Choose Your Own

Photo by Caleb George via Unsplash for Choose Your Own

You are sitting in the bedroom of a house that is inches away from the freeway. Cars whiz past at an alarming rate, and it seems to you that a minor slip of the steering wheel will send a car crashing into the bedroom, killing the occupants of the house. You are there on a date with the man who lives there, a man named Oswald. He complains that the highway was built too close to his house, taking away his front yard—you see the tiny blades of grass that are left of it, so few you can count them, but he does admit that he has an exciting view from his bed. […]

The Tobacconist

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George searched his pockets for change, cluttering the counter with lint and pen caps, a crumpled tissue, pausing to clean his glasses while the tobacconist waited at the open register. It was the tobacconist he cared about, not the neatly lined cigars he had thumbed through moments earlier. George could see the smoke shop from his kitchen window, and last week had watched the tobacconist as he emerged and stood on the street corner in a pouring rain, until his coat was drenched through and rain coursed from his hat. […]

All the Girls We Knew in the Suburbs

"Snowy Night 10" by Jeff Willard. Used with permission.

It was the night before Christmas, but all that meant to us was that no one else was out and the suburbs were our playgrounds more than ever. We were two Jewish kids from the city and it was not our holy night. No family unwrapping ceremonies awaited us in the morning. Our days of unwrapping, all eight of them, had ended a week earlier, though those days of miracle light were not our holiest. Everyone thought that because they fell so close to Christmas, even if no one ever knew exactly when; they seemed to orbit around the birth of Christ like a set of moons, sometimes close, sometimes far. Our holiest rituals fell in autumn, though in truth nothing was particularly holy to us. We were not much for atonement. […]

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