Comments Posted By nyla
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I work with this guy who always has a handle on everything. So he says. If you tell him you need him to think about something, he has a handle on it. If you complain about traffic or the subway or getting to work and what a pain in the ass it is, he tells you that you need to get a handle on it, like he does. He handles everything. What he doesn’t know that I know is that the one thing in his life he definitely does not have a handle on is his wife. I’ll tell you how I know this. About two months ago, I saw an ad advertising a house sale somewhere about 40 miles north of where I live. It seemed like a long drive, but I had a hunch that there’s be something there that would be worth something, like the things you see on Antique Road Show. So I kicked myself out of bed and drove all the way up there to this house sale. On my way, I stopped at a gas station and that’s when I saw this guy’s wife coming out of a motel room right next to the gas station. Just for the hell of it, I sat in the car for awhile to see if anything else was happening, when this guy comes walking out of the motel room, grabs her from behind, turns her around and starts kissing her. Then they both went back into the motel room. And put a Do Not Disturb sign on the handle. Which her husband does not have a handle on at all.
» Posted By nyla On 10.26.2017 @ 2:40 pm
Two sisters never got along.
Well, except in one situation.
They bonded over their love of knitting, the intricate loops and soft yarn, wound together in a beautiful pattern.
And maybe that was it. Knitting was knots. And it knotted them together.
» Posted By Nyla On 05.25.2017 @ 9:15 pm
She read about him in the newspaper and didn’t think anything of it. But then something about his name hit her; something familiar. It hid her then: She knew him. She knew the face from somewhere; she hadn’t really read the name, just the story. He and his father and his brother had hijacked a plane to Cuba, and on the way, killed a security guard at the airport somewhere in Texas. When she read it, she shook her head like everybody else probably did that day, then poured her cold coffee down the sink and started getting ready to go to work. She was paging her way through the hangers when she thought about it again. She knew that guy. So she went back into the kitchen, and fished the paper out of the garbage. There was old toast and scrambled eggs all over the picture on the front page. The truth was, she wouldn’t have recognized the picture at all. But the name. Byron Teller. Byron. The nicest boy in 6th grade. So nice, that he offered to carry her books when they walked part of the way home from school together. So nice, that when her father, who hated everybody, saw Byron on the front porch handing her book backs to her and saying he’d see her tomorrow, her father said, “He seems like a nice boy. Ask him to come over for dinner.” Of course, he changed his mind the next day, but for the old man to like anybody was something. She remembered that somewhere in her drawer, she still had her old autography book from 6th grade when they all graduated. She fished it out. “To the nicest girl in 6th grade” He’d drawn a heart and his name.
Think of that. What happened to him? She called her friend Donna to tell her about the whole thing. “You mean Byron Teller?” Donna couldn’t believe it. “He wrote in my autograph book too.” She hung up to go find it. A few minutes later, she was back on the phone. “God, Sher, you’re not going to believe what he wrote in my book.” So go ahead, Sher said, what did he say? “Roses are red, violets are black, you’d look great with a knife in your back.” That sure got me to shaken. It sure did.
» Posted By nyla On 03.01.2016 @ 3:55 pm
She thinks that there must be something about love that you can explain. Some reason why this boy she thinks about and dreams about and talks to when he’s not there (because she’ll never talk to him when he is there; she isn’t popular enough or pretty enough for that), there must be some reason why he never talks to her. On days when she wears her nice clothes and new shoes and puts lipstick on he pays just as much attention to her as he does on the days when she gets up late and throws clothes on and forgets her makeup because she has to hurry or else she’ll be late. He pays no attention to her at all. She’s been reading about her body and the things that are happening to it at school. But the other day, she went to the library and took out some books about that talk about what happens to boys when they get to this age too. They are in worse trouble than she is, she thinks. It’s not that they said so in the book. But she can tell. But there’s nothing in those scientific type of books that tells you why, when she would give him everything she had, including her virginity, when everything she thinks about winds up becoming about him; when, even if he happens to look at her by mistake, she feels like she’ll fall down, nothing in those books says why he doesn’t care at all.
