“This is an obituary.” by Julia on V’s couch

Saturday September 22, 2018
9:30pm
5 minutes
Empty Condolences
Joey Comeau

You live in the walls I hang my new life on
all the hooks drilled into your grooves
thank you for not whistling
I
don’t
think
I
could
handle
that
You could be watching me but I know you’re not
Never really cared about the minutia of things
the quiet worries spent hiding my tears in the bathroom
the enevelope of cash in my bedside drawers
beside the envelope of letters adressed to me that I had to write to convince myself I was good enough without you
I wonder why you never read my journals
you would have learned so much
And now you’re here and nestled underneath
when I remember to remember

“like slivered almonds in the bulk section,” by Julia in The Loop, Chicago

Monday September 10, 2018
10:38pm
5 minutes
Parsley
Listen Chen

Jessie keeps her handkerchief in the secret pocket of her purse. Nobody knows it’s there but her. A tiny reminder of her tiny grandmother who left a big hole in her life when she passed away. She has never been the type to use a handkerchief but knowing that it’s there makes her feel better. It is yellow and white and sweet and floral. It makes her feel lavish. Abundant. Like all those slivered and blanched almonds in the bulk section. Nothing else goes inside the secret purse pocket. It has to stay clean and folded there where all the memories live.

“for the girls I kissed in seventh grade” by Julia in her bed

Sunday June 24, 2018
6:03am
5 minutes
Practicing
Marie Howe

In the food cellar in the basement I turn the light off
pull the chain hanging from a lone bulb and launch myself onto you and the concrete floor
you kiss me back and we are rubbing up down on each other
writhing around like two snakes let loose in a barrel
I dont remember who said we should go upstairs to your room but we go upstairs to your room and I stay on top of you
I stay on top of you and I catch your breath in my mouth
I think your mom was home cutting someone’s hair and there we were growing slowly and opening
Days earlier I am watching you and thinking I must have missed my chance
it didn’t strike me then that you might not want me
perhaps when you know something in your soft bones you really know it

“in that beautiful mind” by Julia on her patio

Wednesday June 20, 2018
8:56pm
5 minutes
All Of Me
John Legend

I used to fantasize about making out with you. And kind of fucking you in the bathroom but never telling anyone about it. I have a feeling you would have preferred to be doing it than people thinking you were and I wouldn’t want anyone to know. Our bodies are too similar in size and maybe that’s part of why I like the idea of us and why there never was an us. I think you’d be good for the record, but you come off in groups like you don’t think you’d deserve it and be so afraid to just slap my ass or kiss me like you mean it. Maybe that’s what I told myself so I wouldn’t be tempted to flirt with you. You were an easy target in that way. Innocuous. Bug spray. I have thought about you seldom since because I’m not sure that I’m wrong. I want you to be bad. I guess that’s the fun of fantasies. You get to make a good one into a midnight mystery tour and be as bad as you think you are with someone who you believe would bend over backwards to sleep with you. Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you’d say no if I cornered you in the bathroom. I don’t think I’m wrong. But. I guess we’ll never know for sure.

“She actually cooks” By Julia at her desk

Wednesday May 16, 2018
12:16am
5 minutes
Overheard in the dining room

I read your poetry hoping to find a piece of me there
Maybe a big piece that cannot be mistakened for someone else
When I uncover the grave there is a body buried alive
barely breathing, but not dead yet
I weep at the beauty of those words–stiched together like a
quilt to leave hanging on the fraying loveseat
I find a way to see your heart in the hurt
And we are both bodies buried alive, barely breathing
but not dead yet
I have hooked up the tubes and wires and run you through
my veins delivering a kind of test to all my internal organs
It works
I am working
You can be my blood and I will keep pumping
pumping

“The liar’s punishment” by Julia at her desk

Wednesday April 25, 2018
6:47am
5 minutes
From a quote by George Bernard Shaw

Five minutes isn’t long enough
to tell you
about the consequences of running away
Each movie sounds like your fear through the
megaphone of your worried heart beat
Each character flaw revealed stirs up your
blood and what if you start bleeding
right here
right now
You will think it is your job from this moment
on to live with the secret heavy that has been
pulling you down slowly, slowly
The sweet stillness will be sickened with dread
and what if dread lives in the elbow skin
collecting at the crease
turning soft into sweat

“They would tell everyone” by Julia at her desk

Thursday, April 12, 2018
8:14pm
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

“When your music ends” by Julia on her patio


Sunday August 6, 2017
5:07pm
5 minutes
Spotify

That feeling when your guts are in your throat
when you want to breathe deeply but nobody will let you
the empty swallow that burns your chest
that makes you wish for more time or a disguise

The last song has to be a good one. Maeve and Alexis lay on the floor touching skulls, feet outstretched in opposite directions. Maeve has been planning for a long time and Alexis knows patience. She goes along hand in hand with everything. She is not a pushover. She just never gets tired. Maeve is close to tears. She doesn’t know which one to choose and everyone is putting their two cents in. Alexis has stopped suggesting options. Instead she lays there without thinking about the clock and lets her friend quietly cry.

