about the author

Ryan Rivas is the Programs Director for a children’s literacy nonprofit (Page 15), co-founder and editor for a publication company (Burrow Press), and, when he has time, a player of basketball (shooting guard). He lives in Orlando, FL, with a wife and a dog.


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Around the Lake

Ryan Rivas



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The man who names SUVs has retired. He lives in his den and frowns over a map spotted by watermarks from glasses of gin. There are no national parks left to contribute to his perverse taxonomy.

In his planned community, people have trouble parallel parking, and are often seen drifting into the ubiquitous bike lanes. The shrill delightful shouts of children issue from the green spaces and through his open window. They sound like his phone would if it ever rang.

At sunrise he strolls around the lake to clear his head of the slogans and sayings that occupied his brain from a young age and made him very good at his job. The lake is artificial, named after the original lake, which was authentic but had been drained a few decades prior in order to accommodate the city’s waste. Every so often a DVD will peek out from the reeds, the barely discernable text on its cover a comfort amid the wordless nature that surrounds him.

He watches the wildlife closely, tries to observe human qualities in the birds and turtles, pities all the trees and creatures that lack the power to name themselves.

He always strolls in the morning, when it’s cooler. His muscles ache with hangover. The other early risers are out too, finding routines to fill the limbo of life-after-work. They whiz by on bikes or swish past in tracksuits. Some simply stroll, like him. He names them all: the woman who should close her blinds, the man who lets his dog shit on the sidewalk, etc. In passing, each one says the same thing.

“Morning,” they say.

“Morning.”

“Morning.”

As if it’s an observation rather than a greeting.





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