“in the blue plastic chair” by Julia at her desk

Sunday October 7, 2018
5:28pm
5 minutes
Illness and Literature
Tony Hoagland

I’m not going to sit here and pretend I know what you’re thinking.
I won’t stand and do it.
Kneel and do it.
Won’t close my eyes and picture you saying it.
All I can do from here, from outside your skull
from across the world, is invent a story that might explain.
I might tell myself that you think you’re right.
That you believe I should be working on my apology.
That everyone you know thinks the worst of me now.
I might try to understand why you’re desperate to control things.
But what it all means, that is something I’ll only be able to dream up.
No proof.
No facts.
You’re probably not sorry.
And there I go again.
I don’t know what you are thinking but I know what I am feeling.
I want to scream it out but the wisdom says, the source says, the sister says:
I should practice being still and if I know I am right, let that be enough.
But I don’t know now.
I don’t know what is good.

“primarily my fault” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday September 20, 2016
12:58am
5 minutes
from a text

I apologize to you with the back of my head and the front of my chest pushing into you like a bean out of its pod there is no quiet or calm no pleasant or nice I do not even mean it with the whole of me I do not know the still of you I do not want to be wrong when being right hurts so much I show you with examples words I’ve said once or twice before bent into a shape I do not recognize when I aim them straight at you I should have known better than to waste myself on the off chance of you on the dull blade that won’t cut through but won’t stop dragging back and forth back and forth slow death slow and unbearable life lived backwards I apologize to you with the parts of me that are still num from the sting as if I could take the blame and eat it so you don’t have to stuff it down so you don’t have to swallow me

“okay okay okay” by Julia on the reading chair


Sunday, July 10, 2016
1:57pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the street

It’s the eleventh time (maybe the twelfth) that he’s told me he loves me today and it’s not even noon yet. I think he’s covering up for something. Overcompensating like he does sometimes when he becomes afraid of me. I catch a glimpse of myself being hugged in the mirror, (bent low) by his unavoidable embrace. I say, okay okay okay and he lifts me up, hurt on the inside, and in his eyes. You don’t want me to love you? I catch reflection again and there is hurt on me too. I do, I say, just not parallel to the floor like that, not crumpled up in a ball that makes my back ache. Sorry, he says, I didn’t mean to hurt you. Okay okay okay, I say, I know, no one ever means to. I give myself a time out so I can be far away from him and his love that doesn’t know how to feel rejection. I don’t want to be the thing that twists his insides when he’s happy and makes him drift off to sleep dreaming about my funeral. I tell myself, in exactly five minutes (maybe six), I will go back over there and squeeze him with the honest love I’ve been keeping from him.

“Solid colour” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 6, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From a text

Had a dream I was trying to kill you again. I was coming at you with the blue knife Marnie gave us as an engagement gift. In my dream you’re not afraid or anxious. You almost have a calmness about you. You expect that I’m going to hunt you and you don’t even run. I think what I’m learning from this nightmare is that you don’t give up on me when I test you. You don’t run away when things get crazy. You don’t try to hurt me just because I’m trying to hurt you. This dream shows me how good you are. It makes me realize that one day, when I finally stop trying to sabotage us, stop making you prove yourself, we will be so obnoxiously happy. Until then know that this isn’t personal, that me trying to kill you says more about me than it says about you and that at least we’re getting our use out of that little blue knife.

“Let’s roll, babycakes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday April 14, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
overheard on Arbutus

I want you to beg me to stay when I tell you I’ll be sleeping at my mother’s place tonight. I want you to get on your knees and apologize for being a dick so I can forgive you and then apologize for being a dick back to you. I’m angry but I won’t be later but I don’t know how to turn this thing around before later is later. I feel like I’ve pushed all your buttons and there’s no easy rewind let’s pretend that never happened one to press. Why don’t you come with one like that? I am at the door with my overnight bag and I want you to throw me a banana if you’re not going to try to keep me from going. Let me know you still care about my potassium intake even when we’re hating each other. Even when you’re secretly glad that I won’t be sleeping beside you tonight to remind you of this stupid fight we both engaged in when we were both enraged about the thing we won’t remember in the morning.

“SUPREMEBEING” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday February 25, 2016
11:27pm
5 minutes
Treasures & Travels Blog

You yelled in the car ride over to Tessa’s gallery opening and I had to beg you to pull over so I could get out before you killed us both with your rage. When I got out of the car I wiped my eyes, reapplied the lipstick I had chewed off and walked so fast ahead of you it may have seemed like I was trying to lose you. For the record: I was. I forced a smile to peel onto my lips and I strut through the trendy studio space like I invented the idea of putting so many pillars everywhere. Tessa was happy to see me and she hugged me tight and said How are you though?! I lied through my teeth and said Your art makes me want to be a better person. She was thrilled and then she left me alone. You finally entered the gallery and by that moment I thought you had decided not to come at all. I was planning my way home in my head and how when I finally got back, if you were still awake, I’d just walk straight to the bedroom and close the door. You saw that I saw you and even when I turned my back to you, you came right over to me and kissed me so sorry I forgot for a second how scared I was just minutes ago. I didn’t mean it, you cooed in my ear. I didn’t mean any of it.

