“swallowing harder than she intended” by Sasha at the casita

Saturday October 21, 2017
11:00am
5 minutes
The Touch of Aphrodite
Joanna Mansell

You swallow.
I reach across the table and take your hand.
You pull away.
You reach backwards.
Are you stretching?
Are you grasping for…
“Let’s go get ice cream,” I say.
You wrinkle your forehead.
I know this shape well.
You swallow.
“I’m sorry, babe.” I say.
“I know.” You say.
I can’t believe I’ve done it again.
I swallow.
There’s love in your eyes back behind the disappointment.
I hate disappointing you.
A crow flies past the window.
She looks in on us.
She gives sympathy and a caw.
You love crows.
You talk about getting a crow tattoo on your back.
I try to dissuade you usually.
I wouldn’t if you mentioned it now.
“Let’s go get ice cream,” I say.
“It’s raining,” you say. “And freezing cold.”
I stand up and stretch against the counter
Sticking my ass into the back of your head.
“Stop that, Sophie,” you say.
I wiggle.
“Stop,” you say, but softer.

“IT’S TRUE!” By Sasha on her couch


Wednesday March 8, 2017
10:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard in the kitchen

It’s true, Jenna thinks. She does hate to disappoint. “I wouldn’t say that’s the primary thing going on here, though…” Dr. Hendricks looks over her wire rimmed glasses and raises her eyebrows. Jenna has been a patient for long enough to know what this means. “You’re full of shit.”

“You’ll need to investigate your feelings about disappointment, Jenna. We’ll do some of that work here, in session, but you’ll also need to keep a close eye on when you’re feeling disappointed, in yourself or in others, and how that effects your behaviour. Are you lashing out more? Are you quiet? Pay attention.”

“it would be like not listening at all” by Julia at Starbucks


Friday July 8, 2016 at Starbucks
6:49am
5 minutes
When I Am King, Dilly Dilly
Don Cummer


I wake up everyday already loving you, you’re at, let’s say 20%. You know, like a server at a restaurant: I go in and I give you the benefit of the doubt, I start you at a 20% tip and if you mess up by being rude, I knock a couple percent off. I have no ill intentions, I don’t go to a restaurant expecting to be disappointed. I expect kindness. I expect good food. I expect thoughtfulness. And I expect, sometimes more than I should, a freebie of some sort. And then because I’ve eaten out at other restaurants before, I compare this service to that service to this service to that service, and I know when I’m not being treated right. I also know because I was a server once too, and it’s not hard to remember what was involved in a customer experience job. I wake up everyday at the top of my love for you. And then you forget to buy the garbage can again, or print off the movie tickets, or you bring home the light mayonnaise even though I specifically asked you NOT to get the light mayonnaise, for reasons that don’t need to be stated here. I’d say you’re lucky if you’re getting a base tip of 15% by lunch time.

“Packing planner checklist” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 15, 2016 at Starbucks
7:35am
5 minutes
from the Uhaul website

I think T-Lite said she’d meet us at the train station but she didn’t say what time. If she doesn’t show up, we’re screwed, but I don’t want to tell that to Roy yet. He still thinks we’re escaping this place on some magic carpet, flying far far away. I look up at the departure board and Santa Monica has one coming up, the next one not for a few hours. If we’re late, I don’t know what happens to the ones we’re expected to pick up at the station. Roy yawns and takes his heart shaped sunglasses off to rub his eyes. We goin’ or what? He says. Let’s make moves! Yeah, I say, we are, hold tight. Maybe, he tells me, I’ll catch a few z’s before T-Lite gets here, ah? Yeah, find a little spot on the ground, I say. Check for wet. He brings his hands to prayer and bows his head in my direction. I look at my watch again. I sink a little: we are definitely not making this next train.