“As the vibrations release” by Julia on the 7


Friday June 2, 2017
3:26pm
5 minutes
Freeing the Natural Voice
Kristin Linklater


Theta waves on low hum, you don’t seem to notice, so I keep it on
under all conversation and creative thought
Later on, you tell me something strange is happening to my computer, a motor too big for a laptop that small
I debate telling you the truth, experiment interrupted, you can in fact hear it, and decide to give it up
You’re not angry, you think it’s funny but I am angry because vibrations are not funny
I am only embarrassed for a minute when you describe the motor sounds that you were wondering about for 6 whole hours
I am embarrassed for thinking your brain would understand

“super slinky.” by Julia at her desk


Sunday May 14, 2017
9:47pm
5 minutes
from the pack of guitar strings

Keaton brings home a box under his arm, covered by his coat,
he hopes for the sound of running
Daddy’s home, the moment they’ve all be waiting for
Dawn usually hears the car door and knows
Delia sometimes comes outside if Iris lets her
there is a silence where the noise should be
there is a box for the girls but there are no girls
for the box
Keaton calls out, Daddy’s home!
no one responds
Iris!
nothing
He sets down the box next to the broken floor lamp
Iris says if we don’t trip over it every
day we’ll never think to take it out
He walks slowly, the house creaking with empty
Iris?
a wash of dread pulls him under
he doesn’t know what to do
Suddenly the peep peep of a toddler unable to keep
a secret
another laugh, then
SURPRISE!!
Happy Birthday Daddy!

“Certified manager” by Julia on her couch


Friday April 14, 2017
10:13pm
5 minutes
from a business card

Barry is my boss and also my father. He does not let me take home extra envelopes or paper clips. Once he said I could have the left over pinapple from the staff party, but other than that he’s a pretty big stickler for the rules. He’s the middle child so I guess you could say he was a big advocate for justice. Things always needed to be fair. Barry is a good boss and a good father. He sends me letters when I travel, he walks me all the way to the baggage drop off at the airport. Barry has a picture of me in his wallet singing into a toy microphone. He tells his other emplpoyees very little about himself. I’m the only one who knows his birthday.

“you smiled at me” by Julia at her dining table


Monday May 23, 2016
4:22pm
5 minutes
Sunny
Bobby Hebb


There were so many people lined up to get your autograph outside the cinema. It was cloudy but hot. I wasn’t planning on waiting for you but I was wearing my nice yellow sundress with a matching yellow head-scarf and I remember thinking it was too good to be wasted on just meeting Debbie and her boyfriend, Charles at the diner. Suddenly I was hit with the convincing thought that I could have you. I think I was moving as little as possible to avoid sweating through my sleeves. I didn’t want your autograph. I wanted to smell your skin. I wanted to get so close that you would have no choice but to touch me. I had dreamed of that moment and was replaying it over and over again in my head as we waited for you to emerge. Some women were already crying. You were making us wait for no reason in particular. I think you were preparing for the mob. I was preparing to envelop you.

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


Sunday May 22, 2016
5:15pm
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.

“Be wildly generous” by Julia at her dining table


Friday May 20, 2016
6:15pmm
5 minutes
from Julia’s notebook

My grandmother had been staying at our house after her hip surgery. She was sleeping in my room and she liked to spend her time organizing my bookshelves and my underwear drawer. One day she called me into our room to show me her latest clean-up effort. All of my underwear, she showed me, beaming with pride, were folded and stacked neatly according to size, colour, and functionality. I was 16 at the time and I had been wearing thongs for a couple years by then. My grandmother pointed to each stack reminding me “These ones are your nice ones, these are for staying at home only, and these ones are for your ‘holidays'”. She was pointing to the tiny stack of thongs and she was clearly referring to my ‘romantic encounters’. I remember, before I could defend or deny, she brought her finger to her lips, shushing the air as if to say “I won’t tell anyone, don’t worry.” I raised my eyebrows in relief and mouthed the words “thank you.” She smiled wide and squeezed my shoulder, thrilled to keep my business just between us. The truth was, I wasn’t, actually wearing thongs for my ‘holidays’ as I hadn’t had any ‘holidays’ yet, but I just never mentioned that to her. I could tell she needed my secret more than she needed my honesty.

