“Don’t tell her what?” By Julia on her couch

Sunday December 3, 2017
10:14pm
5 minutes
The Humans
Matt Haig

You’re waiting for me to join you at the table.
You have been hungry since yesterday.
I am busy finding old books with the right message.
“There’s an answer in one of these.” I tell you.
“I don’t think you’re going to find what you’re looking for.” You say.
On the table is a feast and you were sweet enough to go pick it up.
I am hungry too, but maybe not for rice or salmon.
I am hungry for answers. I want to know so many things.
I think that’s why sleeping has been hard.
I keep trying to turn over old concepts in my brain
without getting any new information.
You’re waiting at the table and you do not make me feel bad.
You don’t ask me to hurry up like you usually do.
Eventually we will both have to eat and I will have to wait.
I can’t remember if the message is in a book or in a dream I once had.
I flip through the pages without looking.
I knnow there is some guidance here if I trust it.
“What are you doing?” You ask.
“Praying” I say.
“What are you praying for?” You ask.
“For me. For you. For us.” I say.

“I wanted to go on sitting there” by Sasha at the casita

Friday October 20, 2017
10:47am
5 minutes
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurer

Mama’s talking about the spaceship’s coming and Papa’s yelling at her to “SHUT UP, CLARISSA!” Petey reaches for Mama and flings his glass of milk off the table and he wails and wails. I take him upstairs and change him into his PJ’s. Mama and Papa yell a bit and Mama cleans up the mess. Kimmy still isn’t speaking and we’re all worried about that.

“The aliens are coming tonight, Phil!” Yells Mama and Papa rubs his temples like he always does.

Petey looks so cute in his one piece red number and I make faces at him so he doesn’t hear the strangeness. He smiles his big toothless moon smile and for a moment everything feels alright.

“Thank you for delivering your promise…” By Sasha in Mississauga

Thursday September 28, 2017
6:51pm
5 minutes
From an email

When Mona calls she sounds stressed. More so than usual. She always sounds stressed but today she sounds wired. I ask her what’s up and she says that she lost her prescription and she’s been off her meds. I ask her if she wants me to drive down and she says absolutely not, I’ve got the kids this week and… I tell her it’s no trouble, that I promised Aunt Barb that I’d look out for her. There’s a long silence. I ask if she wants to come to dinner. She says, “Yes.”

“This one has more nuts” By Julia at the studio


Wednesday September 13, 2017
6:28pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Bump n’ Grind

Last night I thought I’d woo you with a sage butter walnut sauce
in my dreams the slick pasta would make you hard instantly
then you’d fuck me on the counter top
taking breaks to slurp back another slippery noodle
Last night I made a sage butter walnut sauce
Okay, margarine
I should have grinded the nuts more
I should have put fewer in
You ate three bowls and we didn’t fuck once
You asked why I wasn’t talking
I said these walnuts are killing me
You laughed
it really wasn’t funny
I told you sometimes I’m not sure how deep this
sadness lives
You interrupted me then, the first real thing I’d said
in days
to tell me how much you liked the sage
I guess dreams really do come true

“Popeye was right!” By Sasha at her desk


Friday June 16, 2017
10:46pm
5 minutes
La Dolce Vegan
Sarah Kramer


When your mother brings home Steve, the third potential stepfather, you are immediately sceptical of his black goatee and reddish, greying hair. You know that that is not how nature works. Steve is the “assistant manager” (oh-kay) at the mechanic on the corner of First and MacDonald. His brother is the owner. His brother, according to Michelle St. Bernard, is almost a millionaire. Something about good investments, or the stock market, or Atlantic City. You and Tina kick each other under the table as your mother giggles at Steve’s jokes. You get a few of them, and want to laugh because they are not half bad, but you don’t. Out of solidarity with Tina. Out of mourning for your father. Steve says something about the spinach and rice pilaf and your mother says something about Popeye. Tina’s eyes light up.

“it will be a tight squeeze” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday May 27, 2017
12:17am
5 minutes
http://www.onceuponachef.com

“It will be a tight squeeze, but we can fit you in over there by the window?” Mark yawns. He wishes he didn’t have to do this shit. He knows Gary would kill for a seventy dollar steak. He wishes that Gary could come and put on this charade. He wishes that he could rock the twins to sleep and then watch the Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu.

“By the window is fine,” says Ken. It’s their third business dinner out this week. “Mr. Sanders will be here any minute.” The hostess – tall, black boots, white cocktail dress, pink lipstick – walks them to the table.

