“she died before age forty” by Julia at Wabash and Washington, Chicago

Friday September 7, 2018
12:44am
5 minutes
F*** Face
Amber Dawn

She didn’t know what she wanted. Thought she wanted to change some minds and open some hearts. Thought she wanted to tell the truth and free herself of the lies she told herself. Guess some
dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

On a Friday she realizes she
needs to define her path. She cries about the roadblocks but doesn’t even know the road. Her friends seem to be making strides. Putting their hands in all the right collection plates, offering themselves to the highest bidder. Maybe God is a good excuse not to do anything. Maybe having a baby is a better one.

She didn’t know how much the lion’s roar would sadden her. She didn’t know how small a big thing kept would feel when she wasn’t allowed to be free. Guess some dreams never come true. Guess some hopes are too high to reach.

“Shhh…..” by Julia at her desk


Saturday December 5, 2015
11:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

I clutch the truth to my chest like a secret that is not meant for anyone to see but me.
It stings a bit, this truth. If I hold it too tight it starts to burn through my skin.
I don’t tell you because it might burn you too.
I can’t let that happen. I promised I would protect your heart. I promised I wouldn’t let even one bad thing get close.
You beg me for my truth. You try to sneak it away from me when I’m not thinking clearly. You bet you can take it from me to peak at its face in the place between asleep and awake. The place where I call out sometimes and tell stories in the dark.
You think it’s sweet that I grip it so tight. You laugh when I roar at you to back away. You call me your lion and you plant a kiss on the skin closest to my lips:close enough for me catch it…or close enough to bite.

“a pair of black overalls and some scrunchies” by Julia at Matchstick Coffee Roasters


Monday November 16, 2015 at Matchstick Coffee Roasters
2:02pm
5 minutes
Julia’s diary
Age 10


I can’t drink anything without it spilling it all over myself. Eating too, but drinking mostly. I’ve had this problem since I was a kid. I remember sitting on the yellow bus in the fourth grade, going home after school, and eating vanilla yogurt while talking to the older kids sitting in front of me. I didn’t even realize I was doing it, but found out soon enough thanks to Lisa Van Oorschot who suddenly shrieked out at the top her lungs, “Amanda! Your sister just slopped yogurt all over herself!” The bus filled with cruel laughter and I went red and felt young and stupid and careless. I’ll never forget how thrilled Lisa was at the sight of me, sitting there embarrassed and completely ready to cry. I haven’t exactly grown up in that department. I can’t drink water without wearing most of it, regardless of the type of cup or bottle it’s in. It’s like my mouth refuses to adapt to glassware, turning me into a wild lion quenching my thirst at the watering hole.

“the old ones” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday December 5, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
10:01pm
5 minutes
a Smirnoff ad on the streetcar

She left them by the side of the road. Said she didn’t need them any more at all. Said she never needed them to begin with but was trying to be nice. No more politeness, she was thinking, or saying. She couldn’t tell which thoughts were internal or external. She hoped, for her sake, that everything was external. She was making a point to live out loud anyway. Her back arched against the white wicker chair and she yawned with her tongue out like a lion. If anyone asked, she thought, I’ll say I was robbed. She shook her head furiously. There is no need for lying now. Anything she did could be justified with a flippant “so what?”. She was training her mind to let herself go. It was harder than she thought. She was 6 or 7 New Year’s resolutions into the same attempt. She had been holding tightly to the remnants of her former self. It was hard to say goodbye to her when she looked so good in skinny jeans.