“Let’s roll, babycakes” by Julia at her dining table


Thursday April 14, 2016
11:52pm
5 minutes
overheard on Arbutus

I want you to beg me to stay when I tell you I’ll be sleeping at my mother’s place tonight. I want you to get on your knees and apologize for being a dick so I can forgive you and then apologize for being a dick back to you. I’m angry but I won’t be later but I don’t know how to turn this thing around before later is later. I feel like I’ve pushed all your buttons and there’s no easy rewind let’s pretend that never happened one to press. Why don’t you come with one like that? I am at the door with my overnight bag and I want you to throw me a banana if you’re not going to try to keep me from going. Let me know you still care about my potassium intake even when we’re hating each other. Even when you’re secretly glad that I won’t be sleeping beside you tonight to remind you of this stupid fight we both engaged in when we were both enraged about the thing we won’t remember in the morning.

“round their throats” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Friday, March 25, 2016
10:36pm
5 minutes
From lyrics in a song

She keeps her secret safe around her throat a
red ribbon tied in a bow the edges fraying the
fray undoing the past and what is heavy there.
She keeps her secret safe drinking beer with
breakfast drinking coffee with lunch drinking
no water only brown liquids to keep the pain
down below the sludge. She keeps her secret
safe by only calling him on his birthday and
making sure it’s at a time he won’t pick up.

“Happy birthday, Owen. Hope you’re well.”

Dial tone like the drone note of a prayer she
won’t do this again. This is the last time.
She keeps her secret safe until it doesn’t
want safety. It wants air it wants light prisms.

“Are you sure about that?” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday February 3, 2016
7:15pm
5 minutes
Right Hand Man
Stacey Kaser


Kenny carries his wife’s handbag around the house when no one is home. He loves the way it looks. It elevates so many of his outfits. He doesn’t feel ashamed but he doesn’t want to tell anyone. No. Scratch that: he does feel ashamed and is dying to tell someone. Melanie might wonder if he had other things he was hiding from her, but Kenny could promise her without lying that he just thinks he should be able to wear it without any labels attached. Kenny has had this conversation with Melanie inside his head before. It can only go one of two ways. The first being “I wonder what you’d think if I chose to do this.” “I’m totally cool with it because it doesn’t mean you are any less you.” OR…”I have this thing I like to do.” “I cannot be with someone who does what they do without putting all their things into neatly organized boxes.” Kenny believes it’d be the former, but he doesn’t know for sure.

“Glottal stop” by Julia at her dining table


Friday, January 29, 2016
9:28pm
5 minutes
From an email

I remember his tongue like I remember my favourite song. His words were different when he was tired or when he was mad. I loved to see him mad. It made me wet. I want to explain that but I can’t. It just turned me on so fast I couldn’t hide it: flush to the cheek, quiver in my breath. He never knew that. I never told him. I didn’t want to ruin it, or put pressure on it. It was like my own dirty little secret, and you know what they say about two people keeping a secret…I sometimes think about his anger when I’m trying to get off with someone who doesn’t know what he’s doing. It takes all my focus and I have to picture him saying the right words, pausing in the right places. It’s very difficult remembering something that happened 12 years ago. But I know I can count on it so it’s always worth the struggle. I think back on the way he spit out his Ks and cradled his Ss before unleashing them all, wild and loud.

“Secret Sundays” by Julia in her bed


Thursday January 28, 2016
12:12am
5 minutes
A Mission Kitsilano business card

There’s a few of us who meet at dusk and always on Sundays. Meredith came up with the idea but had no real concept of how important it would become. None of us did. She came to me with the thought of gathering, combining energies, uniting, and giving offerings. Meredith thought it would be a nice gesture if she danced while I offered my singing to the powers that be; to the earth; to the sky. The others started joining us, Reemah with her prayers and Tilda with her tears. Our ceremonies last for sometimes 90 minutes. There is a lot of openness and engaging that none of us get elsewhere. The group is especially honouring of my offering and sometimes ask me to sing three or four times. I am good at creating safety with my voice: acting as an umbrella energy for all of our gifts to come together underneath and feel at home.

