“the host raised his glass” by Sasha at her kitchen table

Tuesday January 15, 2019
8:41am
5 minutes
Notes on Surrender
Krista Bremer

Adam raised his glass and I thought, ‘I don’t know this man.’

I do know this man. He’s my husband of thirteen years, but in these moments, in some moments, he’s a stranger.

That’s the weird part. No matter how well you think you know someone, there are still moments when –

“Thank you all for being here. I used to try to imagine what forty would feel like, what it would look like – ”

Bert chortles.

” – … I am so fortunate to be blessed by a beautiful family,” Adam looked at me, I smiled. “Mimi, you have done it again, this meal is stunning. Thank you.” People clap. Henrietta rubs my back. I felt like I was floating above these sixteen people, gathered in our dining room, at the table I set, finishing the meal that I chose, sipping wine that I bought.

“Freckles on thighs” by Julia at Starbucks


Wednesday June 8, 2016 at Starbucks
8:01am
5 minutes
Teachable Moment, 1986
Kellee Ngan


You spend two bucks to get a coffee and, you think, the right to sit beside me while I read the morning paper. You think you spend two bucks to get to invade my privacy with the stench of last night that you feel entitled to keep close. You spend two bucks to get a coffee and a seat at the window in between me and the man who has been here since before you were born, saddling up closer to me because, to you, “that guy’s a fucking weirdo torpedo.” You spend two bucks to “accidentally” spill your two buck coffee onto my knee closest to you, reaching into my privacy once again–this time to apologize, “instinctively” trying to “undo” the mess now pooling between my legs. You spend two bucks to make me wish I were dead when you tell me that you like the secret freckles on my inner thigh.

“Share the love” by Julia at Go Studios


Wednesday May 25, 2016 at Go Sudios
12:12pm
5 minutes
From a sign at Platform Seven

I met Darryl at a McDonald’s the night I told Jer I’d pick him up a double cheese burger and two apple pies. Jer had been home sick all day, coughing and snotting all over our bed, probably on my side too because I know when he’s sick he likes to smell my pillow. Darryl was already finished his Mcflurry and was sitting by the window reading the Metro newspaper. He started talking to me. I think it was because of the pies. He asked me what I was going to do with two of them and I don’t know how, I wasn’t thinking, I told him he could have one if he wanted. As if, no, I don’t currently have plans to return these pies to my sickly boyfriend, here, stranger, please, enjoy one on me. Darryl accepted on the pretense that I sit with him for a few minutes so we could get to know each other. I liked the idea of talking to a man who wasn’t spitting up phlegm. I sat with him and told him my name. Darryl made us stare into each other’s eyes for 4 minutes without breaking contact. Once it was over he told me that now he could understand me; now he had seen my soul.

“Some of the inspiration came from silent movies.” By Sasha at Great Dane Coffee


Tuesday March 24, 2015 at Great Dane Coffee
2:43pm
5 minutes
From Women In Clothes
Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton & 639 Others


When she moves she’s a dancer but
she’s not a dancer
in the proper sense of the word
capital D
She doesn’t glide across sprung floors to the beat of
a drum or
leap like a fawn from here to there
legs spread wide
She moves with grace down the aisle of the grocery store
stretching a long arm for a high placed bottle of low sodium soy sauce
Pushing her cart like it contains her first born daughter
A small watermelon
Some linguine noodles
A bag containing seven lemons

“This woman was able to reach me” by Sasha on a bench on Granville Island


Thursday March 12, 2015
3:34pm
5 minutes
from a Facebook post

The clock was ticking faster than it ever had before and I’m not sure what month it is or who is Prime Minister. I wonder if I need a mirror, if there’s something on my face, but I’m shit outta luck there and next time anyone asks me if my name is Ashley, I’m going to punch them right in the stomach. No! My name isn’t Ashley!

This woman is able to reach me at the Motel off Major Mac. I know that I’ve seen her before and that she’s fatter now and that it used be winter and now it’s Spring.

“Ash? Are you in there?”
“Yes?”
“Are you going to open the door?”
“I don’t know who you are…”
“Ash. It’s me.”
“I’m sorry. I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.”

“breaking laws and regulations” by Julia on her couch


Sunday February 22, 2015
5:50pm
5 minutes
Nothing But Money
Greg B. Smith


She never had a record until she did and couldn’t say that anymore. She didn’t say it enough, in fact, when she could freely and honestly do it. Now she has to announce that it’s no longer clean, pristine, untouched. She has to tell potential employers that she isn’t legally allowed to drive until 2017 because of a current DUI charge. She’d like to tell them that it wasn’t really her fault in the first place, but people don’t hear excuses when all they can see is “criminal record”. Criminal. That’s what she had become. And again, she wished she would have started more conversations with “I’m not a criminal” because now she isn’t able to identify with anything else. She hugged the woman she got to chatting with in the line at the post office who said to “try to stop identifying yourself with things in this world. Things are not you. And you are not things. Your failures do not define you. Your successes, though we’d like them to, don’t either.”

“glimpse of you” by Sasha at her kitchen table


Wednesday, January 1, 2014
4:03pm
5 minutes
The New School for Drama brochure

I caught a glimpse of you
Between this year and last
Between dusk and dawn
Between the second hand and next number
You still had lips that seemed honey brushed
Cheeks dotted with wind kisses
You still had bad teeth from a hockey accident
Left without repair
As you are
The morning after
The night before
I caught a glimpse of you
Getting off the streetcar
My breath caught in my mouth like a truffle
It stopped me from calling your name

“He blushed and sat back down.” by Sasha at Ideal on Ossington


Thursday February 21, 2013 at Ideal Coffee
5:55pm
5 minutes
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
David Eggers


He asks me to watch his computer and his jacket, red and blue plaid. He goes down the stairs to the bathroom. I have the undeniable urge to slide over the restored church pew and read whatever his screen says. I don’t even care if it was something anti-climatic, it would be so clandestine. Beirut play on the coffee shop stereo and we all, every one of us, bob our heads, unquestioning and assuming only the regularity of the heartbeat of the song.

He returns. His hands must be a bit wet. Can’t have had time to dry them. He smiles a sideways, “thank you.” I realize that I know him. Oh my god. We danced together at a bar once, twelve hudred and a handful of days ago.

“benchmark of excellence” by Julia at Sambuca Grill


Tuesday February 19, 2013 at Sambuca Grill
2:34pm
5 minutes
A Jackson-Triggs bottle of Merlot

I met a man the other day, had an umbrella for a hat, had a cane for a baseball bat, had a smile where a smile shouldn’t be.
He told me two things: One, you are not alone. Two, if you really wanted to be full, you should eat something.
Said it with his interesting eyes, glancing inside of me without any effort.
I didn’t like his wisdom. I didn’t like his quirky way. I liked that he thought he had the right to tell me what to do…stranger…
He laughed at me when I shook my head, he said, oh dear, you think too much.
I think he’s right. There I go again. He told me that I was searching in the wrong garbage bin.
I think even then I said, I’m not into people’s leftovers.
He laughed again, he said, you thought about that. You were trying to impress me. You should care more about leftovers and less about your little wit. I was not trying to be witty, I was trying not to cry, but yeah, he was right, his umbrella face all yellow from the shadow. I was thinking too much and a strange man in a strange place was telling me what I needed to hear.
He told me more than one, two, three things. They kept coming like the words off his tongue turned to gold as soon as they hit the air.
I looked around myself and realized he was no longer there. He was not ever there, to begin with.
My soul is a man who wears rubber umbrella hats and knows what it is to be human…