My Mom and Angel have completely different ideas of what’s acceptable for breakfast. My Mom believes that sugary cereals and bacon are only appropriate for Sundays. Every other day has to contain whole grains. Angel will slather anything, and I really mean anything, in Nutella. She loves the stuff. My Mom goes on and on about how much crap Angel eats, but how she keeps the body of “Cindy Crawford”. I don’t tell her that I have no idea who that is. Gotta add that to my Google List. Whenever I have access to my Mom’s computer, or Bruce’s tablet, I go through my Google List and check off the things that have been accomplished.
Tuesday October 3, 2017
Kinney and I are taking her boys trick or treating tomorrow night. They refused to go with Chet and I don’t blame them. He looks like Beetle Juice to me too. K thinks we should dress up as vampires or something. She doesn’t want to go as Mom for Halloween when she goes as Mom for everyday. I’ll wear your clothes and go as you, I tell her. I don’t want to be a bat. Fine, she says her eyes dead in thought, you give me your fishnets and I’ll go as you. I don’t wear those anymore, I say, but Kinney doesn’t care. She’s dreaming up a costume that has less to do with me and more to do with her enacting some fantasy of me. In her mind I’m the fun one. In her mind that means wearing fishnets. I don’t want to burst her bubble.
Saturday September 9, 2017
mom’s in the kitchen making “something you’ll like, shut up and trust me”
it’s her speciality
don’t know if she learned how when she was living in Naples nannying those conjoined twins
or when she was raising her younger brothers so they wouldn’t fall off a cliff or accidentally drink lighter fluid
“something we’ll like” is often a combination of soft bread and sour spreads
something we wouldn’t know to choose
or if we’re lucky espresso granita
served with impossibly cute spoons
Friday September 8, 2017
Overheard at Oak and 16th
I could be wrong but when Steve called, I don’t know, I just felt like I had to tell him. Who are we to make that choice for him, Mom? Seriously! I’m sorry if you feel it’s not my place, but I can’t just stand here and act like someone, Steve, shouldn’t have choice in whether he fucking lives or dies. Mom. Listen to me. LISTEN! He is not a dog! He has a voice! This isn’t about putting down an animal! Okay, I don’t want to fight with you. I don’t want to…
Friday August 4, 2017
I’m trying to read to pass the time. Everybody is taking Gravol. My sister gets carsick on tiny windy roads and gets to sit in the front seat of the good car. I have to sit in the back seat behind the same t-shirt going on twelve days in a row. I don’t know how no one notices the oppressive stench but I can’t seem to pretend otherwise. My sister is not looking forward to the boat ride to go see the blown glass in Venicd. There really isn’t a front seat on a boat. My mother is the same way. Neither of them do well when the waves get choppy or even if there’s a bit of wind.
My uncle has taken us on this exact tour for the third time now and still explains everything like it were the first. I don’t know how no one notices.
Tuesday July 25, 2017
The Home Depot ad
Mom chooses her body over every body else’s, she knows now what hers wants and what it sings for. I watch Mom turn into a butterfly after working so hard for so many years. I watch Mom leave the upstairs bathroom unfinished and the downstairs windows taped with green table cloth instead of curtains. Mom doesn’t wish for nicer things anymore. Mom doesn’t choose cheese over cheer. She doesn’t choose them over her. Mom tastes freedom these days with every “Fuck” and “Shit”. She doesn’t like when we laugh but we are not laughing at her. Mom didn’t know she was funny until five minutes ago. Mom makes the choice to keep learning. To keep educating all of us. To keep trying when she’s told she can’t. To keep growing out of her skin when she feels like it. To keep pushing out, rising up.
Thursday July 20, 2017
from an email
People have been taking care of me my whole life. I was lucky. I got a good sister. One who sees me, needs me, shows up brings her friends, laughs at my jokes, heart beat frees me. And I got lucky still. With a good brother who calls me and carries me and picks me up at the airport and takes me to and from the beginning and to and from the end. And then I didn’t have to worry. Because my mother’s skin sings olive oil and resilience. And my father fries me up an egg with a zucchini flower and tops the plate with garden tomatoes and hugs me long and tight.
Tuesday July 4, 2017
Walsh by Sharon Pollock
the man takes my photo and asks which parent I love more
I have to think about it
who would I say if I wasn’t saying it to get a good shot
mom or dad
I don’t wait when he asks me
I say my dad
I say my mom
but of course
I smile them both
Wonder if I was supposed to mention that they are equally wonderful
that they have shaped me each
that my mom signed my report cards
and my dad taught me how to
throw a baseball
Friday June 9, 2017
The Globe And Mail
I have been avoiding calling my mother because I know I am going to cry.
She is avoiding me too for the same reason.
Earlier this week my sister tells me that the family reunion is off.
After swearing in the bathroom and crying and yelling and crying some more,
I tell her I’m sorry for overreacting.
My sister tells me she could listen to me swear for days, and if it’s any consolation,
I was not overreacting, but reacting, and both would be okay.
Today I finally phone her and for whatever reason we start speaking french to each other.
I think because this softens the blow.
Keeps things light, after all, it is only a family that will not be reuniting.
It’s not the end of the world.
