“My friend Joe” by Julia on the 4

Saturday October 6, 2018
5:57pm
5 minutes
His Hands
Mary Jane Nealon

My friend Joe became
my boyfriend Joe at the end of the 12th grade. I liked the way his arms looked while driving. I liked that he knew how to use the barbecue.
when I went to university I stayed with Joe even though I no longer wanted him.
One of the first days there I made eye contact with the coolest guy I had ever seen. His name was also Joe. I wanted this Joe instead. I wanted to know everything about him.
There were a couple others I started to like before I told the first Joe that we needed to break up. There were also a couple of crying episodes in my dorm room. Not me. Him. This was the same guy who knew how to use the barbecue.

“change of plans” by Julia on F’s couch


Wednesday July 5, 2017
9:23pm
5 minutes
From an email

Change of plans, I don’t love you anymore.
Pack the tiny cooler bag your aunt gave us before we rode our broken car all the way to Saskatoon.
Find yourself a couple of crackers
to eat on the way.
I wanted it to be you.
You are not the only one disappointed here.

Change of plans, I don’t love you anymore.
Take your collection of
play things
all the broken bobby pins
you didn’t ask to break
the pen lids, all twisted
into useless
the cloud of sugar lint
in your pants pockets.

“rejection is deeply painful” by Sasha on her pullout couch


Tuesday March 14, 2017
11:30pm
5 minutes
Daring Greatly
Brené Brown


You start keeping a sketchbook. You just turned fifty and your son just moved back into the basement and you aren’t sure exactly why but he’s driving you crazy. He’s thirty five and he just left his “common-law partner”, at least that’s how he explains Troy. You need a reason to get out of the house and so you take the number thirteen bus to the cafe on Arlington Avenue. You order a brownie and a peppermint tea. You start sketching the ways in which he drives you crazy. The mopey face. The dishes in the sink. The orange running shoes. The constant chatter. The “common-law partner”.

“creamed corn with beer” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday July 4, 2016 at Starbucks
6:57am
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Only had one plan for the entire weekend and that was to roll out of my house and down the hill to the corner store and buy a banana or two and maybe a variety pack of mini travel cereals. Frosted Flakes. Had some nostalgia for times past, for the flavours of my youth. I turned off my phone and I bundled myself up in flannel and wool. I didn’t want to see anyone and I didn’t expect to. Hart had been gone for almost a month. He wrote me a letter saying it would be his last and that I should probably do my best to move on and not take the break-up too personally. Okay, Hart, I thought, I will only take it medium-personally. The teenager working the cash was on her phone and I was not in the mood for kindness anyway so it was fine. Then I heard my name being hollered from behind me. I turned around reluctantly and saw Hart’s oldest daughter, Carmen. She was holding a can of creamed corn and carrying a case of Labatt Blue.

“a signal he was about to shut down.” by Julia on the 9


Thursday May 12, 2016
10:48pm
5 minutes
Bolt
Russell Wangersky


I remember asking him if he wanted to sleep over–it might have been the third or fourth time. We had just gotten home from a nice dinner, I had just peed myself in the laundry room and was cleaning it up with dryer lint while he waited for me upstairs in my room, you know, just a casual Friday night, and I thought he was going to say yes this time. I was cautious, I made sure the moment was right, made sure I was feeling his vibe, and then boom: another no. I assumed naturally, as one does, that it was either because he could smell remnants of secret urine off my legs (though I had washed them well enough in the bathroom sink before returning to my room), or that he was about to break up with me.

“This never happened before.” by Julia on the 99


Monday April 11, 2016
11:39pm
5 minutes
overheard on the 99

You tell me you love me like a bazillion times a day and I say it back maybe once? Twice if I’m in a good mood. I wonder it it bothers you that I say I love pizza more than I say I love your lips or your hands or whatever nice shit you say to me. You don’t seem bothered. You seem normal. Not even phased. I assume because you must believe you’re hearing me return your sentiments every time you say them cause otherwise your heart would need mending. And I’m saying you seem fine so I imagine you feel great about needing to express yourself so much and being with a person who needs coffee before speaking to you and who wants to be left alone for the first 40 minutes after returning home. I used to think saying I love you meant meaning it. If you asked me now I’d say it had nothing to do with that.