“Chickpeas / tahini” by Julia on her couch


Monday May 1, 2017
11:06pm
5 minutes
from a grocery list

in the event of me being put
in charge to host a dinner
party
I would air on the side of
Italian
garnish with
basil
everywhere
tomato
garlic/bread
The music would be chosen with
more stress than should
accompany
a fun night
with friends
eventually confident
Golden Oldies
no one can hate the Golden fucking Oldies
and if they arrive early
(and they always do)
there will be a cheese based
plate or chips, or dips, or good
conversation, until
the food I mistimed
is ready to be served
All Oldies All The Time

“While I watched a yellow caterpillar” by Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 29, 2017
11:24pm
5 minutes
Standing
Shel Silverstein


My sister had dance class on Thursday nights. My Mom would take her there. I’m not sure what she would do while my sister danced – did she read a book? Eat a chocolate chip cookie? See a friend?

My Dad and I would be home alone together. This was rare. It was treasured. The King and Queen would come for dinner. We would eat something my Mom had left on the stove for us.

Afterwards, when the food had settled and the King and Queen had left, we would go into the dining room and dance to Dire Straits. Sometimes I would dance on my own feet and sometimes my Dad would pick me up.

“Clear eyes” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday February 18, 2017
7:47pm
5 minutes
Friday Night Lights

“What would you like for dinner?” He said.
“Pasta?” She said.
“I thought we were getting off wheat?” He said.
“Pizza?” She said.
He smiled.
She kept her eyes on her books, sure that if she moved them that she’d lose what she’d learned.
“Salad?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
She was unenthused though.
“Soup?” He said.
“Yes! Soup!” She said.
It was still cold out and she needed the nourishing warmth of something hot and filling.
“Lentil?” He said.
“Sure.” She said.
He watched her, so focused, and he thought about the first time he met her. He thought about her clear eyes.
“So rare,” he’d told his mother. “So rare to see such clear eyes.”

“provide reasonable protection” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday, September 1, 2016
9:51pm
5 minutes
From an external hard drive warranty

Margie adds a scoop of cumin to the chilli and watches a cardinal land on the big old maple that has seen it all. Craig putters in the basement. Jazz plays on the radio. She hasn’t been cooking much this winter, what with the tragedy at the school, and so many long hours. It feels good to have soaked the beans, stewed the tomatoes, chopped the garlic, onions, peppers and sweet potato, and toasted the spices, just the way her mother taught her. There won’t be cornbread, but there will be a thick nest of old cheddar on top. “Almost ready?” Craig calls up. He’s hungry, having met with a struggling student through his lunch break, causing him to forget to eat. Margie often finds sandwiches in Craig’s briefcase from days before. She shakes her head. He cares so much, she thinks, putting turkey and swiss, ham and cucumber, rye with almond butter and banana, right into the compost pail on the counter.

“creamed corn with beer” by Sasha at Foundry Rd.


Monday July 4, 2016
10:16pm
5 minutes
Visiting my Sisters
Phil Hall


Vince likes his creamed corn with beer. He eats this on Sundays, because Sundays are lazy. Mondays Vince has a tuna melt with three dill pickles. Counts as his vegetables. That and the celery. “Good amount of veg,” thinks Vince. Tuesdays Vince goes for wings with Andy. Might even have a beer if he’s feeling deserving. Always gets Honey Garlic. He can’t handle heat. Andy makes fun of him, every week, because he gets Suicide. Vince used to laugh but doesn’t anymore. He doesn’t get how a joke can be funny the four hundredth time.

“how she wants to move herself” by Julia at Starbucks


Monday June 27, 2016 at Starbucks
7:04am
5 minutes
Apartment Hunting in the East End
Don Austin


How she wants to move herself is her business! My father exclaims from behind the island in the kitchen as he emphatically chops up the rabbit he’s getting ready for dinner. Why are we all spending so much time worrying about her? His cleaver comes down hard and clean, splitting leg from torso. I don’t know, Honey, I think this is a call for help. Tanya needs us right now and we’re just watching her spiral! My mother remains at her makeshift office in the corner of the dining room that connects to the kitchen. Her glasses are balancing on the tip of her nose. She wants to pay a bunch of strangers to crack her mind open so they can fill it back up with useless garbage!
Rita, my father shakes his head. We don’t need to get involved. She’s a grown woman. We did our job already. I don’t know, I just don’t know, my mother grumbles to herself.

