Tag: Family

Collapses of the Night Sky by Laysha Ostrow

3:33 a.m. Every night for the past six weeks. In the long moments before dawn, far away but imminent. The sleeplessness wasn’t just annoying, it was persecutory. Waking in a pool of her own sweat, blazing like she was running in her dreams, chased by demons. Quickly falling into sleep only to be woken with a start.

And why 3:33? Or was it sometimes 3:23, or 3:43, or even 4:33?

Clothes Make the Man by Tom Barlow

Sybil had known her brother Wyatt was gay since he was 14 and sold his BMX bike to pay for a ticket to a Madonna concert. However, in the 15 years since he ran away from home, they had avoided the subject during their infrequent phone conversations, he in San Francisco, she back in Columbus.

Although she and her husband Ian worked hard to show no prejudices in that direction, she’d been just as glad to avoid sharing her brother’s orientation with their children rather than try to explain it to Xavier and Bailey. At eight it might just confuse the boy, and Bailey, now a teenager, had reached the point where anything having to do with her family, from her father’s bicycle commute to Sybil’s hand-knit Christmas sweaters, was deeply humiliating.

An Exoskeleton of Fear by Catherine O’Brien

That night I shed an exoskeleton of fear. It happened as a sweet pulsation overlooking the river. My body crackled with suspense as, like an exhausted sprinter, I was overlapped by a clear and gracious winner. There was no creaking or moaning as it wrenched itself free. It left quietly and with all its dignity. 

I’d been gifted an excuse, a chance to reclaim my wilderness and that’s the end of my story.

EXCLUSIVE FEATURE: My Grandfather’s an Immigrant, and So Is Yours by Michael Chin

The following excerpt is taken from My Grandfather’s an Immigrant, and So is Yours”, a novel by Michael Chin (Cowboy Jamboree Press)

Take my middle school American History teacher, Mrs. Flannery. As we approached our study of internment camps during World War II, she asked if my grandfather would be willing to visit and speak to the class regarding his experience.

The Winds of Change by Dvora Wolff Rabino

When the caseworker dropped Derek and his two black Hefty bags at the new address in Morningside Heights that breezy second Saturday of May, the ten-year-old was not expecting much. He’d been blowing in the wind like dandelion fluff most of his life; this was his third placement just since January. But the green doormat read “A hundred thousand welcomes,” and he supposed it was possible this family actually meant it. Lacrosse sticks and boxing gear, probably for the couple’s real kids—sports equipment like that might as well be made of gold, that’s how out of reach they were for foster kids like him—was piled up just inside the front door. A one-armed teddy bear hung off the living room couch. The coffee table had a plastic chess set laid out; someone was in the middle of a game. And John Green and John Grisham library books lay open on the dining table. Derek wouldn’t be the only reader here.

Lemonade for Sale by Wendy Garrett

My stomach hurt for a week after my cat Boots died. She arrived as a gift on my first birthday, and ten years later, she was gone. A year after that, we had more death to cope with. But unlike with Boots’s death, we rarely talked about what happened next door at the Moores’. Whenever we spoke of that summer of 1979, what we discussed was the lemonade stand, not the murder-suicide that triggered the estate sale where my sister and I made a fortune.

Julie (my sister) and I sat at the kitchen table eating cereal while my mother whistled Otis Redding’s “Dock of the Bay” as she unpacked her brown leather tote bag from the weekend retreat, from where she and my father had returned the night before. She has always been one of the best whistlers I know. She can draw her fingers to her lips and let out a whistle that can be heard blocks away. On this day, she was casually whistling with just her lips, not typical, but it sounded nice. She pulled a candle from her bag and placed it on the dining table next to a silver bowl I’d never seen her use. The candle was in a tall glass votive decorated with two overlapping yellow circles above which, inside a red heart, were the words “Marriage Encounter.” She lit the candle and walked back to her bag to finish emptying it. Julie and I slowly ate our cereal, weary from the long weekend with our “fun” babysitter. I couldn’t remember going anywhere, which meant we had been home the entire weekend.

Fireflies by Jason Fisk

The day was barely there, full of mist and humidity, full of future ghosts that posed as inaccessible emotions. “Grab a few toys,” his mother said, “and put them in this. She handed him his father’s canvas duffel bag.

“That’s Dad’s,” he protested.

“Do as I say,” she said. “We’re going to visit your grandmother for a while.” He did what he was told, but thought it was all a bit unusual. His grandma only lived a few miles away, and they had never spent the night there. He did love visiting her, though; she had her own yard, unlike the small apartment that he and his parents lived in. 

Come Away From the Window by Thomas Morgan

The mirror in the bathroom is foggy with condensation. It’s like this because he’s just stepped out of the shower. He puts a towel around his waist, then he breaks off a square of toilet paper and wipes the mirror clean. He stands over the sink, puts the plug into the plughole and fills it up with warm water. Then he starts rubbing some shaving gel onto his face with his fingers. You see, he showers first, then he shaves. Some people might think this is odd – and maybe it is – but it’s how he’s always done it. For one thing, it gives his body a chance to dry on its own. Plus, he’s heard it’s supposed to be better for your skin, doing it this way.

He starts with the right side of his face, beginning just below his sideburns. From there, he moves onto his cheek and his chin and then his neck. He’s about halfway through his shave when he hears his wife scream.

Stinky McGuirk by Rick White

Stinky McGuirk will not be remembered as an exceptional guinea pig. Never really more than a novice climber, his problem solving skills were in the lower percentiles for the Caviidae family. Averse to water. His aroma, questionable.

He had the appearance of a perpetually shell-shocked rodent — twitchy, trembling. Bug-eyes staring vacantly into the middle distance. His ginger and white hair stuck out at every angle, like some demented throw-cushion.

The last guinea pig in the pet shop, he looked like he needed a good home. And Jessica, suffering twin indignities of living through high-school and her parents’ divorce, was in need of a loyal friend.