“No I’m glad you did.” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday, April 6, 2016
11:24pm
5 minutes
from a text


This cute 17 year old just offered me a toke of his spliff and then told me if I wanted he would buy me chicken wings and show me the place that will change my life. I took a hit and I said “yeah alright” to the wings because I’m no idiot. I think he knew I was older but assumed just by a year or two and not a decade + two but I’m not in the business of walking people through life. If you have a question, ask it, if you think I’m a radiant and sexy 19 year old who will still be taken in by a high schooler’s charms then that’s what you think. Who am I to tell him I’m a little too old for him or that I’m in a relationship? He didn’t ask maybe he doesn’t want to know. Maybe he doesn’t care. I’m not going to be presumptuous. Maybe I’m going to kiss his soft baby lips after he buys me chicken wings. Maybe I’m going to give him my phone number so he can text me how much he needs me.

“Seems stressed always.” by Julia at Platform 7


Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at Platform 7
5:12pm
5 minutes
from a text

You can find me in the poorly lit coffee shop scratching at my scalp, tiny flakes of dandruff floating into my keyboard as I type a letter to your mother that I will likely never send. I have escaped the confines of our bachelor apartment, spent the $2.75 on a coffee that reminds me that people are dying in places all around me, and have been here since the place opened. Miller is working a double and doesn’t ask me to leave or buy a sandwich. When he sees my crumpled forehead and my dandruff start to pile up in between the space bar and the track pad he knows to keep his distance. I am writing a letter to your mother and in it I am breaking up with you and I am breaking up with her. I am telling her why first so you can’t spin the story. I don’t want her to think less of you but I think she should know the truth. It’s taken a lot of my energy to think of the right words. I already have the right reasons. They’ve been living inside of me as long as your Taco Bell leftovers have been sitting in the fridge, collecting mold, being avoided like the plague.

“cultural and community differences” by Julia on Lindsay’s couch


Sunday March 13, 2016
3:46pm
5 minutes
From a sample CV

In the moments of stillness
In between where you left and you loved me
I can count the number of breaths I have taken
On one hand
Maybe one and a half
The song I made you write for me plays
It never stops
It doesn’t know how
I don’t know how
I’m embarrassed that you didn’t want to do it
On your own
I could have asked
But I demanded
I could have invited
But I fought
I guess I was under the impression that
We do things for people
When we know it makes them feel good
I am sorry I put you in that category
Of people who care about people
Of people who give because they can
Not because they are tallying points
I am wrong too
I am happy to be so wrong
I am learning in the space between wrong and never right
You taught me that

“Share the love” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 9, 2016
6:01pm
5 minutes
From the sign at Platform 7

I can remember Len holding my sunglasses out of reach. I was trying to grab them back but he wouldn’t let me hold them anymore because I kept taking them off and throwing them into the ocean. He knew how much I loved those stupid things. I used to get so bratty after whiskey. I wonder if he takes care of Kia that way. I wonder if she needs someone to keep her in check the way I did. I can remember the freckle on the inside of his left ear, the way his skin smelled of spicy cucumber, his favourite pajama pants with the secret pocket. I can remember the pain in my chest when he told me he couldn’t stay. It’s easy to remember the thing that stays the same.

“Let’s have a toast to our goodbyes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, January 14, 2016
10:47pm
5 minutes
I’m Out
Ciara feat. Nicki Minaj


“You’re what?”

“We’re consciously uncoupling.”

“I don’t get it.”

“We’re separating, consciously. With intention and love.”

“Why?”

“It’s just not working and we both want to move on with our lives…”

“Whose idea was this?”

“Gwyneth Paltrow.”

“WHAT?”

“Oh… You mean – ”

“Was it your or Laurel’s idea?”

“Both…”

“I don’t know what to say…”

“Junk Email Folder” by Julia on her couch


Friday December 4, 2015
9:56pm
5 minutes
from an email account

It’s been 5 consecutive days that I haven’t called you. It could have been 6 but one of those calls was out of my control and it would have happened no matter what. I don’t want to hear your voicemail again. I want to hear you. I want you to pick up and just say my name one last time.
I know it’s over. But I can’t help myself. I’ve checked your emails every day since you left. I know what you’ve sent, what you’ve said, what you’ve done, and how you feel. From some in the first few weeks, I knew you were unhappy too. But then…one day after I told myself to stop, I got this urge to log myself in…

“Attackers might be trying to steal” by Sasha at Culprit Coffee Co.


