“We’ll look into this right away” by Julia on her couch

Wednesday November 8, 2017
11:20pm
5 minutes
vistaprint.ca

You’re running again
feel it
feel that
it’s your feet
they’re tired of carrying you
they’ll do it
they’ll always do it
but they’d like to rest
they’d like you to get
that wart on the side
of your foot checked out
it hurts
it hurts when you run
and you’ve been running again
do you ever thank them
your feet
your tired aching feet
they might carry you further
if they knew you cared
it doesn’t need to be big
not a singing telegram
or anything balloon related
but a rub would be nice
a rub with oil if you have it
if you have the time
You’ve been wondering why
it feels like you’ve slowed
and if we’re going to look
into this right away we need
you to first look into this
we on behalf of your feet
the representatives you chose
before you started running
before you started moving
so fast and maybe too fast
we’re not mad but we do
want to make sure you know

“big sister” by Julia in her bed


Sunday August 13, 2017
11:23pm
5 minutes
from Nannies On Call

Big sister gets a big girl bike and rides up and down the sidewalk. Wears her new shorts and her jacket. Big sister learns how to ride on the street. Big sister gets from A to B to Z. Big sister plans the route and then rides it. All the way to the store and back and to the school and back and to the sky and back. She peddles her legs and goes goes goes. Big sister cannot stop. She’s a husky. She runs because she must.

“quite desperate to escape all the people” by Julia on her couch


Saturday July 29, 2017
12:39am
5 minutes
The Humans
Matt Haig


Melissa throws a party for her sister by accident. She doesn’t mean to be in charge but she’s the most capable and everyone knows it. She tries to stay out of it and offer mild help here and there but ends up running the show with a forced smile and a couple stollen tokes. I feel bad that she gets stuck with all the planning. All the dark stuff. All the alone. Her parents don’t call her to ask about her health. They don’t wonder how she’s doing after finding out she needs surgery. They don’t wonder how she’s doing after going through surgery. Instead she’s the reliable one. The one everyone calls when they need to complain. Or throw a baby shower. Or pick up her nieces from dance camp. Melissa tries to be sweet for her sister. For her sister who doesn’t even care about being at the party thrown in her honour.
When I finally manage to get her alone I ask her. Why are you running? Where do you plan on going? Do you need any help?
She laughs in my face and tells me I’m her funniest cousin.

“if indoors, stay indoors” by Julia at her desk


Monday June 26, 2017
10:56pm
5 minutes
from the Central 1 credit union emergency response plan

The man in the green hat was shouting loudly on his cell-phone as he jogged his small dog around the pool and back and back and back.
We watched as he panted into somebody’s ear and didn’t know who to feel more sorry for. Dog included.
I looked at Lexi and knew I would not always love her. I smiled and tugged her shirt at the v.
We stayed there for a while, counting times he reached to yank up his boxer shorts poking through with his phoned hand.
When we walked home I intentionally stepped on the back of her foot and made her yelp.
I kissed her sorry, so sorry, so so sorry.

“Solid colour” by Julia at her desk


Friday May 6, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From a text

Had a dream I was trying to kill you again. I was coming at you with the blue knife Marnie gave us as an engagement gift. In my dream you’re not afraid or anxious. You almost have a calmness about you. You expect that I’m going to hunt you and you don’t even run. I think what I’m learning from this nightmare is that you don’t give up on me when I test you. You don’t run away when things get crazy. You don’t try to hurt me just because I’m trying to hurt you. This dream shows me how good you are. It makes me realize that one day, when I finally stop trying to sabotage us, stop making you prove yourself, we will be so obnoxiously happy. Until then know that this isn’t personal, that me trying to kill you says more about me than it says about you and that at least we’re getting our use out of that little blue knife.

“Alberta’s oil sands” by Julia on the 319


Thursday May 5, 2016
6:11pm
5 minutes
From the back of a pamphlet

Mauve and red and magenta and orange. Sky bright. Night hot. Night fear. Red blood pumping. Running. Running. Dreams interrupted. Sleep disrupted. Running. Running.
I want to go home where the fields were mine and where the sky guided me back. Nothing left now. No home. No fields. No fix. No fight. Night hot. Sky bright. Love out. Love in. Goodbyes painted flame. Least important importance stays behind. No one wins. Running. Running.

“Violence faces” by Sasha on her couch


Sunday October 4, 2015
11:23pm
5 minutes
from a tweet from the Green Party of Canada

Why did I sit in the window of this place? I’m not sure why you’re running. You aren’t wearing appropriate footwear. I watch you, hair flying, on the verge or tripping, drooling, crying? You’re coming towards me. You’re coming in. You open the door.

