“in the plumed summers of Los Angeles” by Sasha on the couch

Wednesday June 10, 2020
5 minutes
_______ my loved blacknesses & some blackness I knew
Khadijah Queen

You sit across the table from the person you promised forever too
You remember that when you said it you felt your stomach turn
How could someone twenty five or otherwise know anything about
The hours of a whole long life?

You sit across the table and you look at the hands of the man who
Keeps saying “My client”
They are hands that have trim nails and hair on the knuckles
Hands that tie garbage bags and turn steering wheels and eat burgers

You love this man across from you the divide of oak table and sadness
Reaching across is what you want to do but you sit on your hands
Palms pressing into the tan leather of the chair
You don’t see the lips you spent days kissing in the beginning

You see lips that need water and redemption and a break
Cheeks concave under freshly shaven skin
You wish that you’d worn something beloved instead of this
New striped sweater

“The plastic statue of the virgin” by Sasha in her bedroom

Friday December 20, 2019
5 minutes
The Alter
Charles Simic 

Magda clutches the small plastic statue of the Virgin Mary. Some of the paint is worn off, there’s been that much sweat and squeezing over these years. She keeps it in her purse for moments such as this, for when she thinks she hears someone walking with a familiar rhythm, or feels the high beams on the back of her neck. The restraining order was filed in September, but it was months of adrenaline and clamminess before that, wondering when Pete was going to show up, what he was going to scream, who he was going to bring with him. Sometimes, when she’s got Mary in her left hand and her right is over her heart, she whispers, “Divorcée,” just to try it on, see how it feels against her thighs.

“my Swahili instructor” by Sasha at her desk

Wednesday January 23, 2019
5 minutes
Rochelle Smith

All the other women in this class are at least fifteen years older than I am. All of them are recently divorced. All of them. There are twelve of us. I won’t make assumptions about divorce rates rising, but wow oh wow, it is a bit… alarming. There must be something about taking up a new language in a popular book or something. I’m going to Tanzania so I really need to get this, it isn’t a whim or a therapy tactic or something. I like Rebecca best. Out of all the Divorcees. She’s down to earth and talks about stuff other than child support and Brene Brown.

“a divorce lawyer” by Julia on her couch

Sunday June 8, 2014
5 minutes
Humans of New York post

So like I’m watching COPS, right, and I think to myself, how bad these people have it that they’re having their crimes being broadcast on TV for everyone to see, and then I’m like, no, nobody watches this show anymore, and then, like, out of nowhere, some regular looking dude with a suit and a briefcase, starts running from these cops, right? And he’s bolting so fast and they’re chasing him down, and I’m like, what’s this dude doing, or better yet, what did this dude do that he needs to bolt like that? And then it dawns on me, like, this is COPS, right? So obviously he’s a criminal. And then they reveal after catching him, I might add, that he was just some normal dude who was a divorce lawyer who also just so happened to be selling a shit tonne of narcotics. Like, what? What are you doing, guy? You have so much money and you’re on COPS? That’s pretty brutal. I only like, stumbled on this show by accident cause there was nothing else on and I was waiting for my mouth to get unfrozen after my fillings. Like I had eaten so much candy that I needed to get four all in one day.

“a divorce lawyer” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday June 8, 2014
5 minutes
Humans of New York post

I get home, late, from work. I eat a rice cake with goat cheese and avocado, my go-to late night snack. (How many calories? How bad is it, really, to eat before bed? Where does that energy go?) I open my laptop, the zombie glow. I search his name on Facebook, unfriended when we ended, you know how it goes. But I still listen to his band sometimes, streaming it on CBC. But I still… I search his name and I get that rush of naughtiness, of wonder, of mystery, of “am I the one that got away for him?” Probably not. Probably he’s glad that he ended it because… If I were skinny this would all be different.

He’s bartending at a restaurant in my old neighbourhood. He’s doing podcasts. He’s… I scroll and look and feel like I’m eating a big chocolate bar, a good one, fair trade. Why do I even care? He was an ass to me, at the end. Not calling and me wondering and waiting, so patient, so fucking patient with the assholes and never patient with the loves. Punishing the love for the assholes. Punishing the love for the father.

I slam my laptop closed. I eat my rice cake. I think about how I need to get a bikini wax because it’s shorts season. I think about moving across the country and how I don’t know if it really is that good of an idea. I think about watering the cactus.

“microcosmic model” by Sasha at Cherry Bomb Coffee

Tuesday April 8, 2014 at Cherry Bomb Coffee
5 minutes
Freeing Shakespeare’s Voice
Kristin Linklater

Well, here we are. You’re taller than you looked in your picture. And your beard! I like it! You look… rugged. More rugged than in your picture… I mean, your picture is good, I could tell you put effort in but… How long have you been on Plenty of Fish? I’m new to it. I’m new to all of this actually. I’m married. I mean, I was married. I’m… separated. And you should also know that my husband, my ex-husband, excuse me, we, we still share a house. It’s complicated because we have a business together? We work out of our kitchen. We make chocolate. We make chocolate bars. Fair trade. They’re, like, the best. ChocoLove. Have you heard of us? They carry our product mostly in health food stores but we’re in talks with Lawblaws to get in there too. But keep that on the DL. Chris would kill me if he knew I’d told you. Do you want one? I always carry a bar or two in my bag, for moments like this. When someone isn’t familiar with our product, you know? I have Caramel Crunch and 75% Dark? He knows I’m here. He knows I’m dating… Chris, my husband, ex-husband, shit, I really need to stop doing that. He knows. He actually encouraged me to go on one of those sites… My sister-in-law, God! My ex-sister-in-law, she met her partner Liz on LavaLife. There’s a lot of inspiring stories.