“the lid to Pandora’s box slides right off.” By Julia on her couch


Tuesday January 26, 2016
11:56pm
5 minutes
From catskinner.club

There’s a secret waiting at the bottom of this moment
Scrape
Scrape away with claw-like urgency
I don’t know who needs to uncover
To reach the very last layer of earth possible before digging becomes inadvisable
I wave to you from behind my acted ease
I don’t want to startle you
But there’s a major shift happening all around us
We could work together
I know I need someone to remind me that this is a good idea
You are unaware
Usual issue
You don’t want to dig
Not past the cool dirt
Not through my caked on smile
I have to bleed bigger if I want emotion
Reaction
I have to show you how…
Remember pain comes in many different perfect looking boxes
Shape shifting
Scrape and claw
Claw and scrape

“Shhh…..” by Julia at her desk


Saturday December 5, 2015
11:49pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Kits Beach

I clutch the truth to my chest like a secret that is not meant for anyone to see but me.
It stings a bit, this truth. If I hold it too tight it starts to burn through my skin.
I don’t tell you because it might burn you too.
I can’t let that happen. I promised I would protect your heart. I promised I wouldn’t let even one bad thing get close.
You beg me for my truth. You try to sneak it away from me when I’m not thinking clearly. You bet you can take it from me to peak at its face in the place between asleep and awake. The place where I call out sometimes and tell stories in the dark.
You think it’s sweet that I grip it so tight. You laugh when I roar at you to back away. You call me your lion and you plant a kiss on the skin closest to my lips:close enough for me catch it…or close enough to bite.

“ideal cooking oil” by Julia on her couch


Saturday, October 24, 2015
9:44pm
5 minutes
from the coconut oil jar

Mama sticks her finger into the jar and pulls out white silk that turns her skin glossy.
Doesn’t that smell like heaven? She hums, lifting her hand to my nose.
I nod my head. I want to eat the melting silk off of mama’s warm forefinger. She smiles at me, glad that I like what she likes. She dabs both of my cheeks with it and rubs it in. Feels nice, doesn’t it? I nod again, this time voraciously.
I want mama to let me bathe in this stuff. I want mama to let me alone with it so I can put it everywhere.
This is what you use for baking and cooking, she tells me, grabbing a spoon out of the drawer. She hands it to me. But it’s good for anything you can think of. She winks. I smile. I feel lucky to be let in to this place. She has given me her secret to the universe.

“Reimagine your world” by Julia on her couch


Thursday, October 22, 2015
11:39pm
5 minutes
The Vancouver Writer’s Festival Program Guide

There’s a little place you go to, that no one knows about. You hang your worries on the line separating this place and yours. You twist them all together to create a veil and then you pass through it once it’s in order. You see the water falls and you run to them. You strip off your doubts and you dive off the cliff. You hit the water with a gentle ease and you head down as deep as you can go. You see what you need to see then slowly make your way back up. You can taste the sunlight beaming right through you and you reach the surface with a joy you have learned how to forget. You inhale. You shake off your pain and you rise up. Higher than the water. Higher than the skies.

“I still want to think about safety” By Julia on the Greyhound to Kitchener


Sunday, August 9, 2015
9:44am
5 minutes
Said by Julia’s Uber driver

Colleen you can’t be lifting that shit anymore, you’re gonna hurt the baby for Christ’s sakes.

Forget it, Richie, it’s not even heavy. I don’t like you watching over me and micromanaging my pregnancy every single minute. Give it a rest, she’s gonna hear you and decide she doesn’t want to come out!

Colleen I told you, I want to be here for this baby, I want to help you name this baby, I want to help you love this baby. You can’t be stubborn now! You’re making choices that affect all three of us! How many times do I have to hear myself tell you this?

Richie didn’t you listen to one word I said? I said she, didn’t I? You only hear what you want to hear or what?

Colleen. You said she!! She said she!!

