“He was young and handsome” by Julia at the table

Saturday January 5, 2019
5:36pm
5 minutes
The Elephant Vanishes
Haruki Murakami

This year we didn’t look at old photos of you
and Mom wearing your brilliant sweaters at Niagara Falls.
I think there was too much going on, but I missed it anyway.
Tracing the outline of your fro,
curls I know intimately since they landed on my head too.
Thank you for those, by the way.
When I was little and everyone said I looked more like you
it used to break my heart.
I don’t know why I thought it was anything but a compliment.
You were young and handsome.
You are still young and handsome.
I am in awe of how big your heart has grown in these sixty-two years of living.
Sixty-two years today.
You have gotten so soft and there is all this room for me now.
Thank you for that too, by the way.
I am looking at the photo of you holding me for the first time
a month and a couple weeks after your thirty-second birthday,
and the look in your eyes as you look down at me
is turning me into something sweet.
Thank you for that.
That is how I see you too.

“My miracle is not that you can’t knock me down” by Julia at G and C’s house

Wednesday August 15, 2018
9:01am
5 minutes
Monday Night Class
Stephen Gaskin

weak knees she said
she didn’t want to marry someone who had weak knees
what about running?
does that just go out the window? I know how she feels. when indigo’s shoulder slipped out for the eleventh time in three days, I got worried too. how will we play catch for the rest of our lives? timidly? it’s worrisome. And it’s so very mortal. I suppose nothing lasts forever. we are, at best, temporary. I guess I’d choose an unexpected shoulder pain over a partner who can’t even take a night walk. I’d rather good shoulders though too.

“it’s the ending that keeps me in my chair.” By Julia in her bed

Thursday January 18, 2018
10:55pm
5 minutes
Memoir
Sue Goyette

Guess I want to know what you’ll look like when you’re eighty. What you’ll smell like. Where your smile will point. I want to know if your vocal chords will turn grey. If you’ll wear a hat or not. If you’ll still kiss like a goddamn unicorn. If you’ll still whisper nonsense into my ear to see if I’ll laugh. If you’ll still sneak white cheddar popcorn topping into our turkey pasta. If you’ll rub my feet for no reason. If you’ll tell your phone to tell me you love me so I get it in writing and in the third person the way I always secretly liked. It’s the happy, the ending, that keeps me glued to your station. It’s the last days that make we want to stick around and see what happens.

“Did you try to reply to my email about confidence?” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday September 27, 2017
10:12am
5 minutes
from an e-blast

Krista: I know this seminar will suit you, Jeanie. I specifically designed it with you in mind and you’re not getting any younger so I–

Jean: No I’m not getting any younger. And believe it or not, that is not one of my concerns.

Krista: Oh sweetie, of course it is. It’s everyone’s concern.

Jean: I don’t know how staying young will serve me.

Krista: It’s a figure of speech, relax.

Jean: Well you used it, and you meant it, so. I’m not interested in discussing this with you.

Krista: Fine, but all I meant was that you could use some of what I teach and you’re only running out of time–

Jean: See! Again with the absolutism! I swear to Christ you do not listen.

Krista: Jeanie. Stop this blaming behaviour and own your life. You seem mighty hostile for someone who has nothing to prove.

Jean: You’re driving me upside the wall, okay? How am I supposed to respond.

Krista: Well you could come to my seminar. Respond with your actions not your attitude.

“he finally asked me if I wanted these defects of character removed” by Julia on Bec’s Second City Chair


Saturday July 8, 2017
12:53am
5 minutes
Alcoholics Anonymous

He was already cutting parts of his own face off when he asked me.
Wanted to know if he should schedule me in.
What do you want to get rid of? What skin crease have you never liked. Which part of you wasn’t enough?
I saw him through the reflection and he looked focused. He was extracting from the root.
I later told him, over a salty coffee
(his sweet)
that I didn’t want to
give them up I said I wanted to wear them like reminders of all those times when,
hold out my hands and thank
the fucking universe that they look like my mother’s.

I held out the sparkling water for him to sip.
He had deserved it.