“It’s a little big now” by Julia on the 84


Thursday May 19, 2016
8:14pm
5 minutes
overheard at Kafka’s

he was cooking dinner on the island
he liked to call it his ‘cutting station’
where he did most of his cutting
not me
i liked to use the counters by the fridge
i don’t really like the feeling
of floating in the middle of something
just dangling out there
alone
he asked me what my favourite thing to eat was
when i told him i said but it has to be the way
my dad used to make it
he said not to worry
he said he would take care of me
when i looked at his ‘cutting station’
i couldn’t see one ingredient that matched
the items i told him
all the things necessary to make
my favourite thing to eat
i tried not to be bothered by it
or to worry
he said he would take care of me and
i had to
trust him
but i could smell the veggies cooking
and i could tell that he wasn’t
getting
it
right
and so i was bothered by it
and i did worry
and i missed my dad
in that moment more than ever
nothing is the same after your favourite loves die
not life
not dinner

“Get just the right pick-me-up” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday March 15, 2016
12:00am
5 minutes
pulpliterature.com

You go to sleep early because you’ve been up since 6:27am and you say that the mountains have made you tired again. I can hear you breathing from behind the living room wall. You sound like you’re trying to send me tiny signals as I stay up to paint my nails. I don’t like to go to sleep after you but it’s been happening more and more these days. I am racing against daylight and I can’t afford to take short cuts right now. I know your body’s heat by this time. I know that there’s a softness there in the curve of your back that fits most of my organs perfectly. I picture that spot while I think simultaneously about chicken thighs with preserved lemon or that surprise weekend getaway golden ticket you gave me for my birthday last June. You told me to pick wherever I wanted to go. I told you we could close our eyes, point on the map and go where our fingers land.

“In my house we never had enough” by Julia on her bed


Tuesday March 8, 2016
9:49pm
5 minutes
The Artist’s Way
Julia Cameron


In my house we never had enough moments of pure ease–we had some tensions around the dinner table–us correcting dad’s grammar, one little one getting in trouble for skipping school again, the big on getting in trouble for wanting to leave the dinner table to go work on her homework, the middle one getting in trouble for slamming the door earlier.
“Eat what’s on your plate”
“Eat this or don’t eat”
If you don’t eat what’s on your plate, you can’t leave the table”
We couldn’t say we weren’t hungry–we couldn’t say we didn’t want the risotto or the second day fried spaghetti or the chicken scallopini or the veal fettine with lemon and parsley. How could we say we don’t want to eat these good things with you when you get mad at us for BREATHING.
“You should feel so lucky you get to eat like this”
“You should see what the other kids have to eat every night: pasta from a can, tuna salad sandwiches”
“But we like tuna”
“Not for dinner we don’t”
Some moments reeked of attempted ease.
A joke here–him trying to steal a fork full of meat off our plates when weren’t looking–a question about the neighbour’s dog.

“No need to hurry” by Sasha on her porch


Saturday, July 18, 2015
11:43am
5 minutes
From an email

No need to hurry, Si. You’ll trip! Your shoelaces are undone… Silas! Shit. Come here. Come here. You’re alright, you’ll be alright. Shhh… Sh… Mikey and Lizz are coming for supper. What shall we make. Burritos? How bout burritos? And you and Mikey can have fizzies and me and Lizz will have grown-up fizzes with wine. Oh. I guess we should stop at the liquor store, then. Or… No, can’t ask Lizz to bring, she’s always so low on cash. Not sure why she doesn’t ask Greg for more spending money. It’s not like he doesn’t have more than enough! And then he takes the kids to Marine Land and gets all the glory while Lizz is left – … Silas? Nevermind. Honey, don’t pick that up. That’s garbage! SILAS! Don’t you dare put that in your mouth. There’ll be no fizzy for you!

“Northern Adventures” by Sasha at the Angel’s Nest


Wednesday, June 10, 2015
10:42pm
5 minutes
from a pamphlet

Last night I fried zucchini with garlic and I fed it to you with my fingers. You leaned in and bit my lip and my eyes filled with tears. “Oh no!” You said, “oh no!” You didn’t draw blood. I fed you more zucchini and you put a tiny piece of garlic in my mouth, too.

The night before you’d shaved off your beard and I was so sad but I smiled because I didn’t want you to feel bad. You touched your face like it didn’t belong to you. “Look at my chin,” you said, jutting it out.

