“I can be courageous enough to feel” by Julia on her couch

Tuesday January 1, 2019
8:14pm
5 minutes
Comfortable With Uncertainty
Pema Chödrön

The sorrow I’ve been pushing into the deep hole of me has started to itch
It rubs up against the sides of its cage and begs for fresh water
Don’t you know you cannot burry sadness alive?
The clock on the wall clicks more than ticks and I think everything around me is breaking
At dinner the light is soft and golden and everyone is in a perfect mood but me
The air in my lungs escapes before I know what I am saying and the room tunnels into the shape of my hurt
All those years of doing my best and being told to go back to the old me-the one who is better understood by shopkeepers and mothers and fathers and groups of afraid
I feel this pit beginning to take root and I am not sure what I’ll be if I pluck it from the dark mud where it’s been lost
How easy to say Fine instead of Not Fine
How easy to say sorry after the garden has been torn up
I am courageous enough to feel all this and all this that cannot be named

“trying to pry one of them” by Julia on the 505

Friday August 17, 2018
2:37pm
5 minutes
Ship
Tony Hoagland

The smallest one didn’t speak very loudly. Brandan started calling her “Small One” and she liked it so much that she stayed small. Even after a game where she spent most of her time smiling at dandelions, you had to pry Small One off the field. She didn’t want to go home to Bad Dale or Claudia, Bad Dale’s chihuahaha. Small One tried to sing to Claudia once and she bit her square in the cheek. The next time Brandan saw Small One at practice with a band-aid on her face she whispered to her, “I bet you’re not so small afterall.”

“quite desperate to escape all the people” by Julia on her couch


Saturday July 29, 2017
12:39am
5 minutes
The Humans
Matt Haig


Melissa throws a party for her sister by accident. She doesn’t mean to be in charge but she’s the most capable and everyone knows it. She tries to stay out of it and offer mild help here and there but ends up running the show with a forced smile and a couple stollen tokes. I feel bad that she gets stuck with all the planning. All the dark stuff. All the alone. Her parents don’t call her to ask about her health. They don’t wonder how she’s doing after finding out she needs surgery. They don’t wonder how she’s doing after going through surgery. Instead she’s the reliable one. The one everyone calls when they need to complain. Or throw a baby shower. Or pick up her nieces from dance camp. Melissa tries to be sweet for her sister. For her sister who doesn’t even care about being at the party thrown in her honour.
When I finally manage to get her alone I ask her. Why are you running? Where do you plan on going? Do you need any help?
She laughs in my face and tells me I’m her funniest cousin.

“I don’t know if it’s important or not, but it might be.” By Sasha at her desk


Tuesday February 7, 2017
10:55pm
5 minutes
from Gerald’s Game
Stephen King


Hi. You’ve reached – …

Shit. Donna?! Pick up the phone.

Hi. You’ve reached Donna. Leave me a message and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can.

BEEP.

Donna. It’s me. Where are you? I need to talk to you. Right now. Carlos is on to us, and it’s not looking good, Donna. It’s really not looking –

Hello?

What the fuck?

Relax.

Carlos is losing his shit over here, and I’m the one who’s probably going to get a chisel through my skull and you’re telling me to relax?

I’m waiting for Sadie to come home from school and then we’re going to come and pick you up, and we’re going to get out of town for awhile.

What am I supposed to tell Carlos?!

Tell him, tell him… tell him that your sister is sick and you’re going to help her with the kids. He never speaks to Angie.

Oh my God, Donna. I’m losing it over here.

“I balance unlaced shoes” by Julia at Starbucks


Thursday June 23, 2016 at Starbucks
6:53am
5 minutes
Circling Before Landing
Mariene Crookshaw

Man puts on the radio, turns the dial so slowly
slowly
we hear bits and pieces of moments
and conversations
and music
and static
and we wait until he finds the station
he likes
he can put up with
that won’t make him crazy
He is responsible for us now
he keeps our spirits
in the switch of the dial
in the palm of his hand
In the corner
by the only
window
there is a bony girl in green and black
striped pants
who holds a paper
airplane up to the light
that was here yesterday
she is holding on
for
her turn
to dance
but the music doesn’t stay
the crackling continues
Her mother is lying two feet
away from her
her belly robbed in the
middle
of
the
night
the blood is slowing now
her eyes remain open
pointed at the ceiling
longing for
escape

“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.

“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.

“White-sand beaches” By Julia at her dining table


Monday March 7, 2016
10:41pm
5 minutes
from an online ad

If you’re asking then I’m going, going with you, going wherever you go.
I don’t have any bags packed yet but I don’t mind getting whatever I need as we bleed.
Can I borrow your toothbrush? If you’re asking, can I share your knapsack?
I could sing you one of your favourites. You can pick the one. I know you like some feeling kinds, some country, some bluegrass, some sweet sweet soul.
I don’t care if you’re a white-sand beaches kind of thing, a hot air balloon, an air dive off of a mountain kind of heart. I am an open mess of so much yes and so little reservation.
I can curl up small on your back, or lead you hand in hand to a secret place where the pure strength river will never run dry.