“Our favourite woman is missing!!!” by Julia at Valens Restaurant


Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at Valens Restaurant
10:02 pm
5 minutes
From a text

I wait for Dany to close the door fully before I utter a single word about Cynthia. I hear the click. Dany waits at the window watching Mitchell get into his car. She makes sure he drives away then she slowly turns around.
“He’s gone.”
“You sure?”
“Yeah. Watched him drive off. ”
“I don’t think she’s dead. ”
“Don’t say that. I knew you were going to say that. ”
“Hear me out, Dany. I’ve given this a lot of thought. ”
“I don’t like that she could be alive and wouldn’t tell us. Or wouldn’t even tell her own brother. ”
“That’s just it, Mitch can’t know about her. No one can. ”

“gals give some sneaky hints” by Julia on the 47 going north


Tuesday February 24, 2015
6:35pm
5 minutes
blog.muchmusic.com

Don’t want to give you any false raised hope, but there will be a surprise tonight that is going to blow your mind. I promised Angela I wouldn’t say what was going down, but it’s your freaking birthday, dude, it’s not like you don’t expect some wicked cool event to happen in your complete and perfect honour. I pinky swore your girlfriend that I would keep all details of this extravagant celebratory secret to myself. But I thought about it, and I was like, dude needs to know what to wear, you know, how is he supposed to dress himself without a dress code! What is this, New Years? No. Not even close. That phrase doesn’t really work here, cause I actually stole it from my ex-boyfriend who used to say it all the time, and the way he did it was so funny, so I was trying to be funny. Anyway, he also hated surprises. Or, no, he hated when surprises got ruined. And, yeah, the reaction to the “SURPRISE!!!!!” Is really only as good as the secret kept, but I still maintain that you would be happier walking into your favourite place, with all your favourite people, knowing that it was happening, so you could fill your face with honest gratitude and appreciation. You’re welcome, dude!

“Mummy, mummy!” by Julia on the tube


Tuesday December 16, 2014
5:07pm
5 minutes
Overheard at Sainsbury’s

I have to tell you this, mother to mother..I hate hearing my own name. I mean, I miss hearing my real name, the one given to me by my mother, but I can’t stand hearing ‘mummy’ anymore. It just started really affecting me. I’d say up until two weeks ago I didn’t think anything of it. But I want to ask you’ve ever asked your kids to call you Ruth? I had a day dream that they were calling me Enid and it made me love them more. I hear mummy and it sounds so very desperate. They need something from me at all times with that name. With Enid, we were equals and it was a choice for me to take care of them, not an obligation. Of course I always want to take care of them, I’m not mad..but having the autonomy is in a way, more freeing.
In my mind little Emma can’t pronounce it properly but it still works like a charm.

“Power protects power” by Julia at her desk


Saturday November 1, 2014
3:13am
5 minutes
From the program notes for Saint Joan at the Arts Club

sometimes you don’t want to do anything. you just want to put on red lipstick, dance around in your walk in closet, and tie your hair up in funny ribbons. you don’t want to do anything good I mean. In that you don’t want to do anything that might further your life, or your learning. but we all do it, I think. we all need a little break from our objectives and from our own minds. we need to know that there’s something to come back to, but we wouldn’t know that if we never left. so sometimes it’s not a bad thing at all to put on 6 shades of eyeshadow just cause you don’t have plans on a Friday night. or to sit watching clips of Jake Gyllenhaal kissing beautiful women on youtube. nobody can judge it because nobody can say that they aren’t guilty of the alone behaviour that keeps them sane, or if nothing else, amused. because uniqueness breeds uniqueness, and power protects power. and if those things are true, then magic alone time inspires magic alone time. maybe that last one doesn’t make sense. sometimes you just don’t feel like making sense.

“Ha parlato troppo” by Julia at her table


Friday July 11, 2014
10:33pm
5 minutes
overheard on Corydon

I haven’t told him yet
I’m waiting for the one and only right moment
And when I do I know that he will understand
That life is full of promises that you don’t forget
Yeah life
Yeah life
Yeah life
Yeah yeah yeah
Life
Yeah life
Yeah life
Yeah yeah yeah
Opened up the door to a secret place
I know that if I stayed I’d have to keep it that way
A hundred lies and cover ups on every day
Cause if I didn’t know any better then I would say
Yeah life
Yeah life
Yeah life
Yeah yeah yeah
life
Yeah life
Yeah life
Yeah yeah yeah

“Virginia” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Thursday June 5, 2014 at Sambuca Grill
7:34pm
5 minutes
from a sign on the wall of the Antique Shop

I wanted to call her Ginny because I thought that was cute but Madeleine bit my head off about it and said I had to call her by her full name, Virginia, or everyone else would start calling her stupid “off-shoot” names. She said “off-shoot” as if it were some terrible disease. I think nicknames are sweet. Mad never cared that I called her a short-form. It wasn’t an “off-shoot” as much as it was a term of endearment. Something you call someone that means something to you because it’s your thing and her thing or his thing or whatever. Anyway, Virginia ended up being a boy so we had to think of another name for her after all. I always picture when we have a girl, or if we do, that Mad will want to still call her Virginia and maybe I can call her Ginny when Mad’s not around so it can be our special thing, just the two of us. Names are a very important part of a person’s identity. I don’t want to have a kid that has to go around correcting everybody just because they call her a name her mother doesn’t like. She’s the one who calls me Mike when she knows my mother hates it when I get anything other than Michael.

