The following has happened to me a few times, much to my chagrin. Most women who have had children can attest to how tiring pregnancy can be. The poor, worn out mommy just closes her eyes for a moment and...

ZZZZZzzz...

No big deal, right? Most of the time it's not. But it's damned embarassing when it happens in a public restroom! At least now my husband doesn't freak out with worry if I take an unexpected nap at a restaurant. Actually, several of the female employees at our usual haunts know to come wake me up if I've been gone from the table longer than about 10 minutes. At least they get a good tip and a chuckle out of it!

Emily loved feeling the sand running through her fingers. Grasping a handful, letting it slowly trickle away. Feeling its roughness against the webbing of her hands. Watching, as individual grains tumbled down the diminishing pile.

Like water in slow motion.

She places down her things, and slowly reclines against the side of a dune. Rolls her towel into a pillow, and allows her head to fall back into it. She has never understood why you would want to lay your towel out flat. Why form a barrier between yourself and the sand?

Why reject its caress?

Emily allows the sun, and the fresh salt air to do its work, as her eyes slowly close. She fills herself with the music of crashing waves, and children's laughter. Screams as the waves begin to carry away a castle, formed inside the tidal line.

As consciousness is carried away by this lullaby, Emily hopes.

Please keep the nightmares away.


Joseph's afternoon routine was always the same. It didn't matter what happened during the day - he would always be at the train station, ready to catch the 5.38 express.

His train.

Boarding, the second carriage from the rear, always taking the same seat. Someone had cut it sometime in the past, a white foam scar extending across almost its entire length. He knew that if anyone ever repaired it, he'd have to cut it again.

Nobody else ever chose that seat.

His briefcase placed at his feet, Joseph finally allows the tension to leave his shoulders, as his eyes scan over his fellow passengers. He recognises most of them - there's the woman who always looks offended to be traveling on public transport. Nearby, the man whose suit is faded and worn. Joseph's not sure whether he hasn't retired yet because he can't afford to, or if the thought of not working is something he's not yet ready to face. Feeling the cut on the seat under his left leg, Joseph almost smiles.

We're all tied to habit.

And slowly, the train rocks and sways. Joseph's head rests against the window, as he watches the city morph before his eyes. The office buildings give way to factories, long since abandoned, their windows smashed. And today, his eyes are drawn to an old brick wall, like they are every day. To the words spray painted onto the faded red bricks.

'nothing ever changes.'

Joseph's eyes close, and he allows sleep to come to him again. Just like every other day, running those words through his mind. Over. And. Over. Again.

He teases himself with his final thought. Maybe...when I awake, I'll be somewhere new.


Emily wakes, to darkness and confusion. Slowly, hesitantly, memory returns. The people are long gone, drifting away with the last rays of the sun. The absence of noise somehow seems louder than their laughter and talk - like it's been ripped away so quickly, nature hasn't had the speed to fill this void.

Eventually, Emily notices the sand around her legs, her arms, her chest. Pushed higher than her body, piled up by the movement of her dreams. And all of a sudden, the crushing tiredness returns. Emily wonders how many nightmares it would take before she was deep enough, that she could be buried completely.

She closes her eyes.

I once had the decidedly sadistic pleasure of sitting next to a guy on the bus who kept falling asleep. It was during a trip to Victoria, British Columbia in the summer of 1995. I was on vacation with my family, and like any sixteen year old, I was in the grips of a crushing ennui whenever I was even remotely near any of them.

The day shone bright upon my fortune. We decided to take a bus back to the ferry terminal so that we could return to my cousin's home in Langley for the evening. We stood at the bus stop; the bus pulled up, we all paid our fare and got on. In my trademark angsty fashion, I sat near the back of the bus, away from my family. The only two people I remember from the ride were a young asian man and a man in his 30s who looked like a professional roadie for AC/DC.

The day shone bright upon my fortune

Not long into the ride, I noticed that the aforementioned asian gentleman seemed fatigued; I can only assume he was heading home after a long shift at work. Ever so slowly, his eyelids drooped as his brain began closing up shop for the evening. His jaw slackened as his head made for a rendez-vous with his chest. Like a willow tree in the wind, he swayed to and fro in his somnolence. And then, at the apex of his journey to blissful rest, he fell forward and smashed his head off the metal bar between he and I - the one put in place for standing passengers.

I immediately looked straight ahead, stifling a laugh. He awoke with a start, but never quite made it to consciousness and drifted back off to sleep, as innocent as the proverbial lamb. Once again, he fell forward and smashed his head off the same metal bar; again, I attempted not to laugh, and bit the inside of my cheeks as a preventive measure.

This may have succeeded had I not looked at the thirty-something metalhead seated at the very back of the bus, perpendicular to us. He was looking at my neighbour, and then to me, with a shit-eating grin of pure jubilance. Never before had I seen someone smile ear-to-ear like that. Needless to say, it made my endeavour to remain polite much harder than I expected. By the time I heard the third "CLANG", I was wondering if I could keep from laughing if I took off my shirt and stuffed it down my throat. I can only assume that the other people on the bus were enduring the same torture as me. To this day, I believe that only the man at the back of the bus accepted this comedic gift from God (A Good God, A Good God Who Might Sometimes Let Bad Things Happen), and relished it fully.

After seven years of treasuring that memory, this is the first time I have ever related it to anyone. I only hope that someday I may fall asleep in a public place and provide my fellow humans with the joy I experienced on a bus in Victoria, B.C. during July of 1995.

How is someone supposed to articulate their own fate, not in a significant or even disfigured manor, but how when I study the achenes on a sugar covered strawberry I feel overwhelmed with an indomitable sadness. I’m reminded of a door on my parent’s old house that no longer exists, painted over by a wall that has no memory of its former self or the smell of pickapeppa from the rusted peach grill standing in the yard. Under tall baseball lights the park looked stainless last night for some reason, a high resolution photograph printed on top of the earlier transduction from my retina. I smoked two consecutive cigarettes in a mechanical order, sincerely grateful for the polyethylene circulating through my lungs and beside the bench (dedicated to “David” from the small gold placard on one armrest), there were seven or eight empty water bottles that seemed so egregiously discarded I had to wonder if someone was returning at some point to resume their bender. I turned from my seat to look over my shoulder several times into the hazy darkness, the same way I would listen as a kid to the monstrous sounds of a bush raking against my bedroom window. Afterwards back through the neighborhood, there was the distant, staccato rhythm of traffic in the air. Some cars growling, possibly lost for time—the rest gently awash through the rest of the night.

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