“he had heard on the phone” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday February March 2 2014
5 minutes
The Murder Room
P.D James

That Margaret would be late, that she’d sprained her ankle played dodge ball and was taking the later bus. He felt his heart sink a little, because he didn’t want to miss out on a single moment with her. Louise’s voice sounded strained, but that wasn’t anything new. “I can’t drive her because I’m going to the Opera,” she said. “Okay,” he responded, wishing that they lived closer, wishing that he hadn’t gotten that DUI so that he could pick her up himself. “She’s got a book report due on Tuesday so you’re going to have to help her with finishing the reading. She’s slow.” Louise was distracted, he heard loud thuds. “What are you doing?” He asked. “Chopping parsnips. Why?” She said. “Margaret should really stay off her leg so maybe you should send a taxi to get her at the station?” “I always do,” he yawned. “Am I boring you, Gus?” He chose not to answer that. “Is she eating whole wheat bread?” “It’s not up to her. She eats what we give her. We’re her parents. We guide her…” He rolled his eyes and said, “Okay, Louise. I should go.”

“but-as usual- I was wrong.” By Sasha on the Bathurst bus going North

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
5 minutes
From the MamaEarth Organics newsletter

“Make yourself at home,” he said. I giggled and thought, “What does that even mean? You want me to bite my toenails and pop the blackheads on my chest?” “No, seriously,” he said, “My home is your home, honey.” “Sure,” I said, and thought, “You’re funnier that Louis CK.” He was chopping onions for the soup and tears were streaming down his cheeks like we were watching Titanic. I think that was the only other time I saw him cry. It was awkward when Kate Winslet was naked. I couldn’t watch. Oh, and I also saw him cry when he and Denise told me that they were splitting up, for real, for good. My Dad has a bald, Mr. Clean head. Once, my best friend Lucinda said that she often has the desire to rub it. “Desire” comes up a lot for us. It’s a pretty “desirable” time right now. “How’s your mother?” he said, all pretend-casual. “She’s fabulous,” I said, just like she’d told me to. “She’s taking Aquafit classes at the YWCA and she’s thinking of getting her Aerobic Teacher Certification. She’s really fit.” He smiled, only slightly, and I felt my stomach blush.

“strengthened from within” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Sunday, September 1st, 2013
5 minutes
Organix Shampoo ad
Flare Magazine

Whatever gives you that kick, right? Like, some people smoke grass – … do people still call it that? Grass?
Pause. Milly thinks. I don’t respond.
Anyways, some people do the drugs, some people even eat those, you know, those big, bad, bags of those potato chips? Not me. I don’t do any of that stuff. But, I mean, I gotta get that kick. I eat my lettuce, man! I eat my two-fu!
She laughs.
Bill divorced me because my libido went and eloped with my dignity.
She laughs.
We didn’t make love for, oh, about three and a half years? Can you believe that? Probably not. When I was your age I wanted it all the time! Like, they say that guys want it all the time, but that’s ca-ca. I wanted it all the time… Bill’s with that Cheryl, you know. That Cheryl the Hairdresser? With that little, dumb dog and that puffed up hair? Like a lion? A lion’s hair and a horse face. Shit. I mean, shoot. That’s mean.
Milly looks me straight in the eye.
You know if I want to keep my cellphone tucked in my panties and get my kick like that, I don’t really see how it’s hurtin’ anyone! Like, what’s her problem?! That I’m reaching down my pants?! Come on. Gimme a break. It’s our Puritan roots, you know, it’s this country’s Puritan roots.

“viciously funny” by Julia at her desk

Tuesday, August 13, 2013
5 minutes
from the SummerWorks Performance Festival guide

I was told once I could make a whole room laugh. I took that as a compliment. But then I met Andy, and he could make the whole city laugh. He didn’t even know he was funny. He had blue hair on either side of his head that made him look like Bozo the clown in a less creepy and sad way. He was my running instructor and used to wear neon socks every Wednesday because it just made him feel better. He’d take myself along with 4 or 5 other women, and he’d jog us around the park until we were sweating like crazy, and a little less focussed on our current divorce situations. Andy was a motivator, and a hilarious story teller. But he didn’t understand how. I suppose he was just that good at it; at believing in the truth of everything, that he didn’t seem like he was in it for the glory. I think that’s what separates people from the good, the bad, and the bitter.

