When Rokon Mama arrived the following winter, I waited for him with all the curiosity of an eleven-year-old busybody. I wanted to know more about him. I had asked Mother too, who just hushed me up. Nanu had set his breakfast separately from the rest of the family.
Joshua and Eric, they are good boys. Boys are easier. The boys don’t give me much trouble. Of course, Eric is spoiled, but he is small and doesn’t know. Joshie is my best. Joshie tells me, “Mommy, I love you so much.” He doesn’t forget the garbage or his laundry. When I say, “Mop the floors!” Joshie mops the floors. When I say, “Vacuum the car. Now!” Joshie vacuums the car.
I have been pigging out on Oreos lately. They aren’t good for me. My doctor warns me that my nocturnal habits are wrong. Too many snacks. Too little sleep. I quote that boy-devil, Bart Simpson, and tell him not to have a kitten.
I was an only child. Have no merry assumptions. I was not an only child by design. Can a girl ever be an only child by choice? It was the era of death and disease. None of amma’s children survived to become my brothers and sisters.
All they could see was the long lay of ocean blue; a spotless, looming sky; the sun, and the gliding form of seabirds: shearwaters and petrels and other gull-type aviators, tiny white citizens of the bleak and luminous desolation. Beautiful, Humbert thought. If it were not for doom, it would be beautiful.
My mother made me take piano lessons from Pastor James’ wife, Belinda, on Sundays. She was nice enough and always smelled of perfume. She’d hug me, give me a sugar cookie, and we’d get to business. I knew very early on in my piano-lesson days that I lacked discipline for such practices.
As he settles in, Olivia and Logan catch up about their weekends, both of which involved all things spooky. One of the best parts of autumn is Halloween, and it’s probably only natural that those who work in the funeral industry have some kind of affinity towards the holiday. Every department decorates the parts of the offices the guests can’t see.
I couldn't fathom Dad telling Poppy something he hadn't told me: he was the only relationship in my life built entirely on honesty. He was the one who had encouraged me to travel and live somewhere new while I was young; he was the person I called when I needed help with my taxes or choosing a 401K plan.
“Need some help?”
“No, I don’t need your goddamn help, and yes, I took my medication today, thank you very much Nurse Hobson. Go have a seat in the family room. I’ll be in in a minute.”
“It’s not a sin to ask for help, you know.”
It is possible that the grandmother forgot the name of the cafe where she and the child were to meet Rose. It is possible she was lost, confused, or maybe dozed off. And, yes, it is possible that she never intended to meet Rose for lunch.
My name is Cecil Alfa Brown. Caroline told me I should write every day to keep my mind sharp. As silly as it sounds, I will do it for her. She may not know it, but she is my best and only friend left in this world, besides Phil.
His brother Dan had noticed these changes in James. Dan noticed James had been visiting the doctor as frequently as someone just diagnosed with cancer. At first, Dan worried something was wrong, and asked if there was anything he should know about.
“Our tailoring needs didn’t go beyond the occasional shirt or a pair of trousers. I got my black bespoke tuxedo with fine stripes stitched there. Paragon, strictly for gents, did not sell clothes, only offered tailoring service. The head tailor himself was the owner.
Janice was scarcely 30 when she came to Claresboro, a newly licensed veterinarian joining Dr. Quigley’s small-animal practice. We knew her family from a long way back–her mother grew up here before moving to the city, and her grandma Paula still owns the flower shop on Minton Street.
Mule carcasses give up ash. Thick and dark. It swirls and swells in the violet sky like a great murmuration. The screams of the mules have subsided, the air thick with the smell of their roasting meat. It is unbearable to these starving people.
In some ways, I hate what I do, though my feelings have never been distinct. It is more of an unease that creeps into my mind when I see my planet so far beneath me, and, surrounded by the boxes and boxes of products and resources that fill the storage space of my cable car...
I watched with a sullen expression as she struggled to lift her right leg, gingerly rubbing the area of swollen flesh where I’d kicked her thigh. She placed delicate fingers along her bottom lip, still red and swollen from my punch of a few days ago.
At 1:30 in the morning, Morgan wakes, rises from the bed, and pads over to the master bath for his nightly pee. After his stiff legs and an aching back––both from handling the luggage back at the airport, no doubt––ferry him back to bed, he lies down and listens for the tank to fill up.
Kate tells herself that today she is driving to find the quiet, to get out of town and let the houses and little feed shops and hardware stores thin and thin and thin until there are just the low-slung fences and the uncut grass, little farmhouses up on the sloping hills surrounded by leaning trees and rare shade.
Her eyes traveled over to Ezra to see if would go check on her, but he only smiled, pleased again at his discovery of this place. They were only a few inches apart in height, though Ezra was a tall man, and his slenderness made her feel too big for any space they were in together, even one this large and otherwise unwieldy.
The new entrant teacher was her mother’s friend, Mrs Prendergast. Tall and loud, she wore two thick, long plaits that cracked through the air like whips when she moved suddenly. She moved suddenly a LOT. Along with her mother, Mrs Prendergast believed that children should be seen, but not heard. Tolerated. Just.