I hear the sigh in her voice as she mixes in some words in Italian, some a combination of both.
I tell her I already know.
Then later she cries.
We both do.
Thursday June 8, 2017
overheard at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre
“Did you pack her neck pillow, Dana? You know Mom can’t travel without it.”
“I packed it, Leigh, you can officially back off now.”
“I’m telling you she won’t even set foot on the plane if she doesn’t have it.”
“What did I just say? I’ve already got it. You left very detailed instructions. Very detailed.”
“She hasn’t left the house since Dad got sick, much less the province.”
“I know that, I will make sure she is as comfortable and distracted as possible.”
“You’re not going to slip her any of your little…pills…are you?”
“What makes you think I’m still taking those little pills?”
“I’M NOT TAKING THEM ANYMORE! Why does nobody trust me around here? I can’t escort mom to fucking Edmonton, now?”
“Well maybe because you like to make things about you.”
“You are such a little cunt, Leighanne.”
Saturday May 13, 2017
Oil and Water
“We don’t need you, Karen. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Sandi could have been worse to her mother, but she knew she could cut her deep enough by calling her by her name. Karen didn’t like it when her kids called her that but Sandi always used Mom. It was Brock and Alison who wounded her usually, ignoring her messages, refusing to call her by Mom in public. They reduced her to a grain of rice. Sandi was always defending her. She’d tell everybody that her mother was a good person. But this time she had fallen asleep with a cigarette in her mouth while babysitting Sandi’s only son.
Saturday April 1, 2017
Hold Me Tight
Dr. Sue Johnson
when she calls me
at night it makes my heart shake
i answer quickly
in case someone is dying
in case it’s all of us
in case it’s her
she doesn’t want to bother me
“mom, please call me whenever you want to. i don’t want to always be the one to call you.”
she tells me she knows and that’s what she’s doing- getting better at reaching me when she remembers how far away i am
she says maybe now she needs to get better at timing things
“No, you asked what i was doing and i answered ‘discussing dinner’ because that’s what i was doing. if i couldn’t answer i wouldn’t answer. please always always call me.”
right before she ‘lets me go’ she tells me her good news
and my heart shakes
Friday March 24, 2017
She wouldn’t like that I am telling you this but when I was young I would have said my mom made the best Caesar salads out of anyone because she used those bacon bits or those “facon” bits or whatever they were called. She would tell you she knows better these days. She might even say that it wasn’t true.
I would have said that my mom liked to yell.
She’d say she didn’t like it but she had to do it because we misbehaved a lot. Misbehaving meant bickering with one another. Misbehaving meant not listening to her.
I would have said that she smelled like vanilla and could whoop your ass in Tetras.
Tuesday December 13, 2016
Summer OF My Amazing Luck
Danika and I couldn’t believe her mom would let us have the house to ourselves for the weekend. The ENTIRE weekend. We were drunk on freedom and cotton balls and anything from the medicine cabinet that we could have turned into crafts or art. The first night we both had double chocolate fudge ice cream for dinner and a can of whipped cream EACH for dessert. What a life! We didn’t think to get an emergency number from Danika’s mom before she left, or find out where exactly she was going to be for this long without worrying about her 9 year old kid and her best friend. My mom would never let us stay by ourselves. So we didn’t tell my mom that Danika’s mom left a note on the kitchen table that she had scrawled in messy writing saying “Gone for the weekend, Hamburger Helper on the stove.”
Saturday August 13, 2016
The Picture Of Dorian Gray
Mom calls me to tell me about her trip tells me all about the seaside
And how people don’t care
That North America has judgments about women’s bodies and women’s
She tells me that she bought
Her first bikini
In 15 years
And that she loves it
And that she’s decided
She no longer cares
About the rules
Mom tells me about her trip
How she listened to her body
Instead of punishing it
How she gave her skin a chance
How she smiled more than before
How people told her how good
And how shocking that
And how nice that is
And how maybe she has
Let herself believe them
Because they are right
Because she has put the hard work in
Because she has unlocked her heart
And freed her inner child
Mom tells me about he trip
About her journey to find
And how on the way
She found a whole lot more
Than she meant to
Wednesday March 16, 2016
I have been out stealing rosemary again. Middle of the night. I am not sorry. But I do recognize the pattern. It’s not about much more than needing to have it in my home so I can touch it when I want to and it can calm me down. Some people do the very same thing with animals. I mean maybe they don’t go around at midnight and sneak into people’s front yards, but–I mean they feel comforted by the presence of a pet. So what? I don’t have one of those. I make do. I’m fine. Please don’t ever think my problems will be solved by a cat. They most certainly will not. I don’t need something like that. Thank you for the offer of your offer. I miss my fucking mother. I want to call her and cry and let her love me back to life. I want to tell her that after all that rosemary thieving I didn’t even put any in the roast potatoes. Because I wanted to keep it longer in a vase next to my bed. Because I wanted to hold onto her soft voice telling me for the last time that I was her laugh.
Sunday March 6, 2016
F: Almost ready here, sweetheart. Almost ready. Why don’t you (hands her a glass of red wine) go sit down in the living room and I’ll call you in when everything’s good to go?
M: okay… (She grabs a green bean and pops it in her mouth) Mmm… Are these garlicy? Are these garlic green beans? Frank! You made them!
