“The World” by Joshua Willey is a good story.

It’s wonderful. The voice simmers into the voice in my head and then guides me through postcards and photos and people and songs and colors, makes me not care where I am but rather wonder why I feel like I’m just arriving home. Then it punches me in the face. It takes me in and into the moment. Particularly a scene with a woman on the phone with friends in Hanoi and Ouaxaca. Willy writes,

Cassidy sat at the computer, a tinkle of music flowing from the elegant little speakers, a Brooklyn station, a show called “Somnolentone: Music to Fall Asleep To.” But Cassidy was not asleep. She was chatting with distant friends. One in Hanoi.

“I wish I was walking around the lake with you right now, smoking a black and mild.” Another in Oaxaca.

“I wish I was sitting in the Zócalo with you right now, drinking coffee a little too sweet and chatting with the balloon peddlers.”

But she didn’t really want to be anywhere but right here, because being here she was simultaneously there, and there. She was pulling Tolstoy’s beard in Yasnaya Poliana, she was starring at Benjamin’s watch that night on the Spanish border, she was mixing a Pink Gin is Lagos in the years leading up to the war, she was working in Cecil B. DeMille’s cutting room back in the golden age.

Yes. I have friends that say they want to be all kinds of places but really mean that they want to be sitting there saying they want to be all kinds of places. The safety of possibility, protected from having to actually experience things. The poetry of that fear. And the turns of phrase and images here. Go and read it.

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