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Kisses as Deep as the Ocean

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Kisses as Deep as the Ocean  Liz arrived in January along with her parents, her brother, and younger sister. They were all as white as the Canadian winter they'd left behind, flying south into the blue. The trees in Niagara Falls had been bathed in ice, everything was white, even the sky, as if blue had flown south for the winter too. When the stewardess flung open the cabin door they'd been the first down the stairway onto the airport's tarmac. The sudden shock of steamy air fogged her glasses. “It's like a hothouse,” she said. Taking off her glasses Liz let the perfume and warmth wash over her face. Beyond the airport’s chain-link fence palm trees beckoned from their turquoise background. She couldn't wait to drown herself in a sea of blue.  “It smells funny,” Nancy complained. "You're in the tropics," their father said. "It's the humidity. Wait till you see El Yunque. The air is so heavy it rains all the time." EI Yunque, he expl

#9 OF BRASSO & BROWNIES: coming of age in the 60's

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# Cherrygrove Road, Niagara Falls, Canada It’s daunting to move into a new house and make it yours. A never before lived in house seems more than new as it stands before you, untouched, immaculate, strangely virginal. The difference between new and brand new can be an almost empty hollow feeling. No ghosts live within those walls. No child’s smudged fingerprints have been wiped away. I was ten years old when we moved into our new house in Niagara Falls. We moved in the spring of 1963, the season of change in what would turn out to be a decade of change. In a house without history it fell to us to write the first page. Our old house was a two story red brick rental in the part of town where chestnut trees lined the streets. It was a gloomy house inside, made darker still by the ancient maples outside its windows, leafy branches casting ghostly images against the fading floral wallpaper. A dark oak door outside my bedroom led to a musty attic, too scary to think about, l

#4 Turkish Delight: Izmir, Turkey, 1957

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Turkish Delight There’s darkness everywhere, shapeless black all around except for a blur of wavering yellow light in the distance. Something has woken me up. Muffled voices in the darkness; a man’s—deep, hushed, whispering. Then another—higher pitched, a lady’s? My mother’s? I hear my name, “Simmy” but I can’t make out the rest; just sharp, staccato sounds.  A shadow crosses the yellow light, so big it blocks the brightness, and there’s nothing but blackness again. The dark shadow, darker than the darkness, is moving fast, coming closer, heading towards me and I’m too terrified to move or breathe or close my eyes. If I stay perfectly still maybe it won’t get me. I watch as the black blur moves towards me, growing larger as it comes closer and closer and just as it reaches under the blanket to scoop me up with its big hands, I want to cry because I can tell from the smell that it’s my father.  “It’s Daddy” he says, pulling a blanket around me, and I relax into his arms

Queen Me

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I haven ’ t lived in England for years and years. And years. Basically a very long time. The kind of time you cough into your hand over, trying to hide the exact humungous number of years. Long enough ago that any reasonable person could be forgiven for calling me an American. But beware, should you say anything negative about the UK or Queen Elizabeth, my British roots will start showing and my British blood will start boiling. I ’ ll start flapping my British passport in the air, and put on my best True Brit voice. While I ’ m very much an American, I ’ m British by birth, born in 1953, in —as I ’ m fond of saying and saying—a scene right out of Call the Midwife. I ’ ve got a thing for the Queen from being born so close to her coronation day that my parents gave me Elizabeth for my middle name. Just a few days shy of being named Elizabeth Simone instead of the other way around. A few days shy of being a Liz versus a Sim. Liz, Lizzie. I don ’ t mind the sound of that. Growi

How Men Are [fiction]

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HOW MEN ARE #14, 14th Street, Santa Monica LINK TO MORE FICTION HERE:  DIAMOND GIRL LAST DANCE KISSES AS DEEP AS THE OCEAN They carried sunshine with them; sand filtering out the bottom Of their woven bags from Guatemala, the smell of Coppertone in the air. Linda and Marissa went to the beach almost every day that summer, the summer they were seventeen. They'd walk down Wilshire in cut-offs and crocheted bikini tops, laughing at the sound of their huaraches  flapping against the sidewalk, tripping on the way the ground glass in the cement sparkled in the sun like a zillion tiny diamonds, checking out their reflections in the store windows. They'd cross the Pacific Coast Highway on the Arizona overpass, stopping only for a second to take in the buzz of the cars careening along PCH beneath them, barely breathing until they could escape the stench of urine and what that stench implied. Some smelly bum might be anywhere, pulling his thing out of his pants and waving it around