“My mother told us” by Julia on her couch

Sunday September 30, 2018
9:10pm
5 minutes
Waiting For My Rape
Jessica Anya Blau

she says “just do your best” and no matter why she says it, she always sounds close to (if not battling) tears. I don’t think she likes crying. but it’s in her like she’s made of sand. a billion moving particles loose under her skin, washing. she says “bye” at least three times. she has to be the last one to say it. it’s an italian thing. like goodbye is the saddest most beautiful world they could think of. and her goodbye keeps me calling. I don’t want to be this far away from her. this daughter’s body a river of sand just like her. a milky way. starlight.

“Thanks guys” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 30, 2018
11:00pm
5 minutes
Overheard on Oak St.

I know you’re leaving when I see the bowl of left over tuna salad in the fridge.
This is what it looks like when you go away.
No more cooking big meals in case you don’t get a chance to eat them.
Butt ends of broccoli and too few mushrooms to make a difference.
I think our mouths have been meeting in our sleep again.
You are saying goodbye with every dream I think I’m having.
In the morning it is still dark and you are half beside me, half out the door.
Who do I thank for giving you wings when they are breaking my heart?
Do I blame it on the big men in the big buildings in the big city?
In the quiet of our goodbye, you’re the one who says you’re sorry.
I am so happy for you.
It hasn’t even been a full day yet.

“chimneys dress right with smoke” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Wednesday January 24, 2018
10:41pm
5 minutes
A Touch of Cynicism
Yannis Goumas

Goodbye
doesn’t have enough letters
doesn’t have enough sounds
doesn’t have enough syllables
doesn’t have enough vowels

“Good” isn’t
really

and “bye” makes it
sound like
this is what
I wanted

or that
I wrote it

“by” Sasha at her kitchen table

maybe you did
maybe you wrote it

“by” you
wherever you are

where are you?

I think it comes from
“God be with you”

which I can’t argue

I do hope that God is with you

wherever you are
eating tropical fruit
wearing cut-offs
dancing with parrots

Goodbye

smoke curling out of a chimney
ash in the fireplace
rain on the window
jumping puddles
slamming the door

“It made me feel so much better” by Julia on Rebecca’s couch

Tuesday December 19, 2017
11:21pm
5 minutes
From Not That Kind of Girl
Lena Dunham

I clenched my fist so hard it turned to dust.
(The brick that I was busy holding onto crushing.)
When the small bits caught hold of their wind, they flew.
They flew to the moon and back again,
they built their own closet of
hopeless fear-facing dragons.
They learned how to dance with them
and how to lock the door tight.
How to be so tired.
And they learned how to rest and I learned
to let go and it did not kill me.
It did not know where to strike me first.
A month of release, dominoes,
pouring when it rains.
I let it go and it let go and one of us
said goodbye sweetly
and one us said the words.

“I didn’t want to wait in that line either” by Julia on the plane


Friday July 7, 2017
6:25am
5 minutes
overheard at Vancouver international airport

Dear JT,

It’s almost time to say goodbye. We’ve all been awake since four in the morning on account of a sweaty sleep and a flight to catch. The bed has new sheets but you won’t feel them till next week. I slept without clothes and it was still an inferno. I am almost glad you weren’t there. of course I’d rather see you, and even now as I write this, I regret saying that. I think Emmett will be fine on trip-we got him one of those thingy spinnings? I don’t know what they’re called but I’m sure you’ve heard of them. They’re everywhere.

“Sad to see you go” by Sasha on her couch


Friday February 17, 2017
11:48pm
5 minutes
From a Goodbye card

You don’t tell her that you’re sad to see her go.
Not with your voice, at least.
You wait until the coffee’s cold
and her station wagon is halfway to the highway
and then you send a text:
“Sad to see you go…”
Most important is the ellipses.
Most important is the space between the dots…
That’s where her hands would go.

You wonder when you’ll hear from her.
If she’ll call from the side of the road
or the backseat, sweaty in her sleeping bag.

You wish that you’d been able to
articulate the expanse of the truth.
You wish that you’d bee able to
speak the three words that filled
every room that the two of you
were in together.

I love you.