“residents at a homeless shelter” by Julia at Dalston Kingsland Station


Wednesday December 10, 2014
9:33pm
5 minutes
from howlround.com

Sel walks in and she’s so happy. I see her face from behind the desk and I know she’s gonna give me some good news. After the day I’ve been having, it wouldn’t take much. I keep working so the surprise feels more real. I know she’s gonna come up to me and tell me right away so I make her work for it a tiny bit.
She has to stop herself from skipping all the way to the desk, but I’m there stapling, labelling, checking off boxes until she sees she has to request me. You busy, Middy? And I stop what I’m doing for a brief second. Mhm, same same. Would you be able to take a quick break then, Middy? And I stop fully, look her in the eyes. What can I help you with, Sel? There’s that big smile again. Oh, nothing! I’ve got it all sorted! Got what all sorted, Sel? And she holds up a bag of Roasted Chicken and Thyme potato crisps. You got yourself the munchies there, Sel? And she laughs. Don’t worry about the Christmas budget this year, Middy! THESE TASTE EXACTLY LIKE A TURKEY DINNER.

“It’s almost like cheating.” By Sasha at her kitchen table


Thursday September 11, 2014
6:02pm
5 minutes
from an interview with Emma Healey in papirmasse

She peels the avocado, bit by bit. She thinks she’s alone. Henry is home from his job in the stock room of the grocery store. He’s brought a bottle of sparkling water. The cap is dented. “Can’t sell it,” he says. “There’s an easier way of doing that, Mom,” says Henry. She jumps. “Jesus! I thought you were downstairs!” He smiles. He walks into the kitchen. “Why are you doing it like that?” “Because it’s slower.” “That doesn’t make any sense..” “Why not?” “Because… we’re hungry!” She smiles, now, such a similar smile. Both Henry and Amelia got her smile. Sylv’s nose and her smile. It’s nice. “Dinner will be ready by six thirty. I’m taking my time. I like doing it like this. It’s satisfying. Now leave me alone or… help.” Henry takes another avocado and cuts it carefully in half. He scoops on the flesh with a spoon.

“roasted fennel” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 15, 2014
8:40pm
5 minutes
A post on Instagram

Sam made salmon and roasted fennel last night. “I’m gonna make you dinner,” he said, a carry bag over his shoulder and the car keys swinging around his index finger. He returned from the market with a grin and a wink. I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be an Oscar,” he whispered into my ear. “Don’t be a grouch,” he means. What a dweeb. I was working on a deadline for an editor I am desperately hoping to impress. “I’m going to keep the house exceptionally clean,” said Sam, mopping the kitchen floor. “You’re an angel,” I repeat daily. He is. He is an angel. “Dinner’s ready!” Sam calls and when I enter the kitchen, a few minutes later, he’s using his grandmother’s dish-ware and has lit three candles. He’s turned the lights down and he’s poured me a glass of wine. “You’re so dedicated. You inspire me,” he says, kissing me. He tastes like he’s been testing things, making sure they’re flavoured just right. A dash of paprika, a stroke of miso on the fish, roasted garlic, fennel brushed with olive oil and rosemary.

“marvellous night” by Sasha in her bed


Saturday March 22, 2014
5:23pm
5 minutes
Moondance
Van Morrison


It’s a really good night for a meatloaf, honey, and don’t try to tell me different. I got some ground beef and pork from the Cattleman’s Market and I’ll mix that up for ya’ with onions and breadcrumbs. I’ll spread bacon and ketchup on top, just how you like it. Honey, what do ya’ like with your meatloaf? A salad? Some potato salad? Steam some potatoes, throw in some mayo and call it a “salad”? Ha ha ha!

I wasn’t meaning to insult you when I said that those ear hairs are getting long. I wasn’t meaning to insult you, honey. It’s just… at the Shop. People were snickering! And I know you don’t like when I sneak up on you when you’re sleeping with the little scissors and try to get in there! You don’t like that! How else am I supposed to…

Okay. I’ll drop it. Honey. I’m sorry. I’ll drop it. Yes. Go read the paper and dinner will be ready in an hour.

Want a scotch? Honey?

“can be eaten off paper plates” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday March 19, 2014
8:18pm
5 minutes
Kinfolk Issue Eleven

She tells me every time, “Linds, don’t worry so much, we’ll just by a whole wad of those styrofoam thingies–” and I say, “You mean plates, Mom?” And she says, “Yeah well whatever they are, you know what I mean.”
I say to her, “You know those ‘whatevers’ are not good for the environment, right?” And she just laughs and tells me, “We’ve gotten this far by using them, haven’t we!? Nobody’s quite died yet!” I am at the point in my life where all I want to do is host a proper dinner party without using paper anything. “Cloth napkins!” I remember, “Those are way better. Sophisticated.” She shrugs it off like I’m making the biggest mistake of my life, and I want to wring her neck a little bit and tell her that this is a dinner for some close family and not the end of the godforsaken world. “Linds, you’re just so hell-bent on proving how much better you are than everyone and I worry about that showing through. You don’t want to allante your dinner guests!” “Alienate, Mom. It’s alienate.”

