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I had planned on writing about my craft seminar. It went well. It went better than well. But things change. I met “Rick” last year last year at this time. He was the manager of the hotel where I stayed at for my first Queens residency. There were three hotels we could choose from, but I chose to stay at Rick’s hotel because it was the cheapest. It was not a very big place, and every day Rick and I engaged in small-talk as I hung out in the lobby or just got back from my day at Queens. One day he told me he wrote a little. He was a bit shy in his admission. Maybe because we were MFA students invading his hotel and he felt a little insecure. In any event, I told him I thought it was great that he wrote and to keep at it. I wanted to thank Rick in person on the day I left. I wanted to thank him for his hospitality and to encourage him to keep writing. But he didn’t come in until later in the day, so I left my sentiments in a note along with my phone number. A few months later, Rick texted me that he kept my note on his refrigerator. I texted him back letting him know it did my heart good to hear that. He responded “Does my heart better.” Yesterday I got a call from Rick’s cousin. She told me Rick passed away. She was cleaning out his house and she found my note on his refridgerator. She said Rick was a “minimalist” and that he only kept things that meant a lot to him. She thanked me for my kindness. I didn’t even know who she was at first. But when I got off the phone with Rick’s cousin, I shed tears. It was all so overwhelming. The fact that a stranger called me so unexpectedly. The fact that she called exactly a year later from when I met Rick here in Charlotte, the only time of year I’ll ever be in Charlotte, again. The realization that my words could have such an impact on someone. This has been/will be an emotional and stressful week: coming to Charlotte for the last time, delivering my craft seminar, trying to create a syllabus for a college class I’m teaching, thesis reading, graduating.. and Rick. Most of the time I hide behind what I write. But there is no hiding here. Things change. We must accept that. But I believe things change and happen for a reason. I believe I was meant to give Rick that note and transfer to Queens so I could give Rick that note. And I believe everything else that got me here happened for a reason. Endings are usually my strong point. But not today. Because this is not the end… It rarely ever is.


About Daniel Romo

Author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press, 2019), When Kerosene's Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014) and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). I'm partial to prose poems. Alliteration. And fragments.

7 responses »

  1. Reblogged this on The New Bodega and commented:

    Found this on my old blog. Thought it was worth sharing.

  2. So much of life is bread cast on the waters. Some goes to waste. Some feeds the ducks. Some feeds the fish. Keep extending the metaphor, and the cardiologist son of a fisherman may eventually be saving your loved one’s life after a heart attack. All we can do is keep casting the bread and marvel at the ripples created.

  3. This post, although sad, is also so beautiful. So powerful & moving. To know that you made such an impression in someone’s life is a testament to what kind of person you are. It couldn’t be the note alone; it had to be the impression you made on Rick for your note to have become such a cherished possession.

  4. Lovely post, but so sad. I’m sorry about your friend.


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