“packing slip” by Julia on E’s brother’s couch


Saturday August 12, 2017
10:28pm
5 minutes

from a receipt


Henry is moving out of his condo and into a nursing home. He is not happy about it. He is so full of resentment his hips hurt. Nobody wants him. He doesn’t get to play with his grand kids. Nobody is going to come visit him. He’s going to die there in the home without a family to comb his hair or make sure his eyebrows don’t grow out of his face sideways. All because of his one and only fall. Now they’re saying he can’t be left alone. It couldn’t have been the bacon grease on the floor that he slipped on, not a chance. It had to be because his body is giving out on him. Because his limbs don’t listen to his brain anymore. It’s always a reminder that he is becoming more of a burden to his family every single day and needs constant supervision.
Henry doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t want to start the next chapter of his life refusing to forgive himself.

“the batter is out.” By Julia on the toilet


Tuesday February 21, 2017
11:37pm
5 minutes
From the rules of cricket

I rolled my eyes at Elliot who happened to turn and face me right at my guiltiest. He snapped the shutter again and again but looked frustrated.
“Damnit,” he said, “I missed it.”
“I’ll likely do it again,” I told him, “it’s not like my opinion of you has gone away.”
“No, moron,” he sucked his teeth, “it was perfect timing: the look on your face, the giant sign behind you…”
I rolled my eyes at him again as a gesture of condolence. He shook his head and said, “It doesn’t matter now, Rita. It doesn’t matter.”
“Oh come on,” I said, “what will you do now that your life is completely ruined?”

“Does anyone have any questions” by Sasha in the bath


Sunday November 27, 2016
6:33pm
5 minutes
Overheard at BC Children’s Hospital

A: If you could be any colour what colour would you be?

B: Um, red? You?

A: Blue. Obviously.

B: Why is that obvious?

A: Because of my eyes and the colour of my sweater and jeans?

B: Oh. Right.

A: If you could be any animal, what animal would you be?

B: Hm… That’s a hard one –

A: Why, because you hate animals?

B: No. Because I’m a veterinary assistant. And I love animals.

A: Oh, right. I forgot that… So?

B: I guess a dolphin? Or a grizzly bear?

A: Those are very different animals. You have to choose one.

B: A grizzly.

A: Really? I was going to say a warthog.

B: That’s just mean.

“There’s a lot of blood in your lips” by Julia at JJ Bean on Main


Thursday November 3, 2016 at JJ Bean
7:10pm
5 minutes
Overheard at JJ Bean

I sucked her bottom lip slowly like I was trying to extract a stinger without disrupting the blood vessels. I wanted to taste her. I wanted to be gentle. In the hollowed buzz between us I could tell which breath belonged to her and which didn’t. I suddenly couldn’t stand the feeling of not sharing air. What had I been doing up until this point? Had I ever considered I had been hiding my truth somewhere deep in the shame of me–that tended to burrow underneath expectations and the holy grail of perfection? Had I even lived at all? We didn’t have anywhere else to be, no other versions of ourselves to uphold. I made a promise to only stop if she asked me to.

“the waiting room and the forms” by Sasha at JJ Bean on Cambie


Friday October 28, 2016
12:15pm
5 minutes
A LENNY Interview with Amanda Nguyen

I am a good pretender. I still think about doing it professionally, actually, especially when I’m lonely or the season’s change or when it smells like mothballs and tequila. You all try to fool yourselves that it’s not pretending, that it’s truth-telling but everyone else is laughing like crows.

Sitting in the waiting room, filling out the forms, picking egg yolk from my cuticle, rolling my eyes at the magazine selection. I’m pretending, Mistress of Disguise, clever clever. When the mouse behind the counter who tells everyone what to do but gets paid the least, when the mouse calls my name I smile. Liar. I smile and I hand in my form and I walk down the long hall.

“A single breast winking,” by Julia on her couch


Monday February 29, 2016
11:32pm
5 minutes
FWD FWD
Robin Evans


In the shadow of chaos she emerges from her pain, long enough to sit up straight and shake off her darkest parts. Sinking in grungy bathwater, reeking of self hate and self punishment, she lets out a wail, a song of her finned underwater comrades. She is touching ocean floor and stratosphere. She is marking both sides of this earth so she can find her place in between them again.
Her mouth is opened and sound falls out like one last hope-one last plea. She is begging herself to save herself: No muskets, no smoke, no hugs, no rope.