“everyone is committed” by Julia at her kitchen table


Tuesday March 18, 2014
11:21pm
5 minutes
from an essay by Deborah Stein about collaboration on howlround.com

Round the table we sit, Liddy pissed off because she still has to sit at the kiddy table made worse by the fact that her name rhymes with it. Adrianna can’t move her face because of the recent Botox and so Ed keeps making jokes just to see her not laugh. Darla is still in the shitter after eating a wad of mashed potatoes because Tyson dared her to defy her lactose intolerance. Mom is singing her happy song because she’s trying not to go insane and Dad is trying to get the kids to stop trying to undred Liddy’s hair. The food is mediocre and I’m trying to give Liddy looks of encouragement but she hates me most of all right now. Maybe because I left. Maybe because I came back. I never know with her. I sneak pour her a glass of wine and try to pass it over without anyone noticing.

“the porn industry” by Julia on her couch


Saturday March 15, 2014
3:07pm
5 minutes
from a web series break down

I come home early from work and don’t tell him, don’t call him, don’t surprise him that I am. I see he’s sleeping on the couch, the News blaring without him even flinching to notice. I never want to see him like this because it makes me feel old, and it makes him seem young. Today’s his day to have the house. We agreed on it before. I told him I wouldn’t be home till 8 or 9, and he said, come when you come! I think coming at 6 is too early for the plans we agreed on and I’m not mad at him for sleeping. I’m glad he is. I just wish I didn’t have to see it. It’s not something I can explain much better than that. But it doesn’t work for me, so I think tomorrow I will come home when I’m supposed to, after he’s had a chance to rest from his long day of lifting. He starts much earlier than I do. 5 AM. I would think if he didn’t nap during the afternoon he would be a zombie by dinner, so I know he does it for me. Especially when he waits for me to come home every night so we can eat together. He doesn’t have to do that, but I think it’s nice that he does.
I don’t want to take away from his day and his time, so I quietly make some crackers and cheese in the kitchen and sit down to the computer. I see the tabs that are all open: Global Tv, Life Hacks, How to get American Netflix, Best Banana Bread Recipes, and Hard..Harder..Hardest.

“a broken-down piano” by Sasha on the Bathurst streetcar


Wednesday November 20, 2013
12:32am
5 minutes
from the Jared Leto Wikipedia page

All that was in the room was three nearly-empty bookshelves and a broken-down piano. When I walked in I called for you. You weren’t there yet, you’d gotten caught in a traffic jam up near the park. There was no place to sit so I stood, near one of the huge windows. I looked out. I coughed. It was dusty. I thought I heard a voice, one that sounded like a molasses and brandy. “Hello?!” I called. I went to the piano and played a chord my mother had taught me. “You play?” I don’t know how you’d opened the door without making a sound. “No,” I blushed, “I mean, I try, but I don’t exactly…” You smiled. “You hungry?” I wasn’t. “Are you?” “Always.” We haven’t even hugged yet! I don’t understand how this happens, how two people can see eachother and not… “Let me show you something.” You take my hand and lead me up the winding staircase. On the way you stop and tell me that you have an appointment at eight so we probably won’t have time to get anything fancy for dinner.

“Would you trust a mouse” by Sasha on the streetcar going East


Sunday November 10, 2013
6:32pm
5 minutes
alive magazine October 2013

“Would you trust a mouse?” Jack asks Alice. His glasses have spaghetti sauce on them. “No way!” Alice says. “Would you trust a camel?” Jack slurps a noodle. “Nope!” Alice says. She’s picking off clumps of parmesan cheese and putting them on her extended tongue. “Would you trust… a… tiger?” Jack looks very pleased with himself. Annie thinks for a second. She takes a noodles and stretches it between two fingers. “Yes.” “Why?!” Jack looks shocked. “Because of their stripes,” Annie says, matter-of-fact. That’s enough logic for Jack.

“The span of my hips.” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Sunday October 27, 2013
11:02pm
5 minutes
Phenomenal Woman
Maya Angelou


“Goddamnit, Shirley!” Hank forgets about the cans she’s collecting for the Food Drive. He wants to be able to walk into his house and not have to, for once, step over a bunch of nonsensical stuff. It is usually costumes for the plays at Church. It is sometimes boxes of books she’s found on the side of the road that she brings to the Shelter and gives to the women there. “What?” Shirley calls from the basement. She’s glue-gunning tassels to white skirts for the Winter Concert. The girls are going to icicles. “I said, Goddamnit!” Shirley comes up the stairs, pins in her mouth. She furrows her brow at Hank. It says enough. “What’s for dinner?” She motions to the oven with her head, turns, and goes back down the stairs. Hank opens the oven door and sees the pot-roast. His mouth waters. Goddamn Shirley, but God bless her cooking.

