“I worry for a moment that he’s coming back” by Julia on the 4


Saturday February 13, 2016
6:10pm
5 minutes
The Valley
Joan Macleod


I have this spine tingling hair whispering feeling that I won’t be alone here for long. The way I know when my body needs to throw up: the cues, the signals, the deep understanding of when things are in order and when they are even slightly off. I read the room, literally, spiritually and I know that if I want it I have to move fast. I can do it safely if I do it now. I can avoid being caught in the act, avoid improvising a reason, response, defense, if I just focus and mind over matter everything. I scan my surroundings, two doors, one camera, three potential stations for pick up, four paths to and from said locations to confuse and distract. I choose route two and I walk with a clip to station one. I pick up necessary tools in completing future steps with most ease and comfort. I scoop my hands into the deep bag, careful to only pull out enough to fit in both of my hands when cupped.

“Tutti liberi!” By Julia in Piazza della Mercanzia, Bologna


Saturday September 27, 2014
5:41pm
5 minutes
Street graffiti on Strada Maggiore in Bologna

When the missus takes my hat I fall in love with her hands and the silky smoothness of her fingertips as she lightly grazes mine. I fall in love with her in this instance and in all her past instances-her befores, her before thats. Her shadows following closely behind her-I see them and I love them too, for they know her intimately from the back, even though she barely turns her head.

She doesn’t say a word to me but with her silence I can tell she senses me more than she’d like to. She won’t meet my eyes but her skin is lit up and it radiates a heat that comes from fear disguised as indifference. She’s done this before and I’m aware that she knows this too, but old habits die the hardest. She doesn’t wish it were different, she doesn’t try to kill the thing that eats her. I wonder what the missus would have looked like as a girl and I picture her strawberry blonde curls frizzing in the midsummer’s heat.

“safety matters to us” by Julia at Starbucks


Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at Starbucks
12:24pm
5 minutes
TTC subway poster

We salt the sidewalks, we do the whole thing. We get all the late night volunteers to bring their shovels and if they have them, their snow blowers. We take the whole street by storm, and if we’re feeling particularly energized, why hell, we take the whole subdivision. That’s how you get things done in Bimble Lake. Small citied people but big worldly hearts. I started operation GO-SNOW in 2001 after the Cearsons’ car got stuck in their drive way right as Eva was going into labour with Matthew, or maybe it was Logan. They weren’t the kinds to ask for help, but I could see them from my dining room window, and I had the tools so I went on over there and helped before they could say no. Not that they’d say no, I mean, Eva was pretty close to a car delivery! Would have been a great story for the town, but I’m doubting it would be as wonderful for Eva and Cam. I enlisted some neighbours’ help the following year to dedicate a couple nights of the week to planning, and to prevention. We started using my garage as a storage locker for all our materials and I gave Eddie, Tim S., Tim L., and Orval a key.

“Hooded Shawl” by Julia at her desk


Thursday February 6, 2014
11:40pm
5 minutes
the Circle Scarf tag
American Apparel


I can remember her smile, her eyes underneath that hooded shawl. She was some kind of–don’t worry; I won’t say it. I won’t say that lame thing you expect. She was something, though. Her name was Wanda. What a name, am I right? Wanda with the big blonde hair and the face that matched her daughter’s identically. From all of the plastic surgery, obviously, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care about how she could have passed for her daughter’s younger sister, even. It just didn’t bother me at all. What bothered me was the scar on her chin that looked like someone had tried to remove the bone by going through the skin. She was beautiful in every way, including that scar, but it just made me sad to see it is all. That a thing like that could have even gone through pain at some point, some unstoppable pain completely and utterly beyond me, in her lifetime, was the single most troubling thought I could have. Wanda. Oh, that name! I almost hate it, it’s so awful, and yet, instead, I hear it, and I think to myself, That woman could be named Tree and I’d still love her with my whole being. Wanda, Wanda! I am transported back to a day where a name like that was a dream come true!