He hits her hand gently.
M: Okay okay okay I’m going. But not before… onemorebean!
The phone rings.
F: Hi Mom. Well? How did that… Did you? No I’m not busy. Well I was just… But this is not…. Okay, Mom. Calm down. Try the plunger. And? Well how hard did you plung? What abou… There’s nothing… No I’m not mocking you. Yessss… Okay. Well… I was just making dinner for Mol… Can it wait, Mom? No no no – I’ll be right over. He hangs up the phone. Damn it.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
from a text
There are a lot of young girls hanging out at the corner store with their ripped jeans and their big black eyeliner.
My mom thinks those are the girls I’ll want to hang out with so she gives me run around warnings like, “Beth, don’t take any shortcuts home from school.” Or, “Make sure you don’t walk with your face buried in your phone in case someone wants to steal it out of your hands and you don’t have the time to stop them.”
I guess she has a point or something. Better to pay attention.
I can tell she’s saying anything she can that doesn’t sound controlling or narrow minded about other people. She doesn’t want me to know that she knows what girls like that are like and only has her gut instincts as a barometer. There’s no proof, no real reason other than she’s deathly afraid of me getting hurt, or falling into the wrong crowd and changing all my core beliefs.
I can’t begin to talk to her about what’s going on in my life.
So I tell her, “I will not take shortcuts home from school.”
Wednesday November 25, 2015 at Platform Vancouver
We hear laboured breath, thumping, pausing, groaning, then more thumping, some light twinkling, then a thud.
Mom’s got the Christmas box out and she’s ready to go.
We hear a lot of rustling, then a small shriek, a giggle, and the crash of a thousand holiday CDs hitting the floor.
She’s going to turn this house into a merry one if it kills her. And it might. All that stuff is heavy and mom has always had a terrible back.
My brother looks at me.
“Should we go and help her?”
I don’t respond.
I don’t want to.
“You can go if you want,” I tell him.
“Well why don’t you want to help, too?”
“Because I hate Christmas,” I tell him.
“You hate everything.” He says back, resuming his video game.
Suddenly we hear Rosie O’Donnell’s Christmas album blaring.
“If we help maybe we won’t have to listen to this garbage that Mom likes.” My brother tries again.
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
from a letter to a celebrity
I’m on the ocean
The waves are healing me
I’m looking deep
In the cave in my chest
I’m on the ocean
The water is curing me
I’m holding tight
To the magic underneath
I remember these words better than I remember my own address. They’ve been sung into my soul so many times that they’re practically mine, top to bottom. Grandma used to sing it to me before bed. She dreamed of the ocean, and taking me there to live with her. When Aunt Christina passed away, Grandma said she knew a place where I wouldn’t feel any pain. She asked Mom if I could go but Mom said, You’re not leaving me too, not now, not ever. And Grandma tried so long to get me there. I didn’t know how much Mom hated to be alone.
Monday, July 20, 2015
I HAVE A DOG! Daddy saved a little black one from the shelter and brought him home for me TO KEEP! Mom said play nice with Joseph. Daddy thinks it’s better to call him Joseph than mom’s name, Peanut. He laughed when I picked it and looked at me with big Daddy eyes. Peanut is not the winner! I tell mom this and she storms back into the kitchen with the dish towel over her shoulder and tears in her big mommy eyes. Don’t worry about it, she likes to make things about her, Daddy tells me. She’s just mad you didn’t like her name, but guess what, Joseph didn’t like it either. Daddy goes into the kitchen after mommy. How could you, I hear her yell to him. Dammit, Karen, I hear him say back.
Monday, June 15, 2015
A quote by bell hooks
I peel the sticker on the back of the “Visitor” tag off and stick it to my T-shirt. The guard pats me down and lingers on my left pocket. “I said empty your pockets,” she says. I take out Jose’s small red truck he wanted grandma to have. “What’s this?” She asks, like she’s never seen a toy before. “It’s my sons,” I say, “sorry, I forgot it was in there…” I toss it in the trash can. “You didn’t have to do that!” The guard smirks. “Won’t your kid be pissed?” “My kid will be fine. He has a few others.” I push past her and she grabs my shoulder. “Is there a problem?” “Nope…” “Who’re you here to see?” She takes out a clipboard. “Monique Rodriguez.” She looks up and raises her eyebrows. “What?” I say, worried, defensive, unsure. “You didn’t hear?” She licks her lips. “Hear what?” “Monique is in the hospital… She got in a fight.” “Excuse me?” My heart sinks. I hadn’t been to see my mother since two Christmas’ ago. I’d taken a five hour flight and a two hour bus ride to be there. “My mother is a pacifist,” I feel a tear trying to sneak out of my left eye but I will it back in. Not now. Not now.
Saturday, June 13, 2015
My Mom and the only other Jewish mother came in to my Grade Two class on the first day of Chanukah and made latkes. I wonder what the other mother’s thought when they smelled the indescribable smell of oily potatoes in their children’s hair and on their wooly sweaters, a bit threadbare at the elbows and stained with paint and almond butter? “What did you do at school today?” They might’ve asked, pulling an undershirt over their child’s ringleted head, the music of the running bath in the background. We spun dreidels until we were dizzy with sore tummy’s from laughing, and sang “Baruch Ata Adonai” before decorating our latkes with applesauce and goat yogurt. I was proud of my mother’s heritage – Katie and I were special, the only Jews in the class! There was nothing complicated about it. The complications would sneak in like Winter, grabbing Autumn’s hand one night and refusing to let go.
