Balance of Nature

Originally published in 50-Word Stories, December 14, 2022 When the doctor guided Josue into the world, his grandmother’s face crinkled in glee. “We’re fifteen now!” she squealed. The next month another doctor studied her tissue. When the pulley lowered her out of the world, bent faces crumpled in pain. “We’re fourteen now,” someone whispered while …

Here They Kill the Mustard by May

Originally published in Burningwood Literary Journal While her husband drove, Margaret kept her eyes closed, trying to identify each roll to the right, each jostle to the left along West Road. She had guessed the first curve was the bend around the Tudor house. The one being gutted behind a green privacy fence. “Privacy? Everyone …

Vacancy

Originally published in 101 Words. In the apartment, we only had a living room. Now the burbs have gifted us a family room, too. Another unnecessity, like the fireplace that will stand sterile in 70-degree winters. “Drywall over it. Then you’ll have another wall,” said the husband. “I don’t need another wall.” My words ricocheted …

What We Really Learned during Distance Learning

By March, the 2019-2020 school year was humming along nicely for my sons, Devin, a kindergartener, and Thomas, a second grader. They were happy in environments that challenged and encouraged them. Their instructors sent home weekly updates, and dinner conversation filled in more detail. Devin lamented that “Ms. Smith” too often rearranged table assignments; Thomas …

All I Want Right Now is a Door with a Lock

Featured on Red Tricycle, August 26, 2020 Distance learning resumed two weeks ago, but I realized on day one what I will need to survive it: a door with a lock. Not an easy-twist knob lock. I want a padlock. A hardened steel padlock. Actually, the door behind which I write during the day has …

Of Everything The Pandemic Has Taken Away, I Miss Touch The Most

Featured on Scary Mommy, May 30, 2020 by Elizabeth Allison I idled in the driver’s seat when the masked man strode past my door and knocked on the trunk. I pushed the release button and watched him toss the plastic bag in, slam the trunk shut, and run off without a word. It was quick and dreamlike. Driving …

I Used To Go Over The Top For Birthdays, And Now We Just Travel Instead

Featured on Scary Mommy, February 14, 2020 Garbage bins sat stuffed with plastic tumblers, paper plates, disposable cutlery and cardboard. So much cardboard. Each birthday gift my son had unwrapped seemed hermetically sealed inside the stuff. As I hosed down the patio, attacking gooey blue frosting and greasy mozzarella with the strongest nozzle attachment I owned, …

We Took A Vacation With Our Child-Free Friends And It Was The Best Trip Ever

Featured on Scary Mommy, March 13, 2020 I have shared more adventures, big and small, with Pam than any person outside of my family. We met in middle school, remained close in high school and college, and served in each other’s weddings. We have never lived more than twenty miles apart, text constantly, and know virtually everything about …