I was standing in the kitchen, back to the window, about to begin slicing garlic. Oliver came into the room, and asked if we could go down to the beach. I was making a roasted red pepper tomato soup, as I had forgotten about the peppers, only to find that they had become soft and wrinkly. It was a long time since we’d last gone to the beach. It felt as if it belonged to a former way of life, when it used to be part of our daily walks. The last time we had gone was with Oliver’s father…


When Leslie was a little girl she used to sit on her parents bed, which was pushed up against their window, and stare outside. The window faced the backyard, which was really just a big rectangle with some clipped grass and patches of pink and red flowers that extended out to the woods. Leslie liked to wander around the entrance to the woods, but she hardly went further than that, unless she had Fairy, her family’s black German Shepherd with her.

But when she was on the bed, she had the perfect view of the birdfeeder. The feeder stood alone…


He was wearing a shirt too big for him. It used to belong to his older brother, who had died three years ago, in a car accident seven states away. But he was too young to really remember his brother, anyways. He regularly pilfered his brothers old room, taking away mementos to keep as his own.

His name was Aiden, one of two Aiden’s in his class and of a total of six — six — in his year. It was a trendy name the year that he had been born. He liked the name but he didn’t like it…


She wiped her slightly soiled hands on her canvas apron. Bree had been working since she was woken up by the early morning clamoring calls and thrills of the white herons and dark anhingas. She found the noises they made to be eerie, more cacophony than actual song. Bree stood still, looking to the backyard and the land that stretched beyond the property line of the nineteenth century bungalow she had lived in for the last five years. She called it a backyard, but it was much more than that. …


We opened up the apartment door slowly. It had taken us forever to find it, given that we had both run out of data on our phones and had never been to Portugal before. We had been wandering around the city for over four hours. Perhaps it wouldn’t have lasted as long if we hadn’t gotten distracted by street musicians, coffeehouses, and the gelato shop on the corner. Almost as soon as we left the shop, Louise dropped her cone, and the raspberry and chocolate gelato immediately began streaming down the sidewalk. …


They only came together when they had to, which was hardly ever. Holidays didn’t matter anymore.Beginnings and endings in the form of births, weddings, and deaths were the only ways the entire family were together in one setting. So this occasion was highly unusual, since no one was getting married, no baby was due, and a death in the family seemed remote.

Each nuclear family of the extended Caillebotte family had received identical letters exactly two weeks prior. Lavender envelopes, scarlet ink used to write the Caillebotte name and each particular address. No stamp, no return address. Given that the…


When we were at the lowest we had ever been, we used to make jokes about buying or selling body parts. I remember I once asked you how much you thought my kidney would sell for. A week later, you made the same joke, but about your liver. It became a routine, weak joke of ours; that we should consider selling some of our organs, in order to live. One time, you showed me a diagram of the human body, with body parts and organs all different colors, indicating how much they went for on the black market.

But they…


He felt the wet warmth spread out and down. It nearly reached his right knee and completely soaked his underwear. Jacob closed his eyes, took a deep breath and began to count down, from ten. When he opened his eyes back up, he turned around and walked steadily and slowly, making sure not to draw attention to himself. Halfway up the hall, he turned and pushed open the bathroom door. Thankfully the only stall was unoccupied.

He went inside, set his backpack down and pulled out the folded jeans and freshly laundered underwear, before setting them on the top of…


The undulating dunes filled her vision. She looked around, closed her eyes and gently rubbed them with her fingers. When she opened them back up, nothing had changed. The sandy dunes were still there, unrolling in an endless sea of gold. It was incredible to think that they were made of tiny individual grains of sand. They seemed whole, and sturdy. But it was an illusion, because when the wind picked up, a misty glow of sand hovered over each dune, scattering grains and forever perfecting the landscape.

She looked up, far above her and saw a single bird. Maybe…


Dirt. A dog barking. The distant siren. A spinning hubcap. The smell of iron.

It was what filled her mind each time she was unconscious. When awake kept her eyes tightly shut, or else she stared up at the three bright circular lights up overhead. She was keenly aware of the soft throbbing pain in her right arm, and of the tub that went up her urinary tract. She could feel her toes, ankle, calf muscle and her fingers, wrist, and forearm on the left side but couldn’t move them. Or see them. The first couple of days, she tried…

Kristin Dawn Urban

Tea, pups, and aesthetically pleasing surroundings. kristindawnurban.com

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