Sunday Morning Brunch

The trophy wives gathered for brunch at the usual spot. Those that married pro athletes compared diamonds; artists’ wives compared hardships.

“Oh honey it’s 11.2 carats, for the first few weeks my finger ached from lifting it.” She looked tired.

“Dinner last night, was ramen and curried catchup, but we’ve finally saved enough for ultramarine!” said a mousy haired girl.

They all said no thank you to the pastry plate. The athletes’ wives only drank their carbs and the artists wives could only afford the chicness of black coffee.

Shelia leaned in to the table and sighed “I’m lonely and my heart is breaking, this Faustian bargain is erasing my name.”

“Don’t be such a downer, Susan” the tired blond beamed.

There was a lackluster clink of their glasses. They all took another drink.

Time Travel

Once, mother and I calculated to sum of my sick days and determined I’d lost two full school years of classes to pneumonia. It dawned on me today that the spottiness of my early education was more than just incongruous learning, it was a strange way to time travel.

I would sleep, fever, and dream for days at a time, too weak to care about dates or whether the sun or moon was up. When I woke and was able, I’d build elaborate worlds out of modeling clay and construction paper. I spent from morning till night in my stories and fantasy.

After some weeks, I’d arrive back to my same desk at school, same teachers, same friends, same chicken-fried steak. But the classes had advanced, and my friends had memories of learnings and events that I didn’t. I just had these disjointed thoughts. That’s what I mean by time travel. I had a memory of school, long bits of absence from time, and then there I was in the future again.

So, when we wonder “where did the time go?” I’m more inclined to think it did slip away, somewhen. We fall down these rabbit holes and can’t remember when we’ve been. I wonder where all that extra time collects?

The Editor

She: “We lack context.”

He: “You know, Em, words aren’t everything.”

He then cut so much of who she was from their story she became a literary prop on which he could hang his coat. “This is perfect.” he sighed happily into the quiet, his collar hanging precariously from the hook she had become.

Aleph Taw Atbash

A woman wakes up and wonders what the day will bring.

Breakfast? Coffee? Donuts? Eggs?

Fantasy takes hold and brings her underwater snowstorms and brightly collapsing stars.

Go on then she encourages her subconscious, stretching the sleep from her soul and soles… so delicious.

(How she rose from her rest on the red couch and went through the motions of the morning’s ritual is anybody’s guess.)

Illuminated by travel wary photons her hands collect the kettle and press; “kettle and press, kettle and press,” their methodical movement sings.

Joyfully she holds her singing hands to her heart, remembering her dream from the night before.

“Kettle and press, kettle and press,” her heart answers electrically against her palm. Lightning singes her fingertips, the kettle whistles, and her body collapses into itself, 1000 layers deep. Masterfully, she pours the kettle’s contents into the press and breathes deeply through four minutes and eternity before pushing down the plunger.

Neat rows of thrift store coffee mugs line the shelf, she picks her favorite, “Trivial Pursuit”, and fills it with her morning’s work. Opulence ensues.

“Perhaps she will survive the brutalities of this day after all?” she narrates to nobody. Quietly contemplating the untangling of her universe, a noiseless cacophony, she pulls herself under.

Reality folds bends and stretches into newly recognized patterns; her coffee grows colder. Streams of sunshine delicately illuminate tangles of her uncombed hair.

Tomorrow will be better, her fingers tap somberly onto the tabletop. Under circumstances more direct and venerable she would have denied this sly foreboding, but is uneasy.

Velvety dreamscapes give way to more sinister expressions of emptiness and existence. Wary of wounding her imagination in this way she steps, shoulders hunched, into the shower, hoping its contents and comfort will shake free the premonition.

Xanthic tiles welcome her as she revels in the feeling of so many tiny drops of water touching her skin at once. Yesterday washes itself away against watertight walls barely big enough to contain her. Zeta-like, the tiny yellow room does its work to restore her faith in the beauty of the everyday.