“Sad to see you go” by Julia at her desk


Friday February 17, 2017
11:40pm
5 minutes
from a Goodbye card

I didn’t realize you were leaving when you left
You forgot to say Goodbye or Sad To Leave You
forgot to mourn the loss of me
I wish too for lesser consequence

I do not own another recourse
my heart is broken
and it was the only one I had to begin with

You might not notice how long it takes
for a heart to heal when some peices
never get returned

I blame newness
I blame adventure or the lust for it

“We heard you loud and clear” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Saturday January 21, 2017
8:19pm
5 minutes
From a text

An eagle with wings spread
blessed the chapel and we gathered
two hundred strong and you stood
at the front between the drum kit
and the electric piano
and you spoke W.H. Auden
while your knees shook and your voice
was strong.

Bent over the plywood coffin
that your father will be cremated in
“sometime later this week”
you said goodbye to the body
that helped to make your body
the body that protected and
didn’t
the body that caught babies
and treated wounds and stitched up
bodies that bleed like his body did

“Hurry down the chimney tonight” by Julia at Vancouver International Airport


Saturday December 24, 2016
4:05pm
5 minutes
overheard on the radio

When we met you told me I had a sparkle in my eye that made you think we would get into some kind of trouble together. You liked that. You wanted to be bad. You said that I was vicious but you meant it in the way that suggested you couldn’t avoid it; that you saw yourself enjoying my corruptness even if you knew maybe you were too old for those kind of things. Those kind of things being powders and showers and going down on you in a public washroom. Told me you liked my sense of adventure and that it made you more adventurous. You suggested we get tattoos. You wanted something to remember me by. Something more than just an old tattered copy of Leaves Of Grass with some hearts drawn around the lines I liked. You wanted to keep me forever even after I told you I couldn’t stay. Maybe you saw that sparkle in my eye when I told you I was going-that our story ends here, and thought, maybe, just maybe, it meant that I didn’t mean it. Surely I had something else in mind other than a kiss and a long hug goodbye.

“the reconnection of a couple” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 17, 2016
10:31pm
5 minutes
roommagazine.com

He had been gone for a long time. I think he was fishing with his new wife, Amber. I hadn’t seen him after he left my mother with a hospital bill and a bag of rotting carrots in the fridge. I hoped he and Amber caught all the fish they could carry.

I was mad because of what he did to my mom. I mean even to this day it’s weird to say “did to” as if he did himself to her. He behaved himself to her. He was himself to her seems more accurate. I was mad because he would be so capable of disappointing someone who loved him that much.

I found out this year that my mother was horrible to him too. I didn’t know that before. I guess I needed someone to blame but I needed someone to stay more. I guess I chose wrong.

That’s when he called. He heard my mom wasn’t going to make it and he came home. He came back to what home used to be. He didn’t bring Amber. I respected him more for that. He didn’t bring any fish. I thought that was kind of rude.

“demonstrate power and courage” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesday August 16, 2016
10:18pm
5 minutes
jinxiboo.com

I couldn’t say goodbye because I was worried about what that might have meant for him. What if he didn’t know how not to take things personally? What if he thought it meant I wasn’t willing to be there for him; to drop my life and commitments to be his witness. I said I was sorry. I learned that that’s the best thing you can say. I said I felt for him. I said I loved him. But I couldn’t say goodbye even though I wanted to go. At what point do you interrupt someone who’s grieving to go get yourself a sandwich? At what point is it a good point to make the point that you haven’t said anything aside from the things you’ve already said? I suppose they teach others how to demonstrate power and courage, how to own space, how to claim what is owed, how to say things without offending people because of intentions or something. I didn’t want to hurt him. Isn’t that a good thing? But there comes a moment in every missed goodbye where you stop fully listening anyway and I guess I’m wondering now: doesn’t that hurt maybe even more?

“Not anymore” by Julia on the 99


Monday April 25, 2016
6:51pm
5 minutes
from a podcast

I don’t want you anymore
She says
Mouth full of corn flakes
Heart full of lonely
Are we going to discuss this
He says
Forehead vein pulsing
Forehead skin wrinkling
We are discussing it
She says
We are discussing it right now
No
He says
I mean don’t I get a say in this
Whatever you want to say will be too late
I don’t want you anymore
I don’t owe you a debate
You don’t have to be cruel
You’re already leaving me
He says
Eyes cast down
Eyes filling up
I think I’m being very nice actually
Being honest with you is the nicest thing I could do.

