The Phone Call

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

“He’s dead,” my brother said, as the phone in his hand slid into his lap and he reached for his brow, his head bowed. My face went numb, and then my whole body felt warm. All my organs twisted, and I was aware that the first stage of grief – denial – was descending upon me.

He’s can’t be dead, I thought. I didn’t say goodbye.

Freefalling while sitting in an armchair is possible.

There was no flashback of life’s most precious moments. Just a void. And the slow realization flooding my veins that I could never call my father again.  

She Rage

By: Melissa Ratliff

The storm in her veins was raging and nothing she did would quiet its call. She needed the trees to root her and the sun to give her life renewed. Her pace quickened. Soon she was running, propelled by the urge to leave it all behind. Could she outrun it? The judgment, guilt, what ifs, expectations, imperfections, heartaches, never good enoughs? Reaching the summit, feet firmly planted on the rocky ledge, she let it all out. Her roar – long and fierce – called forth the winds and rains. Lightening sizzled from her wild hair as the earth trembled from her power.

*Painting by Sara Goodyear

Acknowledgy

By: Steve Fite

I’ve invented a word.  It’s called an “Acknowledgy.”

It’s when someone is supposed to offer an apology, but falls just short.  In fact, it sounds like an apology, but really they’re only acknowledging what that did.  

Let’s say, for example, you’re at a restaurant and the bill comes, and you see there’s a whiskey and potato skins you didn’t order adding another $25.  You point it out to the waitress and she looks right at you, not blinking, and lets you know that she did it on purpose, hoping you wouldn’t notice.

“Oh!  Yeah, I did.  Be right back.”

Acknowledgy.

If Only You Knew

By: Ed Dzitko

If you only knew how much energy it took to go up and down those stairs, following you;

If you only knew how long those walks really were when you count steps times four;

If you only knew what it took to smell those smells and add mine to the mix;

If you only knew how much courage it took for me to bark at those big dogs and protect you;

If you only knew what it took to run up and down the same hallway, grabbing the same toy, to entertain you;

You’d be ready for a rest, too.

Paths

By: Laura K.

Since I was two I loved being the older one. I love giving advice. Our lives weren’t identical of course, but just from having arrived on this earth a little earlier, I’d been there, so I could offer my perspectives.

Then there was so much that you had to go through alone. I could be there with you, but I had no insight to offer.

Now, mostly, I just miss you.

But sometimes, though I’m not proud of it, I have an incongruous pang of jealousy: that you get to know all the secrets of the universe first.

Any advice?

The Attack

By: Melissa Ratliff

The siren had started blasting at 3:27am. Stumbling from their beds, they quickly switched on their datapads to assess the threat. They were prepared for nuclear wars, but not this. They ran to the window, convinced it was some prank. Precious seconds ticked by while they stood slack-jawed as the scene unfolded. It was a full-blown attack. Forget Bigfoot; these hairy beasts were at least 40 feet tall and marched in formation down their dark street, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. Their eyes widened as one approached, ripped off the roof of their house and reached within.

An Ode to Eating

By: Lauren Spagnoletti

Before the ingredients are purchased, before they’re cut up and simmered, sautéed, fried, or roasted, before they’re marinated or seasoned, the joy begins.

Imagining how the dish will come together, how it will taste when all the disparate parts become one: that is when I begin to enjoy eating.

As the scents fill the air, and the surfaces start to brown, the anticipation grows.

A final sprinkle of salt, a touch of cheese, a dash of pepper.

I gently plate my ingredients, which have come together to form a meal.

I create the perfect bite on my fork, and…

Heaven.

Roller Coasters

By: Steve Fite

I spend a lot of my life trying to not get motion sickness.

I will ride a roller coaster.  Once. You get one if you go to a theme park with me.

I don’t really drink to excess, and if I do I know it won’t stay in my system for very long.

I drive.  Everywhere I go.  You want to drive?  That’s okay. I’ll drive.  Yes, all 12 hours.

Uber?  Hmm. How far?  

Catalina?  But we can just get a nice hotel here.

All because my brain thinks I’m in trouble when I’m not. I can’t convince myself otherwise.  

Foursome

By: Ed Dzitko

They settled in every day on the same bench, during lunch hour, in the same sequence. He knew that because he sat across the park nearly everyday, on the same bench, during his lunch hour.

The overdressed one sat to his left, the long-haired brunette to her right, and the tatooed one with the monster dog to the far right, The playful one sat between her and the brunette. She knew he watched them, watched her, and always showed him her legs.

Once, when she looked right at him, he jumped up, hastily gathered his lunch, and walked quickly away.

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