“a wacky one” by Julia at her dining table


Saturday, January 16, 2016
12:05pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 16 bus

I don’t know what he meant when he said “That’s what you do.”
Said like an insult instead of forgiveness. Said like punishment. Said like tar.
I said I was sorry for nagging him and he said, “That’s what you do.”
Bells. Sirens. Those words went off in my brain like a fourth of July massacre.
That tone.
Loud.
And clear.
But I don’t know what he meant, that I nag, that’s what I do? Like he’s come to know me as the type who won’t ever pick a battle, or back down from an opinion that not everyone shares?
Or that I am sorry a lot and so I apologize a lot, and maybe that’s the thing that I do.
Either way it did not feel like a compliment.
Or a way to mend the bridge that we had both taken a match to earlier.
I wanted to reach him when he felt far away.
My instinct was to cry so I made very sure not to.

“It wasn’t good in the first place” by Julia at Kafka’s


Saturday, October 10,2015 at Kafka’s
3:35pm
5 minutes
overheard at Gene Cafe

I am making amends with my old self. I want to say I’m sorry for all the pain I’ve caused her. She was young, she didn’t know any better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. She wasn’t trying to hurt me and I see that now, she did her best, even though she was not well-rested. A lot of decisions made after not enough sleep. And a lot of decisions made, without the right things to eat. Putting toxins in her belly, instead of love, she did her best. She did what she thought was enough.
I am making amends with my old self. She was young, she didn’t know better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. I can see her efforts now. Holding up a cracked mirror. I can see her clearer. She was just looking to find a little peace. A little more ease. A little more release. And sometimes it was hard and she dug her heels in, she didn’t want to deal with the repercussions of the universe. Oh, how do I blame her? She hadn’t met me yet. So now I can forgive her. She did her damn best.
I am making amends with my old self. I’m sorry for all the harsh words I’ve said. She was young, she didn’t know better. And she tried. Oh, she tried. I should be offering thanks. I should be offering an olive branch. I should be inviting her to stay the night if she needs to visit again.

“She was in a pure state,” by Julia at Jess and Rick’s kitchen table


Saturday, April 17, 2015
9:11pm
5 minutes
100 Essays I Don’t Have Time To Write
Sarah Ruhl


she stared out the window regretting all the missed moments
the missed targets
the missed connections
where did they all go?
did they find a home inside someone else’s heart?
she watched as the water swooshed up onto the beach
washing away the seconds that were there before
purifying the spot where sadness and helplessness like to procreate
she stared out the window
thankful for all of nature’s help
cleansing the pallet and offering up a blank space
for her to scrawl the initials of a life painting worthy of a name
I’m sorry
she hummed to the nothingness
I’m finished with that one
she whispered to the nobodys
I’m better now
she believed to the quiet
I’m making room for the good
she promised to the sunset

“always more for less!” By Julia on Jessica and Rick’s couch


Thursday, April 15, 2015
12:12am
5 minutes
A Food Basics store sign

Shondra decided to leave a half drunk bottle of Trapiche right beside my computer. It was a nice thing that she did until the contents of the bottle found its way in all the cracks of the keyboard. I was mad at Shondra for being so thoughtful, cause if she had just finished the bottle, there would have been no spillage, or ruinage of my very expensive new laptop. However, she is a good person and it’s not her fault, per-say, that now my life is in shambles. No, that’s not fair. It’s not the worst thing to happen to me. It’s not like I lost a limb or a loved one. Just all my pertinent information, work, and browsing history. I hear how it sounds. I’m the dirt-bag for even saying it. I spilled the wine. It was me. I can’t be trusted. I can’t do anything. Shondra, I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you. I’m mad at me. I’m always more mad at me than anyone but.. I guess I like to first put blame elsewhere cause I’m so fed up with being so bad.