“set a time, a location, and a few basic rules” by Julia at the Marriott in Providence


Monday May 5, 2014
4:01pm
5 minutes
Beautiful Trouble
Edited by Andrew Boyd and Dave Oswald Mitchell


We decided on a Sunday cause of that song–you know the one, it’s that mellow feel good one–Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon….Really couldn’t get away too soon.
It just felt right. We’d meet on a Sunday, get in my car and drive to Nowhereville until the sun set and the breeze got too cold to have the windows down. And that’s when it started. I went to the meeting place, the gate that has all those twinkly lights still up from Christmas, you know, a few blocks away from her house. We didn’t want anyone to know. So the discreet pick up spot made it really fun. And also pretty hot. She was waiting there for me, her face buried in her phone, trying to look busy, trying not to look like she was waiting for anyone at all. Then I pulled up and watched her and I got excited and I got scared. And I got out of the car, and walked over to her slowly. And didn’t say one thing. I just kissed her. Grabbed her hand and led her to the passenger side. I opened the door for her. She said, Wow, you’re chivalrous. And I got shy and I said, I don’t know, you just make me want to be a better woman. Then she smiled and got into my little car. And she fiddled with the radio. And we were Groovin’…on a Sunday afternoon.

“STAY THOUGHTFUL” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday April 29, 2014
7:01pm
5 minutes
The Holiday Inn note pad

When I look in your fridge I get to know you better.
And that feels good.
That shouldn’t have to be a clandestine, secretive thing.
Right?
I see the probiotics on the back of the shelf…
(Probably from when you had strep throat and were on antibiotics for two weeks. Your mother called and told you that you needed to get the good bacteria back into your body. You listened. For once.)
I see the two dozen eggs.
Who eats that many eggs?
“I have two soft boiled eggs, three pieces of flax toast and an orange for breakfast every single day,” you say, not the least bit defensive.
I see the ketchup, the mustard, the Sriricha, the mayo. You must make a mean burger. You must top it with all these delicious things.
No pickles. No yogurt. No apples.
I see the head of romaine, the spinach, the cilantro.
You’re on a salad kick.
I get it.
I see the thoughtful way you organize your sandwich meats.

“Where are you going?” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Tuesday November 12, 2013
7:41pm
5 minutes
Overheard by Sasha on the Lansdowne bus

She holds the promise on her tongue like a purple pill. It melts. She swallows. Making mistakes used to be her hobby. Now she’s sure of one thing only. This. She didn’t mean to hurt you. She tried to resist it but… They’re calling for thundershowers tomorrow. They’re calling for hail, but up North. Not here. “You must forgive me,” she pleads. She doesn’t fall to her knees because it doesn’t even occur to her. She doesn’t clasp her hands because they’re arranging and re-arranging the newspapers on the table. She reads a headline she wished she cared about. You do. That’s what guts her. You care. “We should go to Quebec City.” She doesn’t know where it comes from, but it does. It comes. “We could get cheap flights from Chandra…” She’s not even that close with Chandra anymore. Not since she told her to go screw herself. Not since she said she couldn’t babysit Charlie.

“No, I promise” by Sasha at her desk


Wednesday, March 27, 2013
10:58am
5 minutes
Wild Mind
Natalie Goldberg


When you and I went for that walk, in the ravine, in the October blush, I secretly hoped that we would get lost. If we got lost, we’d get to spend more time together. We would have to huddle close together for warmth. You’d have to share your Gatorade, your pocket knife. We’d forage for wild leeks, and funguses. We’d build a fort out of a blanket that we’d find, a red and blue and white blanket, like the French flag… You’d get a kick out of that. “You are the grizzliest man I have ever met,” I would say, curled into you, under the blanket, a small bonfire burning before us. You’d scoff a bit. “No, I promise,” I’d say, and you’d believe me the second time. It’s something you learned from your mother. Refuse first. Accept second (maybe third). I knew this about you not because you told me. Because I took the time to learn it, because I listened to your deep breaths and your long eyelashes, because I understood the scar on on your cheek.

“catch fire” by Julia on the subway going west


Wednesday, December 12, 2012
12:17am
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.