“Destiny Number” By Julia at The Vancouver Public Library


Thursday January 19, 2017 at the VPL
4:33pm
5 minutes
numerologist.com

I told myself I’d be married at 24 cause of my mother. She was married at 24 and that felt like the best map I could follow since she has never once said she regretted it. I also said I wouldn’t have sex till I was 24 either case of Jesus. Or the patriarchy. Save my sex for someone who loves God more than he’ll ever love me and believes in owning humans as property? Yeah, what a great fucking idea. I was young then. And committed to Christ (by choice, weirdly, I know). And in love with the idea that I didn’t have to make my own decisions cause life was already going to have too many of those in the first place. I told myself that I would have a child by 28 cause of my mother. She waited 4 years to have one after she got married and that seemed smart, and good, and completely doable. I have missed both of these “destiny numbers”(by choice, I know, I know). Somewhere along the way I decided I could trust myself to lead me through it. Sometimes it’s the worst feeling in the entire world. But it’s better than being married with a bazillion kids coming out of my ears. Age, I’ve learned, is just a number that you get to hold for a year. And then–we let it go, just like everything else.

“shouldn’t cost you money” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday October 11, 2016
10:10pm
5 minutes
From a Tangerine ad

No one tells you that you become invisible. Your nose gets bigger, you sprout hair out of your ears, you lose all your pubes, and you become invisible. That’s the truth. I want you to know it because I wish I had. I would’ve given a heck of a lot less attention to how I looked when I actually looked like a Goddamn goddess. I’m not exactly sure when the invisibility cloak was placed over my shoulders… Fifty five? Sixty? I even tried dressing extra sassy, then extra sophisticated, then radical… Didn’t real change a thing. It really showed me what we were fighting for in the Women’s Lib Movement… If you aren’t deemed valuable, viable (ie. child bearing) to MEN, then suddenly society doesn’t value you. You are no longer sexual currency. Might as well be in the bargain bin.

“What’s wrong with my body?” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday June 21, 2016 at Starbucks
7:06am
5 minutes
Lesbian at a Bachelor Party
Amber Dawn


When I think about it
it doesn’t look good for me
old woman’s body trapped in a young woman’s skin
There’s the part where my neck pops for no reason
the part where my fingers go numb during hot yoga
the part where I bruise easy
the part where my thigh muscle…detaches?
the part where my side stitches when I run
the part where my uterus goes into contractions if I don’t drink enough water
the part where it hurts to take a deep breath for sometimes minutes
(yeah, plural, whoops)
the part where my feet get charlie horses
(is that even a thing? I don’t know anymore)
the part where my back spasms or pulls or gets thrown out
WEEKLY
I would throw it out for good if I could
and get a new and young one, Christ.
(you know what they say: back pain is just an old soul trying to escape…)
throw in some casual IBS?
Why the fuck not

“a dozen individuals aged” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday May 24, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
Harbor
John Ajvide Lindqvist


Across the street I spied a man who had been resting on a bench. He was sweating from his brow and was hunched over, defeated. He didn’t have a cane, or a walker, but looked like he could have used one. He was convincing himself he didn’t, surely. I quietly watched him from my bus stop. He didn’t know anyone was paying any attention to him. He tried to get up a few times without the help of the bench. He couldn’t seem to do it. The struggle in his face was clear even all the way over to where I sat pretending to read my novel. It looked like his body had been slowly betraying him for a while but that he had only just now started to deny it. I remember working with a man who told me once that when you get old, your body stops matching up with your mind and you can’t control yourself the way you used to. He told me that it may be frustrating for those of us who can still easily get to our destinations to have to always wait behind the ones who aren’t as mobile, but it wasn’t to be disregarded that it was far more frustrating for them.

“I love failure!” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 18, 2016
9:06pm
5 minutes
from a text message

I love failure. I do. I didn’t before but I love it now. Like a long lost sister, or a cousin you used to fight with. I think before there was this understanding that I could make it pretty far in this life without actually leaping, jumping, risking anything. I think I wore a lovely outer mask that said, I am confident I am going places, but on the inside a traumatized child had the fear of how much longer were we going to play make believe. I think, now, maybe for the first time, I can hear both voices at once. Things are suddenly less hard than they used to be. Because living truthfully and unafraid of being wrong? That’s the most freedom you’ve ever felt. Because it connects you with the spirit of your surroundings, the integrity of your self-love, your deepest soul. It’s such uplifting necessity. I do not understand now how I thought feeling confined in my skin, trapped in all my conjured narratives, was easier than letting anything go; than lightening my load; being kind to myself.