“feeds your hunger for meaning” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, October 11, 2015
12:00pm
5 minutes
An e-mail from The Sun

If there’s a moment like this again, I don’t know what I’ll do. I just don’t know how many more I can stomach. Seriously. It would be nice if Audrey wasn’t so entirely awkward, but she is, so we get moments like the one we just had when we never expected to get them. Everybody here is so full of shit it’s like I can’t escape my own blood. Fuck all of this! Seriously, it’s not working anymore. I can’t be the only one who sees that enough is enough. Or can I? I have big plans, Ramon. I’m not kidding, I’m bigger than this place and as soon as I can get out, I’ll be so far gone. I don’t want to have to defend my lifestyle choices to you, like what are you, my mother? It’s bad enough that Audrey says that shit in front of her, and gets her all riled up, but I thought you were my ally here. Now I know everyone is just whispering behind my back as if I can’t tell it’s all about me.

“The stress that I have been carrying around with me” by Julia at Barb’s house in Vernon


Wednesday, September 2, 2015
9:40pm
5 minutes
Teach Only Love
Gerald G. Jampolsky, M.D.


Oh it’s like a sack of potatoes just weighing down my shoulders, you see? I never once thought of an image quite like that before! It’s actually thrilling to be creative in this way. Hmm. Let’s see, how else would I describe my stress? Well, I suppose I could say, if I’m really going deep here, is that it’s like a 4 year old who refuses to walk on his own and is nothing but dead weight because he’s desperate for attention or something like that. You know the way children act out when they’re not getting what they want, and they throw tantrums, and you can barely drag them around, let alone carry them? Oh dear, I’m afraid that one got a little further away from me than I was expecting. The truth is, I know a lot about these things and those memories that just sort of add up and when I let myself, they all come flooding back to the surface. I’m understanding now that all I needed to say was the refuses to walk on his own bit. The rest just seems superfluous. Either way, we were discussing what my stress feels like. It also feels like a cement block tied around my ankle right before I’ve been thrown into the water….

“take her children to church” by Julia at her desk


Thursday June 4, 2015
1:01am
5 minutes
Vogue
October 2014


She wakes up early in the morning, before the sun does, before the man does. He sleeps like a bear anyway. He wouldn’t notice if the house was on fire. He wouldn’t notice if his testicles were dipped in hydrochloric acid. For the record she has considered both options. She decides on sneaking her babies out without causing any physical pain. She doesn’t want to add to her little ones’ suffering. God knows they’be been through enough. She dresses her sleeping children as best she can. Georgia’s eyes flap open and she knows if she’s to wake anyone, Georgia’s the best one. She loves secrets. She’ll be good at helping her get the other two ready. She doesn’t even worry about the snoring bear. Georgia is quiet but she is curious. She puts her fingers to her lips and smiles with her eyes.

“Celebratory beverages” by Julia at Gimli beach


Saturday, August 9, 2014
3:23pm
5 minutes
from a text message


I have been saving a bottle of Veuve that was gifted to me by a man I thought was looking to be my sugar daddy 3 years ago. Turns out he was just insanely generous and sweet and wealthy and had already bought all the nice amusement parks for his kid and he didn’t know what else to spend his life’s earnings on. He also included a box of Earl Grey tea chocolate that taught me the true meaning of bergamot…and that I was too judgmental of people and things because of the superiority complex I began to nourish when I was in my early twenties. I was convinced that he wanted me to sleep with him and I was trying harder to convince myself that I didn’t, in fact, want a sugar daddy to take me on yachts and read me some dated poetry from the height of his teen years. I entertained the thought of running away with him for the weekends; flying to Paris on his private jet; feeling a weird fatherly yet romantic love that mostly just consisted of him calling me sweetie when we fucked and making sure I was always comfortable.

“MADE IN CANADA” by Julia on her couch


Monday March 31, 2014
1:02am
5 minutes
the hotel shampoo bottle

I was born here, wishing that I wasn’t, cause, when I was young everything was better when it wasn’t, when I wasn’t, when it just wasn’t. Hoped for the things I didn’t even know were things, but wanted them just cause I wanted them, just cause I didn’t have them, and that somehow made it better. I wanted what I didn’t know. Cause I didn’t have to milk any cows growing up, didn’t have to stay up late watching any infants while mom passed out on the couch watching TV instead, didn’t have to run from my parents after the age of 6 cause they weren’t chasing me anymore, they weren’t out to get me. They were never out to get me. But when I was good and young, I thought everybody was. Didn’t trust the people I should have trusted most. Thought maybe it came from reading, maybe it came from the teachers who shouldn’t have been teachers, who didn’t like kids and so didn’t like teaching kids things teachers should like teaching. But I wanted those things too. Wanted someone to see my stories and tell me they would be great some day. Wanted someone to tell me I’d grow into my face and not to listen to those other kids who had parents who didn’t want to be parents who were teaching them things they shouldn’t be teaching cause they weren’t teachers or the kind of people who could be.

“washroom of the bar” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday February 27, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
2:55pm
5 minutes
spiderwebshow.ca

I go down, I slip down to the washroom of the bar so nobody notices me. So nobody realizes I’ve gone. I need some alone time and I can’t have that here with these people drinking these cocktails eating these dirty fingered bar nuts. I bring with me my flirty lipstick. I leave my phone in my purse hung over my chair. I don’t tell anyone to watch my stuff cause I don’t want anyone watching my anything. I go down, I slip down to the washroom of the bar so I can look at myself in the mirror and give my head a break. I need to see myself sometimes when I’m in a crowded place. When I’m so busy smiling and listening with my whole face that I don’t remember what I look like. I don’t remember what my soul looks like. I’ve got my flirty lipstick. I can hear the bass, I can hear the shriek laughter, the bartender breaking a second glass. I escape. I escape it all. I get into the washroom. The washroom of the bar and I want to stay here for a bit. I finally understand why they call it a ‘stall’.