Armand Tollbar remembered everything Clara said, on and off the pillow, in the bedroom and out of it. These days that had become a tough assignment for him, for while the memories were rich and repetitive, he now knew, deep down in his body, without a paucity of doubt, that the river was getting polluted. For the two of them there had always been a minor division: she loved the house, he loved the river.
He lights a cigarette on their small balcony that overlooks the main children’s park beneath. It’s dark already, so the only rumbling he hears is from lonely street dogs and teenage couples. He takes long deliberate drags from it, letting the smoke settle on his lips for a moment before deciding to blow it out. He watches as the smoke meets the air, blurring the horizon underneath him. His wife approaches the balcony from their living room. He hopes she would not scold him again for smoking. He knows it’s bad for him. As soon as she steps out, he starts, Continue reading
Lee woke on a Monday. His hands shook while he tried brushing his teeth. He cursed silently and intellectually and sat. He cursed the thought of never being able to sit still for his constant hand-shaking. His heart could not rest, nor his mind. He sat and thought while he shook in silence with the sound of the shaking and the sound of his furious shaking-mind always turning and never resting. He thought about how he would shake all week and wake up the next Monday with the same pain-frustration and mind-shaking and unrelenting body-shaking. Thoughts of living another week in shaking and another week without stillness of body or mind or soul. Thoughts of another week of doctor visits and medication. Thoughts of careless curse-smiles and unanswered questions and unease. Lee despised the thought of next Monday.
Distraction by Sharon HajjIn the morning, I like to bury my dreams under the pillow so I can immediately check my to-do list:
- Go to store for soy milk, oatmeal, and dog food
- Buy paint and stencils for bookshelf
- Make an appointment for a mammogram
- Call and wish Mom happy birthday
- Dump your belongings in the trash
The thing about parallel universes is that there might be somewhere where you exist where you are a better person. But then there has to be another place where you’re the worst version of yourself.
Grace Walsh stood on the platform of the train station, imagining the dead. The tracks and platforms of the Bahnhof were cut into a hillside. On the far side of the tracks, the earth was held back by a concrete wall fronted with rough concrete pillars. The wall was the height of two Irish women, more or less. A graveyard crowded the brink of the wall, almost spilling over onto the tracks below. Above the concrete edge, Grace could see headstones adorned with bright splotches of flowers. The Viennese tended their dead well. At least you could say that much for them.
I spend my time now in the space between heartbeats, where silence sings of memories. How could you leave me here alone, when you were the only one who believed in me? I suppose I chased you away, somehow, like I have others, my willful ways and dark moods exhausting you to the point of breaking.