» Posted By nyla On 02.25.2016 @ 1:49 pm
It was at the back of the property, way back, almost to the fence of the people who lived behind us. Not much to it. Kind of a bigger looking dollhouse, with one old door and a lock that didn’t work. But he didn’t care. He wasn’t one to think about things like that. On warm summer days, he’d go out to the workshop and get the old lawn mower and run it over the grass a few times to please his wife. He wipe off his forehead, as though the whole thing had taken a lot of time and effort, then go back into the workshop, pushing the mower in front of him. He’d be in there most of the afternoon; you’d hear sawing and hammering and once in awhile, a big loud laugh because he liked listening to radio talk shows when he worked. He liked the guys who said crazy things that no one in their right mind would ever say. Because he was the opposite. He kept things to himself; didn’t want to hurt people or say things that were mean. He just wasn’t like that. It’s too bad that someone else didn’t feel the same way about him. Someone who walked into that man’s church, which was his workshop, and ended his life on exactly the kind of day he loved.
» Posted By nyla On 02.24.2016 @ 12:53 pm
She had not been there on the night he was murdered. Not actually there, not in his immediate presence. She saw it all though. Saw someone step out from behind a car, rush up to the man and stab him over and over. So when the police came around, knocking on the doors in the middle of the night, she stayed in her bed, the covers pulled up around her chin, her eyes wide open staring into the dark room. What if they knocked on her door? What if they asked her what she had seen? All of it. But she had not actually been there, standing there right next to it. Only seen it through the window, the dirty window, of the apartment. And she couldn’t say if the person who had lifted that knife and brought it down into the man over and over was another man or a woman. She sort of guessed it was a man by how big he was. But she was almost 6 feet tall herself, so it could’ve been a woman. It could’ve been her, she thought. She could’ve had another one of her blackouts. How was she to know? And what if it was her, would they be able to prove it was her. Everything is in the proving of something, isn’t it? It was all so confusing. The blood in her bathtub and on her clothes. All so confusing.
» Posted By nyla On 02.22.2016 @ 8:15 am
I remember his voice, it was cheerful and nice and in a strange way, exciting. “Welcome, you’ve got mail!” I loved that. Not knowing who the mail was from or what it was about. Then seeing the subject line; it would say something like, “Long time no see,” or “Is this really you?” or “I have something to say to you,” or “It’s me.” And you’d see an address but sometimes it was a group of numbers and letters and you didn’t know who it was until you opened the mail. And when you’d go back at another time, and you didn’t hear his voice say ‘welcome,’ you’d feel down about it. Why didn’t I get mail today? When am I going to get mail again? But there was something else. Because you started hearing from people you probably would be better off not hearing from; people who’d left your life a long time ago for a reason that, when you looked at it, hadn’t really changed. And everything told you that danger was coming; that there’d be one ‘welcome’ too many and you’d go down a path you couldn’t come back from. I got one of those emails. The subject line said, “Contact.” I recognized the name immediately. Then, I fell into the abyss. In an odd way, welcome.
» Posted By nyla On 02.19.2016 @ 2:43 pm
“Where’s the party at?”
“The American Legion Hall on Franklin Avenue.”
“That’s kind of a cheap place to have a going away party.”
“No it’s not. He’s going into the army. It kind of works together.”
So there’s Joey, going off to join the Army, after having tried about a million different kinds of jobs. One year, he was going into the internet startup business; he was selling things that were already pretty much obsolete. I tried to tell him that, but he’s not such a good listener, Joey. Then he decided to go into the bakery business. He hated getting up early and he hated working, so you knew that was going to be kind of a tough go. That lasted about 6 months. Then he thought maybe he’d like to try law school. Thank God they sent one of his uncles to talk to him about that. Never even got to take the LSAT test to get in. To look at him, you’d think he was the nicest guy in the world. Tall, kind of good looking, polite as hell. I gave his parents a lot of credit for raising a polite kid. That’s not easy, let me tell you. But this kid could just not ever get off the ground. So now here he is, all set to go into the Army. It’s got me worried, I’ll tell you. Cause when you fail at that, well, you just don’t want to be doing that.
