“This report contains confidential information” by Julia on her couch

Saturday October 13, 2018
5 minutes
From the lab report

burn after reading
or it’s the kind of thing that will burn you
every top secret insight
every thought secret kept tight behind lined pages
the letters adressed to eyes that were never meant to read them
this is the kind of private you’ll wish you never craved quiet turned public rage
inside voice blasted on the hallway speakers arent’t you glad you came
but if anyone should see it it’s you
if anyone should know me

“They would tell everyone” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, April 12, 2018
5 minutes
Audience of One
Rob de Boyrie

We can’t tell anyone because they would tell everyone.
Some things are better left secret:
all of our best-laid plans for a baby and her sister
the house we bought with our romance novel money
I am still reminding myself this is better
to wait until it’s done before I say it out loud
they wouldn’t let it be what it is if they opened their
big dumb mouths to name it
diminishing it with all that outside tongue
The photographer man told me this first
Years ago he wrote it on the front page of my moleskine dayplanner
“Not every single thing needs to be said.”
Maybe it wasn’t that exactly, but the sentiment was there
We can’t tell anyone that we’re swimming the Mississippi River
that we’re moving our butts to South Beach

“I am numb to you.” By Julia on her bed

January 11, 2018
5 minutes
Natalie Crick

It’s a cab ride after a long ride of not speaking. And you are still not speaking to me. I have done all the heavy lifting. At the table, with strangers, painted you in the pinkest of lights. I was talking shop like you’re the bike, like you’re the ride. And this whole ride you’ve been avoiding me. Trying your best to bite your tongue and let them hear you noble. And you forget me in the middle of it all. Arm outstretched, fork untapped, drink unclinked, and you do not smile. You make a face at them that looks like good and looks like great and then with me you are alone again. Unriddled by my questions, unannounced as if the couch owned your legs. I am mad for being mad. And for being right. And for being nothing but good. So why does it feel so damn exhausting-to nap during the day and wake up still unloved by you. So tiring to keep this back pocket free in case you slip your hand in, and when you do not ask me how my day was, I know to check for stolen change. Hand in my pocket to protect you against the yell machine, the perfect plane, soaring right back down after take off.

“I honour this privilege” by Julia at the bus stop

Sunday May 22, 2016
5 minutes
from a birthday card

I heard him say it to himself when he thought I had left for the evening. He was reciting it in the mirror, getting ready for his big night. I crept in the house quietly, I had forgotten my wallet by the island. I don’t know why I had left it there but I didn’t want to impose myself. Just a few quiet steps while he rehearsed his speech in the bathroom. The one I had begged him to do for me because I wasn’t able to go. He said no. He didn’t want me anywhere near it. I tried to go as fast as my curiosity would let me. He repeated one line over and over and I wanted to hear him get it right. “I honour this privilege. I honour this privilege.” My hand was reaching for the soft leather while my mind tilted toward him in the bathroom. I felt the wallet graze my hand and I quickly realized that if I could go in this instant I would have a secret but nothing to be sorry for.

“forced to break the locks” by Julia at Sambuca Grill

Friday May 9, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
5 minutes
The TSA baggage inspection notice

Until I knew what I was doing, I was hoping to exist in private. That meant no windows, no doors, no working out in public, no eating sandwiches with too much meat in front of other humans. There was just so much to sort out: How I felt about road trips, if I preferred the raspberry jam with or without pectin, if green was in fact my favourite colour, if I believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as our “Saviour”, if I was able to sleep at night knowing full well I just used air quotes to describe a deity, if I truly did hate jazz or just loved to hate it, how I interacted with sea-life, what, in actuality, was my true cup-size, would there ever be a family reunion that everyone came to willingly, how on earth I had made it so long without proclaiming my love for dandelions out loud.
I knew nothing about myself. I had all these questions, and worries, and paranoid dreams, and I was not about to throw it all away in the presence of other people who might deem said living style as a complete and utter failure…

“catch fire” by Julia on the subway going west

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
5 minutes
An ad in the subway

“Shit!” Jo shrieked. “Nobody gets to come in my room! Get it?”
She was pacing back and forth in her black room, keeping her hangnail just hanging–but barely.She had a bad habit of putting her fingers into her mouth and chewing recklessly when she was stressed out or just plain furious. Right now she was both. Her secret box looked like it had been tampered with. Not opened, luckily, as she locked the box and swallowed the key. Literally. She swallowed it. But the fact that someone was in her room maybe getting close to the contents of that box set her on fire. Her insides felt hot and flamey: all cackling and crunching. She wanted to punch a bunny rabbit in its face.
She wanted to run down a crowded street with push pins just in the hopes of scratching someone, or anyone, who got close to her.
Jo stopped pacing. She noticed the window slightly ajar. She ran to the curtains and sniffed them. “BRIANNA!” she yelled.

“Just as they were” by Julia at R Squared

Monday, December 10, 2012 at R Squared
5 minutes
James Joyce

Common misconception about Adelaide and Murray was that they were public people. Quite the contrary, I do believe. They were quiet and private. In public they were loud, but they still didn’t share much. Adelaide never talking about Murray’s mind going south-or the time he locked her out of the house in minus -20 degree weather because he thought she was a demon. Why would Adelaide tell anyone anything when the two of them looked so perfectly coupled on the outside?
At family functions Adelaide kept her hand on Murray’s arm. Gentle. Sweet. It looked like they had a simple and easy love that just requires constant contact. She touched him to remind him that she was human. That her body was real, that his mind was the thing that was not.
Murray once stole a bottle of pills and hid himself in the bathroom with them. On the door he posted a note that said, “I’m sorry. I love you. It’ll be over soon.”
Adelaide didn’t listen to bathroom signs. She broke down the door before he could swallow even one.
He cried in her arms all night. It was Christmas Eve.
“Shh,” she told him, “Shh.”