I’ve only had violent impulses twice in my life, not counting right now. Your desperation is thick like cream cheese icing. Don’t dip your finger in.

I pretend I don’t see you. You spot me and squint. I have exceptional peripheral vision. You pretend you don’t see me, too. I hadn’t seen Jake sitting in the back of the bar.

“Elevated stress response” by Julia at Liberty Bakery


Friday October 2, 2015 at Liberty Bakery
2:57pm
5 minutes
Epigenetics
Richard C. Frances


I’m racing.
My mind.
My heart.
My muscles.
I’m working overtime and I’m over that.
I don’t have quiet.
I don’t know peace.
It’s bad.
I’m too soft for things that are this hard.
I watch my dreams turn into nightmares.
I wake up all twisted in my comforter.
I wake up buried deep in my own grave every morning.
Every night.
Every time.
That’s the worst part.
Because I can’t explain it.
Not to you.
Not to me.
Not to anyone.
There’s nothing I can relate this to.
I’ve never died but it feels close to that.
It feels like fighting to stay alive.
But mostly fighting to die.
Time is racing.
I am racing.
I am running from myself.
And running out of running.

“No need to hurry” by Sasha on her porch


Saturday, July 18, 2015
11:43am
5 minutes
From an email

No need to hurry, Si. You’ll trip! Your shoelaces are undone… Silas! Shit. Come here. Come here. You’re alright, you’ll be alright. Shhh… Sh… Mikey and Lizz are coming for supper. What shall we make. Burritos? How bout burritos? And you and Mikey can have fizzies and me and Lizz will have grown-up fizzes with wine. Oh. I guess we should stop at the liquor store, then. Or… No, can’t ask Lizz to bring, she’s always so low on cash. Not sure why she doesn’t ask Greg for more spending money. It’s not like he doesn’t have more than enough! And then he takes the kids to Marine Land and gets all the glory while Lizz is left – … Silas? Nevermind. Honey, don’t pick that up. That’s garbage! SILAS! Don’t you dare put that in your mouth. There’ll be no fizzy for you!

“Now get your ass over here!!!” By Julia at her desk


Saturday October 18, 2014
1:09am
5 minutes
from a comment on a photo on Facebook

I was tired from running around the house from my deranged mother. Turns out you tell her to shut up one time and it’s… I don’t know, over, I guess. I should have known better than to run from her. Should have just let her hit me right then and there. The more she runs the angrier she gets, which, makes sense, so it’s my fault. But she chased me up and down stairs, everywhere, everywhere. Finally, I thought, no, I cannot do this anymore, so I surrender. I just threw myself on the floor underneath the dining room table, and I gave up. I think she needed to catch me more than I needed to escape. So I let her hit me a couple times with her wooden spoon. It hurt. A lot. But I guess it was sort of a release for the both of us. Dad had only been gone for 3 days, but those three days without him really felt like more than enough. We both cried while she was whacking me. There was a moment before it ended where it actually felt okay. It felt like something was real again.

“Call it what you will” by Julia in the motel in Sault Ste. Marie


Thursday June 12, 2014
9:55pm
5 minutes
A song by Joe Pug

Caroline and Eddy had been driving for what felt like days. Eddy had begun to smell, refusing to put on deodorant because he said he was on the “open road” and if he couldn’t smell like the earth here, then he didn’t want to be alive. Caroline was battling her car-colepsy and told Eddy that if he was going to take pictures of her sleeping with her mouth wide open facing the roof of the car then he better not post them online or she would punch holes in his tires and make him drive back to Sugar Lake by himself. Eddy didn’t care about Caroline’s sleeping habits, or her poor taste in music. He didn’t care about anything except for getting really far away from everything he knew back home, and finally starting over without anyone knowing who he was. Caroline didn’t know about Eddy’s friend, Liam, with whom he had helped burry a curious large sack that weighed as much as an elephant.

“train service is suspended” by Julia in her backyard


Friday June 6, 2014
2:28pm
5 minutes
A tweet by the TTC

When you have to be somewhere at a certain time and you’re already running late, it’s better always, always, always, to take a cab, stress it out in the backseat for a few minutes, then text whoever you’re supposed to meet and say “In a cab, so sorry” so they know that you are trying your best to be on time, you’re even paying real money to arrive as close to on time as possible, and that you feel bad about making them wait for you so you’re enduring the traffic stress of being in a cab in the first place to make up for it. Do not take the subway because subways have delays and trains get so busy because there aren’t enough to get everyone from point a to point b during the time you need. Do not take the streetcar because you probably won’t be able to sit and then you have to smell everyone’s hair and armpits while people crowd around you, yelling, or pre-drinking, or baby talking. Do not walk and think that when it gets down to crunch time you can just run and beat both the subway and the streetcar. You will get sweaty and you will get tired and you will think you can run all the way but you cannot because you decided that working out was a “rich man’s game” and that you’d much rather eat the whole box of Passion Flakies for breakfast instead of just one or two or none.

