“Satisfaction” and “Optimism” by Shane Kowalski






Someday I’ll purchase an interesting and cheap portion of land and probably live on it alone, I thought.

I can’t say it’ll satisfy me because, pff, satisfaction is not in my future.

He and she, old school pals I was visiting with, were musing on certain topics of the future across the table. They were boring me, which is why I was thinking of satisfaction in the first place. I had agreed to meet them and their new baby, a girl, after a long absence of not seeing them. The baby was annoying me being so cute, and when the two of them across the table were busy with their food or looking the other way or lovingly at each other, I made faces at her.

I like to think the little baby will remember me, out of the blue, as some bleak vision in her tired adulthood. She might be at a table like me, satisfied or not. She will begin to see my face form out of nothing, like the echoed shapes water takes on after being hit with a stone.

Ah, I like thinking of myself as a stone in someone else’s water!

Ha ha!

And she’ll think as she keeps remembering me as some disembodied phantom face: who is that face I keep seeing? I’ve seen that face before! What an ugly face! So gross! It looks just like me!



I’ve been looking for that new feeling.

Where do you get your new feeling?

I’ve heard stories of people getting it from love. And others from sex. And others from the Bible. And others from TV. And others from food. And others from money. And others from cars. And others from Christmas.

Some, I’ve heard, even get it from Beyonce.

I’ve been looking everywhere for that new feeling, in all those places new feelings might be or come from. I feel like I’ve been doing it for years and years. One year I felt like maybe I got it—that new feeling! But no, it was just appendicitis.

So I go on living without that new feeling. And probably always will. This story is not to make you feel sorry for me or analyze me. I’m just telling you how I haven’t gotten that new feeling yet. That’s all.

I hope it comes.

Until then, I’ll just get some good healthy sleep.


Shane Kowalski lives in Ithaca, NY.