» Posted By nyla On 02.17.2016 @ 3:12 pm
I used to see them at St. Mary’s, some of the people with money from our town. They’d come to mass all decked out in expensive clothes; I remember the women, dipping their fingertips into the holy water as though they were putting their toes in a swimming pool to test how hot or cold it was. Everything was a vogueing thing, although we didn’t call it that a long time ago. We called it showing off, but it’s the same thing. They’d stroll down the aisle, trying to find a good seat; most of them never sat in the back, always in the front. They wanted everyone to see how good they looked in their Sunday clothes, but also, everyone to see that they’d shown up. Oh, weren’t they holy? So holy. The congregants, there to worship the Lord and throw a few cents into the collection basket. Except the ones with money and expensive clothes and hats always put their money in the baskets in envelopes–never loose change or dollar bills. That way, you could think that they’d put a lot of money in the basket. They had it down cold. They sure did.
» Posted By nyla On 02.15.2016 @ 7:08 pm
I wanted to name the dog something different from what other people named their dogs.
“How about Tammy?” my mother said. My brother hated it.
“That’s so sissy. Tammy! That’s a girl’s name.”
“So all my friends are gonna make fun of me if I walk a boy dog with a girl’s name.”
“Your friends are stupid anyway.”
I suddenly thought then that maybe whisper would be a good idea.
“How about whisper?”
“Whimper? That’s even worse! That’s like a wimp or something.”
My mother shook her head. “Do you know what a whimper is?”
“Yeah, it’s somebody who’s a real whimp.”
“That’s it. The dog’s name is Tammy.”
Accepted by all. Without a whimper.
» Posted By nyla On 02.10.2016 @ 1:45 pm
Along the path up to my grandmother’s garden, there were orange flowers that stretched up toward the sun as though they had waited as long as we all had for summer. They looked thirsty for the light, hopeful for something better; their colors were so rich, it seemed as if they’d put on their best clothes to say hello to summer. They were beautiful, and sometimes, I would stop to smell them, on the way up to find my grandmother, bent over in the sunlight, finding things to pick from the ground and take upstairs. “What are those orange flowers called?” I asked her one day. She didn’t know, she said, what they were called in English, but they were called–and I can’t remember what that was–in Greek. “Do you like them?” she asked, smiling up at me, looking me over to make sure my face was clean and my hair was washed and I was dressed right. Because my Yiya was the gardener of children and families too. Her flowers were beautiful; her children, flawed. But she expected that. As long as the flaws could be handled and dealt with. My flaw was that I had no patience, she said. She was right.
» Posted By nyla On 02.08.2016 @ 2:19 pm
It was supposed to happen. This is what she kept telling herself. He was supposed to come walking down the street; I was supposed to drop my groceries all over the sidewalk. He was supposed to stop and help me gather everything up from the sidewalk. There was no doubt that he had been meant to ask her if she was all right. And of course, she lied and said, No, I feel kind of dizzy, actually. And of course, this was the lie upon which everything was hinged. Because if she had said she felt fine, that nothing was wrong, he would have wished her a good day and kept walking down the street. She felt sorry for him, in a way. He seemed like a nice enough guy. Tall, kind of quiet, she thought. Nothing like she’d been told. But this is what the job was. To make it all seem fateful, when in fact, it wasn’t fate at all. It was careful, calculated planning, for which she was paid a great deal of money. She shrugged. Some people are just luckier than others.
» Posted By nyla On 02.07.2016 @ 9:20 pm
“What is it that you value?” he asked. She had no answer. It seemed like an odd question, coming from a guy standing on the front porch in a suit in the middle of a hot summer day. He didn’t seem to mind that she was standing there nearly naked, holding a cup of coffee to quiet the worst hangover she’d ever had. Actually, the first hangover she’d ever had. Today, on this day, she was swearing that she would never take another drink. And now here’s this guy on the porch with God’s Holy Bible in his hand, asking her a question that no one had ever asked her in her life. Two firsts in one day. How about that? “Well,” she said, stepping back from the bright light of the the porch, “right now, I value this cup of coffee that’s making me feel better because, God help me, I drank so much vodka last night, I think I might’ve died and you’re here to take me to heaven. “I don’t think you’d be going any time soon from what I’m hearing,” he said, looking down at his bible. “Well, in that case, come back later.” She closed the door. Coffee or bible? She kind of knew the answer to that one.
