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Off the streets

September 2, 2016

What is this? I asked, standing awkwardly next to a table where two men sat, small cars and their tiny parts spread in front of them.

RC car racing, the man replied. It’s just like regular car racing, only smaller. You either like it or you don’t.

Is this every week? I asked, though I knew I was unlikely to be back that way for a long, long while.

Every other week, he said. It keeps us off the streets.

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Wine cellar

August 30, 2016

He kissed her quickly, then, in the wine cellar. She had not expected that when he showed her down the narrow stairs into the rough room, had expected only to see what wine he had and to see what he would pair with the meal. She had not been kissed like that in a very long time, and that made it even more surprising, more lovely, like stumbling across a long-forgotten favorite belonging in the dark recesses of a cupboard. She kissed him back, and remembered what it was like to fall in love.

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Some Thursdays are like this

August 4, 2016

I unwrap the bagel—stuffed with avocado, sprouts, cucumber, bacon—and it sits there, stable, ready, waiting for my first bite.

But I have to stretch my jaw to get my mouth around it, and that is the moment when I realize I burned the roof of my mouth yesterday without knowing it, and the bagel’s surface is awfully rough, and biting down will leave the taste of iron on my tongue. With each bite, the fillings slide around, redistributing themselves into something less balanced, less pleasing.

This is not the breakfast I expected.

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Three-fifths

July 8, 2016

The last line of the haiku should have been five syllables, but he stopped at three.

He was out of words, after all, and he had spent much of the day thinking about the U.S. Constitution.

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Vast

June 22, 2016

How vast, she said, and the ocean’s edge rushed over her toes. How does anyone find the other side?

There are stars to follow, he replied. And, sometimes, mermaids sing the path clear.

That seems risky, she said. What if it’s cloudy? What if the wind drowns out the melodies?

You have a wise heart and a good boat, he said. They will get you where you need to go.

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Watched

February 24, 2016

We’re being watched all the time, he said.

You’re paranoid, she said, but far off in the sky, she could see a helicopter, hovering like a sliver in the clouds.

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Havana dreams

February 22, 2016

She imagined what it would be like to ride in the back seat of a Chevrolet Bel Air with the windows down while her driver took her along the Malecón. She imagined the sun setting behind her as they drove, bathing the city in a peach glow.

When she dreamed, she scrubbed away Havana’s crumbling buildings, the empty store shelves, the secret police. She thought, only, of the serenity of a quiet city, the light, the sound of the lapping the sea wall. She was as likely to get there as to the moon. Truth did not hamper her.