Thursday March 19, 2015
from a slide in lecture
So I’ve been meeting with this guy for coffee every two weeks because on a whim, I put an ad on the internet offering my tutoring services. And honestly, I wasn’t expecting anyone to respond but this guy, who I’ve been meeting for coffee and conversation every week and a half, was looking to improve his Italian and so he sent me a message. The first day I showed up with all my books and my notes and an Italian flag lapel pin my mom found for me at a garage sale (which I regret, but still wore) because I was ready to teach; To exchange a service. But this guy, who I’ve been meeting for coffee and conversation and casual sex every week ended up being ridiculously hot. Like stupid hot. And he wanted to improve his Italian so I was like, WHAT? YES? YES.
Saturday February 7, 2015
Mom calls me on Saturday, she’s flipping the fuck out. I’m like, Mom. Why can’t you ever call me to say hi or do you need money? She’s like, this is a family emergency, Deirdre, don’t fucking quit on us. And I’m like, don’t call me a quitter, I’m not even fucking doing anything. Turns out the family fucking emergency was that Rodney fell off the stage at his group home again during “choir time” and really needs us all to be there. When I ask her where “there” means, thinking she’s going to say the hospital because maybe he finally got a concussion or at least a broken leg or something, and she’s like, It’d be really nice to have your moral support without questioning my judgement for once, Deirdre. We’re just trying to go on with business as usual so your brother doesn’t feel like a burden. And I’m like, business as usual? You’re fucking interrupting my business as usual just so you can tell me to be there for him…in spirit!
Wednesday January 7, 2015
Wednesday January 7, 2015
Don’t forget about those little hairs smooth em back smooth em slick. That’s it that’s it. Nice eyeshadow – blue eh baby blue. That dress is tight but it’s okay because you’re fit. You got a nice bum and bum’s are in the fashion right because of those sisters those Kardishian sisters. You know of those girls? Big bums. Yup. Read in the drop in clinic office that some women are getting pretend bums put in like they used to do with noses and boobies. Who would’ve ever thought eh who would’ve ever thought. More hairspray more hairspray. Oh this is just my e-cig. Off that bad nic-nic. Off that crap. Doc said that it would cut my life in half and I’m not even a quarter done so that was enough that was all I needed to hear really. Oh hon they’re calling you’re name better get out there don’t wanna miss your – Bye bye beautiful.
Saturday January 3, 2015
Glad you got my Christmas card. I didn’t know you don’t celebrate Christ holidays anymore. Sorry about that. Didn’t intend to offend. I can’t believe how big Leila has gotten. She looks like you. It’s marvellous. We had a quiet Christmas. Doug was stuck in Denver so it was just me and my Mom. She’s got hair again. It’s really great. I made short ribs and we watched about twelve episodes of Grey’s Anatomy. I cried three times in every episode. My Mom laughed at me. Doug arrived home on Boxing Day with really nice flannel PJ’s for all three of us and we spent the day in them, drinking eggnog and making fun of the people who thought it would be a good idea to go for a walk. Walk when it’s nice out! Not in the middle of a snowstorm apocalypse! It was weird not having you close for the holidays. The first since before we met… It’s funny, it’s almost like I wasn’t alive before I met you. That sounds morbid. I don’t mean it in a morbid way… What I mean is, I can’t remember before I knew you. That’s just wild.
Tuesday December 16, 2014
Overheard at Sainsbury’s
I have to tell you this, mother to mother..I hate hearing my own name. I mean, I miss hearing my real name, the one given to me by my mother, but I can’t stand hearing ‘mummy’ anymore. It just started really affecting me. I’d say up until two weeks ago I didn’t think anything of it. But I want to ask you’ve ever asked your kids to call you Ruth? I had a day dream that they were calling me Enid and it made me love them more. I hear mummy and it sounds so very desperate. They need something from me at all times with that name. With Enid, we were equals and it was a choice for me to take care of them, not an obligation. Of course I always want to take care of them, I’m not mad..but having the autonomy is in a way, more freeing.
In my mind little Emma can’t pronounce it properly but it still works like a charm.
Saturday December 6, 2014
The back of the chia seed bag
Mom got sick, mom changed her diet, mom stopped working, mom ate only air and self pity, mom waited for the mail everyday, mom bought a yoga mat she never used, mom began to juice, mom began to sing, mom began to smile, mom began to coach, mom saw her worth, mom hid her grief, mom preached without being preachy, mom reminded us of our lives, mom made sure we knew we were not too young, mom made sure we knew we could help ourselves, mom started saying I love you, mom started laughing at nothing, mom started seeking alternative medicine, mom started smoking pot, mom started sleeping again, mom started resting again, mom had a million phone calls, mom stayed home in her PJs.