» Posted By nyla On 02.05.2016 @ 7:12 am
When you’re a young woman, off in the world, trying to figure out what you want to do, and that goes crashing into responsibility and what you should do, you hear a lot about this word priorities. People sit across from you in chairs that are bigger than yours in interviews, a desk between you that says, “Well, I have a job and you don’t, so let’s get that straight. And I have a chair and a space in this place and you’re trying to get one, so let’s get that straight too.” So you sit there and then this question comes up, “What are your priorities in life?” Now, the simple truth is, you can’t tell the simple truth. My family and how much I love them, my dog, getting a fucking refrigerator for my apartment so I don’t have to stick shit out on the fire escape, thank God it’s winter and it’s cold. But anyway, I digress. What are my priorities? Well, I’d like to be regional manager within the next few years, so my priorities would be to learn this job and to become an intrinsic part of this fantastic organization. Is that good for your fucking priorities. Guess what? That chair’s too big for you .
» Posted By nyla On 02.04.2016 @ 7:09 am
She is standing there in front of the room, lined up with 6 or 7 of the other kids in class, and all of them, she thinks right now, are probably a lot smarter than she is. She wonders what word they’ll ask her to spell, and suddenly, she feels like she can’t breathe too good. Remember the last time, she thinks. It was such an easy work. An easy, stupid word. Laboratory. And if she’d just spelled that one word right, she would’ve won the spelling bee and the prize as the best speller in the whole 5th grade. What was the word going to be this time? And then they said to spell it. And she could feel see the trophy already, sitting up on the desk in her room, shiny, perfect. She took a deep breath. “Spectrum. S-P-E-C-T–uh, uh,–R-U-M. And that was when she learned that just because you lose sometimes, and just because even people in your own family don’t think you’re so smart, and just because other people are smarter than you too, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a day as good and beautiful as this.
» Posted By nyla On 02.02.2016 @ 8:28 am
Well, isn’t she that one, isn’t she? She goes to school with a fresh, clean face, but on the way, stops by the friend’s house to make herself look like a slut. Makeup, mascara, all that crap. And the lipstick. So red, it looks like her mouth is a bloody mess. She doesn’t know that he knows she’s doing it; she doesn’t know that he knew that first week what she was up to. Like everything else, she’s a terrible liar, incapable of hiding anything from him. What he doesn’t stop to think about is that he makes her do these things; he denies her his trust and makes her go behind his back, where she has never really wanted to go. She could never be like him; never lie all the time and hurt people all the time. But this is what he’s turning her into. A liar, a person who goes behind others’ backs to do things. It would have been so much easier if he’d treated her with love and trust. But, like so many of his kind, he could never understand that.
» Posted By nyla On 02.01.2016 @ 12:08 pm
“Will you take me uptown then?” she asked.
He wasn’t sure what she wanted the answer to be. He knew what he wanted.
He wanted to say, “No. I can’t take you uptown because it won’t just be uptown. It will be a conversation all the way uptown; a great conversation, doesn’t matter what it’s about, a great conversation that I will not want ever to end, just like all the other conversations we’ve had over the years. Except that this is my last day working here and I will not likely see her again for a long time. And in that uptown conversation, I will tell her that I’ve loved her for years; that the only reason I stuck myself behind that damned desk for so long was to be near her. All those years.
And there will come that moment when she’ll open the car door, lean in to the window, but this time she won’t finish the conversation with, “See you tomorrow.” There will be only, “See you,” and then she would never know. So there is, you see, only one answer to her request if I am to ever love the world I live in again. “Gladly,” I whisper.
