“Very rarely patients develop __________.” By Sasha at Anytime Fitness

Wednesday April 11, 2018
10:13pm
5 minutes
Diagnosis
Adam Sol

She’s got a real fear of sickness so she runs for ninety minutes on the treadmill every day after work. She thinks that if she sweats, if her heart rate is increased, she won’t get sick. She’s most scared of cancer and diabetes. Her father had type 2 and died of a heart attack at sixty-five. She only eats chocolate when she’s about to get her period because she should be allowed a tiny indulgence, right? Even then, it’s two squares of dark chocolate with no added sugar. Sugar is the enemy. Sugar makes sickness. So does salt, so does fat, so do carbs. The fear’s been getting worse, as she gets older, because older people are usually sicker people.

“The trees around here” By Julia in her bed

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
11:14pm
5 minutes
Intrigue In The Trees
John Brehm

The trees around this place remind me of the book I said I’d write. If only there was time, or if Roddy wasn’t sick, or if the dog would let himself out of the flapping door.

The red ones remind me of all the vanity.
Blood beech. Not meant to be that way.
Something wrong with it. Metabolic disorder. Not enough sunlight.

Here, let’s plant the thing in a park filled with green. Keep your mind off the everyday. Give you something to hold onto. They didn’t know it is harder for the tree. It is always harder for the tree left in the middle. The example. Pose for your photograph. Backdrop perfect for the wedding pictures. And I keep wishing Roddy could choose another city to die in. I don’t want to think of him every time I see the post office. Or the sad red tree in the middle of the park. One thing sick and the rest of them fine and far away. Normal. I don’t need any reminders of that.

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


Monday June 26, 2017
11:51pm
5 minutes
From the Central 1 credit union emergency response plan

It all starts when you get hives, clustered around your collarbones, reaching up your neck. You think it’s a spider bite and then Janis says, “What’d you have for lunch?”

Dr. Klein is useless. He tries to put you on anti-depressants. “I’m not depressed,” you say. He gives you a look like you will be, or you should be, or you could be.

Soon, a triad of plantar warts sprout on the ball of your left foot. You hobble around the office and Janis says, “What’d you have for lunch?!”

“the reconnection of a couple” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday August 17, 2016
10:31pm
5 minutes
roommagazine.com

He had been gone for a long time. I think he was fishing with his new wife, Amber. I hadn’t seen him after he left my mother with a hospital bill and a bag of rotting carrots in the fridge. I hoped he and Amber caught all the fish they could carry.

I was mad because of what he did to my mom. I mean even to this day it’s weird to say “did to” as if he did himself to her. He behaved himself to her. He was himself to her seems more accurate. I was mad because he would be so capable of disappointing someone who loved him that much.

I found out this year that my mother was horrible to him too. I didn’t know that before. I guess I needed someone to blame but I needed someone to stay more. I guess I chose wrong.

That’s when he called. He heard my mom wasn’t going to make it and he came home. He came back to what home used to be. He didn’t bring Amber. I respected him more for that. He didn’t bring any fish. I thought that was kind of rude.

“if something opens up” by Sasha on the couch


Saturday, July 16, 2016
1:16am
5 minutes
From a text

Secretary’s pencil is scratching
all over the damn place
Construction worker boot
tap tap tap tap tap
tap tap
Jiggling the whole row
of chairs
The baby
The nun
Me
“Dead man walking” I expect
to hear pencil poised apologetically
“Dead man walking”

Name call roll call
I’m up with the lipstick on her teeth
“Mr. Anderson?” Nod
“Dr. Henry has had an emergency that
needs to be attended to and she must
reschedule my apologies that you came
all the way in I hope you don’t live
too far away I can call you if
something open’s up”

“Off the wall” by Julia at her dining table


Tuesdy May 31, 2016
9:45pm
5 minutes
from a Foot Locker store

Karl tried to hang the frame after hearing me ask him to do it for the past 6 months. I think the only reason why it took him so long is because he didn’t know how to..but also didn’t want me to know that. Not that I would have cared. I didn’t know how to so that’s why I asked him to do it. I’m sure we could have both learned together how to hang a simple frame and everything would have been fine, but we preferred to argue about the fact that it hadn’t yet been done. The first moment he held the nails in his hand, I knew he didn’t have a clue what he was doing. I left the room to “go fold the laundry” so he wouldn’t have the added pressure of me watching him. I heard him tapping away at the wall and I could only imagine that it was coming along nicely. I didn’t want to ask how he was so I just sat on the bed reading my magazine until I got the go ahead. Instead, suddenly, I heard a scream.
I rushed out of the bedroom to find Karl shaking his head at the frame I had asked him to hang, smashed to pieces on the rug.