“Only need touchin’ up” by Julia on her couch


Friday, September 20, 2013
4:55pm
5 minutes
Judevine
David Budbill


Hey there Anna, ho there Anna! Hi there–
Okay, Ol, I get it. We all get it.
Just being polite, Anna!
I know you are, Ol, but no right now, please, it’s been a rough day.
Wanna talk about it, Anna?
No, Ol, not at all.
I’m here if you need me, wanna chat my ear off or if you’re looking for a small, yet effective back rub then I’m your guy.
Thanks, Ol. Maybe later.
Is it work, Anna?
Yes and no, Ol.
Something or someone?
I’m said I don’t really want to talk about it. What are you hungry for tonight?
Chicken fingers and French fries!
Again, Ol? You had that yesterday and the day before. Why don’t you try something new tonight. It’ll be fun.
I will if you tell me what’s bothering you, Anna. I will make you a deal and seal it with a handshake.
I’ll think about it.

“their best shots are” by Sasha at the table at Knowlton Lake


Friday, July 26, 2013
8:32pm
5 minutes
The Cut-Up Method of Brion Gysin

Hit me with your best shot, motherfucker. You got that look on you face, that look on your face like you already know what’s gonna happen. Like you know that I’m gonna leave her and go downstairs and get a nice mickey and forget that I’m supposed to pick them up at seven. You’re not a psychic, okay, you don’t know. I actually came here to tell you somethin’ nice, somethin’ kind, I was going to be the good guy here, I was gonna give you a present. But, you just start railing into me about child support and how the apartment’s got rats and how Molly needs a new fucking backpack! Like, give me a fucking chance, you dumb bitch! Sorry. I don’t mean that. Barb, I just, I’m tired. I’ve been working overtime, like, this was my eighteenth day in a row or something and, I’m, I’m exhausted. I think it’s better if they stay with you tonight? Maybe I can come and get ‘em for dinner tomorrow or somethin’, then you don’t have to worry about cooking? Go get your nails done… on me. Go get some nice French tips!

“when her man got bagged” by Julia on her parents’ deck in Baden


Sunday, May 19, 2013
1:59pm
5 minutes
DECODED
Jay-Z


A hundred things were floating in her head, I guess you could say, about the crash, or the garden. She was lost in her own list-making at the time when she heard. Avery told her he was coming home for dinner and Alice made a point about being late because things never start on time there anyway. Lydia was in shambles and making lists about which pieces she was going to glue back together inside her brain first. When Avery didn’t show up at all, and Alice came an hour late to prove something or other, Lydia started to do the shaking thing that happened to her left hand when she felt God talking to her. She was listening, setting the vibrations, getting ready for the bad news to come. She knew about it before it even happened, it’s safe to say. Alice arrived and didn’t even know something was the matter. She was wrapped up in making everyone around her notice her and her new blonde hair do. Avery never misses dinner, Alice finally noticed. But Lydia had already started with the list making. She went outside to pick a few sprigs of rosemary, Alice trailing behind talking about some new scissors she wanted, when she saw it. There in the garden, with boulders holding down his hands and feet.

“If asked a question; meander” by Sasha on her couch


Thursday, May 16, 2013
3:55pm
5 minutes
Environs
T.P White


It’s funny how the questions just keep coming and all I do is smile. “Where did you leave the keys?” “What time is the neurologist appointment?” “What’s for dinner?” “What are we getting Jenny for her birthday?” Smile, smile, smile. It’s the easiest answer. You can take whatever meaning you’d like – yes, or, no.

One time, you asked me what I thought about grapefruits. This was a long time ago. I had a contrived, long-winded, intellectual answer. I indeed gave you what I “thought”. Now, now that I’ve packed away the file-folders and recipe cards, the address book and the alarm clock, now? I would say, “wait here!” I would walk to the fruit stand. I would find the most beautiful, ripe, succulent grapefruit. I would buy it, and only it. I would arrive home and you wouldn’t have moved, you’d have waited, patiently. I’d peel the whole thing, while you watched. I’d break every section apart, making a sun on the table. I’d feed you each piece, you, licking the juice from my fingers.

