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A New Education

ma Lynn had first met Ryan in the public library. He had signed up for a tutoring session with her through the library. They were three years apart. Ryan had repeated a grade from when his family moved up. Emma Lynn had graduated high school and college early. Ryan was a part-time athlete and a part-time trouble-maker. The rest of the time he spent much to himself. Working on a bike he was putting together for after his birthday. Not that that stopped him from driving abandon cars around town or the bikes of some of his more rough and tough friends. Emma Lynn was working on her Doctorate. Her boyfriend was a college professor where she was attending classes. He was 20 years her senior, but intellectually they were on the same page. Timothy and Emma Lynn often spent evenings at his home in the living room, television off, papers being graded or worked on; dinners on the table Timothy’s ex-wife had picked out, glasses of red wine being poured over conversations about environmental issues, political debates, and planning for the future. Emma Lynn thought of Timothy in stark contrast to Ryan, who she wasn’t entirely if it was his ambivalence or brain that made him seemingly illiterate. Everything about Timothy was smart – the way he dressed, the way he spoke, the fun they had, the love they made that was passionate and a little methodical, like one writing a very interesting and tough literary criticism. Emma Lynn was sure that there was very little that Ryan did which was smart. But she had a feeling there might be one or two things that he did better than Timothy.

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Leilah’s Low

It was six years ago. Leilah was 26. She had graduated from college three years ago and was working at a job she hated. It wasn’t that she hated to work. It was actually quite the opposite. She loved working, but all the same she hated this job. More specifically, she hated the past year of her life. Her anxiety had been spiraling. Her eating habits had taken a non-existent turn. She was smoking and drinking coffee as though they were the air of the fresh outdoors and nectar straight from the ancient gods. Her dating life was a slew of awful men, one worse than the one before. To line the men whom she encountered up would mimic a lineup of all the usual suspects in a jail house.

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Kill the Lights

The lights would come and go at no particular interval. It was as though every morning someone deliberately spun the dial on a timer so that it was never actually set properly. Sometimes there wasn’t a real light in her dark corner, but only a glow from a nearby place. Sometimes there was no glow at all. Those were the days she decided that instead of a game of “Spin the Light,” it was “Kill the Lights.” No matter what the circumstances or environment Ali never lost her mind, she just waited patiently until she was freed to go home. That was her ultimate want, to return home.