“Inside our homes there is usually” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 28, 2016
11:44pm
5 minutes
from a magazine cutout/em>

Inside our homes there is usually less noise, more quiet, less hate, more love.
Usually.
Tonight there is more crying, less calm, more shaming, less light.
We are both nothing and everything, trying to love each other’s nothing and everything.
You do a better job with it than I do. When I am absolutely nothing nothing, you are still everything everything.
I ask you why you are so nice to me.
You answer with a forehead kiss and a squeeze.
I tell you you haven’t left enough space for me here.
You answer with a squeeze and direct eye-contact.
You will not let me take any prisoners.
You are so happy to be brought on board when I remember that you deserve that.
We are each other’s everything. We are our own nothings.
I have to remember that part too.
If I’m painting broad strokes of the everyday, there is usually more laughter, less pain, more teamwork less fight.
It depends on many things.
The things that usually happen 100% inside of me.

“KEEP REFRIGERATED” by Julia on her bed


Saturday February 27, 2016
8:12pm
5 minutes
From the tetra pack of arugula

Darling waits for me outside the gym after I’m done my sweat with a big juicy bag of fresh spinach and a muffin devoid of anything delicious in it. Darling really knows me; knows I’m desperately trying to value myself and stop feeding my fears with unnecessary carbs or sugars.
I swat my hand at Darling as if it were no big deal at all that I had just cycled all of my aggression out for the 2nd time today. Darling smiles and offers me a perfect little towel with the tag snipped off. I know I’ll never have to go one single day without Darling picking me up after a sweat, or a shop, or a mental breakdown on the I-5. Today I want to cry but I don’t know if Darling has brought the necessary preparations for it…

“World’s Greatest Dad” by Sasha at the Diamond Centre


Tuesday February 16, 2016
3:05pm
5 minutes
From a picture of Joe’s t-shirt

P. is on a date at a Painting Cafe. You know, those places where kids get all messy during the day and then adults get flirty at night? One of those places. She’s never been to one of them before. Her date suggested it. She wasn’t sure at first, and then thought, “Why not?”

P: I’ve never painted before…
A: Oh, me neither.
P: Not even as a kid?
A: As a kid?
P: Yeah.
A: I guess I did as a kid.
P: Not me!
A: No?
P: My mother is a total neat freak. She wouldn’t let me paint at home or at school. Too messy.
A: Wow.
P: I had to stay inside at recess if it was muddy, snowy or raining. I had a special doctor’s note.
A: Woah.
Silence.
P: Anyway, don’t judge me if my thing looks like a six-year-old did it –
A: I won’t. This is just supposed to be fun…
P. starts painting. Silence.
A: Nice use of purple.
P: I love purple.
A: Purple Polly.
P. laughs but is very engrossed in her painting.
A: So, did you grow up here?
P: …
A: Polly?
P. cocks her head towards A.
P: What?
A: I just –
P: I’m trying to focus.
A: Oh –
P: Sorry, I just –
A: No. No…

“Re posting it” by Julia on her couch


Sunday, January 17, 2016
9:55pm
5 minutes
from a text

There are a lot of young girls hanging out at the corner store with their ripped jeans and their big black eyeliner.
My mom thinks those are the girls I’ll want to hang out with so she gives me run around warnings like, “Beth, don’t take any shortcuts home from school.” Or, “Make sure you don’t walk with your face buried in your phone in case someone wants to steal it out of your hands and you don’t have the time to stop them.”
I guess she has a point or something. Better to pay attention.
I can tell she’s saying anything she can that doesn’t sound controlling or narrow minded about other people. She doesn’t want me to know that she knows what girls like that are like and only has her gut instincts as a barometer. There’s no proof, no real reason other than she’s deathly afraid of me getting hurt, or falling into the wrong crowd and changing all my core beliefs.
I can’t begin to talk to her about what’s going on in my life.
So I tell her, “I will not take shortcuts home from school.”

“I’m on Prozac, did I tell you?” by Sasha on the couch in Horseshoe Bay


Friday, May 15, 2015
10:27pm
5 minutes
View From The Dome
Theresa Rebeck


“What are you eating?”
“Nothing…”
“You’re chewing!”
“No I’m not.”
“Stop lying to me – ”
“Leave me along!”
Pause.
“I saw you.”
“You saw me doing what?”
“…”
“…”
“You know!”
“…?”
“I don’t want to say it! It makes it real! It’s gross!”
“Get over yourself.”
“Me?”
“…”
“Eating your toenail clippings might be the nastiest thing I’ve ever seen.”
“Your judgement is toxic.”
“Your TOES are probably toxic!”
“It’s natural. All animals preen.”
“You’re a grown woman. You are not an animal.”
“We are all animals.”
“On my God.”