“Pumpkin season may be upon us” by Sasha on her couch

Friday September 25, 2015
5 minutes
An Instagram post

Every morning I walk out to the mailbox at the end of the driveway. In Fall, I take my mug of coffee with me. In winter I pull my hood tight around my ears. I open the mailbox, the one that Sam’s father gave us when we were fist engaged, with the red flag and the small door with a latch.

Today I pull out a few bills, something from the government for Sam, and a postcard. I haven’t received one of those in a long time. A postcard. With palm trees and Miami Beach written across the top in pink cursive. I turn it over, starting my walk back to the house. It’s a handwriting I don’t recognize.

“Axe throwing league” by Sasha at her desk

Sunday March 9, 2014
5 minutes
overheard on the 72 pape bus

Those dark corners of our relationships where we’d rather not look? Where we’re happy to let dust settle and rarely vacuum? I learned that that’s not such a good idea in the long run. Sam is surfing Buzzfeed like a real animal these days. Right now. He’s on it. I know it’s bad that I look in the window reflection to see what’s on his screen. He doesn’t need to know the “10 Best Study Snacks”! He’s not studying for anything! “Read a book!” I shout. He laughs. So. Here’s the latest. I think Sam’s addicted to the Internet. Not in a funny/cute way, in a ‘Are you okay?” way. The other day, I get home from work, arms full of groceries and library books. He’s on the floor, sitting with his back against the couch and he’s reading a blog about an Axe throwing league. “Whatchu doin’?” I ask. Nonchalant. Totally cool girlfriend. “Looking into an exercise program so I can lose my gut,” he says, eyes glued to the screen.

TJ & Sam by Julia at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab

Sunday February 2, 2014 at The Fringe Creation Lab
5 minutes
these five minutes: writer’s workout

They were brothers–not really–well, really, but not really. Not blood. Just blood brothers in expression–when you open up an old paper cut, or scratch a patch of skin back to make it bleed–rub your wounds into each other’s and promise something of yourselves to the other. For example: I’ll always be there for you, man. Or: No matter what, bro, no matter what.
It feels like when two dudes do this kind of thing they also automatically repeat key phrases like the MSP on a triple A baseball team…Atta boy, atta boy.
It’s nice.
TJ and Sam were like that–only contrary to common belief, they didn’t say anything when their blood was mixing together. They both closed their eyes and just felt it. TJ and Sam had that kind of bond where they could sit in an open space with their blood dancing–with another guy’s blood, and feel a connection without having to say “No homo” just to ease the silence, the magic. They gave it its space–they gave their blood a minute before they said a single thing.

TJ & Sam by Sasha at the these five minutes: writer’s workout at the Fringe Creation Lab

Sunday February 2, 2014 at The Fringe Creation Lab
5 minutes
these five minutes: writer’s workout

TJ’s got her hands in her pockets like she’s some kinda cool kid, like she forget to lock the door. TJ blows bubbles with her gum and lets them bubbles pop on her own face and then she peels it off, bit by bit, and drops the gum balls on the carpet. When TJ makes a peanut butter sandwich she eats a spoonful of straight peanut butter, straight heart attack. She uses the same spoon for the sandwich. Who makes a sandwich with a spoon, anyway?!

Sam says nothing. He watches her and sometimes makes a small grunting sound. TJ has chosen to forget which sound means “good” and which sound means “bad”. TJ has disentangled herself from those words altogether. It’s all grey to her – the sky, the sidewalk, Sam’s hair, the snow.

“it’s okay” by Sasha at lemonTree {studio}

Friday January 17, 2014 at lemonTree {studio}
5 minutes
overheard on the corner of Spadina and Adelaide

“I think you’re better off without them,” said Sam, over chocolate croissants from the bakery a thirty minute bike ride away. He’d gone this morning, early, because they always sell out by nine. He rewards himself with two. I get one, and sometimes the crunchy ends of his second, which he usually leaves behind. “These are the best part!” I always squeal, and he rolls his eyes. “I really do…” he dips a chocolatey chunk into his black coffee. “I actually don’t care what you think about my friends, Sam!” I am lying, but it has the right effect. “Those girls give you grief and only grief…” He wipes the side of his lips. “That’s what friends are supposed to do,” I know it sounds bogus, but, it’s actually what I believe. “It’s different for guys,” I pick up croissant crumbs from the table, one by one, blotting with my pointer finger. “You don’t get it.” Sam looks at me like I’m his puppy, not his girlfriend. Or maybe his gerbil. “It’s okay,” he says, like that’s enough, like that’s it.

“might lead you to believe” by Sasha at her desk

Friday October 25, 2013
5 minutes
The GRID TO, this weeks edition

I called you from a pay-phone in Paris, somewhere near the Arc de Triomphe. I expected to hear your voice and feel better. “What’s up?” I said, a backwards siren ringing in my ears. “It’s been a rough few days,” you say and I can hear it, anchoring your voice. “Nathan died,” you say and I remember the stories of your mother’s youngest brother,a heroine addict, living alone, drawing with pen all over his walls. “Oh my God,” I said, or something like that. “He committed suicide, he hung himself. Nana found him.” It had been raining all afternoon and my shoes were soaked through. I’d hoped that you might tell me that you needed me to come home, that you needed me there with you. You’re quiet. “I am so so sorry, Sam,” I say, over and over. “Just enjoy yourself, okay?” you sound stronger, “Do lots of awesome things and then get your ass back here so I can kiss you.”

“butter chicken roti” by Sasha at her desk

Thursday, August 15, 2013
5 minutes
from restaurant sign

“Let’s get roti!” Sam says, picking at a scab on his elbow. “Is the plural of “roti” “roti”?” I ask him, sure that he knows. He is one of those people that has facts about the home videos that Nixon made during Watergate, who knows the dates of when wars began, who remembers when asparagus is in season. He squints his eyes and looks up. “I don’t know!” He proclaims. I wish that he’d say that when it was consequential, when I was invested, when I was heavy with resentment and a cramping ego. He says it now. Maybe it’s a good start. We ride our bikes to Gandhi, Sam’s favourite spot. He gets a Butter Chicken and I get a Saag Paneer. We eat quietly, something that I used to think meant we were sad but no think means we are safe.