“Who taught us to embrace life” by Julia at Kits Beach


Monday May 30, 2016
5:08pm
5 minutes
from a bench memorial plaque

There was a gleam in his eye as he let my brother put a cold grape into his hand. He was looking at me with a challenging look like he was about to do a trick and wanted to make sure he had my attention. I started to shake my head, smiling, telling him I knew he was up to something and I didn’t like whatever it was. He put the grape into his mouth and chewed it around for a second. Then when I looked away, he spat it out onto my leg. I looked up at his smug face and it broke my heart. Maybe that’s what the last visit between us was supposed to be like. Jokes and silliness. Him trying to make me laugh. Even at his least self, he managed to let me remember him exactly as he was when we was his most.

“you can work on in your backyard” by Julia at her dining table


Wednesday March 23, 2016
11:21pm
5 minutes
viralnova.com

Mom calls me from the subway and her phone keeps cutting out because she’s standing on the steps half deciding whether or not to hang up or go and catch her damn train. She calls me back every time and I can’t get any work done or any listening done because we manage to sneak in one or two conjunctions and then there’s static. She’s scared of going to the doctor because she’s convinced they’re going to tell her she’s dying. She’s afraid of cancer. She has no visible symptoms. She is just afraid so she made the appointment. She’s not saying any of this. She’s talking about aunt Rene’s cockatiel and how the Chinese garlic situation has fucked with her tomato sauce. I want to tell her to go and to listen to them tell her that she’s fine but I can’t actually promise anything of the sort. I picture her attached to the subway stairs for hours, clinging in between the knowing and the unknowing of every single thing on this planet. I picture how she feels when she decides the reason she can’t get herself to go is because her only kid is too busy not reading in between her lines to go and be there for her. I put on my shoes.

“putting on sweat pants and sunglasses” by Julia on her couch


Saturday September 26, 2015
10:40pm
5 minutes
a tweet

Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids”. That’s what she calls them, her “fluids” when they’re clearly as simple as chamomile tea or apple cider vinegar and honey. Harley is always sick and I stopped believing it was true about a year ago. She shows up to our meetings with sweat pants and sunglasses on, drinking her “fluids” and she doesn’t talk above a whisper.
“Why didn’t you just stay at home in bed if you’re not feeling well?”
“I don’t want to let you guys down.”
“Well you’re hurting us more than helping us. You could spread the germs.”
“I think the contagious part is over, I think I’ve tackled that part on my own already.”
“Okay, so should we get started? Harley, let’s see your notes for the–”
Harley is sick again. She tells us this. She sips her “fluids” and gives excuses for not completing her work. I don’t know why we keep her in the group. Maybe because we see that she needs us more than we need her. Maybe because she’s my baby sister and I have to make sure she doesn’t fall off the face of the planet.

“Looking for a therapist?” by Julia on the subway going south


Sunday, April 26, 2015
1:49pm
5 minutes
From a PRS subway ad

There are feelings
Woah like the waves of the sea
And they’re big
Whoosh like the world shifting
Tectonic plates moving
And I have them
They’re in me
Whoosh waving through me
Around my bones
Keeping them cold
Keeping me far away from settling in
That’s the best way to describe
Whoosh
Wave
Whooshing
Is there a cure?
For the feelings that slosh around beneath my skin
Boom begging me to hold on tight
To wrap up my insides
So they stay good and out of contact
With all my major organs?
Does the doctor know this brand of illness?
Oh the waving
Whooshing
Sloshing sick-feelings landslide
Tsunami
and
Evolutionary jolting
Rocking my core
And shaking me from my roots?

