“I met Luke after my marriage ended.” By Julia on M’s couch

Thursday January 17, 2019
1:33pm
5 minutes
The Ghost of a Boy
Piper Vignette

You could say I manifested it; the end of my first marriage the way it is written. By that I mean death, and not
some fault of our own. We might have stopped trying. Stopped listening. Stopped seeing Love in the reflection of each other. I think we were lucky enough to preserve our relationship before it got so sad we committed any of those aforementioned acts of betrayal. I think those are worse than cheating anyway. Sex is something I can justify as “not personal”. But I suppose you’re right, if I claim to have manifested my late husband’s death. I guess that is a fault of my own I should be less light-hearted about. My intentions were that he would die and leave me while we were still in love. I didn’t know it would happen so soon or that it would work so well. If I believed in manifesting at all (before this) I would have made sure I had pots of money and enough hair product to last my entire lifetime. I would have manifested some inner peace.

“a sleek white line” by Sasha on her couch

Sunday May 27, 2018
10:10pm
5 minutes
Are You Really An Artist?
Leah Burns

I first notice Steve’s expression as he’s carving a chicken. It’s Sunday. Emma and Bobby are home for dinner. Steve picked them up at Emma’s dorm, even though Bobby’s off campus now. Emma was chattering on about intramurals, and I saw it – this vacancy – sweep across Steve’s face. I’ve known Steve for forty two years, right, like, we met when we were five years old. We’ve been married for twenty… You’d think I’d have seen every expression that that man can muster! Nope. It was like a tumbleweed could’ve swept across his cheeks. He was gone.

“Hon?!” I said, scared he might slice off his finger.

“change the towels in the bathroom” by Julia at the studio


Monday July 31, 2017
4:54pm
5 minutes
Amelia Bedelia
Peggy Parish


Mona in the bath tub on her knees, scrubbing.
Finds a collection of black mildew. Furrows
her already furrowed brow. She curses his
name under her breath, Fucking Dennis and your fucking
lack of purpose in this life except to make me
fucking miserable. She hasn’t washed herself in
a week. She’s protesting. Maybe one of these
nights Dennis won’t try to stick his dick in
when she’s asleep on the couch. He tells her his
mother is going to inspect the bathroom and Mona
laughs as if she cares. But here she is, in the tub,
on her knees, bleeding for a man who does not bleed
for anyone but himself. And his mother.

Later, the kitchen tile is spotless and the food
is on the table. Dennis lies and says he’s
been working hard all day.
At what?
Drinking. Complaining. Leaves out the only
parts that are true.
His mother pulls a sprig of rosemary out of her mouth
and spits into the tomatoes. Mona’s lips turn upward.
Dennis throws a chicken leg at Mona’s face.
I told you my mother hates rosemary.

“also fun” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday June 6, 2017
10:04pm
5 minutes
from a tweet

She comes over to sit with me as I attempt to airplane a chicken noodle into her baby’s scowl. She brings cheerios and cottage cheese and sets them next to the breaded chicken, the cup of green peas, the watermelon, and the cheese quesadilla. We alternate forced forkfuls from the grand buffet he cannot appreciate. She looks thankful to be talking to an adult that isn’t her husband, sick from back pain. She tells me they haven’t gone on a date since he was born eighteen months and two weeks ago. She says sometimes they just have a glass of wine in bed after he stops crying.

“I still want to think about safety” By Julia on the Greyhound to Kitchener


Sunday, August 9, 2015
9:44am
5 minutes
Said by Julia’s Uber driver

Colleen you can’t be lifting that shit anymore, you’re gonna hurt the baby for Christ’s sakes.

Forget it, Richie, it’s not even heavy. I don’t like you watching over me and micromanaging my pregnancy every single minute. Give it a rest, she’s gonna hear you and decide she doesn’t want to come out!

Colleen I told you, I want to be here for this baby, I want to help you name this baby, I want to help you love this baby. You can’t be stubborn now! You’re making choices that affect all three of us! How many times do I have to hear myself tell you this?

Richie didn’t you listen to one word I said? I said she, didn’t I? You only hear what you want to hear or what?

Colleen. You said she!! She said she!!

“nasal congestion” by Julia at Grange Park


Friday, June 26, 2015
5:45pm
5 minutes
NETI: Healing Secrets of Yoga and Ayurveda

I can hear her blow her nose through the wall. Thin ass walls, the realtor conveniently forgot to mention. My husband’s obsessed with her. Whenever he hears her go out onto her patio he somehow gets struck with an urgent need for”fresh air”. He goes out there so he can ogle her and imagine what colour her underwear is. He thinks he’s being so slick but I know what he’s doing. He just assumes I’m none the wiser because I don’t say anything. I guess I don’t quite know how I feel about it. Do I care? Do I even mind? When he goes outside for his fantasy time, I have the house to myself and I forget about him completely. It doesn’t even bother me when he goes out because that alone time feels so good. It’s when he comes back in I can’t stand: adjusting himself and quickly thinking of something to say that will convince him, and he thinks me, that he wasn’t just outside wishing he could stay there.

“In the 1950’s the word” by Sasha in Lighthouse Park


Wednesday May 13, 2015 at Dark Horse
2:46pm
5 minutes
The R-Word
Heather Kirn Lanier


When she makes the bed she whispers, “corner’s tucked, sheets flat, duvet fluffy.” She hears Bill leave for work and, as the door locks she quietly calls, “Goodbye!” Gwen waits until eleven, once the dog walker has come and she’s had second cup of coffee to get out the watercolour paints. “A small jar of water on the left, paints on the right…” A whisper, like a feather on her neck. A joint hangs from her lips, but she never lights it. She breathes in quickly, tasting the sweet perfume. Bill has a medical license for his Glaucoma. He leaves joints already rolled in a small ziplock bag in the spice cabinet. She takes them in her mouth, each one, when she paints. “Shhh, little angel,” and a flick of red.