“I’ve been catfished!” by Julia on the subway going west


Friday March 6, 2015
6:47pm
5 minutes
from a text from Sandra

I’ve been fully tricked
Half baked and eaten
Bowl of fruit and flies
Lights dimmed and lying kind of thing
It wasn’t easy to admit
In fact this is the first time
Felt too vulnerable and stupid
Felt too salty in all my gnashed out skin
Row of fakes
Tray of lies
Cup of deceit steeped to almost ready
And I drank it up gulped it down
Forgot all my faculties
Should have known it needed to cool before tasting
Donated all my wits to the charity drive on 8th
Wished I asked for a deposit on my self-worth

“Courier Mail and Daily Telegraph” by Julia in her bed


Friday Aug 8, 2014
2:05am
5 minutes
http://www.taste.com

I had been waiting for Gina’s response for over three weeks. It was her idea to keep sending lovely hand-written letters to each other once a week but she was getting really bad at it. Her first letters were so open and raw and I could see her mouthing the words as I read them because they just felt so honest. Then they started getting shorter, she’d stop responding to my questions in a way that reminded me of unrequited love by means of questionless text messages. She started signing all her letters with a lipstick kiss, something I always hated having to return due to the inadequate, small, pursed shape my kiss marks made (not the luscious kind you think is the only kind that creates a desirable or kissable mouth when you’re young). By this point Gina was signing her letters with a modest “G” and that was it. Surely she was busy or distracted, or had found a new friend to spend all her time writing quirky opinions to. But what bothered me most was the waiting for her response. I was busy too, or so I liked to believe, and I was always able to write to her.

“not liable for any consequential damages” by Julia at MAKE coffee+stuff


Wednesday June 25, 2014 at MAKE
4:49pm
5 minutes
the Canon Camera User Guide

Of course she’d say that. She’s the kind of person who says things like that. Honestly, Dai, I’m not even remotely surprised by her anymore. Of course not. No, of course not. Because she glides around with this holier than though attitude and I can’t stand it no more. No because why should I? No really, she’s supposed to strut around and not take any responsibility for her actions while I sit here trying to figure out exactly what I’m supposed to do with her? She’s a mess. Dai, I’m telling you, she’s a real problem, you’ll see. What are you telling me for? Go tell her, she’s your damn cousin. Yeah so what, I know we’re all related. When she makes me mad like this I pretend she doesn’t even belong to this family. Because, Dai. Because, Dai. Why I gotta tell you everything, what you don’t think for yourself no more? Honestly? Because of the whole baby thing. I know she didn’t mean to get herself knocked up or nothin’, but it’s her choices, you know, all of them, that lead me to think that she had it planned in some way. Oh you see how happy she is, how smiley she is cause she got the nice warm pink smell of a new baby on her skin.

“YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO” by Julia on her mattress


Wednesday June 18, 2014
10:31pm
5 minutes
The Winnipeg Sun

Cal opened up the tuna can in the worst possible way. He stared at it as if had just witnessed a tragedy, a monstrosity, a moment of true and palpable heart break. He shook his head and stared at it some more. I don’t know what he thought he was going to see by looking at a mangled tuna can until he died, but kept doing it. I wanted to tell him that I wasn’t really into tuna sandwiches anyway so not to worry, but it didn’t quite feel like the right time to bring it up. I’ve never seen anyone destroy a can like that before. There was no opening it fully now to retrieve the contents because the lid was so jammed down that the can opener itself was useless. Cal stared some more at the tuna can from hell with his hands on his hips, utter disbelief for his first world problems caused by his first world ineptitude. I wanted to take the tuna can and throw it out the kitchen window. I wanted to tell Cal that these little things are so stupid and they don’t matter and let’s order a freaking pizza instead, come on it would be such a day saver.Instead I counted how many vowels there are in the word ‘psychosomatic’.

“a wise man” by Julia at the Holiday Inn in Charleston


Tuesday April 22, 2014
1:22am
5 minutes
A plaque beside a photograph

A wise man once told me to never drink vodka without a mixer, a chaser, a plan to get home, and parental supervision.
That wise man did tell me that when I was living under his roof, and after the first time my parents needed to lecture me about safe drinking. He was very nice about it. Thankfully. He was joking around thinking I had gotten enough punishment from the sheer fact that I woke up in somebody else’s clothes with part of my left tooth chipped, a busted nose, and a hangover to rival some of my university days. He was right. It wasn’t exactly my proudest moment. But neither was being 15 and not knowing what being drunk felt like. When you’re 15, even though your parents think you won’t be a problem, you have a bunch of stupid ideas and you scoop them all up in one handful and you make stupid choices. Then you suffer the consequences. And you live the rest of your life remembering how disappointed your mother was when you walked into the kitchen after realizing you couldn’t remember 80% of Lindsey’s party, and then remembering that your father was just slightly okay with giving that life lesson in such a capacity.

