The third time Maggie left her husband, she took the dog, but not the cat. She was back in four days with the fury tamped down in her gut and the guilt still a metronome in her head. Simon had sorted every shelf in the apartment while she was gone and put every knife from the kitchen in a Tupperware container in the freezer. “I knew you’d be back.” She had not told anyone she was going, so the failure to stay gone did not chime with criticism through her network of family and friends. In truth, the last few [Read more]
Peter had never seen the ocean, but its crystal image haunted his dreams. At night, after his family had gone to sleep, he lay in his bed, in that space between asleep and awake and felt the water engulf his body. He could feel it curl over his skin as he sank deeper into the depths. Sometimes he would reach toward the sun as it slipped away, spreading over the surface above him, but the whispers of the depths swirled around him, coaxing him toward oblivion as he sank deeper to the soft sand, which parted gently to accept him [Read more]
On Sunday Morning I opened my eyes to an inky void, confirming my latest fears about the cosmos: that it was illusory, existing only in my head. And not just illusory, but a real bastard for making me think I had an “other” joined to me in something called wedlock. I cried out for this other, just in case. “Kathy? Katherine!” “What is it?” she said after a minute. The universe re-materialized, sitting on my face. It smelled of stove gas and her lavender body oil. Her tone, as dry as the windowless-bedroom, had grown progressively drier the more I’d [Read more]
There was a boy who lived on my street until he shot his parents. I wasn’t home the night he was arrested, which is too bad because everyone who was has this big story to tell now. This guy Dennis lives five blocks away and still won’t stop telling everyone about how he heard the sirens and “knew something was up,” like that means anything. My parents kind of know the woman who heard the shots and called the cops. She babysat me once, ten years ago, when my mom had the flu and my dad was out of town. [Read more]
All his life, Aesacus had the ability to interpret dreams. He was barely a young man when his stepmother Queen Hecabe dreamed she gave birth to a smoldering piece of wood. When she asked him its implications, he said her future son, named Paris, would provide warmth during difficult times. He dared not reveal the warmth would come from the burning carcass of Troy.
Gus Feldin was re-reading The Hidden Faces of the Stars on his morning commute when he found the first note in the margin. Pressed up against the wall of the subway car in his attempt not to touch the person in the seat next to him, Gus was already sweating through his shirt. The note was a spot of chaotic color on the monochromatic page. The sight of it made Gus’s skin prickle.
September 22, 1978 Grace let Sophia hold her hand as they walked down Clifton Street toward the hotel. A few tourists wrinkled their noses, but under the glint of the sun, and the haze of inebriation wafting from the bars and beer gardens, their spectacle seemed almost placid, a thin slice of sentimentality in a tight corridor of make-believe. At the bottom of the hill, Grace could see the dim outline of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls. She could see the suspended rainbow hanging in the afternoon sky and she could feel the hint of spray as it traveled in the [Read more]
Imagine that you are not a part of this time and place, but another. You were born on the Caribbean island of Martinique, sometime after 1885 but before 1897. You grow up in a poor family, in a poor country. Your father might be a fisherman, or he might work on a sugar plantation, or he might do nothing at all. Though you sometimes have nothing to eat and your brothers and sisters have no shoes to wear, you find simple joys. You wade through streams and try to catch river gobies and mountain mullets with your bare hands. You [Read more]
No one seems to believe me but I know there’s cancer in my foot. I’ve been to five doctors now and they all seem to think I’m batshit crazy. They don’t say that outright but I can see it. They’ve drawn blood and taken x-rays and talked to me at length about their conclusions but I can see the hate they hold for me. It’s in their eyes. There’s a deadening in there that looks past me and I know they aren’t giving me the kind of treatment I deserve. They’re thinking about their fancy car or their sexy secretary, who also holds me in contempt every time I call on the phone. I can hear a distance in her voice.
“Yeah,” Radhiyaa said into the phone, “Yeah. The water, it’s too high. It’s. No. There’s no way. Yeah.”
Diana’s father Brian was yelling meaningless, overly practical advice at her but refusing to actually leave work early and pick the girls up. And Radhiyaa knew, after five years of acquaintance with the man, that there was no reasoning or reassuring him, no way to get him to shut up – she just had to let him speak his peace and then get off the line as soon as possible. So she let him go on like that and looked ahead, where the murky river water slapped against the hood of the vehicle.