“that you already know and like.” By Julia at her dining table


Monday February 22, 2016
9:11pm
5 minutes
gnoosic.com

I am having a party
putting up balloons
decorating the whole house with streamers
and pictures
to celebrate the journey
to congratulate for not giving up
giving away loot bags at the end of the night
filled with moments of strength
examples of accepting imperfection
honesty
some vulnerability tossed in for good measure
I am inviting all my past selves
Like a reunion
But better
I will tell them
DRESS CODE IN EFFECT
And they will show up
wearing their sorrys
and their lessons
on their sleeves
carrying abundance and respect
in each jean pocket
I am saying farewell to fear
Sending her off on vacation
Killing three birds with one stone
honouring growth
A goodbye party for that which no longer serves me
And a good excuse to celebrate
Because the hill was high
but I’ve climbed it

“A lot of physical theatre” by Julia at her dining table


Monday January 25, 2016
6:17pm
5 minutes
overheard at PTC

Andie used to be a performer, but she doesn’t tell anyone that now. Whenever she meets someone new at a coffee shop, or the library, she actively chooses not to bring it up or even reference it.
It’s hardest when Andie meets someone who is a performer or also used to be a performer because they tend to be the types that always want to discuss the nitty gritty or the pain or the joy of being in front of a big audience night after night. Her insides are screaming a million curses at the people who act like they’re the only ones who truly understand their lives and as a result, how eccentric everybody else must find them. Andie bites her tongue, trying to remind herself she doesn’t need them to think one thing or another about her, that chiming in with a “Yes, I do, in fact, understand,” or “No, I haven’t always been a florist,” won’t change her life choices or her past or her reasons for saying goodbye to it all. Some nights Andie dreams she is the only thing on stage, crying alongside the most beautiful and haunting violin playing that ever existed.

“and I’ve begun to name things.” By Julia at Valens Restaurant


Wednesday, July 15, 2015
10:55am
5 minutes
Admittance
Shane Michalik


I have a box for all my heartache
I put it on the shelf and I let it marinate
In the flesh of the oak
In the smoothness of the varnish
It sits there until it is ready
Then I take it out of its hiding place
I smell inside and breathe in the pain
Seeped into the wood
Crept into the grooves
Still remnants of yesterday’s decisions
When it’s time I light the stove
And I name all the moments that have crippled me
One by one I throw them into the oil
And I watch as they grow crispy and small
I burn each heartache into smoke

“if you gave me a chance I would take it” by Julia on her patio


Saturday, June 13, 2015
2:35pm
5 minutes
Rather Be
Clean Bandit


Clean break
Said goodbye
Said it twice
Left the room
Turned back
Waited to make meaningful eye contact
You didn’t see me
Said goodbye too
Said it with your back to me
So what now
What do I hold onto
That memory
Should be enough
To remind me that it’s over
You said goodbye
Said it twice
Clean break
No lasting happy thoughts
To tricks of the mind
True colours splattered on the walls
For all to see
No hiding them
No covering them up
No pretending they don’t exist
So believe them now
Trying to
Cause those true colours
Aren’t doing it for me
Aren’t lifting me up
And I know they’re supposed to
Clean break
Painful aftermath
Sad songs playing on the radio
On repeat
Waking up alone
wanting to die
Said goodbye
Said it twice

“And now I know he’s not my soulmate” by Julia at Aroma Espresso Bar


Wednesday March 18, 2015 at Aroma Espresso Bar
8:00pm
5 minutes
overheard at aroma espresso bar

The first thing I did was dance. Second thing was shove a Ham and Swiss baked croissant into my mouth. Still dancing. Still moving. Eating dancing moving breathing. Living. That’s what it was. Fear leaving the body. Pain released into a thousand tiny gold flakes, decorating the sky. The ham and cheese croissant was the only thing allowed in my stomach. No more knots. No more anxiety. No more burying my feelings so deep within me they could hide behind organs and slip under the radar. After the dancing eating moving breathing, FREEING thing I was doing, I threw my head back and I just laughed and laughed and laughed. The day felt warm again and I felt whole–like a hot, gooey pizza ready to be devoured by the hungry and the good.

