Sam didn’t talk about his childhood much, so when he shared a story, I let him talk as long as he wanted. His dad’s girlfriend, he claimed, made the world worst mac and cheese. It was watery and there wasn’t enough cheese. What cheese there was wasn’t right somehow. Sam explained . . .
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Little Tommy had a knack for picking up things around the house that he wasn’t supposed to touch. I could hear his mother through the thin walls of our apartment building saying, “Put that thing away,” frequently during the day. I grew curious about all the forbidden things inside their apartment that tempted Tommy to touch. I tried peeking in the window when they were away. I saw . . .
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Jared dropped keys and sunglasses on the table as he raced toward the bathroom. That Chinese food from the food truck did something horrible to him. He puked up his guts, then laid on the floor moaning. Something was taped to the underside of the toilet tank. He slid closer to peer at it. A fat envelope. It looked like it held a big wad of cash.
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Tara stepped off the edge and rappelled into the cave. The light on her helmet sketched a faint path through the rocks. This trip into the cave was Tara’s last chance to prove her case about what had become of Steve. If she struck out this time, the Captain made it clear she would be pulled from the search. She knew in her bones she was right. She moved slowly, running her light left and right into the nooks and folds of the rock.
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We were the movers. A ragtag group of family and friends, a couple of pickup trucks, and not enough time. I had the easy parts like wiping off the dust and bringing in the pizza. Moving yourself is hard work. Even if other people move you it’s hard work. What if every home was furnished and all you had to take from place to place was your clothes and your toothbrush. I’d live on that planet.
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I wanted to smack his handsome face. He shouldn’t be allowed to work with older women at the gym. He called me young lady. When he showed me how to use the leg press he said, “Put your little foot right there,” like I was a three year old. He called me sweetheart and held my arm as he walked me toward the recumbent bikes. I am going to smack him!
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It was on a Wednesday when I remembered that Monday had passed me by in a flurry of writing. I looked at the calendar in amazement. What else had I forgotten about? I called my mom. “You doing okay, mom?” I called my daughter at college. “Everything going okay, sweetheart?”
Everyone survived my absence just fine. I think I’ll start writing that new chapter now.
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I loved that car. It was the best car I ever had.
Well, so, nothing. I’m just sharing something from my past with you. Isn’t that how people get acquainted?
This is never going to work. It was nice meeting you, but I’m leaving now.
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It was a good night. She made it outside, walking on her own. The air was mild and smelled of cut grass. Omar put music on and they swayed gently together under the big oak tree. Then it was over. She fell to the ground. “I can’t,” she said, and he knew it was true. Later, when she’d rested, he’d help her back to bed.
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Tired, she muttered. She stretched, moaned, and stood beside the bed. Yep, still alive. Who was that guy in the bar? She turned quickly to look in her bed. Empty. Whew! At least she hadn’t done that. She stumbled toward the bathroom. Wait. There was a phone number scrawled on her arm in fat, black marker.
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