Photography by Leeta Harding

Something I Read In The Atlantic
By Heather Bartos 

What I am having a hard time recalling now is why I was there on that darkened highway shoulder in the first place. Why I wasn’t at the party with Ethan, with my life proceeding the way it was supposed to go, the way I imagined it going. Imagination is powerful. Before you can reach a goal, you have to imagine yourself reaching it.

And I imagined being Ethan’s wife, that the little box he held out for me was the question for the answer I had already decided.

By Julia Conover

About an hour later, at ten o’clock, the front doorbell rings. I’m in my room, finishing up my homework so I ignore it. When it rings again, it seems obvious no one else is going to get the door so I go downstairs. I pass the family room and see Bobby lying on the couch, transfixed by the glow of the TV. It’s way past his bedtime. And my mom left her candle burning. What the heck is going on here? A neglected kid and a fire hazard?   

Standing at the front door is a woman I’ve never seen before.

By Ashley Cowger

A few weeks ago, Jess and I were drunk in the kitchen reminiscing about old times. And then, just like that, we were kissing. Since then, every time the pod gets together, we find an excuse to steal away somewhere and press our lips and bodies against each other. It isn’t that I don’t love Geoff or that I think marriage is stifling or anything like that. I mean, we haven’t even been married a full year. I think we’re still figuring it out, this whole sharing your life with another person thing, but it’s fine. Marriage is fine.

I don’t know what it is about Jess. I don’t know if it’s the boredom or the loneliness or what, but it’s the most exciting part of life right now. It’s the only exciting part of life right now. I think Jess feels the same.

Ships in the Night 
By Neta Harris

As I tear open the final box I’m confronted with a Polaroid camera that I don’t remember buying. It’s black and gray and clunky; it’s heavier than I remember them being. Taped to the bottom is a handwritten note. 

Dear M, I hope youre enjoying your time away, but I also hope you miss me. I miss you all the time. Come back soon. Xoxo

My name does not start with M. 

My husband’s name does not start with M. 

By Milly Heller

Celia’s been smiling, a good sport; the party is an engagement party for a couple she likes, but the Dixieland band switches to zydeco and she says to William the only thing worse than the French Quarter is Mardi Gras; the only thing worse than Mardi Gras is Jazz Fest; and the only thing worse than Jazz Fest is the Zydeco Tent at Jazz Fest. He tells her she is un-fun. She says that under the right circumstances, she is extremely fun. 

The Bruise 
By Helen Sinoradzki 

The bruise sends out streaks in back of the knee and down the calf, like tails off a storm cloud. The tails thicken. She has never seen a bruise this dark or this big. It is spectacular, magnificent even. Each time she tells the story, she calls the color aubergine, a joke as if joking could quell her fear. Her friends smile when she tells them that she knew where to find him. She is the heroine of the story, riding off to save her man. She doesn’t tell them he rode his bike to the hospital.