Sunday November 2, 2014
Tongue Twisters at Americanfolklore.net
Casey was trying to write a bunch of rhymes about penguins for her 5th grade poetry assignment. She was having a hard time because nothing really easy rhymes with “penguin”. She didn’t even know why she chose penguins in the first place. She could have picked anything, like leaves, or malls, or berries. She thought that maybe because she did her first major school project on penguins, she’d have some more luck. Only her mom did it all for her cause Casey didn’t know how to research anything yet. She wondered if she could use some of the information from the bulletin board her mom made and turn it into a poem. So far she had “dressed in tuxedos and loving the sky, penguins are classy but don’t know how to fly.” Casey had already crumpled up six sheets of paper cause the other rhymes were a bit lame. She wanted to ask her mom what she thought but that would make two whole projects on penguins that Casey hadn’t done on her own.
Tuesday October 7,2014
From a text from Bec
I’m in Bali! I was greeted by a rat. Normally that would really freak me out, but I was charmed by it! It was actually kinda cute! Monica and I are getting along okay… I might travel on my own for a bit, though. I’m good, don’t worry. I’m healthy. I haven’t been bitten by any snakes. Monica’s “seeing” this guy, Felix, he’s from Australia and he smells like that weird massage lady that used to come to the house… He’s a huge mooch, he tags along everywhere and he doesn’t pay for anything! I don’t get it because Monica made a huge deal when we left New Zealand that she was on a budget and no more eating out and we had to get jobs and… Felix is an ass. I’m sorry but he is. The most awful part is that we have to share a room. The three of us. I feel so gross. They make out until I put my earplugs in and I’m sighing so loud and, like, it doesn’t seem like she is getting the hint! Who knows what they do then. Sorry if this is TMI. I’m really losing it. I want to come home. I don’t know how I thought I could do this for a whole year. My backpack is falling apart. My feet have the nastiest, like, infected blisters… I need a haircut so bad.
Saturday Aug 2, 2014
dipped from Joe’s wallet
Hannah and her teddy bear were stranded on the side of the highway, holding a rescue seance and trying really hard not to cry. Somehow Mom and Dirk thought it was a good idea to leave the Walmart without first checking if she was with them. Hannah and her teddy bear were playing house in aisle 19 and she had accidentally fallen asleep while pretending to sleep on one of the mattress. Usually she heard when someone is coming and “wakes up” right as they walk past her, but today wasn’t very busy at Walmart and Hannah had been laying with her eyes closed, so comfortable clutching her teddy bear close to her body for a long time and eventually she was having real night dreams while Mom and Dirk looked at hunting equipment. When Hannah finally woke up for real, she couldn’t figure out where she was.
Thursday April 3, 2014
-If we never get out of here, it’ll be all your fault, Rita. If that is even your real name.
-I’m not going to tell you again, I didn’t do it on purpose and it’s my real friggen name. Do you know many people who go out looking on purpose for a name like Rita?
-I don’t believe anything you say anymore.
-I was told you were the best.
-Who told you that?
-I don’t know, Dr. Arnold. Maybe someone else too, I don’t remember.
-He said that?
-Yeah. So then I wasn’t worried, because I trust him, but now I’m not so sure.
-I told you it was an accident. I’m sorry you’re missing it.
-The ceremony. I’m really sorry about that.
-Right, well your kid only gets one kindergarten graduation. Here’s hoping she makes it to high school or I’m coming after you.
-If it’s any consolation, I missed my kid’s graduation too. On purpose. I was working.
-I know, I’m a bad mother. I wasn’t thinking of him then.
-You feel bad about it at least. That’s a start.
-Not then I didn’t. When it counted.
Wednesday April 2, 2014
The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
When Lee was a kid he used to sleep walk into our parents’ bedroom every single night and scare the shit out of them. I mean, I’m laughing about it now, and even dad is, but mom never got over it. She used to think he was going to murder her in her sleep! I’m laughing right now just thinking about it. Just thinking about Lee walking down there like a zombie, and just standing there over their bed. He could have chosen dad’s side, but he always went to mom’s and she was a light sleeper. He’d stand there, and his eyes would be wide open, and he’d lean into her, and just sway back and forth! I’m dying it’s so funny. I’m so SO relieved he never did that to me. I wouldn’t have made it! And now me and my dad, we laugh so hard at my mom, who every night would beg my dad to lock the door so she could sleep, but would lose, and would have to get woken up by Lee’s big bulgy sleep-wake eyes! Then one night, I know, this is so bad, but she locked the door without telling my dad, and Lee slept walked into the yard and stared at her through her bedroom window! It’s so bad, you can’t even write this stuff. Mom was so scared. She didn’t like being left alone with him even in the day time because she thought Lee was possessed by the devil! She made my dad take him to a sleep clinic to see why he had the urge to only stare at her.
Friday March 28, 2014
The Pocket Oxford Dictionary
It started with a 2 hour phone call with my mother on the other side of the country. She was happy to hear my voice and all the things I was doing. Told me once, maybe twice, maybe three whole times that she was proud of me and that she was on my team. I know it’s cause she doesn’t want me to think for a second that I can’t or that I shouldn’t be myself. She wasn’t told those things by her mother. She didn’t get to have her skills endorsed by someone who counts, and by someone who matters…the way she does for me.
I told her I got her strength.
I told her I got her heart.