“Bollywood Chai” by Sasha at David’s Tea in Banff

Friday, July 19, 2013
5 minutes
from the David’s Tea cup

You’ve been picking at your scabs again; the ones on your arms from mosquito bites and the ones on your knees from falling off your bike and the ones on your face from your pimples. You tell me that you do it in your sleep, that you wake up with streaks of blood all over your sheets and red under your nails. I don’t buy it. “Have a little self-control,” I think. It’s as if you hear me, “I do it in my sleep!” you say, rolling your eyes like when we were thirteen. “It’s going to scar,” I respond, bitchier than I would’ve liked. “Why do you care?!” You look hurt. “You don’t need scars! You have enough shit on your plate!” She thinks I’m talking about the divorce, but I’m not. I’m talking about her Mom’s dementia and her brother in prison and how living off of Pringles and Fuzzy Peaches can’t result in anything other than scurvy. She drinks her tea and scratches her cheek. A drop of blood falls down like a tear.

“no matter what she wears.” By Sasha at The Common on Bloor

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 at The Common on Bloor
5 minutes
from a quote by Anne Roiphe

“We need to get him to start meditating, Carmen,” he hears his father say to his mother. It’s their Monday night phone call. When they’d first separated they had only communicated via e-mail. Two years later, now that he was seven, they spoke, once a week, about how he was doing. They’d even braved parent-teacher interviews. Together. He wasn’t sure how he felt about it. “He’s having trouble concentrating, Carmen,” his father said. Was he repeating himself. He imagined what his mother might be saying on the other end of the line, if she was raising her voice, if she felt vulnerable because he spent more time with her. His father was, “mmm-ing”. They were agreeing. Great. Great. His father laughed, “I know, I know. Last time I set the timer to twelve minutes and I didn’t tell him!” His father laughed again, louder this time. He had had enough. He went down to the kitchen, where there was another phone. He picked up. “Carlos?” Said his mother, “Is that you?” He couldn’t find his voice. “Carlos!” His father said, “This is a private conversation!” He held his breath. “Honey, I know you’re there…” Said his mother.

“valid for all countries” by Sasha in a taxi on the Gardiner Expressway

Friday March 1, 2013
5 minutes
A Canadian Passport

He stamped hard
“Welcome to Zimbabwe”
He looked up
And in
“Welcome to your home”
My eyes are light
Betraying my mother’s whiteness
“Beautiful girl” he says
I wait
For confirmation
That I can put
One foot
The other foot
One foot
The other foot
You call it walking
I call in phoenix from the flame
Get my pack
Wait almost an hour
You must be waiting
You must be waiting
You won’t have made a sign
You won’t run towards me
You won’t even recognize me in 3D
The picture on your fridge is from the summer
I shaved my head
The summer
I drank rum and diet coke
The summer I forgot to call you on your birthday
You’ve brought Danika
She’s tall now
Up to your shoulder
We’re the new race taking over the world
The half-this-half-that
My mother’s proud of her cornrows

“become a woman of much consequence.” by Sasha at Cafe Novo

Sunday, January 20, 2013
5 minutes
Arnold Bennett

“I don’t care about becoming a woman of consequence, or the stamp that I’m leaving on the world, but I do care about being the one with the best coffin!” she says and she laughs, because she can, but we don’t. My sister ran a hand over her leg and went on, “Don’t look so shocked, Soph, geeeeeze…” She closes one of the many pamphlets open on the table in front of us. She wants a Green Funeral. She doesn’t want to be embalmed. She doesn’t believe in wills because she thinks that people’s true colours come out when the people they love die and that it’s an opportunity to work together. Zaza, we call her, Zaza divorced her husband Phil last night because she refused to make him a “widower”. They’ll live together until she moves into the hospice. They haven’t stopped loving. Phil smiled as he signed the papers, or at least that’s what Zaza said. “He’s totally into it!” She’s been gorging on expensive chocolate and cases of Barolo. Since she got her appetite back she says she only wants the finest. A vegetarian since she was twelve, Zaza proclaimed at Christmas that from now on she’d be eating as much meat as she possible could to, “make up for lost time.”

“Peace at Christmas” by Sasha at Nadeem’s parents kitchen table

Monday, December 24, 2012
5 minutes
a line from a Christmas Card

“Don’t forget to leave out the cookies for Santa!” He said, tilting his head a bit to the left, as he always does when making a firm point. He must’ve learned it from his father. I don’t do that sort of thing. “And milk!” He adds, almost shouting. He’s on his way up the stairs to brush his teeth. “And Mom!” I can tell that he’s already got his toothbrush in his mouth, “a carrot for Vixen!” He doesn’t care for Rudolph, as most four year old boys do. He’s all about Vixen. He’s drawn this reindeer from every angle and given him a bright blue nose. “Vixen thinks that board games are dumb,” he says, rolling his dark eyes. “Or does Charlie think that?” I ask, smiling. When I tuck him into bed he asks what time his Dad will be coming over tomorrow. “He’ll bring you to Sarnia at three,” I say, for the fourteenth time. “And will I have a stocking there, too?” He asks. “I don’t know, baby,” I say, tucking in the douvet at the foot of his rocket ship bed.