The wall at Ezra’s Pound (photo dip) by Sasha at Ezra’s Pound on Dundas by Julia at her kitchen table


Thursday, August 22, 2013
12:48am
5 minutes
IMG_5424
Ezra’s Pound on Dundas

I asked for a mixer on my tenth birthday because I was convinced I was going to be the “cupcake girl” and that everyone would invite me to their birthday parties because they knew that I’d be bringing the best dessert. And even if they didn’t like me, they would never exclude me. I thought this. I guess I figured it would be like Alicia who gave twenty dollar bills in fancy singing cards to anyone who invited her to come. Her parents owned a vineyard in Italy or something. I was good at baking.

Then I turned ten, and I got the mixer, and I planned every person in my grade’s cupcakes, and I even prepared some things preemptively depending on the month and the theme I assumed they’d be using. I wasn’t invited to a single party. I was confused about how my fail proof plan to cater my peers’ birthday parties could go so awry. It was a sad year. I gained 19 pounds the first month.

“Turn your passion into” by Julia on the subway going south


Saturday, July 20, 2013
8:55pm
5 minutes
A sign for Bow Valley College at The Calgary Airport

turn your passion into french fries. greasy and burnt, or crispy, or undercooked. you can do it. trust me. it’s easy. you just plunge them in hot oil and then forget about them, or forget you had them in the first place. might be better. then serve them up with some spicy kind of aioli like a roasted red pepper thing, or maybe use dill, i don’t know. it’s up to you: they’re your dreams. or they were, i guess. i don’t know, i’m no expert. you could put them in a nice bowl so they still hold the illusion of being worth something, or just throw them on a piece of “fancy” wax paper so everyone knows how cheap you really are. how much you’ve settled. how many bad choices you’ve made and are now either dealing with slowly, but surely, or completely denying. maybe they’re reminding you of who you really are and you don’t know if you like what you see, or if you’re even wrong about this stuff anymore. You don’t need to stick around to see if anyone’s enjoying them, all squishy, or broken, or sopping wet. nobody cares, because nobody is going to have to eat them but you. or not eat them. just let them go cold sitting out on the counter all night and hope that an under the sink rat doesn’t become and on top of the sink rat and devour every single last one.

“I can’t even go on Facebook today” by Julia on the subway going west


Wednesday, July 10, 2013
4:15pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha in the rehearsal hall

I’m avoiding Vicky because I know she’s coming to town on Sunday and expects to stay at my house. She doesn’t know I don’t have a house anymore and started living in my car because it was cheaper (for one) and it was better fodder for my future novel (the next great Canadian, to be exact). I didn’t want her to know with her accomplished dental hygienist job and her new engagement because she’d disapprove (for one), and she’d blame me for ruining her life goals (because to Vicky, the only important thing she has is Vicky). Probably because she’d feel the need to “reach out” and throw me a couple dollars every time I tried to pay for an effing dinner or breakfast, even. I once found 20 dollars stuffed in my jacket pocket because she couldn’t let it go that I was eating only half pieces of gum at a time. She thought I was doing it because I couldn’t afford to purchase more. It bothers me because Vicky would always say, “Just buy another one, Lay, they’re only $1.49.”

“What should I do with my life?” by Sasha at R Squared


Monday March 18, 2013 at R Squared
11:09am
5 minutes
Writing Down The Bones
Natalie Goldberg


I had a heartbreaking time. Yesterday. Not today. I’m over it today. Kinda… Not the whole day, yesterday, but part of it. A sliver. You showed me something. Bright. Glowing. You said, “They’re doing Aladin on Broadway! I’m finding a way to audition. I’m going to book it and that will take us to New York and then you can just sit in on classes at NYU and Columbia and see where it is that you really want to be!” It was a dream-promise, made of marshmallow and cumulous sunshine. Through this statement you showed me that I don’t dream as big as you. I’m a realist, in most ways. I have to stop myself, daily, from saying, “Are you fucking kidding me? There’s no way that’s going to happen!” There is a way. For you, there is always a way. Yeah. Okay. Let me get my head around that. I don’t, I don’t allow myself to dream huge. It’s riding the line of being a conscious choice, actually. Less disappointment that way, less let-down. What if I fail? What if you fail? You don’t care. You don’t see it as failure. So what if we fail. The brave I so admire, you, dive off, high up, and aren’t thinking about the “if” of the bellyflop.