That’s the thing about this town. It’s small and simple, but never boring. It creeps into your being and, before you know it, that creek is calling to you. I walk along the waterfront every morning, inhaling the mingled aromas of bacon, coffee, and salt water. There are pelicans and gulls swooping in for breakfast. Some mornings, if I’m early enough, I see the boats yawning and stretching and waking to the world.
Dana stood at the edge of the trees, gazing at the tiny structure. Dark windows, smoke curling lazily from the chimney, a warm fragrance in the air evoking dark, long-buried emotions in her heart. For Sale, the sign said. Open House! Here … on this lonely path? She was halfway across the snowy clearing before she realized she was being inexorably drawn, a moth to a flame. At the door, she trembled, horrified as she watched her helpless hand push the door wide. Too late, she raised a hand to her eyes. There they were – popcorn ceilings! Oh, the horror.
If quitting isn’t an option and winning looks unlikely, the mediocrity leaves me unenthused, like a luke warm bath, and most of Goldilocks experiences. Too soft, too lumpy, too chilly, too sticky, too – too. Yet onward we trudge, up the anthill, waiting on the world to change.
“Until now, heroes only existed in stories. It was with an overwhelming responsibility that he realized…he had to be that hero.”
The morning waitress, with her scalloped white apron and pencil stuck into her hair behind her ear, motioned him to the end of the bar area and pointed him to the phone on the wall.
“I would call the Sheriff direct rather than 911. He would be more prone to know what all he needs as far as help and all. His number is 611-2486.”
“Thank you, ma’am.”
All the old men in town gathered each morning at Trixie’s for coffee and gossip. It is a fallacy to believe that old men do not gossip, for they very much do.
I got downstairs first, dread in my belly, knowing that good news never comes at 2:18 in the morning.
“Who is it?” I yell through the door as I turn on the porch light.
“It’s Sarah from across the street, please open up!”
Now, I have lived in this house for twenty years now, and there has never been any Sarah that has lived across the street.
Right there on the ribbon below the Hunter family crest are the Latin words: Cursum Perficio, which roughly translate into, Stubborn as a Mule. Now the scientific part of me has a hard time grasping how a character trait can be passed down for centuries in the same family, but no head of the Clan, as far as I know, has ever lobbied to quit using the motto. Not an option. I guess it’s one of those self-descriptives phenomena that’s carried on a powerfully dominant gene. Probably the baldness gene.
The howl would not escape her body. The weight — the room, house, tragedies, joys — multiplied in her chest as swelling pain. Without breath or an anchor, she leaned into a silent sob. The difference was, she knew, now. The corners, the darkness and the things “we never talk about” were begging her to set them free. Amalita could walk down the front lane, past the towering magnolias, get in her car and drive for miles and days and continents, but this place would never leave her. It would never let her leave.
I dream that we will live in a world where we care. Where we are grateful. Where we love. Where we dream.
Turtles are too smart to be out in weather like this but I do my best to retract into my shell of winter gear. My fingers are out of their individual glove spots and curled into my palms. My legs are pressed together as close as the clunky ski boots allow. I want to pull them up under my coat the way I used to with my large sweatshirts.
The same old bridges over creek,
The patchy road, where time stands still,
The church on hill, across the mill
And patient silence on the street.
Ana Maria Macra
Her fingers pounded the keyboard like hammers, her hands shaking with rage. She had worked so hard and come so far in this job, but his endless harassment wouldn’t stop. She would never find another job this great, that she was so damn good at doing. And she was almost out of debt and would soon be able to even put away some savings. For the first time ever who life was on the right track. It would be perfect if it wasn’t for him. No, quitting wasn’t an option. But murder might be.
That’s the thing about this city. New York is like a wanton woman. The Verazzano bridge, her lights strung like pearls from the neck, a lady of the night.
Well, since the devil said he wouldn’t leave tonight’s poker game until the cock crowed, and since St. Peter said he wouldn’t open the gates until hell freezes over, and my ex-wife’s alimony has been paid regularly, either Macbeth’s porter is knocking or I’ve been awakened to a hallucination calling my name as the police address me from outside, or I’m still dreaming of how the muse whose name I can never remember has not been knocking worth a damn for the last week of writing, let alone at 2:18 a.m.
To this day, I wonder what really happened, but it sure made for a jim-dandy ending to my murder mystery.
Sarah Maury Swan
Marsha saved a piece of cake from her wedding to Henry. It had sat in the freezer of many houses they lived in. Today at the kitchen table with the cake on a silver plate, Marsha sat across from Henry, who looked strong again. They each took a bite. “It’s as fresh as when it came out of the oven,” said Henry, smiling. Marsha took another bite and agreed. A soft blue light took them back to their wedding.
“Quitting isn’t an option” sounds like something somebody who never had a good excuse would say.
There are two kinds of things in life: The things you want to do and the things that have to be done. The things you want to do will be sacrificed for any trivial thing that seems more urgent. The things that have to be done will always have to be done, even if you just did them. The trick is to find someone to help do the things that have to be done. That’s where practical happiness resides.
My morning routine had been consistent all year. And so was my email inbox: spam, things to do that I don’t want to do, occasional messages from friends. Never an acceptance letter for the novel I’d been pitching to literary agents. Rejection notices, yes; I got lots of those. “Thank you for your submission, but unfortunately, your project does not sound like a fit for me at this time, and so I will have to pass.” The first time, it was soul-crushing. The second time, a little less so. The twentieth time, routine. But that morning’s routine was disrupted.
I’ve always been a sugar addict, so when I moved in with my best friend in Amsterdam, I never questioned my instant and strong desire to consume one of her HAPPY CAKES three or four times every day. But, I will tell you this, they have some television shows that are simply hilarious.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was too small to be a fire hydrant. We had just gotten over a foot of snow and it looks kind of like a red knob. Well…it looks too delicate to be a fire hydrant. I remember grass in this area but everything is covered by this fine blanket of snow. I must have been the first to find this because it all looks undisturbed. Some things in life are too fine to bother, but here I am staring at a single rose that has risen above the dominant blanket. Calling to me…