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

January 11, 2018

10:41pm

5 minutes

Midwinter

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.

“finding my people in unexpected places” by Julia on the 99


Monday August 28, 2017
3:50pm
5 minutes
Bad Feminist
Roxane Gay


In the bathroom stall at the gym, I stick my fingers up myself to help stimulate my bowels. My cousin, Trina, taught me this trick one day during the commercial break for Days Of Our Lives. I was eleven and she was thirteen. “You’d think twice a week would be enough but it’s not. You’d also think you should stick your hand up the back but this is way more forgiving!”
Trina showed me a lot of things. Like how to make out with the silky skin in the crook of my elbow for practice, or how not to move the shower head from my clit the second I started to like it.
Without thinking I let slip a tiny groan. The woman in the stall beside me sighs.
“I get it, girl. Been trying since Tuesday over here.”

“I tried to do it years ago” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday May 3, 2017
1:07pm
5 minutes
Devices on Standby
Kelly Ann Malone


Silas spits out my nipple like a cherry pit and it’s left hanging out, that awkward cousin no one really likes who is still invited to sedar. The subway lurches to a stop and the woman sitting across from us smiles, a condescending situation of worry and furrow. A punk listening to ridiculously loud music (you only get one set of eardrums, my tattooed friend) pretends a breast is not there, beside him. Maybe he doesn’t notice. Maybe he’s over that shit. Bless him. Silas starts to mew. Sometimes I wonder if he’s part squirrel. Or rabbit.

“if there can be no final satisfaction” by Julia at her dining table


Sunday, April 3, 2016
9:50pm
5 minutes
The Wisdom Of Insecurity
Alan W. Watts


Saying goodbye to you was the worst thing I’ve ever had to endure.
I’ve already told you this but you like to ask it again and again. You say “what was going through your head when you had to leave? Were you sad? Were you empty?” You ask this stuff because you felt sad and you felt empty. I know it was harder for you because I was the one going and you had to stay. My neck was sore that day. I strained it from laying on you the way I did. I didn’t want to let you go. I didn’t want to stop smelling the spot behind your ear where your hair line starts. At the airport you were crying and it was making me angry. I didn’t want to cry there in front of everyone. I wanted to wait for my planned privacy sitting beside two strangers watching Gone Girl for me to cry over you. I wasn’t feeling sad, but hopeful. We needed the time apart and I couldn’t match your dissatisfaction. You wanted to relish in the misery and I wanted you to go do that in the car because it was hard enough already with a bad neck and a lot of emotions I hadn’t yet named. I didn’t think about how upsetting it would be to return to the house we used to share, see all my bath bombs and loose leaf tea, my microphone and my hair towel, and know I wouldn’t be coming back.

“OH MY GOD I GOTTA GO!” by Julia at Propeller Coffee


Thursday, July 23, 2015 at Propeller Coffee
2:20pm
5 minutes
Overheard on the Street

I’m the person on the street that annoys you with my heavy walk That spits on the sidewalk
That answers my phone too loudly on public transportation
That lets my phone ring too loudly before I answer it on public transportation
That drops an earring in the parking lot and then is too shocked to offer sincere gratitude when it’s returned
That is obnoxious on a bicycle because nothing is oiled and it sounds like a David Lynch movie
That tries to make other people feel good about their bad choices
That would rather close a window than put on an extra layer of clothing
That orders McDonald’s fries without sodium just because I can
That falls asleep at the library
That takes a shit in public restrooms
That wishes on shooting stars which end up just being planes

“What a liberty!” by Julia on the train to London


Saturday December 27, 2014
12:22pm
5 minutes
from Chocolate And Cuckoo Clocks: The Essential Alan Coren
edited by Giles and Victoria Coren


I’m stuck on a train with a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He’s reading right now, don’t worry. But he just spent the last half hour explaining the plot of his book that he’s trying to get published. He doesn’t have an agent. His protagonist just so happens to be a surprise murderer from Vancouver island. He lives alone. So does his protagonist. He’s a lumberjack. Has access to an axe. Knows how to wield one. So does his protagonist. Captures a traveling circus that’s moving through town. Don’t know how to prove that both of them do it. But his protagonist does. Told me he’d watch my bag while I went to the bathroom. Didn’t trust him. Didn’t go. He doesn’t know yet that I don’t trust him. Too big of a smile trying to reassure me he absolutely will never kill me. I think surprise murderers have to practice that smile. Over and over and over again.

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


Friday May 9, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
5:49pm
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…

“Just as they were” by Julia at R Squared


Monday, December 10, 2012 at R Squared
11:43am
5 minutes
Dubliners
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.”