“This woman was able to reach me” by Julia at Perth/Dupont Public Library


Thursday March 12, 2015 at the Perth/Dupont Public Library
3:35pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

This woman was able to reach me
while I hung myself out to dry
Pushed away everything that everyone thought was good
I said “let me be here on my own”
I cried “don’t love me with your pity-
I don’t want worried eyes and heavy hearts”
And so they left
One by one
with their apologetic expressions
with their baskets of misguided but good intentions
I built a wall around my pain
and tricked myself into thinking
I didn’t create a door
And this woman was able to reach me
when I thought
I’d blocked off all the entrances
Believing no one would want to come in anymore
if they could find me
in the first place

“And it’s taking me a second so I’m sorry.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday February 27, 2015
10:07am
5 minutes
Lungs
Duncan MacMillan


– You’re making that face again…
– What face?
That face.
– It’s just my face. I don’t know what you –
– It’s not just your face! I love your face. You’re making that face you make when you know you should apologize –
– I’m not gonna apologize –
– Then stop making that face.
– You’re making a face too, you know!
– Oh yeah? What does it say?
– It says “I’m smugggg…”
– Ha!
– It isn’t funny. I’m mad.
– I know that –
– And I’m offended that you think something’s off with my face. I always thought it was one of the few things I have going for me –
– HA!
– WHAT?!
– You’re spiralling…
– I know… It’s taking me a second to apologize because it’s not that black and white. It’s not just “SORRY! MY BAD!” and then let’s go watch a movie!
– Okay.
– Stop.
– What?
– Stop being so –
– Calm?
– …
– …
– I’m sorry.
– Thank you.
– …
– Your face is back now!

“you have been invited” by Julia on her couch


Monday Aug 11, 2014
12:05am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

It’s my going away party, okay? It wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, and nobody was supposed to get upset or say goodbye at all. I didn’t want to have to tell you. I know it sounds stupid, how was I supposed to pull that one off, right? How was I supposed to take off in the middle of the night without a trace and never hug my best friend again. Well in my defence I would have probably told you right after the party. I just wanted to have one last good night where it’s not clouded by anything. I mean, I would have it hanging over my head, of course, and I just thought, yeah but I’m a good actress; I can fake that nothing is wrong better than anyone. But I didn’t want anything to be different. I’m sorry that I did that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to say goodbye to you. I can’t picture starting a chapter without you in it.

“I’ve breathed the mountain air” by Sasha on her couch


Tuesday, July 22, 2014
11:42pm
5 minutes
I’ve Been Everywhere
Hank Snow



Let me start by saying, I’m terrible at this kind of thing. I’m terrible at saying what I mean and meaning what I say and… You’re the one that’s good with words. You’re the one who knows how to put thoughts together like a… shopping list. No – … I mean… When your mother left I wasn’t sure where my own damn bellybutton was. I wasn’t sure how to brush my teeth, or make a salami sandwich. I let you down, Tilly. I know I did. I’m – … I’m sorry.

“do not expose” by Julia on her couch


Sunday April 6, 2014
12:14am
5 minutes
from the back of a pack of gum

Ok so I’m
Sorry about two things
I’ll tell you
But first know that I’m
Sorry
Ok so
In order if I have to?
Number 1)
I should not have taken your blue scarf out of the car
I thought you wouldn’t notice
Now I’m sorry
For more than two things
I won’t say anything
but apologies
From here on out
Sorry for
Stealing your blue scarf from your car
Sorry for thinking
You wouldn’t even
Miss it
Sorry for believing
You were a
Fool
Sorry for not giving
You enough
credit
Because you deserve
All the credit
In the whole world
Sorry for then
wearing
Your blue scarf
To
Mark and Tracy’s wedding
And getting vomit on it
And getting shrimp
cocktail sauce
on it
Sorry for not asking
Sorry for not telling
Sorry for being careless
Sorry
For
Everything
Number 2)
Sorry for letting your plant die

“modern doughnuts” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday December 21, 2013
5:22pm
5 minutes
From the Jelly doughnut store sign on College

And you could be better than me
cause you have seen the beast in me
and when I am alone I know that it’s right
for me to try to give you over, give you up tonight
My sacrifice for this good world, is setting you free as a bird
to fly with anyone who loves you as much as you love me
I’m scared of keeping you on the ground
I see it cinematically
with your life’s movie credits scrolling by
and the role I play is the Girl Who Ruined You
I am saddened by it all without the shame of admitting it, and it’s something
I don’t admit at all
to any one just cause they’re listening
you should be better than me
do better than me I swear
Life’s too short to hope for someone to give you what you always deserved
you earned all the good things
and I’m not a good thing
unless you’re blinded too….
I wouldn’t want to take, every single chance away from you
So take from me this gift of flight
this opportunity grand
and when you say hello to the night
you’ll know I would follow you there
But you’ll just have a head start
And maybe someone who brings you modern doughnuts from the little shop
down the street for no reason

“hopeful of making amends” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Saturday September 21,2013 at Sambuca Grill
8:50pm
5 minutes
the Fresh Meat 2013 program

I didn’t want to talk to Emily because I was scared of breaking down into tears and forgetting my original point which was that I was hurt by her. She some how always makes me feel inadequate, so I’ve learned to write my thoughts down and make sure I stick to my notes so she doesn’t derail me. That’s what she does! She manipulates me into thinking she’s done nothing wrong..or that I’m the one who should be apologizing instead of seeking an apology from her. So I was avoiding her in general. The first Wednesday we had plans to have coffee together, and I bailed because I was on my period and had been crying over things like bed sheets and olive oil and didn’t want to fall into a pit of uncontrollable water works. The second time we had plans my sister had just called with bad news about my childhood cat and I was not emotionally stable for the whole week. Then when I was seemingly out of excuses, I called her. Got her voicemail and even contemplated just telling her how I felt there.
I chickened out.

