A Choice Moment

By Nancy Wick This is the sort of thing that happens to a teenager, I think, as I sit in the newsroom, the phone to my ear. Calling my therapist from work is a first for me. Desperation strangles my voice and cinches my shoulders tight. I speak quietly even though the newsroom is practically […]

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Variations on a Theme

“Think I just heard another FUCK YOU PORTER,” I text my husband upstairs.

It is early, unlike most of the other times we’ve heard them. I fiddle with the undone ribbon on the waistband of my pajama bottoms, sip the too-hot-for-this-90-degrees-before-ten-a.m.-crap coffee. The soundtrack is a steady stop and start of morning traffic, but the words rise up over the misery song of our busy-at-all-hours avenue

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In Blue

When I first woke, the barely lit morning made it possible to open my eyes without sunglasses. Squinting first with only my left eye open, and then with only my right, I saw the pile of clean white T-shirts on the writing desk across the room. They looked alternately warm-white, then cool, warm and then cool. My vacillating experience of whiteness blindsided me, as if there existed some true whiteness about which I had either been, or found myself now, deluded.

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An old boyfriend came courting. I was standing in Grandma’s breezeway, looking out over the yard, and he came walking down the side street from the cemetery. Everything was still and overcast, humid, as if there might be a storm.

He looked as I remembered, the one time I’ve seen him since high school: middle-aged heaviness, hair long and curly. He was wearing weird round little glasses, as if trying to resemble James Joyce.

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The Bicycle

Newark was a bustling post-world war II metropolis, and I was maybe seven, possibly eight years old. A long time ago. There were no air-conditioned buses then and the beige-colored bus I was on had split windows; they were metal frames that slipped from the top only, down one half of the opening. On Saturdays, I rode to the church where, in the sacristy, I would polish the candelabra that decorated the main altar at Mass on Sunday. It was summer, and the sun had climbed atop the city. As I remember, the ride was like any other, for a while. My bus

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A Mother Removed

I was on the cell phone during my mother’s last breath. I was on the cell phone. A conversation with a funeral home director can’t quite qualify as chatting, but I remember it that way, I was chatting, it was easy-going and on the surface, unhurried despite my having said earlier in the conversation “There’s not much time.” I was arranging things for the aftermath, unaware that the aftermath was forming itself in those small seconds between one question about procedure

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Beech Forest

Year after year, my mother awaited those flaming red hues. The shrubs lining our rural road flaunted their fall glory in a dazzling foliage extravaganza. As we neared the scarlet hedge in the center of Goshen, Massachusetts, my mother gathered herself in anticipation. At the first glimpse, she would shout out, “Euonymus!” or something close to it. She was so proud of remembering the name. Sometimes she’d get only the first few syllables, and I’d help her with

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Learn to Count Backwards While There Is Still Time

I am trying to write about having a brain tumor and being alone. I would rather be cleaning. An icy-sidewalk night at the corner of Broadway and 79th, and I forgot what day it was. And then I could not bring to mind what month it was. What year. What time of day. I asked my mind to bring me back to the date. And then by accident I bumped into our homeless neighbor who collects for God’s Love We Deliver. His long gray dreads spun out as he steadied himself.

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