“master of my own” by Julia on her couch


Friday May 23, 2014
1:10am
5 minutes
overheard on the streetcar

Oh My LANTA!!! ABBY!!! You’re looking like a real woman these days aren’t you! I can’t believe it, you’re so tall now. And look at those cheeks! Where did they even go? When you were little you used to have the chubbiest, fattest cheeks, I used to pinch ’em and tug ’em and cover ’em with so many kisses, my goodness, you used to hate that! Oh honey plum, I don’t even blame you! The whole world wanted to squeeze you dry, girlie, oh yes they did. I’m sorry about that now, but oh! I couldn’t help myself, they were just so darn big! And this dress you have on, let me take a look at you. Oh wow, spin around again, that is one heck of a figure you’ve got, now don’t you! I bet you drive all the boys crazy with those legs for days and days! Oh Abby, I used to have legs for days and days before the varicose veins and the knee surgeries, let me tell you a story! You know your father’s the one that bashed in my knee with a baseball all those years ago! I was pitching to him and he hit a line drive right into my bank account! I joke about that now because he felt so bad and all those treatments cost so much money cause I could barely stand! Oh but you!! You look wonderful!!

“He Was A Spy” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday January 21, 2014
10:32pm
5 minutes
Tweet from The New York Times

When he got the call, he wasn’t ready. “We’re here, Mr. Martinez.” He surveyed the table where Rosa used to stuff empanadas and where Ricky would do his math homework. Maria would be coming later that afternoon to pack the rest of the furniture and drive it to San Francisco in the morning. She’d come and see him that evening. He didn’t know if he’d be able to offer her tea, or beer. He shuffled to the front door and kissed the wall that had kept them warm for thirty six years. The driver rushed out to meet him. “I’m fine,” he said, resisting the help. “Mr. Martinez, we’re really looking forward to having you at Bridgewater. Your son has gotten your apartment all set up. I think, once you’re settled in, you’ll really like the community we have. There are lots of fascinating people…” He shot the driver a look that told him to shut up. As they drove away, he watched his green roof disappear. “Don’t small talk me,” he said, not looking to the left or right, keeping his eyes on the meridian, the yellow of his future.

Water glass, pint glass and a bottle of hot sauce (photo) by Sasha at her desk


Saturday, April 20, 2013
1:32am
5 minutes
Dip!

When I walked in you had your back to me. Your hair was a bit smooshed at the back, like you’d just woken up, or had been lying in the grass. I approached slowly. “Hey,” I said, and you turned, quickly, and I saw that you’d changed. You’d received a few crows-feet wrinkles around your eyes, your curls had a dusting of grey, your lips sloped ever so slightly downwards. You stood up quickly, to hug me, and I thought, for the first time, how strange this custom was – pressing two bodies together, heads over shoulders. Were you holding your breath? You held on. I had initiated the pulling away, but you were having none of it. “It’s been too long,” you whispered. I imagined that your eyes were closed and as I did, you moved your hand across my back, the way my father does. When you were ready, you pulled back and held me at arms length. You drank me in. “You’ve gotten more beautiful,” you say. “I always knew you’d be one of those people that grow into themselves, that get more and more beautiful as they get older,” you continue, red rising in my cheeks from way, way, down. “Stop,” I say, quietly. “No…” You respond. I sit down in the booth, opposite you. You’ve already ordered me a pint of beer. Yours is three quarters done. Only your face has changed, I guess. Your bad habits are rooted.

“disentangle yourself from your selfish self” by Sasha on her couch


Monday, March 25, 2013
12:39am
5 minutes
If
Rumi


I don’t care about the across-the-way neighbour seeing my bare breasts, or my naked round belly, or even a faint shadow of pubic hair. I want the blinds open in the morning. Since my hair started to turn grey, since I stopped dying it a colour that it never truly was, I care a whole lot less about what other people think. It’s taken forty eight years. As a young one, I would wrap a towel tightly around me and change my clothes in the Fitness Centre bathroom. I only chose that Centre because it had private shower stalls. It mattered more than the fact I had to drive thirty minutes and there was a much nicer gym a few blocks away. Those were my priorities. When Marta, my lover, looks at the wrinkles on my cheeks, she says, in that glorious Dutch accent, “Your wisdom!” She strokes the creases like she might do to a baby’s dimples,