“Celebrating those who had died” by Sasha on a log at Kit’s Beach


Monday February 9, 2015
8:11am
5 minutes
The House Girl
Tara Conklin


It begins like every other day. Maggie licks my face until I moan and roll out of bed. She runs down the stairs and I open the back door to let her out to pee. Then I go, in the downstairs bathroom. I let her back in. I fill the kettle with water. Mike is still sleeping and the boys are playing in the room. They whisper breakfast orders. “Granola! French toast!” Mike’s on the night shift so he sleeps til at least two. I get the boys dressed and…

I’m sorry. I just realized that I still have my wedding ring on. Isn’t that strange? It’s been… nine months and I’m still wearing my God damn wedding ring.

You know it’s bad when two police officers show up. One? It’s probably something with the car being in the wrong place, or there’s been a weirdo hanging around the playground again. Two?

I don’t remember which one said what. I don’t remember what I said, or if I said anything or…

“Defeating death, embracing love” by Sasha in her garden


Sunday May 11, 2014
1:53pm
5 minutes
Reader’s Digest
March 2014


That Sunday, we all rode the streetcar to the end of the line and then we rode back again. It was Olivia’s turn. We each got a Sunday a month to choose what we would do. Leo chose the Science Centre to frequently that Eddie and I contemplated putting a monetary cap on the activities the kids chose. But seeing him so inspired, so electrified by learning, we dolled out the cash and beamed at our bright and curious boy. Olivia never chose the same thing twice. Once, we went to the park with notebooks and pencil crayons and drew flowers we didn’t know the name of. That was what she wanted – “you must not know what the flower is called!” she proclaimed. Once, she and Leo made us crepes with a multitude of fillings, both savoury and sweet. But that Sunday, in May, we all rode the streetcar. We didn’t get off once. We’d packed smoothies and almonds, and the kids had finished theirs before we even got to Pape. “It’s a long way back…” Eddie warned. At the end of the line we all high-fived. I produced fruit leathers from deep in my backpack. Leo and Olivia lost their minds. On our westward journey home, the sun was beginning to sink, and I was telling everyone about visiting Lisbon as a teenager. The kids loved my travel stories.

“microcosmic model” by Sasha at Cherry Bomb Coffee


Tuesday April 8, 2014 at Cherry Bomb Coffee
5:59pm
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.

“the porn industry” by Sasha at the kitchen table in Mississauga


Saturday March 15, 2014
12:07am
5 minutes
from a web series break down

I’m not fuckin’ judging him. I mean, who am I. Who am I to judge, I shake my fuckin’ tits and bring assholes beer and who am I to judge him. But I get home and I been lookin’ at that fuckin’ shit all day and, like, I jus… I don’ wanna see that. I threw… I threw his laptop and it smashed and then he freaked, like, he really did and he said to me I better take Clara to my Mom’s place or he was really gonna lose it on both of us… I don’t know what he had on that laptop, why it mattered so much to him. I said I’d buy him a new one if that’s what the problem was… Fuck… He said, no that wasn’t the fuckin’ problem. He said there was things on there that he can’t salvage. Whatever the fuck that means. I had to get Clara from her bed, right, cuz it was late and she was sleepin’, I mean, I’d just gotten home from work and all. Sometimes when I wake her up and she’s dreamin’ she doesn’t know who I am. That really freaks me out. I really hate that…

“dropped the iron” by Julia at her desk


Sunday December 1, 2013
7:17pm
5 minutes
Justine’s Birthday
Jean Sheppard


Oh sweet Lila, he mumbled in his sleep, the house plants are looking grim. Lila had been dead for years. Hardy hadn’t had plants for just as long. He was making little progress in getting past his wife’s death. His doctor friend, Kai, had mentioned once half heartedly that he was disappointed by the developments, and Hardy made sure to ignore him after that. He didn’t see the point in paying a friend for his opinion when he could just ask him for it. Hardy was a bit confused and began to believe that doctor Kai was his friend all along, and maybe even in the first place. Kai didn’t want Hardy to feel alone so he took special precautions during their sessions. He’d pay him closer attention and try to laugh a little more when he attempted to make a joke.

“Hottest day of the year” by Sasha in the basement at Thom and Shelagh’s


Tuesday, July 2, 2013
10:34
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the Centre Street bridge in Calgary

On the hottest day of the year, I decided to bury myself in the backyard, under the apple tree, as a way to escape. Bob thought it was a suicide attempt. When I came to in a hospital bed, with an IV drip and my mother breathing her white wine spritzer breath in my face, I couldn’t believe my attempt to cool down had gone so terribly wrong. Figures. Bob looked all self-satisfied for oh, about, three whole weeks following. I kept telling him “I’m not depressed! I so so content with my life! I don’t want to die!” But I don’t think he believed me. The funny thing is, when the man you’ve been married to for thirteen months and known since you were in Grade Four, thinks he knows something so fully, so wholly, you start to believe him. I started to believe him. I checked myself into a psych ward on September third and told the nurse, smiling, that I was having thoughts of self-demise of the sound of dirt in my ears, the taste in my mouth, I just wanted to be buried… Alive, maybe, but under the ground. “Maybe you should set up in the basement?” My therapist said.