I told her I got her love for people.
I told her I got her good.
She said she hoped that was true.
And I told her I got her modesty too.
It was one of those phone calls that make you cry more than once, more than twice, more than three whole times in one conversation. And that’s because she moves me with her words so I can move others with mine. And so she can say that I got my love for story-telling from her.
Just like I got her lips.
Just like I got her nose.
Wednesday March 26, 2014
Atlantic Business Magazine
of course there are spilled secrets all over this place. you think i don’t know that? I know that. I know everything about this place. when i was little i used to run this place. you’re laughing but you don’t understand. i was in and out of room corners and closets and hiding everywhere. nobody knew where to find me and i was damn good at staying hidden until i knew no one was watching for me to come out. that’s how i learned about everyone and everything because i got real good at keeping my mouth shut and my ears wide wide open. i got good at breathing with my mind and not with my lungs. i know about each wall plastered with its tiny mosaics of truth and shame. i know about mom trying to hide the pistol and about dad shouting out for annabell, my sister before he went and not me. i know more than you can possibly imagine. and everyone knows one thing or two, but not me. i know each fold in each sheet like it was my nanny, i know each speckle on each mirror like my own shadow. i could fill rooms of books with what i know here. and that’s why i’m so hell bent on leaving now. not that anyone would stop me..not anyone but the secrets. they whisper to me when i sleep. they haunt my dreams like nightmares that are made up by crazy men in their libraries. only they’re real. they’re so real they could kill me just by being in my head. i have a song i sing right before bed so i don’t hear them. i had to invent something when i was young to make sure they didn’t.
Wednesday March 19, 2014
Kinfolk Issue Eleven
She tells me every time, “Linds, don’t worry so much, we’ll just by a whole wad of those styrofoam thingies–” and I say, “You mean plates, Mom?” And she says, “Yeah well whatever they are, you know what I mean.”
I say to her, “You know those ‘whatevers’ are not good for the environment, right?” And she just laughs and tells me, “We’ve gotten this far by using them, haven’t we!? Nobody’s quite died yet!” I am at the point in my life where all I want to do is host a proper dinner party without using paper anything. “Cloth napkins!” I remember, “Those are way better. Sophisticated.” She shrugs it off like I’m making the biggest mistake of my life, and I want to wring her neck a little bit and tell her that this is a dinner for some close family and not the end of the godforsaken world. “Linds, you’re just so hell-bent on proving how much better you are than everyone and I worry about that showing through. You don’t want to allante your dinner guests!” “Alienate, Mom. It’s alienate.”
Tuesday March 18, 2014
from an essay by Deborah Stein about collaboration on howlround.com
Round the table we sit, Liddy pissed off because she still has to sit at the kiddy table made worse by the fact that her name rhymes with it. Adrianna can’t move her face because of the recent Botox and so Ed keeps making jokes just to see her not laugh. Darla is still in the shitter after eating a wad of mashed potatoes because Tyson dared her to defy her lactose intolerance. Mom is singing her happy song because she’s trying not to go insane and Dad is trying to get the kids to stop trying to undred Liddy’s hair. The food is mediocre and I’m trying to give Liddy looks of encouragement but she hates me most of all right now. Maybe because I left. Maybe because I came back. I never know with her. I sneak pour her a glass of wine and try to pass it over without anyone noticing.
Saturday March 15, 2014
from a web series break down
I come home early from work and don’t tell him, don’t call him, don’t surprise him that I am. I see he’s sleeping on the couch, the News blaring without him even flinching to notice. I never want to see him like this because it makes me feel old, and it makes him seem young. Today’s his day to have the house. We agreed on it before. I told him I wouldn’t be home till 8 or 9, and he said, come when you come! I think coming at 6 is too early for the plans we agreed on and I’m not mad at him for sleeping. I’m glad he is. I just wish I didn’t have to see it. It’s not something I can explain much better than that. But it doesn’t work for me, so I think tomorrow I will come home when I’m supposed to, after he’s had a chance to rest from his long day of lifting. He starts much earlier than I do. 5 AM. I would think if he didn’t nap during the afternoon he would be a zombie by dinner, so I know he does it for me. Especially when he waits for me to come home every night so we can eat together. He doesn’t have to do that, but I think it’s nice that he does.
I don’t want to take away from his day and his time, so I quietly make some crackers and cheese in the kitchen and sit down to the computer. I see the tabs that are all open: Global Tv, Life Hacks, How to get American Netflix, Best Banana Bread Recipes, and Hard..Harder..Hardest.
Friday March 14, 2014
Nelu’s Birthday Card
When I welcome baby Preston I will tell him, “you’re little and I’m big, so that makes me the boss of you!” He will laugh at all my jokes and tell me I’m his favourite sister with his eyes, and we’ll both giggle cause I’m his only sister! I will take him for walks and introduce him to Mr. Andrews who rakes our lawn, and Mrs. Edwards who helps us cross the street with her bright yellow vest. Then when the grass is dry, I will take him to the park and show him what the sun really looks like! I will feed him chunks of bread dipped in Cheese Wiz, and he will make sure the flies don’t land on our stuff by drooling everywhere! I know baby Preston will drool because my Mommy told me so! She said, “He will drool as much as you did,” and I drooled a lot! Baby Preston is supposed to come from Mommy’s tummy in exactly one week from right now. If he doesn’t show up at 2:22 PM, he will be late for his first big appointment. I will teach him how to always be on time and run when Mommy or Daddy calls him. Sometimes you think you’re already running very fast, but I will show him that he should always run fastest before dinner.