» Posted By nyla On 01.29.2016 @ 12:41 pm
Sometimes, he can live in the same house as you do. When other people come over, they don’t see him; they just see a man. But when they go away, and nobody is home, he comes out. He smiles at you and asks you what you’ve been doing all morning, and you feel this terrible feeling that the smile is not about how much he loves your or like the smiles of other people who love you. This is the smile that comes before all the bad things happen, and you wish he’d stop smiling because then it would mean that he wasn’t going to do the bad things this time; that maybe he was too tired or just didn’t want to. People think that monsters live under your bed or look like Dracula or are bigger than a tree and stronger than anything and scary to look at. That’s not what the monster I know looked like. He was handsome sometimes. He laughed sometimes. He was nice (not to me) sometimes. But he was the scariest monster I ever knew.
» Posted By nyla On 01.28.2016 @ 10:37 am
I had a friend who told me about hazy days she used to spend as a child; long, hot summer days, free from school, free to do whatever she wanted with her friends. And sometimes, on summer mornings, while her mom was inside making breakfast, she’d find a few friends and they’d go running wildly through the quiet suburban street, following the big truck that sprayed and sprayed big, sprinkling clouds of behind them. They’d hover over the streets for a long long time, to the great delight of the little girls who’d hold hands and run through the big, wet billowing clouds that had come and touched the street and bathed them in their lovely moisture. Those clouds of DDT that no one knew were beautiful killers and cancer causers and lovely death on a hazy summer morning.
» Posted By nyla On 01.26.2016 @ 7:29 pm
It is the first of many, of thousands, of millions maybe. The first one to fall from my eyes; the first watering of sorrow, of missing you, of never seeing you again, of wondering where you are and what you are doing and why these things always are decided by one person, the one who wants to leave, the one who wants out. It’s the first one. The flood begins.
» Posted By nyla On 01.25.2016 @ 2:12 pm
If someone doesn’t treat you well, let’s say, treats you like an object, object. That’s right. Don’t see this word as hey, you are this thing. See this word as, Hey, get the hell out of my face and my life if you’re going to treat me like this. Okay, so it goes way beyond object to fight the hell back. Stand your ground, stare the bastard down, tell him that you don’t need to be talked to like an object; treated like an object. You don’t need to, you know. You just don’t need to.
» Posted By nyla On 01.22.2016 @ 3:42 pm
You see this word all over the place. What does it mean, really? You picture a man, (why a man, don’t ask me) bent over large pieces of wood, smoothing the grooves with his fingers, gently, quietly. Blowing away the shavings with a soft, experienced breath; looking again to see where there might be any mistakes, flaws. He smoothes the wood again; he likes the feel of it on his fingers, even more than he loves running his fingers over the soft, quiet skin of the woman he has loved all his life. He’s never understood why some men stop loving their women when they get old; he has seen the beauty in her from the beginning, and it has never gone away, this loveliness of her. All of her. They are both old now; does she see the beauty of him? And each time she comes upon him, somewhere in the house, or on his way up the driveway carrying the day’s mail, each time he sees her eyes find him, he knows the answer.
» Posted By nyla On 01.20.2016 @ 3:39 pm
My ass. Used to be this shape. Now it’s kind of like a pancake, though I like pancakes. You walk around wondering if anyone else likes them too. Except well, it’s an older pancake, if you know what I mean. So there’s that to consider. Is there anyone out there who might like to try an older pancake? Not one that’s been neglected and sitting out on the counter for ages; not one that’s cold and dry. But one that’s been reasonably taken care of, nurtured if you will. Is there anybody out there who’d be interested in that? Besides the person who’s my partner, that is. Just asking. Because it seems as though when you get older, nobody wants to come with you on the trip. Not anybody younger than you are, that’s for sure.
» Posted By nyla On 01.15.2016 @ 2:43 pm
Not my strongest suit. Now I can sit here and blame everybody (one person in particular) for this amazing lack I have, along with (according to my doctor) Vitamin D. But there’s no use in blaming anyone for the fact that every time you look in the mirror you see: nose too crooked, ass too big, belly to round, eyes too far apart, smile so crooked, good thing it’s not a highway, everything sagging, hair too dark, eyebrows too bushy and, without the mirror, feet too wide, legs too short, hands too clumsy. It’s a long, long list, started at a very early age for me by someone who had no confidence himself. Listen: If you ever have kids, try real hard not to pass along your insecurities, or the hatred of yourself. Try not to do that. My old man never tried; I tried and failed. And every day, I hope that my kids don’t look in the mirror and find everything to feel bad about. I say I failed, but I can’t be sure. See? That’s what no confidence does. Trails you like a homeless dog, with none of the benefits of having such a creature in your life.