Thursday, July 2, 2015 at Culprit
3:43pm
5 minutes
A notice from Google

Paddling down the river, I shout at the top of my lungs, “BERNADETTE!”
We’ve broken up three weeks ago and there’s a haze of grief and longing between me and the Algonquin wilderness. I want it to go away, but I also clutch to it. If I lose this, I’ve lost her.
Marc makes s’mores and says he’s “never seen me so blue.” He hands me a perfectly melted marshmallow and I put the whole thing in my mouth. My tongue chars.
“Man! What the fuck?! I just took that off of the fire!” He passes me his Nalgene. My eyes tear but I don’t feel anything.
On the water the next morning, we see two loons. One calls for the other despite her being right there.
“BERNADETTE!”

“I was just, like, wondering” by Julia at her desk


Friday, April 10, 2015
11:39pm
5 minutes
Overheard at W Caffe

I’m always wondering
Where will I go
And if I should carry you
With me
Will I know?
I’m always wondering
What will I be
And If I should stay with you
Or leave
Will I see?
I’m always wondering
If I am strong
And if I should hold you close
To me
Will I be wrong?
I’m always wondering
What should I say
And if I can forgive you
For me
Would I fly away?
I’m always wondering
Is this the end
And if I can feel you
With me
Will our hearts mend?
I’m always wondering
Can I be great
And will you please free me
From you
Will I be saved?

“our only option!” By Sasha on her couch


Sunday, April 12, 2015
10:03pm
5 minutes
A text message from Sarah

Margot had never planned on living in the Five Alive Motel, it just sorta happened. When she and Lucy split up, Lucy got Suki, their German Shepard, which meant she got to keep the apartment. “What do I get?! What do I even get?!” Margot had shrieked until her voice was horse. Lucy had given her the cast iron frying pan, the red Rubbermaid blender and a teapot that her mother had given them when they first moved in together.

The Five Alive actually has a different name, but it smells like Five Alive so Margot calls it that. “Better than urine!” She jokes to the cashier at the IGA. She’s stocking up on nacho fixings, the primary food group for the broken hearted. She chooses her salsa carefully, switching it up every time in pursuit of the perfect blend of sweet, spicy and tangy. “When ya movin’ on, hon?” Asks the cashier, all feathered bangs and chipped coral nail polish. “Moving on?” Margot opens the bag of tortilla chips and starts stuffing them in her mouth. It was then, tongue burning with salt, cheeks being torn open by the sharp edges, that she realizes she’s been at the Five Alive for seven weeks. “Shit,” she says, reaching across the checkout, chip bag extended towards the cashier.

“Hair Design Inc.” by Sasha on her couch


Monday May 19, 2014
10:49pm
5 minutes
from insurance papers

He gets the east side, I get the west. When we broke up, I laid it out. “I expect that you won’t travel west of Spadina and I won’t go east of Yonge. Deal?” “Deal.” He said. We shook on it. His hand was cold and my palm was sweaty. I cried into the carpet after he left for about forty five minutes and then that was it. That was the size of my grief. You’d think that after six years and three apartments, there might be more than that. He gets the east and I get the west, right? Wrong. Kathleen just moved to… Riverdale. “God!” I shouted at her when she told me the news. “Jason and I got a great one bedroom on Degrassi!” She said, all excited. “He got the east side…” I said, after she furrowed her eyebrows. “Isn’t that a little… infantile?” She said.

“The Psychology of Colour” by Julia on her couch


Monday December 30, 2013
10:06pm
5 minutes
www.stumbleupon.com

Apparently the plum colour she bought was meant to signify “confidence”. She believed it I guess. I guess because she didn’t have any to begin with. She planned it out, thought she might wear it to Christmas dinner to show her brother that she was fine without him and that it wasn’t because of her “twisted smile” that made him “run away” She wanted to show him that she was brave and bold and all the things he thought she wasn’t. To hurt her? Maybe. To help her? She rationalized. He, if she had to pick, would be brown, the colour of practicality and ultimately boredom. She didn’t see a colour that he would wear anyway. None of them jumped out at her because he wasn’t a very good person and all the colours on the wheel seemed way too nice for him anyway. Maybe red, the colour of hunger and rage, and the devil. That made sense to her. She was new to this ‘psychology of colour’.She was trying to channel calm, in the light blue, and lightness in the bright yellow.

