“Paragraphs of information” by Julia on Nicole’s balcony

Thursday July 13, 2017
5 minutes
from a syllabus

Of course I didn’t ask for the ring with the gold flower when she died. I had wanted it since I was small enough to fit in her arms. But I got something better. When I spritzed her perfume in the bathroom I thought I was getting away with curiosity. Turns out my curiosity was too big to ignore. It was the first time she held me. She brought me out of the bathroom with love while I was embarrassed at being caught. Then she gave me the bottle of perfume I had tried on. Just gave it to me. You like it? Here, it’s yours. I cherished that bottle. I kept it in my closet. I didn’t know anything about her-there wasn’t a book about her, not paragraphs of information written about this woman. But I knew the smell of her young skin. I knew the size of her generosity. I knew the way her quiet was her prison. And how she wished she could have given me more.

“go viral” by Julia at her desk

Saturday February 8, 2014
5 minutes

Savvy had wanted to be one of those YouTube singing sensations. She had picked a new name and everything. She was going to get followers and fans and a music deal and a drug addiction. She was going about it all in the right way. She had followed other YouTube phenomenons to see how they had done it exactly. What surprised her were the videos themselves. Well edited and creative and at times using so many other individuals. Savvy wondered how she would get that fame if she were always competing for smiles with her friends and the extras she paid to be in her music videos for a cover she was singing of a band that every other YouTuber had done a cover for. She did not like the idea of learning to use a software. Not after spending so much time perfecting her singing face and learning which angle her nose looked best in. Savvy’s only M.O was to become a star, to be in an Us Weekly magazine and to maybe start her own perfume line.

“Don’t ignore” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday May 1, 2013
5 minutes
from a sign on the subway for Bladder Cancer Canada

you saunter in, it’s 2 in the morning, you ask me if we have bread, i pretend i’m sleeping, i hide the fact that i’m bawling, i bury my face under the covers, i don’t let you see me, i never let you see me, you’re making so much noise now, you’re trying to find a snack, you’re turning on lights thinking it won’t bother me, it doesn’t, i’m sleeping, you’re mumbling out loud to yourself, i can smell her perfume from here, it’s calvin klein obsession, it reeks, you love it, i don’t, i never have, i don’t wear perfume, you’d think you’d know that by now, you’re going to want to lay on me, i want to sneeze into your eyeballs, i hear the microwave buzzing, you’re heating up a pork dumpling, you’re going to sit at the table and eat it with your hands, you’re not going to wash them before you come to lay with me, you’re going to change your clothes and not shower, you think i don’t notice things like that, you think even if i did it wouldn’t bother me at all, you’re wrong and you always will be, you’re a liar and yet i’m still here, i’m not crying anymore, i’m just sort of thinking about your smug smile

“the only kind there is.” by Sasha at Cafe Pamenar

Thursday April 25, 2013 at Cafe Pamenar
5 minutes
from a quote by Carl Jung

My Aunt Genevieve believes a real woman wears Parisian perfume. Genevieve is almost my Grandma, ‘cuz my real Grandma died before I was born and Genevieve was her twin sister. It works out for the better ‘cuz from when Genevieve says Grandma was a real pill. When Aunt Genevieve was seventeen she moved to France for love. She met a very handsome, drop-dead-gorgeous man named Fillipe at the beach in Muskoka and then, by the end of September, she was with him in his bachelor apartment on the Champs-Élysées. She said, “My Mama and my Papa were as angry as magpies but if I didn’t follow my Fillipe my heart would’ve broken”. It broke anyway, but not because of him. Her twin sister, my Grandma, died when she was way too young. My Mom was only three. Aunt Genevieve says that when your twin dies it feels like a phantom limb. Fillipe and Genevieve got married but they didn’t have kids, which was a really rebellious act in that day and age.

Water glass, pint glass and a bottle of hot sauce (photo) by Julia at her kitchen table

Saturday, April 20, 2013
5 minutes

Spicy kind of girl with spicy kind of skin.
Smells like something from a summer garden in Italy.
Feels as smooth as shea butter cream.
She gives that extra wink without even meaning to.
If she were any less good-looking she would never get away with eating messy foods in public.
Full of spice and some other stuff that she doesn’t like to talk about.
Like anger and disappointment for most people she meets.
Why does she do that?
Why does anyone do anything, retorts back at you.
It’s cold in her house.
So she sits on the floor of an abandoned underground used bookstore at the corner of her street.
No one comes in and no one goes out, she thinks, wishing she could bring business back.
Spicy. No amount of perfume will cover it.
Is it the raw garlic she used to eat as a child?
Daddy offered her sister two dollars to eat a whole clove. Or two.
A dare.
She’d do it voluntarily, never really cared for money.
It happens sometimes.
When she’s alone.
She licks her lips till they’re raw, then smacks them hard to feel the tingle.

“The scent of perfume” by Sasha at R Squared

Monday, December 3, 2012 at R Squared Espresso Bar
5 minutes
The contained scent of perfume

Even she’s unsure why she’s crying but she is so… that’s the hard part. It’s funny. No, it’s not funny, it hurts and is weird when you meet a crying stranger because our own connected humanity is… right there. I want to reach out and touch her tears with my pointer finger, to get to know her first like this, without words. I don’t, of course. I’m far too restrained and proud and… what… I don’t know, mostly. To touch a woman’s tear. I look, though, at her, unabashed staring. She sees me see her fragile breaking, like a promise or a taut string. So public in her desired privacy. She looks at me and I don’t know why but I move towards her quickly and I embrace her. She smells of cheap perfume.