“INSERTED” by Julia on her couch


Sunday August 17, 2014
10:19pm
5 minutes
from a receipt

I haven’t known what day it is since last week. That’s not usually like me. I usually know dates and times and names and faces. Lately I’ve been forgetting. I can’t tell if it’s later in the week or earlier? I can’t tell if I have something I need to get done, or not? Maybe because I’ve been doing nothing for so long it suddenly feels like there’s no way I could still be doing only nothing. Haven’t I scheduled some amazing plans yet? Haven’t I figured out something great to do with my time? Surely I’ve missed something! But that would be even worse, knowing that the one and only time I did have plans, I forgot to write them down, or just got the dates confused and ended up doing something mundane instead! Maybe it’s a defence mechanism so I don’t have to go ahead and deal with the dates I know are approaching. August 21: our last night. August 22: our last day. August 23: The first day without you in months. August 24: the first Sunday without cuddling you in the morning because we made sure to observe No Alarm Sundays every other weekend.
I don’t know what day I’m on because I’m in preparation for a longing that can’t be cured simply just by making other plans..

“Love rocks” by Julia on her couch


Thursday August 14, 2014
12:22am
5 minutes
from a girl’s purple t-shirt

Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Oh they say those things, light on and good intentions
Oh they say those things, dreams out loud and good vibrations
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the missing
Oh they, the ones who don’t have to do the air kissing
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to pretend
Oh they, the ones who don’t need to wait
Love
Talking about Love
Talking about what everyone knows what I’m talking about
Paul Simon on the open road
Something about the loss of it and a window and the winds blowing
Talking about Love
Talking about the same old thing that poetry was built on
Hand-written letters in the mail, sent with two stamps and a kiss for good luck
Oh they say that when they have it, when they feel it, when they see it
Oh they say that when they know it, when they own it, when they free it
Love
Talking about Love

“I’m not doing this with you right now” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday August 13, 2014
2:01am
5 minutes
from a conversation

I’m
not
leaving
that’s not what I’m doing
I’m
not
leaving
you
We can talk every Wednesday
I’m
not
disappearing
I want to write you love letters by hand
I’m
not
leaving
you
Please don’t make this harder
I’m
not
going
far
away
If you don’t consider geography
I’m
not
going
far
way
from
you
If you believe me when I tell you I’m still here
I’m
not
going
I could stay inside this moment with you
I’m
not
going
at
all
Could we resume our puzzle pieced body formation?
I
will
never
leave
you
Take a second to promise me something
I
will
never
choose
something
over you
Distance is a word not a knife wound

“you have been invited” by Julia on her couch


Monday Aug 11, 2014
12:05am
5 minutes
from an e-mail

It’s my going away party, okay? It wasn’t supposed to be a big deal, and nobody was supposed to get upset or say goodbye at all. I didn’t want to have to tell you. I know it sounds stupid, how was I supposed to pull that one off, right? How was I supposed to take off in the middle of the night without a trace and never hug my best friend again. Well in my defence I would have probably told you right after the party. I just wanted to have one last good night where it’s not clouded by anything. I mean, I would have it hanging over my head, of course, and I just thought, yeah but I’m a good actress; I can fake that nothing is wrong better than anyone. But I didn’t want anything to be different. I’m sorry that I did that. I don’t know how I’m supposed to say goodbye to you. I can’t picture starting a chapter without you in it.

“modern doughnuts” by Julia on the 506 going east


Saturday December 21, 2013
5:22pm
5 minutes
From the Jelly doughnut store sign on College

And you could be better than me
cause you have seen the beast in me
and when I am alone I know that it’s right
for me to try to give you over, give you up tonight
My sacrifice for this good world, is setting you free as a bird
to fly with anyone who loves you as much as you love me
I’m scared of keeping you on the ground
I see it cinematically
with your life’s movie credits scrolling by
and the role I play is the Girl Who Ruined You
I am saddened by it all without the shame of admitting it, and it’s something
I don’t admit at all
to any one just cause they’re listening
you should be better than me
do better than me I swear
Life’s too short to hope for someone to give you what you always deserved
you earned all the good things
and I’m not a good thing
unless you’re blinded too….
I wouldn’t want to take, every single chance away from you
So take from me this gift of flight
this opportunity grand
and when you say hello to the night
you’ll know I would follow you there
But you’ll just have a head start
And maybe someone who brings you modern doughnuts from the little shop
down the street for no reason