“Don’t ignore” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday May 1, 2013
1:11am
5 minutes
from a sign on the subway for Bladder Cancer Canada

Don’t ignore the signs, he tells me, braiding bread before brushing it with egg whites. I don’t believe in signs, I say, peeling a sweet potato. You’re ridiculous, he says, closing the oven door without looking over. His parents will be here in two hours. I’d hoped we’d have sex, to ease the tension. Hey, I say. Wanna…? He furrows his brow. Later, he says. Okay… I spin lettuce dry. I whisk together olive oil, lemon, honey, dijon, salt. He comes up behind he and puts his hands on my stomach. I suck in. Babe, I’ve got to put the chicken in. He walks away, slowly. Where are you going, I call. I need to run to the wine store. He’s out the door quickly. He must be wearing sandals. I hate it when he does that. There’s still snow on the ground for God sake. I get a call ten minutes later, as I’m shoving cloves of garlic up the chicken’s butt, and dousing her in butter and rosemary. Italian? He asks, the connection bad. Spanish, I shout. Why are you yelling, he asks. I thought…

“In all times and all countries,” by Sasha at King’s Cafe


Monday, April 8, 2013 at King’s Cafe
4:12pm
5 minutes
The Three Muskateers
Alexandre Dumas


Henry wished that he’d remembered to wash the lettuce. When he saw how pretty Deb looked he felt bad that he’d rushed, that he hadn’t changed his shirt, that he’d bought a pre-made Chicken Pot Pie and claimed it as his own. “Wow,” said Deb, after her first bite, “you really know how to cook!” She looked so excited, so filled with genuine admiration for the trouble that he’d gone to. He almost confessed, but then thought about how he’d have to explain why he’d lied in the first place. “Thanks,” he muttered, “it’s just simple.” He hadn’t washed the lettuce because he hated having to put it through the spinner. He remembered her saying how she loved caesar dressing, but not the creamy kind, the vinaigrette. It was one of their first conversations on the phone, and they were talking about some of their favorite things. Deb: sleeping in; the smell of basements; caesar vinaigrette; rhubarb pie; sharp pencils. Henry: motorcycles; a new toothbrush; well groomed feet; sweet potato pie; the sound of traffic. She’d laughed, her Tinker-bell laugh, that’s what Henry called it. She looked less like a fairy and more like a queen. But she laughed like Tinker-bell. It made Henry miss Alice, his first wife, with her hearty, full, laugh. He had a pang, but sent it away with a bit of the pie.

“the house full of good smells” by Julia on her couch


Friday, March 21, 2013
2:01am
5 minutes
The 100 Mile Diet
Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon


My daddy used to say it, used to say, Oh what a happy home! Taking in the smells of me mum’s cooking, coming back from a long day at work, he was, trying to make ends meet for me and me brother and me mum. What a good dad! Always bringing us home some nice treats. Sometimes a biscuit from the market or if we were good, a nice old basket of perfect plums. I liked the plums the best because it meant he was in a good mood, had all the time in the world to fix us up a proper treat. My daddy would come home with such a happy tone, yell up to me and me brother, waiting at the front door for us to run down and crawl into his skin with our laughter. Such a good dad. And me mum would wait there in the kitchen, looking on at us all, saying, well is it him or is it the lord Jesus saviour man? Sounds like it could even be Santa Clause! We’d laugh then, and come running back to show her how nice the plums were, or the jam, or the crisps from his secretary Marsha. She’d say, Not before dinner, it’ll spoil your appetites! And we’d look up at our dad with those big old eyes and wee-one hope, and he’d shake his head at us with his eye on me mum, and say, now you know we can’t be too hasty! Your mum made us a proper meal tonight. Tonight we’re going to celebrate being absolutely alive!

“Is this my tuna?” by Sasha at Dark Horse on Spadina


Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at Dark Horse on Spadina
1:49pm
5 minutes
The woman on the phone in the bus shelter at King and Yonge

You’re an abstract painting, in reds and yellows, mustardy yellows, hanging on the wall in a persons home, a large wall. You’re not in a gallery, or a museum. You’re not in a restaurant. You’re in a home. A home whose inhabitants are tall, and lean, and surprisingly strong-willed, with tight smiles and pressed pants. They have tuna salad sandwiches with the crusts cut off, a cucumber salad on the side for lunch, in the dining room, near you, near the painting. They bought you at a silent auction for three thousand and five hundred dollars. “A steal,” he said, at the time. You’re rarely looked at anymore. You’re rarely noticed. Except when their daughter brings home a friend from graduate school, who “Ohh’s” and “Ahh’s” over you, over the beige leather couch, over the Persian rugs. Don’t feel special. She also does it about the meal, most of which was purchased at the specialty foods store nearby. You, abstract painting, feigning pretention, gobbling any compliment you can get your frame on.