» Posted By nyla On 01.14.2016 @ 10:38 am
Out there in the green world that moves away from you gently, quietly, still. The cows lying down under the trees, in the soft shade, away from the rest of us staring at them with silly grins as we fly by in our vans and cars and trucks. They flick their ears, some people say to chase the flies away. But I think they’re talking to one another, pointing out how silly we look waving to them and calling out, “Moo.” I’ve never really heard a cow say Moo, have you? It’s not really what they’re saying. And like most rural folks, they pretty much don’t care what we think about what they say or how they say it or not. They’ve got the grass and the trees and the cows and the big blue skies and the dark dark clouds and the soft rain. They don’t need much more than that. We don’t either. Except we don’t know it the way they do.
» Posted By nyla On 01.13.2016 @ 9:46 am
You don’t know that’s what it is when you’re there. But long years later, you can look at the second, the day, the hour that it happened. What you were doing, where you were, who was with you and what they said. You can see those eyes and that face still, all those years younger. You can remember the way he smiled, the sound of his laugh, the way he flipped the bird at someone who said something he didn’t like, the way he tossed his long hair, the way the sun shone on it, the way he smelled, all of it. It was the beginning. And never more beautiful than it was right then.
» Posted By nyla On 01.12.2016 @ 12:08 pm
After the dim, before the check, which is also the sum of the dim sum. Why I think of the dim sum is that I met him for that particular delicious food one night, only to be told that our relationship had started to dim some (according to him). I said, “Well, that’s a cute tie-in you’ve found there. Or is it a segue? You order the dim sum, then move right into your accounting of where our relationship is at this point. If I had chopsticks, I’d stick one in your eye (or somewhere else on your anatomy) and that would be that, I thought. But I like dim sum a lot. I could stand this relationship another hour or so, just for that.
» Posted By nyla On 01.11.2016 @ 8:54 am
I can smell it coming from his bedroom across the hall. I know it’s from his bedroom because I was in there once when the landlord needed to talk to him but was afraid to go into his apartment. He thought Jacob was crazy, but actually, he was one of the sanest people I ever met. His room was messy and full of books; there were ashes all over the place, but (and this sounds strange I know) it wasn’t bad. They were sort of spread around, as though Jacob had had different places in the room he was really high and thinking about things, and the ashes sort of drifted from whatever he was smoking and landed quietly along with his thoughts. No, Jacob wasn’t strange at all. He was different. I found out, a long time after that, that people don’t really like different that much.
» Posted By nyla On 01.08.2016 @ 11:45 am
The world thinks everything happens this way now. Your music, your food, lifting your spirits, forgetting shootings at schools, bad romances; you’re supposed to let it all happen just like that. Even love. You click something and, bang, there’s the person you’re going to marry and love and have children with and be with for the rest of your life. Well, shit doesn’t happen that way.
» Posted By nyla On 01.06.2016 @ 12:54 pm
Back To Stats Page
One time, my friend Eddy mooned a whole bunch of people waiting at a bus stop. We were on the bus going to school, and just when we went past all those people, Eddy jumped up on the bus seat and yelled, “Watch this!!” He turned his butt around (with his pants half down) and stuck it up against the school bus window. The ladies at the bus stop started hollering so loud, the policeman doing traffic came running over. Everybody was pointing at the bus and Eddy, and that was pretty much the last time he was allowed on the school bus. Then his mom got really sick and they all felt sorry for him, so they let him come back on the bus again. Only the next time, he did it again, this time when we were going past the hospital. He said the only reason they let his mom die was because she wasn’t from America. He got kicked off the bus for good after that. And when he moved away, I missed him.
» Posted By nyla On 01.05.2016 @ 9:45 am