anikawriter (joined almost 9 years ago)

Stories


I always felt like I was stuck in a bubble. Like the Pope in his vehicle. On display like the Queen of England. A goldfish in a bowl. Maybe it was my shyness or my wart on my left cheek. Maybe it was the lisp that made everyone return my greetings with a "What did you say?" Maybe it was my slumped back, the hump that made shopping for blazers so difficult.
"Who's in there?" small children would say, peering at me on a Sunday in the park. "Don't bother that nice man," their mothers would say. The mothers were...

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The results were in. It was his back, that flimsy thing. And I mean that in more than one sense. His back had been giving him problems since we were married. Our wedding night? At the height of passion he suddenly started screaming in pain, as if marriage had injured him. Before that night, he'd never had issues before. And now it wasn't just his spine, it was his unwillingness to be strong and I would bear the brunt of his weakness. Just like I had when we were newly weds. That night I had gotten out of bed, made...

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"Sam!" the guy shouted. "This is it!"
Sam followed, but he wasn't sure this WAS it. How could it be? They'd been waiting for this for hours, for days even. How could it be?
"Get the nebulizer," he said. "And be quick."
Sam could never remember what the nebulizer was or what it was for. He didn't think it had anything to do with the surrender, but he didn't really know and so didn't like to say.
"Got it," he said, handing a doohicky over to the ambulance driver.
"Thanks, man," he said, not even looking. The guy was intent...

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The lunch bell rang. At 11:32 the wide wooden doors would open, letting out the throngs, the odor, the leaden feet. I stood against the wall, my heels pressed against the cinder block. There were the girls in braces and the boys with large pimples on their noses. There were skinny legs in miniskirts and protruding Adam's apples. I wrinkled my nose at the stench of body spray and scented lip gloss and listened to the crunch of paper bags.
I watched them, but they didn't notice me. They grouped around tables like lions around drinking holes, each one in...

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It should have been romantic, this sunset beach stroll. His back was to her as he stood, ankle-deep in the surf. Beyond him the pelicans flew low over the water as the sun set. But he collected shells along the beach like they were nuggets of gold. She had watched him study the circles of leftover life all day, the top of his head getting sunburned at noon.
She wore a wide-brimmed hat, even now, even as the sun slipped beyond the horizon. The hat was as practical now as the diaphragm she had tucked away in her suitcase, still...

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The city was empty and so was she. There was an echo in the quiet streets and an echo in her ear. She had heard this sound before--this sound of nothingness--and it reminded her of something. That vacancy. It made her think of her marriage. That was the sound of her marriage, that emptiness. She felt comfortable in that sound. Above her a streetlight snapped on with an almost audible sound. She could hear the click or maybe just imagine it. The electricity lines opening, sending current to that one lamppost so that it could shine with its weak light....

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The city was empty and so was she. There was an echo in the quiet streets and an echo in her ear. She had heard this sound before--this sound of nothingness--and it reminded her of something. That vacancy. It made her think of her marriage. That was the sound of her marriage, that emptiness. She felt comfortable in that sound. Above her a streetlight snapped on with an almost audible sound. She could hear the click or maybe just imagine it. The electricity lines opening, sending current to that one lamppost so that it could shine with its weak light....

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She wandered between the potbellies and the beer guts, the sharp-cornered purses and the waist-length hair that tickled her nose. She could smell the body odor of the teenagers, ripe and fertile. Popcorn in cardboard buckets passed under her nose, the butter shiny like gold.
She wasn't afraid. There was nothing to be afraid of. They were people. People everywhere. It wasn't like being lost in the woods, in an ocean, in a cave. Those places where she would be alone, those were scary places. Here she wasn't alone.
The carousel echoed its off-key melody and bounced off the carny...

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If I had a camera every time he did something like that, I'd be winning contests. Funniest Kids, Giggling with the Stars, stuff like that.
Henry bought me the camera when the baby was six days old. He was supposed to be picking up the Chinese take-out (I loved those pancakes back then), but he stopped by the camera store. Not Wal-Mart or some big box store. No, Henry spent the extra forty-seven minutes to go to some specialty place.
I was painfully post-partum, couldn't sit without that donut, and he was buying an SLR. Like I was going to...

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I'm dead. It wasn't part of the plan, but I'm really dead. The plan involved Scotch tape, 10-gauge wire, and a grey kitten. It ended me, though. And I guess that means the plan didn't work. Because me being dead wasn't part of the plan.
I'm dead and it's no one's fault but my own. The bridge was a last minute addition to the plan. So was the kite. It was one of those kites from the drugstore--cheap plastic, make in China or Poland or somewhere. There were thin wooden dowels. Not quite strong enough.
I'm dead and I think...

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