“RAIN (on someone’s statue)” by Julia on her bed


Thursday February 14, 2013
12:28am
5 minutes
The Vampire Cat
Robert Payne


Raining love and stuff, which is nice. It’s unusual, I’ll say that. Don’t usually feel much love on a regular basis. Not his fault. Doesn’t know how to love me. Maybe it’s mine. The fault. I’m sometimes only pretty after eating breakfast and using the mascara wand. He comes home, brings some nice love in. Some donuts, one flower. Also brings in those nine dollar steaks so I know we’re in for a treat. Put on my best dress, the red. The red one with the single bow in the middle there. It is nice. Festive. He thinks so too. Tells me I went and looked nice for him, which I did. Then just pouring out more and more love. Nice comments, which I’ll never forget. Says he is lucky, not sure if he means it. Sounds good anyway. Then sit down beside him at the table. This time beside, usually across. Not really sure why not always beside. Special occasion or something. We are eating the nine dollar steaks, and it’s so very easy. I’m blushing behind my cheeks, don’t want him to see he’s making me feel this nice. Don’t want him to get any self-conscious and stop the nice sayings.
Then he sneezes all big. He doesn’t cover his mouth, just sneezes real big. It’s all over me too now. The sneeze that’s less like love rain and more just like snotty rain.

“I wonder if she’d mind if I’d” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday January 23, 2013
10:42pm
5 minutes
Her…
Jordan Moore


I sit down and hear the waiter walking towards me. He’s a man in his thirties. He has a goatee, green eyes and is taller than I’d have imagined, from the sound of his steps. “Would you like something to drink while you’re waiting?” He asks. I shake my head and murmur a “Thank you.” I don’t think he hears because he looks perturbed when he returns with a glass of water. “I’m, uh, waiting for my son…” I say, in case he was wondering. “That’s nice,” Goatee says, looking over me, towards the door. Christopher had chosen this place. He’d said that they had “the best ever French Onion Soup.” I cannot stand the stuff but how was he to know. I look at my watch. Three minutes past seven. He was late. Maybe he wasn’t coming. Maybe I’d been stood up by a twenty-two year old kid. “Walter?” I feel a hand on my shoulder. I stand and turn, at about the same time, and feel like I’m looking into my own eyes. “Christopher.” His mother had chosen his name. I’d thought it sounded a bit pretentious. “Then we’ll call him Chris for short,” she’d said. No one ever had.

“until it blended” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, December 5, 2012
11:25pm
5 minutes
The Down to Earth Cookbook
Linda Maull and Nancy Fair McIntyre


We started talking about our birthdays, a shared love of avocado toast and whether or not we had a preference for the blues or jazz. We started talking over homemade gnocchi and tomato sauce with a tossed green salad. You’d made both. I’d brought wine, a bottle I’d been saving for a special occasion.

“Isaac, is that you?”
“Polly!”
“My god… You haven’t changed a bit…”
“You look… great!”
There was a silence that was heavy but in a beautiful way. Full. A full silence.
“How are you?” Isaac said.
“I’m… It’s been a rough few years, to be honest…” I couldn’t help but being honest with him, I never could.

Both of our spouses had died in the winter. His wife taken by ovarian cancer and my Dan, having been in a battle with lung cancer since the nineties, killed by a bout of hospital pneumonia. The timing was like a snowflake, melting before us, our youth.

A radio was knocked off a table.” by Sasha on the Subway going West


Saturday,December 1, 2012
5:52pm
5 minutes
Rapture
Susan Minot


A radio was knocked off the table. This was the first of a series of terrible events to occur on a night that should have, that could have, that might have, that… would have, been spectacular. If it weren’t for the new moon and the change of season and the fact that Mona was a few days away from menstruation. Alas, I digress. A radio was knocked off the table. Thus, the music stopped suddenly and without warning, causing Mona to drop the bowl of macaroni salad. If you’ve ever done such an abominable thing you’ll know that such a dish is not easily placed back in the bowl. And if you have a dog, that sheds, especially at the change of season, you’ll know that the unfortunate combination of dog hair and dust bunnies is not particularly the garnish that you were going for. Fighting back tears, Mona had the rather melancholy idea to take a spoon to the salad, on the floor, lest it all be wasted completely. Tim called and said that he was running fifteen minutes late. Thank god, thought Mona, mayonnaise on the bottom of her socks and on the seat of her jeans. Colby Jean, her shedding retriever, as she should call him, took it upon himself to help Mona with the mess when she went to her bedroom to change. In helping, Colby Jean, bless his old heart, ate the rest of the macaroni salad and, twelve minutes later dropped dead. Mona was researching alternative recipes whilst attempting to curl her hair. She heard that unmistakable thud.