After her wife dies (cancer, brain, sudden), she watches lectures her wife recorded for her students, videos she’d never seen while Pam was alive.
They’re called mandibular tori, and yes, since you’re asking, they do hurt, a little, often, not in a take-me-to-the-dentist-immediately way but in an ongoing, low-grade, what-can-you-do-but-learn-to-live-with-it kind of way.
The autumn I turn ten, we leave my dad and the crusted expanse of Arizona desert, hard-packed sand dotted with dried grass and shriveled cacti, for the suburbs of Chicago.
I envied the pigs their voice. They weren’t silenced. Well, not before the electrocution or before the Hog Sticker with his 18-inch blade sliced the swine’s throats as they hung upside down.
I’m in a line, a line of lines, waiting to check in for my flight to Monterrey. The line isn’t moving.
When the girl and her grandfather climb the seven flights of stairs to reach the rooftop, they hear the pigeons coo at their footsteps in anticipation.
Fyodor won a frying pan. Nothing had ever come to him for free but out-of-the-blue he received a letter informing him that he had won a frying pan in a supermarket lottery and would he be available to attend a ceremony with the mayor on such and such a date.
Uncle says we are not to disturb him when he is in the basement. Because the basement is his place. His. Got it?
You wake up thinking not about dying, but about Trina DeMartini and the inside of her warm mouth and all the places you want her to put it, and maybe if you’re being honest a little bit about your Algebra teacher.
The ghost that haunts my house comes home drunk on Thursday nights. Every Friday morning, she sits at the edge of my bed and tells me she’ll never do it again.
I tell you I’ve only ever shown it to a girl who I met on a tour bus in Moscow, where I was traveling with my parents. She had bad acne, and she really liked Duran Duran.
The old man fell asleep in his car, his nostrils pressed softly against the steering wheel, but the car kept going, because the old man’s foot was not asleep, was still pressing down hard, and later they would say, it’s not really his fault, he’s such an old man.
Kate is not ‘imagining it’. There are small tufts of pale fluff on her neck, and no, it’s not ‘just a tissue in the washing machine’ as John suggests. There’s nothing drifting off his shirts, nothing clinging to Ella’s favourite black top, Josh’s Minecraft t-shirts. It’s more solid than tissue, just on her clothes. And only she can see it.
In the barren cold camp, you wear a dusty cape and top hat, wave my cane as if it were a wand and tell me your dream-stories, one after the next, your words spun and tossed like tethers into the air.
Ignis, the flaming wreckage, bubbling rubber, liquified cloth, her skin charred and blistering, acrid smoke, the tiny thunders of survival’s kicks