“set a time, a location, and a few basic rules” by Sasha at her desk


Monday May 5, 2014
12:52pm
5 minutes
Beautiful Trouble
Edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell


Leonardo is a really good actor. Have you seen Wolf of Wall Street? Woah. Like, woah, right? He’s a really good guy, too. I met him once, you know. Yup. I was in LA for my cousin Theodore’s wedding and I went out one morning to explore on my own. I took my parents rental car and I drove to Laurel Canyon. Have you ever been there? Holy moly, it’s nice. I was walking, you know, just, like, doing my own thing, trying not o look like too much of a tourist. A guy comes towards me, running, and he’s got a Black Lab. Did you know that Leonardo has a dog? Always a good sign when someone loves animals, I’d say. And I’m like, “I recognize that guy… How do I know that guy…” And then it hits me like lightning! Holy smokes! That Leo! So, I’m starstruck but I act cool and he’s already run by me but I just, I like, I yell, “Can I pat your dog?!” He takes off his headphones, like, fully off, he puts them around his neck, and he’s like, “Sure, go for it.” So I pat his dog and I try not to make idiotic baby voice sounds but, you know, it’s hard because that dog is really cute! And I probably carry on for a bit too long because then he says, “Come on Al,” and I’m like, “WHAT?!” And then he’s like, “Pardon?” And I’m like, “My name is Al…” And he’s like, “My dog’s name is Al…” And then we both laugh and then he keeps running. And then I’m like, left there, in the Canyon, and I’m like, laugh-crying because I can’t believe that just happened.

“for being born and stuff” by Julia at her desk


Friday March 14, 2014
11:44pm
5 minutes
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.

“She looked like anything but a winner” by Julia at R Squared Cafe


Monday, March 10 2014 at R Squared Cafe
4:55pm
5 minutes
The Bookman’s Wake
John Dunning


had the soles of her feet scratched up from the running
from the running with no shoes, no socks, no protection
just a little thing
not a lot to protect, small feet, but not a lot
had the lashes of her eyes all stuck together from the mud
from the mud rubbed into her face, from the falling down into the forests,
from the running with no shoes, no socks
from the running from herself to find herself
from the running from herself to find something that looked like home
had the tips of her fingers all bloody and bruised from the snatching
from the snatching of little bits of food from glass cases
from the snatching of little bits of hope sprinkled generously on all the tops of every barbed wire fence
from the running with no shoes, no socks
from the days that seemed warm but chilled her to the bones
had the dream of a future splattered across her face
from the running
from the running

“1 min away” by Julia on the 7 going north


Saturday December 7, 2013
10:16pm
5 minutes
A text message from Matthew Del Degan to Nadeem Umar Khitab

Her 2 inch heels clicked across the pavement with more intensity than she had hoped. Everyone seemed to be looking her up and down because of the noise she was making alone. Amanda was late, as usual, but she was trying to make up for lost time by running every few steps, keeping her walk at a clip, and trying to leave her phone in her pocket so she wouldn’t be distracted by the time or by communication of any sort. Amanda fixed her purse after it fell off her shoulder and found herself slowing down because of it. For a brief moment she considered throwing the entire bag into the river just to be free of it. She thought about taking out her wallet, her keys, her notebook, her pen. She didn’t have a place to put those things either. Her coat pockets were barely large enough to house her phone without bursting a button. She clipped on her way, the cobblestone reminding her of how far away she still was.

“viciously funny” by Julia at her desk


Tuesday, August 13, 2013
11:58pm
5 minutes
from the SummerWorks Performance Festival guide

I was told once I could make a whole room laugh. I took that as a compliment. But then I met Andy, and he could make the whole city laugh. He didn’t even know he was funny. He had blue hair on either side of his head that made him look like Bozo the clown in a less creepy and sad way. He was my running instructor and used to wear neon socks every Wednesday because it just made him feel better. He’d take myself along with 4 or 5 other women, and he’d jog us around the park until we were sweating like crazy, and a little less focussed on our current divorce situations. Andy was a motivator, and a hilarious story teller. But he didn’t understand how. I suppose he was just that good at it; at believing in the truth of everything, that he didn’t seem like he was in it for the glory. I think that’s what separates people from the good, the bad, and the bitter.

