From The Beauty of the Fall
So It Spins
“Dan, Olivia would like to see you now.”
Summoned, I hang up the phone, lift off my chair, and exit my corner office. A year in the making, it’s about to happen, and even though I had a hunch it was coming, nothing has prepared me for the end walk. As I’m heading to Olivia’s office, the last months flash in Technicolor until the credits, the epitaph rolls— He put his head down, tried to rekindle the wildfire he helped birth years ago, tried to daydream down a riven path. Didn’t work, but hey. Midway, my legs go wobbly, so I restroom to regroup. After I wash my hands and face and adjust my tie, I stare at my regrouped selves in the mirror and recite Willow. She sent me one of her poems the other day after we chatted about my current predicament: When sudden loss dances/ When the inexplicable fogs/ When you’re about to lose what you love most/ Remember this: You’re fucked. Well, that’s not exactly the poem. Her last line made some poignant point about all the “When’s” being gifts, but I like my version better.
From The Big Wide Calm
My name is Paige Plant, and I’m a singer-songwriter. I have fourteen paintings to prove it—one for each song I’ve written. Thirteen Möbius strip watercolors where I painted the song’s story on the strip. What can I say? I was good at science back in the day. The fourteenth, done in oil and not on a Möbius strip, depicts the only love song I’ve ever written. Not that I’ve had only one lover or anything—I’m quite attractive in a B+ kind of way—but only one worth an oil painting. Plus, oil makes the other guys, and an occasional girl, work a little harder at pleasing me. Everybody wants a love song written about them; almost everyone wants to see their song in oil.
From The Color of Home
When Nick met Sassa, he was pulled in by an unusual light in her eyes, old and familiar, a beacon and a badge for those deft enough to notice: the color of home.
“More tea?” he asked.
Nick unwound his body, stood, stacked Sassa’s cup on top of his, and ambled across Joe’s Artful Coffee to one of the baristas. He picked up six different tea jars and sniffed each. Pointing to one on the end, he said, “I’ll have a large tea and a cappuccino with two shots of espresso.”