“Freedom to give” by Sasha at Tarragon Theatre


Tuesday October 8,2013 at Tarragon Theatre
10:14pm
5 minutes
Universal Freedom
George Krokos


Do you want the cast iron pan? Your mom gave it to us when we first… You know what, why don’t you just have it. I mean, you make that cornbread and all those… omelettes. But, you have to season it, Sam… If you don’t, it goes all flakey and, well, like, Google how to season it, okay? Shit. I, I, I… This is… This was… I need more boxes. I’m gonna go to No Frills, wanna come? Or, maybe that’s… a bad idea. I just, I, I appreciate your, like, gentle way. How you’re being gentle? I’m, I hate this shit, this wrapping and labelling and having to remember if it’s your copy of To Kill a Mockingbird or… You know what? If you don’t mind, I’ll keep the pan. I love that pan. They don’t make them like that anymore so…

“I can’t even go on Facebook today” by Sasha in the Alberta Theatre Projects Rehearsal Hall


Wednesday, July 10, 2013
7:14pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha in the rehearsal hall

She couldn’t believe that you did it over text message. “Hey V, this isn’t working. I’m sorry. B” She couldn’t believe that you didn’t even take the time to write her full name. She called you thirty nine times, never leaving a message, but waiting til the voicemail kicked in so that you’d have to delete, you’d have to spend time thinking about what you’d done. She sent you a single e-mail. It read: “You are the absolute worst.” She didn’t sign off. She didn’t fill in the subject line.

She’s been playing this game. She’s been seeing how many Pringles she can fit into her mouth at once. She asked me to change her Facebook password because she can’t go on. She’ll creep you. She’ll look at and maybe even download every picture that you’re tagged in. She won’t be able to resist Liking your status from a couple of weeks ago that involved a hike in the hills and her beautiful sunburn.

“Every time we drop our bombs” by Julia on her bed


Friday, April 19, 2013
2:18pm
5 minutes
A quote by Martin Luther King Jr.

You looked at me with sad eyes and told me, I’m over this. I said, Babe, babe, and you said, No, no. I was holding on to something that looked like you, sounded like you, smelled like you. It wasn’t you, though. You had already left, long ago, bags pre-packed and sitting in the hallway. You were a just in case kind of lover. You hoped for the best and prepared for the worst, just in case I disappointed you. I did, I guess, which is why you had sad eyes and tried so hard to tell me with as few words as possible. You said, I wish I wasn’t sorry about this. I said, Babe, babe.
You said, It’s not easy for me either. I said, Babe, babe.
You tragically pushed the watch I bought you into my lap and said, I can’t. I looked at you holding a watch that, in my mind, was yours even if I bought it, because how the hell is that ever going to fit me? To fit anyone ever again? I said, Please. You said, No, no. Every time I drop the ball, you decide to drop something too. One of those hurt bombs that explode in my face and get me thinking about society and how this whole world is going to shit. And I can think outside myself because I’m good that way. I don’t need any help. All I need is for you to stay here, talk it out.
I waited till you stood up and I said, Babe, babe. You looked at me again with sadder eyes than before and you said, No, No.

“from lips to hips” by Sasha at her desk


Tuesday, April 2, 2013
11:32pm
5 minutes
Sandpaper
Satish Verma


I want it to go faster. “Faster,” I say, breathless, breath high, breath low, breath on your cheek, in your ear. “Stop being so bossy,” you respond, sweaty, face so close I can smell your morning coffee, consumed quicker than a mudslide. “I’m not,” switch positions, I’m o top now, “You told me you like it when I tell you what I want…” You close your eyes. Are you tuning me out? Tuning into the feeling in your gut, in your toes, in your places I can’t quite touch yet. “Stop fucking talking,” you say, but soft, but slow, but almost warm. I think about why we broke up, how we broke up, your face looking like the full moon when we broke up. “I love you,” you say. Shit shit shit shit shit. This wasn’t supposed to happen, no one was supposed to fall, backwards.