“see us soon!” by Julia at East Liberty Medical Centre


Thursday, September 5, 2013
3:25pm
5 minutes
Toronto public health poster

You heard them calling your name from across the yard but you were already too far gone out of their lives to turn back and wave.
“Goodbye”
You made that decision a long time ago but it was hard so you hadn’t come to terms with it until now.
“I can’t”
You wrestled with the idea of it all, the pain, the regret. You couldn’t count your finger paintings fast enough.
“Thank you”
You kept walking as if on a conveyor belt, every step taking you one more year, one more lifetime away.
“Wait”
You asked me if I would send you their pictures, they’re letters in the mail, signed by each of them in their own hand.
“Why”
I couldn’t promise you what I couldn’t bear to offer. It would be my pain too, every time I sealed the envelope with their kisses for you. Send the sweetness away to nowhere because that’s where it felt like you were existing.
“Please”
You chose your path. You picked the soft mattress to lay on, and the perfect duvet to lay under. You made it up so well it felt like a good thing.
“See us soon”
They’d call, in their sleep, in their restless daydreams of you.

“Saving the” by Julia on the 506 going west


Thursday, May 23, 2013
2:12am
5 minutes
An overheard conversation at Gabby’s

Saving the cat from the high tree in the front yard proved to be a real difficult feat. Ajax, the cat, was not afraid of heights or how to get down, but he was, I’m afraid to report, 100% dead when the rescuers made their way up to him. How did he lodge himself so high? How did he stay up there even while deceased? Amber was the most upset by it all…not so much that Ajax was dead, but because he didn’t even say goodbye. Why did he want to be so far away from her before he left for good? Amber stood beneath the tree before the rescuers brought him down, crying her big fat 5 year old tears and demanding an explanation. Ajax was never difficult when he kept himself on the ground; right where he belonged. Amber’s mother tried to explain that cats don’t like to have their loved ones around when they die. That was a nice thing Ajax did, she tried to say.

“debut in London” by Julia on her bed


Sunday March 10, 2013
1:05am
5 minutes
Deconstructing Sammy
Matt Birkbeck


Without a second glance he walked away from me. He wasn’t trying to be rude, just succinct, just biting the bullet.
I was mad at him when he first left. Thinking he was in fact doing it on purpose. It was easier to hate him that way. I got good memories of us together for free; I didn’t need to be skilled at that. Thinking I was better off without him and believing it were a little more challenging. I tried not to think of his arm veins or the one blonde eyebrow hair that he wouldn’t let me pluck out.
When he walked away he didn’t turn around again to see me. He just sort of exited everything. My life included. And that was it.
I didn’t call or write. I didn’t know how. I remembered feeling like a hundred rats were crawling on my skin, on my face. It felt like the uncomfortable type of fear. The one that you never know if you’re going to get bit…
He never called either. Which is a good thing absolutely. I would have probably told him about everything that happened in my head the moment he didn’t say goodbye, or the time I helped a homeless man when I was in London. It would have all come spewing out.
Those are thoughts not words. They’re better left inside of a brain, too numb to think twice about responding.

“I’ve lobbed a grenade deliberately.” by Julia at her kitchen table


Sunday, December 2, 2012
12:36am
5 minutes
Toronto Star Insight and Books section
Sunday Dec. 2, 2012


I didn’t tell you I was leaving. Frankly, you didn’t need to know. I’m not sure why it’s all of a sudden my responsibility to inform you of how shitty you are. You’ve lived long enough. Can’t you decipher simple social cues, or when someone dislikes you, can’t you tell? I’m not doing that anymore for you. If you can’t live your life and do what you need to do based on the findings you’ve come across in your every day experiences, then sorry, but you might have a problem, or you might be very lazy.
I’m leaving. I’m saying it now because it needs to be said. I don’t want you to contact me anymore, or try to convince me that I’ve made the wrong decision. I don’t want any part of someone who thinks it’s their right to be a part of the discussion on me leaving or not. There’s a reason why I didn’t talk it through with you. Why would I? It’s not your decision to make, therefore, you aren’t included. But assuming you want to talk about this at a later date, I’m simply informing you that we will no longer be speaking or communicating daily and if you’d like to get in contact with me, you must find me on your own accord. I will be changing my phone number and you will not hear of my whereabouts from me. If you would like to know, I reiterate, you must take it upon yourself to be informed of these details. You must want to know them, not just think you are entitled to knowing. I don’t know if I’m being clear. I know I’ve said that I don’t want contact, but if you can prove that you deserve it…I don’t know. I might be willing to think about it.