My ever-leaving friends, thank you for adventures …for searching with me and finding all that things we found out, about living in New Jersey, about our ever-improving selves. See to it that you leave crumbs all over the country so that when I follow, I’ll know that you were there. And never forget who we were, as large as you might get …I’m thankful for every story, heartache, apology, victory and regret.


Thanks for building diners, grandpa …you never really knew how much they’d mean to me, silly as that sounds. I was at Pilgrim for a breakup, and hit Nevada in the next town. My friends and me became smoking-section lovers, ripped seat covers, grease purveyors looking for a meal right after the tattoo parlor. I never grew into what you thought, but hopefully someone better. Wish you could see me now all out here on my own. I would have come to visit, to take you to the mall to walk some 7am power laps …I would have made do with Oat Bran cereal and burned English Muffins. I owe you a lifetime of memories, so I guess I’ll just keep going.


To my love, thank you. You know there was a time I was so convinced of my own damaged head and heart and body that I was alone in a Starbucks and thought of dying for no good reason. You showed me how to dance on New Year’s and made fun of me to my face …not sure why I thought you were flirting, but I was damn convinced. Here’s to our awkward first dates, better second dates, tip-top third dates …and for the best first kiss I ever had during that episode of Deadliest Warrior. You make me want to write a thousand books, work at a million places, carve out an entire exciting life.


Mom and dad, you put up with so many phases of my beard …so many different pairs of glasses and all those pictures on my arms. You still call me out for wearing too-tight jeans …telling me I’m not Colin Farrell when I try to wear beanies. Thank you for the eccentricities and for everything you try – from learning the cello at sixty, to branding your own wine. It takes the most amount of courage to be just how you are… thank you for the bravery and for being a state and a few suburbs away, but never really feeling too far.


Dear sister I never laughed as hard as I did when we watched The Haunted Mask on VHS. Here’s to crappy fast food tacos because I had no snacks …to brother-sister adventures when all you wanted to do was nap. You’ve got a singular vision and the best set of eyes for seeing, which is how you carved out all you have …becoming who you imagined. Thanks for never letting me get away with my mistakes …for making me accountable when everyone else turned and left. You never saw the worst, just tiny specs of potential almost too small and swept and tossed.


Thankful for every moment, for every routine single day …for every walk with my small dachshund that I rescued as a stray. For every Seamless discount and every Etsy thing handmade …for every surprise great record and every book that makes me think. Thankful for every Funko Pop, for every Blu-ray shopping trip, for every new winter jacket and ones donated back to kids. Thankful for the internet and how it ties me to my best friends. Thank you to advertising, for finding a place for me in your exclusive club ….for every written word of mine anyone ever read. Thanks and thanks a million times …thank you until language breaks apart. I’m thankful for the times I was lost and for every stop and start.


Nick Orsini

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