amount of money the government had given me and I started watching even more TV shows and movies at home, but never another episode of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, and I went to my local dispensary’s website and ordered some edibles and then I drove down the road and parked in their parking lot and sent them a text that I was there and a guy brought me my edibles via curbside service because people were no longer allowed in most non-essential stores and some nights I’d eat one and relax into my big comfy couch and watch a movie, and as someone who smoked pot a handful of times over the years, here and there, but never really that much, but who has enjoyed a large amount of art about drugs, I found myself wanting to feel some version of my mind expanding to new realities and to see new truths heretofore invisible to my sober eyes and to feel and see and understand the beauties and possibilities of life—both my life but also just life, in general—and also the interconnectedness of everything and everyone, but mostly I would just end up falling asleep on that big comfy couch and then waking up in the middle of the night and turning off the TV and sometimes moving to my bed and other times just sleeping the rest of the night right there on that couch which, to be honest, sometimes actually feels like, if not exactly, at least a version of that sought-after mind-expanding new reality and previously invisible truth and beauty of the world around me, the very infinite possibilities of life that I’d been looking for.

In addition to all of the above, in the last few years, Aaron Burch sold his first novel, Year of the Buffalo, which is forthcoming in November 2022 and is available for preorder now, and also a collection of short-short CNF, A Kind of In-Between, which will include this piece and is forthcoming from Autofocus Books in 2023, and also he started painting, which he often does from a table set up behind his big comfy couch, such that he can watch TV while doing so, and Cheers has become his go-to favorite joyful watch.


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