Monday June 20, 2016
Overheard at Starbucks
It’s Christmas, which means that Aunt Cathy is hammered and Pa is smoking pipe after pipe and Jason, my twin brother, is likely going to try to hang himself again. He does it every Christmas. The attempts are feeble, but are attempts nonetheless. Our mother, Joan, recently got a tattoo of a turtle on her right bicep. Jason thinks she’s having a midlife crisis but from what I’ve read, those only happen to men. Jason lives in the weird loft space above the garage. There’s a box spring and a mattress, a hotplate and a mini fridge. It’s where we used to hang out with friends and drink forties when we were in high school. I only see him a couple of times a year and every time I do he has more grey hair. We aren’t identical, but we look a lot a like. My hair is still entirely brown. I haven’t even spotted one grey strand. Aunt Cathy whispers that Joan went grey in her early thirties, too.
Wednesday March 5, 2014
the box of matches
I’m not sorry for calling your name in my sleep and waking up my wife. I’m not sorry. See, I never told her about you and I had no choice now and that was a good thing. I can’t blame you on PTSD. I can’t blame you on rum. I can’t blame you on forgetting that I had a wife and twin girls and a blue doored house back home. I’m not sorry.
Okay. I hear you, Eric. But when you arrived today you said you felt “sorry”. That was your word. Why did you say that?
Because I’m sorry that Rebecca feels betrayed. That’s her word. “You fucking betrayed us!” She screamed. And she doesn’t just speak for herself. She speaks for the girls, too. That’s the worst part. And it’s true, I guess. I did. But she doesn’t know what it’s like there. She doesn’t know that Kabul smells like fresh baked bread and that the women have eyes like wolves.
Sunday, September 8, 2013
Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul
Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jeff Aubrey, Mark & Chrissy Donnelly
He was sweating. His forehead was shiny like a brass bowl. “Where’d you get that… outfit?” He asked. “A friend.” I said and that was the truth. I’d met Pollyanna after seeing her perform, I went and introduced myself and I said, “Hey, you ever teach someone how to do that?” Pollyanna kissed me on the mouth and said, “Uh huh.” I asked her if she was free on Thursday and she said, “Friday.” I went down to her house on Friday morning. A funny time, the morning, to be taking off your clothes. “Have to pick up my boys at one for lunch,” she said, and I wasn’t exactly sure what to think. I wondered, for the first time, what I was getting myself into. She lives in a nice part of the city, with colourful semi-detached houses, all in a row. A bakery on the corner of her street smelled like cinnamon and lemon. The “boys”? Turns out she has seven-year-old twins. Identical. I wore my best undies and my best bra. Unfortunately they didn’t match. She said that the trick was to think like you are the most alluring and mysterious woman in entire world. I could get used to that.
Monday May 27, 2013
11:15am at Nova Era Bakery
names dipped from a class list
Lily is the one who hates people, right? The one who wears her hair in braids and gets nervous when she sees someone smiling? Oh shit, is that Gigi? Yeah, now I think it is. I’m pretty sure the last time I saw Gigi she was sitting at a table by herself and I walked up to her and asked if I could sit down. That little bitch said no and then tried to stab me with a fork. Gigi. It’s for sure her. It’s hard, though, they look identical…yes, I know they’re identical twins–obviously. But like–there’s no differentiating–there’s no weird mole or twitch–and now that I think of it, they both wear braids and they both hate people. I want to blame their mother but she’s actually such a delight–long wavy hair, she likes to wear teal jumpsuits that show all of her lovely cleavage. She tells Lily that no one likes her sourpuss face because people don’t like ugly children–or was she saying it to Gigi…Goddammit! Why do I care? Anyway. Happy 5th birthday to both of you little shit storms. I hope you live long and happy lives and that one day someone will take pity on you and be able to fall in love with you.
Thursday April 25, 2013 at Cafe Pamenar
from a quote by Carl Jung
My Aunt Genevieve believes a real woman wears Parisian perfume. Genevieve is almost my Grandma, ‘cuz my real Grandma died before I was born and Genevieve was her twin sister. It works out for the better ‘cuz from when Genevieve says Grandma was a real pill. When Aunt Genevieve was seventeen she moved to France for love. She met a very handsome, drop-dead-gorgeous man named Fillipe at the beach in Muskoka and then, by the end of September, she was with him in his bachelor apartment on the Champs-Élysées. She said, “My Mama and my Papa were as angry as magpies but if I didn’t follow my Fillipe my heart would’ve broken”. It broke anyway, but not because of him. Her twin sister, my Grandma, died when she was way too young. My Mom was only three. Aunt Genevieve says that when your twin dies it feels like a phantom limb. Fillipe and Genevieve got married but they didn’t have kids, which was a really rebellious act in that day and age.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Tal was born four minutes after May. She screamed bloody murder, awaking the children asleep next door. He, on the other hand, gazed into his father’s eyes, silently, a faint smile curling his small lips. This wasn’t some sort of prediction of what was to come – in all of their years they would both rebel, they would both be insolent, and lovely, and indignant, they would both love, and lose, and succeed, and dream. Tal would bite the ends of many pencils, May would drink a few too many tallboys of beer. Believe what you hear about twins, how they’re inexplicably connected, how one feels one thing and the other does, too. It’s truer than the fog, coating the park outside May’s window this morning. She lifts the purple receiver of the phone she’s had since she was a teenager. Her fingers know the map of Tal’s phone number without her brain having the kick in. “Yup?” says a voice more familiar than the sunset. “Tal?” says May, “I forget how many eggs go into Mom’s pancakes… Three or four?” “Three.” Tal is a man of few words. “K…” May doesn’t want to let him go. Portland is too far away. “Have you decided about Easter?” “What?” “If you’re coming back?” “I can’t get away. They need me at the paper.” “But..” “May, I gotta go.” “K…” “May?” “Yeah?” “Love you.” “Love you, too.” They pause for a second. “You hang up first, idiot.” “No, you…”