“So the Search was begun” by Julia at Pearson Airport

Monday December 31, 2018
5 minutes
The Tao Of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff

In the middle of the night I heard a whisper in the sound of my own voice coming from inside my head. It was me, or I believed it to be. I was telling me to breathe and focus and stop focusing and see the white wall and Dear Lord Please, Please. I was telling me to find peace in the stillness. A little voice asked if it was okay if I watched a movie instead. I said yes to myself and began to play a moving picture show of all my choices and all the bread I got to eat. The lobster. The Italian sausage. The night my father and I took a deep look. The movie played and I rewatched it again and again. I told me I could watch it in the morning once I had woken up but the me laying didn’t feel like the me saying was being true. The search had begun for what was. For what was true. Why would inside voice me try to trick outside laying me? What is inside voice me trying to get me to notice or understand or remember forever and ever amen.

“but also for the people in the neighbourhood” by Julia on her couch

Sunday November 15, 2015
5 minutes
from the Union Gospel Mission calendar

Karen sat patiently by the phone willing it to ring and wishing that it had already. She had, earlier that week, applied to be a member of Neighbourhood Watch and was told that all successful applicants would be contacted by Friday at the very latest. Karen didn’t have anything else particularly pressing to do since she fell ill two months back. She wanted to fill her time with meaningful activities since she wasn’t fit enough to return to the grocery store. Emirel said she might have overextended herself there anyway, coming into help stack and pack when she wasn’t even scheduled to work. Karen wanted to do something other than tend to the plants she had been growing in her laundry room. She didn’t think she’d have a very strong harvest the first time around, especially because she had been relying on various youtube videos to teach her how to grow a crop of marijuana properly. Karen got bored easily. She wanted to have at least two things to watch, if she could help it.

“Kiss me quick dear” by Julia at her desk

Saturday, July 4, 2015
5 minutes
From the back of a postcard

Kiss me quick dear
before this feeling disappears dear
before the urge to have you is gone before the magic of this spell is worn
kiss me quick dear
before someone else comes in dear
before we’re caught in the heat of the moment
before we’re made to feel aware
kiss me quick dear
before the lilacs bloom dear
before the lilacs die before the lilacs are picked
kiss me quick dear
before the water boils over dear
before stillness turns into something we can’t turn back

“cake and frozen yogurt” by Julia on the Greyhound

Sunday, June 7, 2015
5 minutes
From a sign on Queen’s Quay

He worked in one of those giant lobbies, his shiny desk the only fixture in the entire space. From the outside his place of employment was like a fish bowl: glass windows all around, anyone looking in whenever they wanted to, the room itself encasing a slab of marble and a couple sparse plants. He had been trying to figure out just what exactly made him so damn anxious everyday about going to work; about sitting in his fish bowl. It wasn’t the fact that he was completely visible and couldn’t risk doing his alone behaviour. He did whatever he wanted without hesitation. It was something else. Perhaps the feeling of intense loneliness mixed with the artificial comfort of being the most important thing in a room.

“Ann hasn’t spoken to anyone for a month” by Sasha on the streetcar going West

Sunday December 28, 2014
5 minutes
rom an AgeUK overground ad /em>

Ann hasn’t spoken to anyone for a month. She smells like cat food. Her toenails are long. She might consider waxing her above lip fuzz. Ann picked Jeffrey in the Secret Santa draw and it sent her right over the edge. It went a little bit like this:
1. Ann wears a blue sweater and Jeffrey says, “Nice sweater, Annie. Really brings out your eyes.”
2. Ann vomits in the Handicapped Bathroom. Melinda knocks and knocks and Ann feels so guilty because Melinda really is handicapped and isn’t hiding from anyone, she just needs to pee.
3. Ann sits at her desk and bites her fingernails so low that they bleed.
4. “Secret Santa Draw at 1pm! Meet in the Conference Room” says the e-mail. Ann deletes it.
5. “Annie, aren’t you coming for the draw? Last year I got these earmuffs!” says Jeffrey. Ann lets him drag her to the draw, in the conference room. She placed scotch tape on her fingertips to stop the bleeding. “Why are your fingers wearing hats?” asks Jeffrey.
6. She reaches her hand into the santa hat, terrified one of her bloody finger beanies is going to slide off and then someone will pick it and everyone will wonder why and how and if she is clinically insane.
7. JEFFREY – in black block letters. Her armpits feel like Niagara Falls, her teeth are chattering. She notes Melinda, her hand plunging into the red and white and runs for the handicapped bathroom once again.