I remind myself frequently that my lover is not the love of my life. But there is no denying that he is the lover of it.
by Ariel Gore
Cliché but true: I met him on the Internet.
I was 16, all right?
I guess I’m offering up my age here as some kind of excuse, a decoy, but you know as well as I do that we weren’t stupid at 16. We knew things at 16 we’d never know clearly again. We just, well. What was it? A certain lack of experience?
I for one believed in love.
Maybe that was my mistake.
I loved him.
If I trusted you right here and in this moment I’d tell you something shameful: that some part of me still loves him. How twisted is that?
All the bad things they said in court and in the newspapers were true. But he wasn’t a monster. He wasn’t born a monster, anyway.
by Michelle Gonzales
We stood there, my brother and me, waiting for Mom to shift the seat forward so we could squeeze our way into the back. Mom never got out of the car to lift it forward. The round black knob on the side of the seat stared at me like a dark eye.
Obediently, our arms at our sides, we waited for Mom to see us, only she pulled the door shut and the car lurched away.
by Jenny Hayes
The goths are mysterious and ethereal and moody but also strong and bawdy and hilarious. They are impractical, some more than others, though none of them would ever spend their last few dollars on cleaning supplies or milk or parking tickets if it meant going without black eyeliner. The goths don’t have pets anymore, though one of them once had a lizard and one had a little brown rat named Albertine.
by Susan Pierce
I’ve cried so hard my eyes are swollen. Is it possible to crave someone so much that you can conjure him into your dreams? Is it wrong to wish for his return?
I used to trace the freckles beneath my husband’s eye with my finger and then kiss them goodnight.
by Simon Ditlevsen
“Francis said to me, ‘Just look what happened to Moses! The same can happen to you!’”
“Yes, Moses fell ill and died. It happens often around here,” I objected.
“You think just that Moses was so ill?”
“Yes, perhaps he had a virus,” I tried.
“Don’t you know what people are talking about? After you fired Francis, his mother went to a witch doctor who put a curse on the job as a driver with you.”
by Erin Walter
Our alarms went off for school each winter morn, presenting us with a torturous decision — spring up and race to The Heater or stay in bed, cozy under the covers, risking that the other sister had already made it to the hall for prime positioning. Usually I’d stay in bed, ears perked for even the faintest sounds of rustling in the other bedroom. Then I’d fling off the covers and make a run for it, recklessly hurling my awkward, unathletic body toward the scorching metal grate.
Once in front of The Heater, we always blew plenty of our own hot air at each other. “Hey! Move! You’ve got more room than me!”
“Do not! You do!”
I think I set so many things in Los Angeles because I’m never quite through with how I feel about being from there. I love Nathanael West’s Day of the Locusts. Or Joan Didion’s LA essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I wanted to add my corner of Los Angeles too because I think it’s underrepresented (even though LA is completely overrepresented as a whole in film and lit). I love the theme of inventing one’s self in a new landscape which West and Didion both write about. I like the high expectations with little or no delivery that LA gives us. I’m a little sick that way.