I had fallen into a deep sleep the night I met her.
She sat at a high-top table, swinging her legs while staring at a laptop screen. I moved forward hesitantly and she looked up and smiled.
I had never seen her before, but a rushing sense of familiarity overtook me. I knew that smile. It felt like home.
“What are you working on?” I asked, approaching the table.
Her eyes held mine for a moment. Blue, flecked with amber, like a sea on fire.
“I’m uploading a sketch I made for a client.” She tilted her head and studied the computer. “Seeing it on the screen takes away from it though. …
Goodbyes can be kept, love, tucked in a back pocket
That’s where I have yours
It wasn’t all nothing, I saw something
Hold all our memories, bring them out one by one if you want to
Pretend I’m closer than the silent days say
It wasn’t nothing, maybe just a flicker of everything
Call it borrowed time, call it wasted time
But I like nothing days so that’s okay
Time borrowed is still something, don’t you think?
We went off the path yesterday
but the things we found on our way
are there words for them?
We’re already at tomorrow, I’ll remind you again
It came so quickly
Today was something, though
It’s over now, love, gone wherever daydreams go
But it wasn’t nothing
My daughter doesn’t see me anymore. She doesn’t look at me, doesn’t speak to me. She doesn’t answer my texts.
She used to have moments of forgetting to say thank you, or being too busy to spend time together. Things like that. And it’s okay, I always understood. She’s grown up, has her own life.
But this is different. I miss her.
We used to laugh. I miss laughing with her. Just last summer we went on a vacation together — drove through Utah and Wyoming, up to Yellowstone. She planned the whole thing. We saw mountains and buttresses (That’s what they’re called, right? Or buttes? She told me, but I forgot.) and fields of wildflowers. It was beautiful. And bison! …
She stands alone, waiting for the train to arrive. It’s been nearly six months since she moved to this city and her hatred of it has progressed exponentially.
Metro’s haunted, her colleague had told her during her first week at the new job.
Haunted. Her colleague shrugged. Weird shit happens, people go missing. You take the metro to work, right? Careful at night, Kat. Just sayin’.
Oh. Has anything ever happened to you? Seen any ghosts? A dry smile had tugged at the corner of her mouth.
Nah, I don’t take the metro, basically no one does. Rachel is the only person I know that takes it. …
A city finds its way into your heart the way a person does. You step into their unique chaos for the first time and feel that spirit — the thing that makes a place come alive — and a missing piece of yourself seems discovered.
When you visit a place like this, you never forget the feeling.
Maybe the glittering Seine reflecting the soft orange-glow of city lights and pink underbellies of painted clouds; warm Christmas markets and snowflakes falling to shimmering cobblestone within the walls of Grote Markt in Brussels; or the living, breathing heat of Bangkok, golden shrines and the River of Kings. …
Take these. Warm, thick gloves are pushed over the counter. And this, you’ll need this. Under your coat. A heavy knit sweater, too big for me.
The room is tiny and cramped but it’s a warm refuge from the whipping wind of the coast outside. I stand in front of a cash register, watching dust floating in the sunlight. The shop owner, a stranger, has taken it upon himself to give me everything I didn’t know I needed before I get on a boat headed out in search of whales.
Do you get seasick?
I don’t know.
A pressure-point bracelet and granola bar. I turn the package over and inspect. Blueberry and ginger and whey. …
Late summer and autumn are nostalgic seasons. Streetlamps throw their light across rain-slick streets, and the leaves underfoot — muted red-orange in the twilight shadows — are a reminder of days gone by.
Once, her airplane touched the runway while the setting sun threw warm golden light in the windows, brightening the cabin as she watched her phone power on with tired eyes. There — his name, and a message waiting. She leaned back against the seat and closed her eyes without opening the text, savoring the feeling of being tethered.
Frigid air and tolling bells and the smell of overnight rain found their way in through the open window in a city by the sea thousands of miles away. Pulling heavy blankets closer around herself, she smiled at the bright little screen. What time was it there when he sent this, she wondered dreamily as she counted the hours between her early morning and his midnight. Cathedrals and gulls encircled her memory of him. …
One day I will. Davit has a faraway, dreamy look in his eyes when I ask about his dream to own a small Georgian restaurant in his adopted city in the U.S. Although he’s called this city “home” for nearly thirty years — he’s in his fifties now — he hasn’t done much to realize that dream. He works a steady job and smokes a pack a day and collects antiques and repeats one day I will with that magical look in his eyes whenever someone brings up the restaurant.
I’ve always been drawn to this dreamy-but-not-throwing-my-whole-weight-behind-it quality in people, more so than someone’s inspirational success story. The type of person who smiles dreamily and says one day I will without frantic effort feels like an unconventional breath of fresh air, at least within the circle of people I know. The entrepreneur-type souls hustle and grind within the cities I’ve lived and tout their dream-achieving lifestyle. …
When he walks away she puts a hand to her chest, pressing hard as if she could hold her heart together. Her vision tunnels, blackness swirling and blurring the edges. For a moment she doesn’t move, doesn’t breathe.
I’ll always be here for you, he had said to her. It was grounding to think of those words, tethered her to something, even if just a memory of what had been.
She closes her eyes tightly, remembering.
The car door slammed shut and she turned to him, a bright, wide smile lifting the corners of her mouth. …
We’re accepting writers into our new publication, Snapshots in Time.
Here you can submit, read, and be at home among short stories, fiction, and vignettes. We also publish nonfiction culture pieces centered around current events, written in storytelling format.
We publish articles that capture what’s happening at this moment in time in the world around us. Show us how you’re navigating, exploring, and experiencing life through Short Stories, Culture & Creative Nonfiction, and Fiction.
Culture & Creative Nonfiction pieces should be storytelling essays on culture and current events. These essays should not be dry collections of fact, but rather deeply engaging, thought-provoking pieces told through a personal story or experience to evoke emotion and encourage new perspectives. …