Thursday March 13, 2014
the Wikipedia page for Sarah Hudson
She has it in her mind to become the president of the “Tights Club”. Maddy and Addy started the club last year, but Maddy moved away and Addy got in trouble for being in a club. Sarah doesn’t want to tell any of the other girls about her hopes to be the president in case they’re all thinking the same thing. She doesn’t want it to become a competition. Sarah has to work hard to pretend like nothing is going on, and plant the idea in everyone’s head that it was their idea first to have Sarah as the president. Maddy and Addy shared the presidential duties, and because they started it, no one really questioned their authority. The only thing that Maddy told Addy was that if she ever wore non-tights outside of the Tights Club she’d have some serious explaining to do. Maddy only told Addy that because one time Addy did wear non-tights. They were jeans! She wore them because her mother told her that “tights are not pants” and if she was “going to go to cousin Jamie’s house, then she better put on some pants”. Sarah already only wore tights ever. She would make a perfect president.
Monday January 20, 2014
I’ve been watching my brother play Donkey Kong for maybe 100 hours now. It’s this weird thing he does whenever he comes home to visit, it’s like, hi mom, hi dad, I’m home for a day, sorry I can’t hang out really, sort of busy beating Donkey Kong again for the thousandth time in my life, even though I know you went to all this trouble making my favourite cracker cake, and like, are waiting for me to come to the table so we can wish grandma a happy birthday or whatever, even though she probably won’t notice that I’m not there, so you guys could really just go on ahead and I’ll pop up when I’m done beating the giant bee or whatever. That’s what it’s like. I don’t know what’s going on in his life, or if he’s met a girl. I mean, it’s doubtful that he would cause he is a 28 year old addicted to a stupid Super Nintendo game and can’t really process anything worth processing. I act like I hate it, when I don’t. Not really. I understand he’s sad. I mean, we all are. He probably thinks, and like, whatever, this is just my one year taking an intro to psych course in university, but like, he thinks if we’re all together in the same room and if there’s silence for even one second, he might be forced to think about her. Or we all might realize she’s not there cause that silence belongs to her. And rightly so. I mean. How do you erase your dead sister’s silence?
Sunday December 1, 2013
Got home and for once in my life Addie wasn’t on the phone yakking til her gums bleeds. It was the quietest the house had been since I had those kidlins. Ned musta been at the garage, workin on that load a Chevys that came in from Buffalo or Detroit or wherever. Decide that imma make a big pot of hot choco for the kidlins. An me. For me before them whenevers they get home from school on dat bus. Put on the pot of choco and got to the stack a laundry to fold and the laundry to iron an the laundry to put away. Think about when Jeff MacCormack kissed me under the swings. Don’t even hear the key in the lock an the kidlins come in all screamin an hungry an askin when’s dinner. I dropped dat iron and yelled like da day Addie was borned. Made a big ol ugly mark on the carpet, dat nice shag.
Thursday, October 10, 2013 at Joe Coffee
Overheard at Columbia University
Molly is nineteen. She wears a black leather jacket lined with sheep’s skin, light blue jeans and red Doc Martins. Remains of last night’s red lipstick stain her lips. Her blond, shoulder-length hair is messy and falls just below her shoulders. She wears many rings on her fingers, some sitting above the knuckle. Chipped white nail-polish coats her short nails.
I always think about listening to Led Zeppelin but I just never get around to it, you know?! I feel mad at my Mom for never exposing me to the cool stuff. She only listened to, like, John Denver. She was absolutely in love with him. She tells this story, over and over, to anyone that will listen, like don’t bring it up if you ever meet her because she will for sure try to launch right into it… She went to, like, fifty seven of his concerts or something. But at one, down in the East Village, she actually met him. She waited by the stage door and he finally came out and… his hand was cold when she shook it. That really surprised her, because, he was like, sweaty from playing the show or whatever.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
from Haroon Rahim Bakhsh’s memorial card
“I’m going out!” I call. Mom’s in her bedroom watching The Price Is Right. She guesses before the contestants on the show, out loud, and if she’s right she rewards herself with a spritz of perfume. The smell is making me nauseous. “Mom!” She can’t hear me. “I’m going to the beach!” “Fine,” she says, and I hear her shuffling. “No need to get up,” I poke my head into her room, holding my breath, “I’ll be back in an hour or so.” “Can you do an errand for me?” She asks. She either wants Rum or BBQ Chicken. “I’m just going to the beach, I wasn’t going to go to the store,” I’m irritated but I hide it, or I try to. A mother always knows. “Fine,” she says. When I’m out of the apartment, I cough and take huge gulps of the Florida air. My cell phone beeps. It’s Vee. She’s been checking in on me every few hours. I think she thinks I’m suicidal. She doesn’t want me to go before Mom.
