I sat by the lakeside, the sun glistened in the water as hippos glided through the light. Monkeys climbed in the trees as I sipped my drink. We came here each night, a sanctuary of serenity amongst the electric charge of political elections. Today the local news channels all said riots. Still we came to sit by the water, for our one drink together, that moment of calm. Except tonight you didn’t show and I knew you wouldn’t again. The college you taught at caught in gun fire, your body amongst the debris. We flew out that week, left you behind.
The vampires weren’t sad, exactly. They were just tired of being vampires. But the sex! said the vampire king. The power, the drugs, the immortality! The vampires gazed into the distance, sad. One started a LiveJournal account.
Fine, said the king. Go. Go be something else. See how you like it.
But the vampires didn’t know how to be anything else. They applied for jobs as accountants, beauticians. They got fired for drinking the blood of their clients. The vampire king watched as they tried again, and again. Circling back around. Trying to build new lives with hands that wouldn’t die.
I was known to enjoy the taste of a good book. But on this day I found myself standing near a doorway, looking, and not looking, thinking. I was deep, or seemed to be deep, in a book, but my face did not look as it usually does when I am happy in my reading. My contracted brow revealed intense concentration, too intense for mere reading. The same mental pain often takes control to remind me of my last tour in Vietnam. I fought a losing war, deep in death, on foreign soil to learn my country would dishonor my allegiance.
— James ( Jim ) Freeze
A wobbly Uncle Ian stands up at the family dinner table and raises his whiskey glass.
“When I marry again, she’ll be a good kisser,” he says in a fake Irish brogue. “A woman should know how to kiss her man.”
His wife, Aunt Aileen, sits quietly across from him.
My father tells Uncle Ian to sit down and ease up on the hooch.
“Yes, sir,” Uncle Ian says as he slumps into his chair, “my next wife will kiss like Maureen O’Hara might.
“Tis the Judas kiss he offers me every time,” Aunt Aileen whispers in her true Irish brogue.
— Trudy Cusella
The temperature hovers around one-hundred and five. Red and white and torn awnings provide little relief from the sun. The town sold out of ice three days ago. Buddy thinks he’s a bad ass drinking his Lone Star hot out of the bottle. Elsie’s whined all morning. She wants him to drive to Abilene for ice. Buddy tells her to shut the hell up and to get him another beer. She pivots on her bare heel. Elsie pulls a longneck from Buddy’s truck, pops the cap, and pours it down her front. She gives Buddy the finger and turns the key.
My last words infuriated him. I admit to stubbornness, arrogance, not to lack of commitment. Blame myself for the ensuing silence between us.
“Go on with your life,” he hurled, “I with mine.” As if the two years we were lovers meant nothing to him. Perhaps they didn’t.
I’m learning to go forward. Refraining from reflecting on what was or what could have been. Tucking memories of us into the past.
Phone rings. Machine answers. A man’s voice resonates. His.
In the comfort of my couch, a cat arches its back feeling gentle strokes. My tears no longer mat its fur.
— Krystyna Fedosejevs