“feeling my legs” By Julia at R Squared


Monday February 25, 2013 at R Squared
11:21am
5 minutes
Chaos Comes Again
Wilhelmina Baird


Jordie and in are going to run to the Starbucks at the end of our street–like a race–and then whoever is last has to buy the coffee! Yuck! Neither of us even like coffee, but a dare’s a dare and if we show up with nothing , then Al will think we didn’t even run or that we were scared. People in there always have their laptops and always look up at kids when they’re in there as if they should be attached to a leash or something. I only know this because like, my mom says that about other kids and I think every time–I could be one of those kids. Jordie is more that kid than me. If you give him like, a couple packs of unopened sugar, the next thing you know it’s all been dumped into ketchup cups or on the floor. Jordie is so bad he gets a timeout from my mom too. She hates disciplining Jordie but thinks his mom doesn’t do a very good job. Jordie’s not as fast as me but I know he doesn’t have three Dillard’s or the coffee dare. We have to get extra sugar first do we can drink it–with the lid on do we can run back and we can show Al we did it. I have an idea in my head to slow down just at the end to Jordie beat me. My mom gave me five dollars to buy bread. I’ll just explain the whole thing to her later.

“boyfriend’s oversized sportscoat” by Sasha on the subway going West


Thursday February 7, 2013
6:15pm
5 minutes
http://www.thesartorialist.com

I feel sick to my stomach but I know I won’t throw up or anything particularly messy. I feel naked and alone and sick to my stomach, but I know I won’t buy a ticket to Guelph and take my four-man tent and do something stupid like pitch it on your front lawn. I feel sick to my stomach. It can’t be anything real yet. I can only be a dash or a semi-colon or a mite sized maybe. I found myself running down by the lake really early this morning. The sun wasn’t up yet. I took off my shoes and ran through the sand because it was harder. I needed a physical thing, a physical hard thing, to make what’s happening seem easier. My toes couldn’t get traction. I hate running. But I did. I ran all the way to the Leslie Street Spit. I saw a woman with a Great Dane. She smiled at me and said, “Be safe.” I thought about answering, “Too late now!” But I couldn’t find my voice. When I got home I saw your sportscoat in my hall closet. The blue one that goes with your dress pants, that you wore to Hugh’s wedding. I took off my sweaty running clothes and put it on.

“as a result” by Julia at the Green Grind


Friday, November 24, 2012 at the Green Grind
5:27pm
5 minutes
Letters in Toronto Life
December 2012 issue


Contrary to common belief, I am a very happy individual. You may know me from the furrowed brow section of my face; the one that comes out to discourage you every now again. It’s my thinking face, let the rumours be dispelled! I think with my eyebrows. Or with the top quadrant of my face. Don’t you walk with your knees? Or Talk mostly with your teeth? Welcome to the Freak Show, my friends. Every one of us is a twisted piece of art, and as a result, we stand out. You think I’m angry? I’m not. I’m processing. You think I hate you? I probably do. I’m kidddddding. I don’t. But I look like I do and I promise it’s not just a weird defense mechanism. It’s the thing my face does because it wasn’t taught properly from birth. I literally came out of the womb this way: brows crossed and hands balled into tiny, yet powerful, fists.
I smile with my whole body. Did you ever notice that? The way my laugh shoots into the air and calms the threatening clouds above us? It’s real. At least you know when I freaking mean it. Unlike the people who don’t look upset when they’re thinking, but instead just look overly interested. Overly sympathetic. They probably are, don’t get me wrong. And maybe their faces are just more developed than mine. Emotionally. But can we truly go on and begrudge someone for responding in a way that we don’t like? It’s just their face!

“Not wanting to be left” by Julia at the Green Grind


Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at the Green Grind
3:53pm
5 minutes
The Wooden Horse
Eric Williams


Adrenaline was pulsing through Abbot’s veins. He had been running to catch the 5:05 bus but had gotten there 11 seconds too late. He was angry now and threw a rock at the moving bus’ windshield to demonstrate his displeasure. The bus driver stopped and pulled over. He got out, a fat almost blue looking man with white hair stumbled down the steps and approached Abbot. Abbot stood firm, wanting to fight this man so hard for not stopping for him earlier. For taking the time now to come out and address him as if his swollen legs and lungs running to catch him 30 seconds earlier wasn’t enough of a reason. The bus driver walked toward him and raised his arm. What was he going to do? Hit him? There were people around. Abbot was beginning to get scared. I WAS LATE. He shouted. Trying to sift through his brain for excuses : my wife is in labour, my wife is dying, my wife is in labour, my wife is leaving on a plane in less than 20 minutes. He couldn’t say anything, not much of a liar. The bus driver grabbed his lapel and started to drag him across the street. Abbot squirmed and squirmed but the bus driver’s grip was strong.
THE STOP IS ON THIS SIDE. The bus driver said, and let go of his coat.