“Who names herself “Samantha”” by Julia at Assiniboine Park


Saturday, July 5, 2014
5:33pm
5 minutes
vulture.com


It was a gift from her father, naming all the pretty things he loved. Didn’t give her the name specifically, but didn’t take it away either. His name was Sam and he was a soul you couldn’t help but love. A lot of sweetness in that man. And then when his baby girl was born, we knew. We all knew: She would be an extension. She would be a reminder. He didn’t live long into her life. We all thought he’d have more time. One day he mentioned that he could feel pain in his bones; that they felt hollow. It was a sign, and we knew to listen, but we didn’t want to stop him from living. She, the little pretty thing, was a spitting image. Close ones called her Sam when they were feeling his presence in the room. She’d respond with a lightness in her face. She was lifted. And we made sure to tell her everyday that Daddy would have been so happy to know you and thank you for reminding us that he’s still here.
It was hard at first hearing the name and not seeing his face. But somehow over time, we managed to look past it without looking through her.

“should be the soundtrack” by Julia on her couch


Sunday December 29, 2013
12:33am
5 minutes
www.songza.com

Audrey had on her black flowy skirt
said she was in the mood for dancing
held a flower up to her face
went well with her complexion
put it in her side bun
made sure to spritz it with hairspray to keep it there
waited for Simon to get off work
had a bottle of sauvignon blanc chilling in the ice bucket
she didn’t know if she’d get to the dancing
she was hopeful he would notice what she was wearing
and then take her somewhere fancy just so it didn’t go to waste
the music was playing
she blasted the songs she wanted to move to
had the dial in her hand just so she’d be ready when it called her
couldn’t do a single other thing but wait
and groove
and slide her head from side to side with a puckered smile
Simon didn’t call
probably wouldn’t call anyway
her flower was the cutest thing she had worn in weeks
wasn’t feeling sexy before
wasn’t feeling like the effort would even matter
tonight she woke from a nap and a dream
it saved her a little bit
it showed her the sweetness that she had forgotten
she was doing this for her
she was doing this for Simon
she was.

“FREQUENCY” by Julia on her couch


Tuesday November 19, 2013
1:05am
5 minutes
from the Cold-FX bottle

I can only imagine what Bev is going through. She went to order those mussels. She loves those mussels; you know the ones with the spicy tomato sauce? She lives for them. Every time we go there, she orders them without even looking at the menu. I remember once, she even ordered them, they were out, so they went next door and bribed the manager there to give them a bunch so they could serve her. It was like a special little ego boost that they somehow knew Bev needed. She’d come in with her hospital bracelets sending signals to the wait staff that she was being taken care of elsewhere, and I think that was genuine. She didn’t want anyone feeling sorry for her. That’s why she’ll go out of her mind. She was treated like an equal there and now it’s closed down without so much as a sign on the door to all the faithful patrons like Bev. Some might argue that she got those mussels as a special treatment. But if you’d seen the way they were with her. You’d just know they actually liked her personality. Not that she was hard to like…but she was difficult. I want to call her the way I would if our mom passed away. I don’t even know if she knows yet.

“supplement” by Julia on her couch


Wednesday, December 26, 2012
12:21am
5 minutes
the Emergen-C packet

Jackie’s sick again. Nearly coughed up a whole lung at dinner. Poor girl. She doesn’t believe in washing her hands and I can only guarantee, based on my life’s experience, that that’s the one wrong thing she’s doing.
She thinks it strips your hands of their natural oils and things. I never met someone like her and when Ian brought her home, I could tell from our very first exchange that she was different. She looked like a beautiful alien: large eyes, white blonde hair. I wanted to smack her in the forehead just to see what a pretty thing like that would look like when she cried.
Ian told me she was a true angel. Well, in my humble opinion, I never met an angel who’s so clearly without the luck of God.
Every time she moves she winces, trying to stifle the moans. Her body aches, I can hear her trough the vent. Was hoping Ian would convince her to take some cough medicine or a Tylenol, but she’s pretty persistent on only putting natural things into her system.
Jackie’s nice enough, don’t get me wrong, just a little misguided, I think. She could afford to supplement some of her wacky ideas for a spoon of Buckley’s.