"A Fair Amount of Ghosts" by Zach Murphy
He plays the trumpet brilliantly on the corner of Grand and Victoria. He doesn’t look like he’s from this era. He’s impeccably dressed, from his crisply fitting suit to his smooth fedora hat. There aren’t many folks that can pull that off. He’s cooler than the freezer aisle on a sweltering summer day. He performs the type of yearning melodies that give you the goosebumps. I’ve never seen anyone put any money into his basket.
There’s a formidable stone house that sits atop Fairmount Hill. It’s been for sale for as long as I can remember. The crooked post sinks deeper into the soil with each passing year. It isn’t a place to live in. It’s a place to dwell in. There’s a dusty rocking chair on the front porch. It’s always rocking. Always rocking. I’m not sure if the chair is occupied by an old soul or if it’s just the wind. Maybe it’s both. I guess the wind is an old soul.
This town is full of posters for Missing Cats. There’s one for a sweet, fluffy Maine Coon named “Bear.” He’s been gone for a while now. I’ve searched through every alleyway, under every porch, and inside of every bush for him. Sometimes I think I see him out of the corner of my eye. But then he’s not there. The rain has pretty much washed away the tattered posters. If he ever turns up, I worry that the posters will be missing.
I met the love of my life in Irvine Park, near the gloriously spouting water fountain, beneath the serene umbrella of oak trees. We spent a small piece of eternity there together. We talked about whether or not the world was coming to an end soon, and if all of our memories will be diminished along with it. After we said our goodbyes and she walked off into the distance, I never saw her again. So I left my heart in Irvine Park.
"Slow as Molasses" by Melissa Taggart
While growing up in Alberta, Canada I often heard the expression “slow as molasses." It was often followed up by “running uphill, in January”. January being the most frigid of months meant everything moved turtle paced if you were lucky. Besides this outdated simile, nevertheless we often had molasses on hand in my house.
My dad had grown up in Nova Scotia where molasses had been a staple. His birthday cake was often spiced. It paired perfectly with the winter flavourings of cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. The smell of cinnamon and cloves often wafting through every corner of his home as if it had always belonged there. Christmas baking, molasses cookies provided “the warmest of hugs on a winter’s night” as he told it. When eaten straight from the oven. My father always sharing this tale from yesteryear as a rule each time he had a hankering for some cake.
Dad arrived home from work. A factory worker for years meant he hobbled while he made his way into the Livingroom. At the ripe old age of 45 he moved as quick as one would expect Methuselah could manoeuvre. Physical labour long ago claimed my father’s body and soul. Happiness was hard to come by. As if it had been stuck in a black strapped sludge of exhaustion, relinquishing all hope of a life outside of the almighty paycheck. A colorful expletive soon exited his mouth as his backside met his old recliner. Here he would remain for the rest of the evening. His dirtied baseball cap missed the side table landing onto the floor.
“Is that spiced cake I smell Frankie?” dad wearily asked.
Cracking an ever so slight smile. The Albertan winter had not hardened my father completely. After all there was still cake.
"Lover" by Miri Aung
You know, the couples in romcoms always have their conversations lying on a grassy field somewhere, probably braiding daisies into each other’s hair. That’s what they do in books or in films, but not in real life.
In real life, the conversations don’t appear all lined up like dominoes, or neat pages in a book. They’re smaller, squeezed in the spaces between the fridge and the wall, in the gap under the next step on the stairs.
Jonny was hanging his clothes up again. Kim thought he did it periodically, like a reflex when he had nothing else to do with his hands.
“Did you pick up the washing?”
Kim shook her head. The walk-in closet was big enough for the both of them, so she was getting dressed as they spoke.
“I thought it was your turn.”
“Hmm,” he replied. Jonny was always going, hmm. When he was frustrated. When he was upset. A quick, tangy hmm when he was about to laugh.
“What about the newspaper? You know Noomi loves it in the morning.”
“I got it,” Kim answered, tying the edges of her shoelace.
“Ok, then. Thanks.”
“Okay,” said Kim.
These days, maybe their conversations weren’t even big enough to fill the space between the fridge and the wall. More like the beat between their breaths.