“against the kitchen window” by Julia at the The Box


Saturday August 3, 2013 at The Box
7:55pm
5 minutes
Fall On Your Knees
Anne-Marie MacDonald


He was leaning against the window with his head knocking slightly, and repetitively against the pane. He was thinking about her, and she was nowhere to be found. He wondered if maybe she’d come back home tonight and apologize for her behaviour, for hitting him in the jaw, and for running out on them in the middle of a really important conversation. She probably wouldn’t be doing that, but he waited patiently just in case. He had just started to become really comfortable with her. He thought about telling her about his Mother’s death, and all those documents he had hidden in the attic to protect her from public scrutiny. He was past the point of doing what he’d do in private, like rolling his toe lint between his fingers, or picking his nose and flicking it in various corners of the room he was sitting in. He was ready to begin living honestly and openly and letting her see all his quirks, his flaws…but then she left. He didn’t know what else to do other than lean there, head on the window, and think about that cute smile she had the first day they met. One of her teeth was chipped. She had gotten hit in the mouth with a tennis racket and he had never seen anything more charming.

“What immortal hand” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday, July 4, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
3:20pm
5 minutes
The Tiger
William Blake


She’s sorry, you know. In case you never hear it from her mouth or in case she never lets on that she is. She really is. But she’s scared, so you’ll just have to accept that you might not always get to be right outwardly. She’ll take a couple stabs at you, and then she’ll offer to clean the hate off your favourite shirt..but she’s not saying that she knew she was wrong. She’s not admitting that she’s at fault. That she’s responsible for anything. She knows deep down somewhere, but to say it…to say it means to believe it means to really truly feel it. And she does, you can rest easy knowing that she does. But she won’t let you hear it. She won’t give you that satisfaction that you probably need just as much as she needs to make sure you don’t get it. But she’ll come around. She will. She always does. She’ll learn and she’ll be better for it. The time it took her to get over it all and just…plain…apologize..

“the only kind there is.” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday April 25, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
2:40pm
5 minutes
from a quote by Carl Jung

One of a kind. And we’re having it with raspberry jam! Ha! I knew you’d come if I mentioned raspberry jam. You’re my little baby. You like everything that comes out of my mouth because you think you’re going to get the chance to taste it. I like it when I sing Janis Joplin to you and you roll around on the floor with your tongue out like it’s the dessert after all that yelling. You earned it. You love it when I tell you to cry, cry, baby. Here’s the thing, you asked for it before, remember? The one of a kind apology. It sounds like all the other sorrys but this one is so much better. You believe me because you believe everything that comes out of my mouth. You think you’re going to take some of those home for lunch tomorrow. WHY DO YOU WANT TO EAT SO MUCH? Consume me. Yeah. I’ll let you. Cry, cry, cry, cry, baby, baby, cry, baby, cry, baby. It has the seeds. The raspberry jam. Remember? I made you throw out the one without the seeds because then it’s just red and that is NOT why you buy raspberry jam. That is why you eat lollipops, or jello.
I’m spreading I’m sorry on your egg bread. On your challah. You told me I COULD! You TOLD ME. It’s the only kind there is. It’s the only lesson you need to learn. Just wait. Just WAIT. I’ll hold out my tongue for you and you can wait with your mouth open for the poison to drip on out and land right next to your teeth.

“accepts what it is” by Julia at her desk


Wednesday February 27, 2013
12:36am
5 minutes
August
Mary Oliver


Okay so I admit, I was wrong. I shouldn’t have let you walk home by yourself. I know you were pissed and that half bottle of wine was doing its thing. But I was mad too. I was so mad at you. I don’t like being blamed for everything you hate in your life. My job is to fix broken pipes in the bathroom, not be your punching bag for when the rest of the world knocks you down. Okay that sounds bad too but that’s not what I meant..baby please. Baby baby baby. Just listen. You’re tough, right? You don’t need me taking care of you. But I should have walked you home. You’re right, okay? It’s not safe at that time of night I was just giving you your space. Just letting you vent. You were walking so fast there was no way I could have caught up to you either. Come on don’t be mad. Please baby: I love you. Don’t cry anymore tonight. But you weren’t being fair. Can you admit that? I’m not perfect but you’re not perfect. That’s a good thing baby. Trust me. In the morning this will all be over. Right now it is what it is okay?