You Are Bathing in Light

by Nicholas LB

translated by Natalia Hero

And anyway I don’t even have children to serve hot milk and cookies to while I kill myself. Sorry, I’m not Nelly Arcan, I won’t be hanging myself in my Plateau apartment, I actually live with my parents deep in the Angus Shops, where all the houses are the same, red brick and cheap kitchens. And from there, I make the trip to the hospital for my therapy sessions, where a whole bunch of Nellys and Sylvias are crammed together, some blonde like us, but also other girls and boys that aren’t lucky enough to look even a little bit like famous writers who killed themselves.
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Playing Dead

Photo by Artem Kovalev

She shouldn’t have been out. But the air was delicious. Crisp and wet, she could feel the water in the air sharpening as the diplomatic restraint of the afternoon’s humidity released. The air disclosing to the stars it’s opinion of the sun. Her witness to this ritual undoing was made more precious by the knowledge she couldn’t know how soon she’d be walking at night again. Recovery from the procedure varied greatly and she couldn’t expect a quick return to normalcy. Not that she wanted to return to what had been normal ever again. The alarm on her phone whittled off minutes of sleep in her pocket, tracking how long she had before she needed to wake. She really shouldn’t have been out, but she was and it was worth it.

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Bleeding Heart

Photo by Hal Ozart

It was 9:30 on a crisp Saturday morning and the universe was fucking Denise over. She said as much to the woman on the phone. “I don’t know if you know this,” she said, “but I have an open house in half an hour and I have a whole tray of date squares in the car. I don’t have time to argue with you all morning.”

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Mr. Fixit

Photo by Brandon Holmes

The man didn’t mean to walk past the old office, it just happened. He made a right when he didn’t have to, then a left, and there it was. He looked up at the building, counted the windows vertically until he got to six, nodded. It’d been two years since he left that place. He stared at the sixth floor windows until he heard someone call his name. He recognized Joe’s voice.

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The House on Carbonate

Photo by Markus Spiske

My first kiss lived in a house on Carbonate Street with stucco walls and a low iron fence. The place has since burned down, but whenever I walk past the spot where it stood I think of him. I wouldn’t recognize him now, of course, but I remember his name. You should always remember the name of the first and last person you’ve kissed, my mother said.

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Berri-UQAM

Photo by Gabriel Adam Beaudoin

You looked at them as though they were about to give you leprosy, ticks, and lice at the same time. As though they carried all the diseases in the world and with every passing second, you risked being contaminated by their stench, their filth, their coarseness. I saw your air of disgust, Isabelle, and it made me feel sorry for them—I hoped they wouldn’t notice you watching them with so much contempt. You waved me over, and with a pleading look, said, “Let’s move? There are still two free seats at the other end of the car.”

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New Girl

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The girl took her fingers out of her mouth and wiped them on her hat and mittens that she held in her other hand, the one she wasn’t chewing on. We looked around at each other to see who knew this girl. No one moves to our town without being related to someone already here. But we all stared wide-eyed and lifted our shoulders to our ears when someone caught our gaze. No one said a word. She was from away and no one, at least in our class, was claiming her. The silence continued and the radiators ticked.

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Edmonton Dreams Don’t Like

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Jan. 7
An office building last and an office building first. Two women in pink party dresses, one wore fuchsia gloves, went somewhere, couldn’t see, but was with a man unknown. Was in the office building finding lover and into a doctor’s office to get examined and the gurney had pillows smashed and the lover lay down with the custodian of the building. The doctor watched the lover lay his head on the custodian’s chest. Then in the Glenora house full of boxes. Then in a car. Driving. Parking. An office building up a big hill. Back up down the street. Question: Who is in the car? Read more →

Gin & Lemonade

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We agreed to meet under a tree on the east side. I arrived a few minutes before her, which pleased me, because I needed to catch my breath. I sat on my knapsack so I wouldn’t get my dress wrinkled or dirty. Then I saw her coming from the other side of the park. I watched her, the rhythm of her walk, moving in her confident and unapologetic way; her cropped hair, her long arms…Her deep searching eyes flashed when she saw me. She smiled as she approached me and took my hand right away. She pulled me to her and she kissed me for a long moment.

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