Sunday, August 18, 2013
Okay, like, I don’t mean to brag but, like, I’m probably the tallest girl in my class and, like, I don’t mean to sound all, like, full of myself, but like I definitely have the biggest boobies, like, I’ve pretty much outgrown my training bra and I need to get promoted to the full cup bra. Victoria says that I might even, like, fit her Mom’s type of bra with the lacy sides and the little bow held in place with a jewel in between the cups. Okay, I’m going to tell you a secret but you have to pinky swear not to tell anyone… Okay?! Okay. Ohmygawd. So, me and Victoria were having a sleepover and, like, her Mom said, “Girls, I’m going out for a bit! Be good!” And we said, “Okay! No big deal!” And then when she was gone we went into her closet, but, like, Victoria says it’s not even called a closet, it’s called a “walk-in”. So, like, we went in there and Victoria said I could choose a dress off of the one rack but that the other rack was, like, off limits because all the dresses there were so expensive and from the Holts Renfrews. But she did! She chose one of those dresses! So we took off all of our clothes, except our underwear. At first! Then we even took off our underwears! Victoria gave me one of her Mom’s lacy thongs and a matching full cup bra… She took a satin-y type thong and a matching bra! I didn’t even know they made these things! My Mom wears Fruit of the Loom underwear and a light purple Elita-type sports bra pretty much all the time… Sometimes she doesn’t even wear a bra at all! She has tiny boobies, so, like, I guess it doesn’t matter, but, like, I think it actually does matter. A lot.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at the Epcor Centre
He sat me down. He pulled back the curtain and there was Mom and Dad, Devon and Bruce, Samantha and Ray. “Oh shit,” I thought. “You’ve got to be kidding me…” I said. I started to laugh, in that way that Devon tends to do at funerals. He called me on it. “Sweetheart,” said Dad, in the voice that he usually reserves for his delinquent students, “we’re worried about you.” I bolt to the bathroom and lock myself in. I run the tap and flush the toilet repeatedly. An eighty to ninety minutes discussion ensues between all of them. It’s hard to hear. They’re whispering because they think it will make me curious and come out of my self-imposed seclusion. At one point Mom comes to the door and does her usual tap – two short and quiet and one loud. She says, “Love-y, we don’t want you to feel shy. We want to connect…” I cannot believe that you’re in on this with them, like you aren’t part of the problem, like you aren’t the entire problem.
Monday June 17, 2013
11:19am at Nova Era Bakery
Romeo and Juliet
Remember when we were young and we’d look forward every day in the summer to sliding down some plastic patch in our backyard, completely dangerous and soaking wet, just for a July or August thrill? Slip N’ Slides they called them. Such an accurate name. Remember mom hated them because she thought we were going to behead her rosemary busy or accidentally slide into her rhubarb and fuck everything up for her summer baking plans? I don’t think she cared when we’d come into the house covered in twigs, mud, and bruises as long as we didn’t smell of basil or have any lilacs stuck to our swimsuits. We were young and free then. And beautiful in life’s simplicity when all you could do was Slip N’ Slide in the backyard with a few friends from the neighbourhood. I don’t know if I’d even be confident enough to do it. Age has convinced me I’d have to analyse things closer before attempting to do them again. Even speaking takes more care. The things we’d say when we were young. Never bridled with responsibility or consequence.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
A United Rentals Truck
Take me higher, Creed song blaring on the car radio, mom found a station she could stomach listening to for a good five minutes. Me? No, always hated that song. Too many religious undertones. Too many weird guttural noises. Don’t know, ha. Which one I hate more. We were on our way to Grand Bend, think I mentioned at some point that I was hungry by accident and next thing I know I’m eating a McDonald’s happy meal and wishing I had gotten a different toy. No I wasn’t young. It feels like yesterday but it was definitely years before that. The smell of never discoloured French fries filled the car and the sounds of easy breezy contemporary listening or whatever. Mom? Oh she was wearing a big beach hat and a sundress with the straps hanging down so she could “catch some rays” as she liked to put it. I knew she was going to get a burn on her driving arm only but I kept my mouth shut around the mushy patty instead.
Thursday, April 11, 2013 at The Common on Bloor
By Julia Pileggi
Jumping time is any time! That’s what Mommy says! Mommy says so many things that I can’t even REMEMBER THEM ALL!! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Mommy jumps. She wears her bathing suit in the winter time and then runs around in the snow because it’s FUN. I don’t have one with two pieces yet. Mommy says it’s not right for me. I tell her I want to run in the snow with my robe on! Pink and ripped but pink and perfect! Mommy says, do whatever your little heart desires. It desires cotton candy most days. Or CAMPFIRES with ROASTED MARSHMALLOWS!!! Yessssssss!!! I like it just me and Mommy. I can tell her I will not go to bed early and she will say, okay just five more minutes! And that is a nice thing she says. She also tells me to eat my vegetables first to get them out of the way! Then REWARD TIME with a Lindt Bunny! I tell her I want a real bunny and for Christmas she says, It’s looking good, baby! Got a good lead on a new friend for you. Someone for you to play with. But at Christmas I don’t get a bunny. I get a BABY BROTHER! Mommy’s so sneaky. I say, did Daddy come home and stay home long enough to help you make him? And Mommy says, Not quite, baby. Not quite.