Ancient Oak

“Are you saved?” asks a new friend, by email. Ada settles under an oak tree and replies, “God saves me every day, whether I like it or not.”

Running Away

Leigh rode to the end of the line, walked the last mile, sailed to the edge of the sea, until she was off the map. And still, she was Leigh.

A Whodunit

A red-headed librarian is killed. Her husband has an alibi. Her lover has no motive. Her son is not deranged. A just-culled author done it.

Little Mutt

For a year he had balls and no name. Then he was fixed and called Rex. His bichon hair grew back. Now he’s called Bébé. This is a rescue.

Being Art

She wanted the languid serenity of a Gauguin, but Tia knew she was a complex Picasso: when young, a sketch; by 60, a canvas bold with color.

Hush

Alicia prayed aloud while doing chores. Bill, who didn’t believe, found this annoying. One day, Alicia stopped. After a week, Bill started.

Fingerpaint

Bette woke just as sunset blackened the desert sky. Then she dipped her hands in bright acrylics to fingerpaint red-gold truth by moonlight.

In the Dark

The streetlight often blinked when Lucy passed beneath it. She made wild kinetic energy. One night she stopped a switchblade with a stare.

19th and Mississippi

A young couple stops at the corner, gazing at the San Francisco skyline. Ellen and Bill kissed at that corner. This couple snaps a picture.

Sporting a Trilby

The man said her trilby looked silly on a woman. Guys usually stared at her wheelchair, not her hat. She smiled. He grinned. It was a start.

The Wee Hours

Jackie worked the night shift in a diner. Partiers came and went by 3am. Truckers showed up at 5am. 4am meant dishes and blue waking dreams.

Long Story

Vivian had an old oak cut down. The doves protested. She put up a feeder. It brought rats. She put out poison. That’s what killed the cat.

A New Wrinkle

In the mirror, Liv saw a crinkled, aging woman. Nathan said he saw a clever brow, curious eyes, and a kaleidoscopic face. He wasn’t lying.

Electricity

Jamie leans on a power pole. Rusted staples twice her age prickle her aching back. She’s jolted by lingering love for hundreds of lost cats.

Sailor

Helen lived in a houseboat on a creek off a bay. A century-old drawbridge rose whenever Jack sailed in to see her. It made her boat shimmy.

The Bell

Nearly ninety now, Cora pushes past the elementary school in her walker. The school bell clangs. She stops with a start, six and late again.

Surprise

At 15, Kate’s prayers were interrogations. By 25, there were none. 35 brought confessions. 45, reflection. Now 55, Kate dances jazzy thanks.

1962

The backyards all ran together. The boxy little record player spun 45’s. We danced galloping polkas, and our Moms weren’t afraid of the sun.

Justice of the Peace

They were married by an insurance salesman. She wore red hot pants. There are no pictures, except those their eyes have shared for 42 years.

Traveling Downtown

He told her, “Kangaroos can’t jump backward. You’ll never forget me or that fact.” She’ll remember his acne and earnestness on that hot bus.

A Little Jazz

Jonquil song slowed Ann’s step. The tiny trumpets heralded God’s grace in a mighty jazz unlikely for their size. Ann forgot she was afraid.

An O’Keeffe

He’s a stroke of mixed-hue blues. She’s a brush of bright pinks. Where they join, one with the other, they’re a streak of mercurial violet.

Plain as Day

Roxy is not an Arabian, Clydesdale, Lipizzaner, or Mustang. She’s a rent-a-ride horse. Ben, 11, is blind. They fall in love at first sniff.

Vision

Her glasses were clean, so it wasn’t clear why she couldn’t see the plum blossoms. God had to break a bough, so she’d trip into pink spring.

Slow Dating

He juggles in the rain, says ‘bing’ as a verb, and wears suspenders. He takes Cate to karaoke. She discovers this Portlander sings falsetto.

Dreaming

Lara often dreams she’s swimming through air like a dolphin gliding in water. She’s playful, sleek and well-loved. Waking nearly drowns her.

Just So

They’re just geraniums. Martha fusses over them like orchids. They were given to her with a prayer: May God help you to know you are lovely.

Electric Arc

Small Clara loves tall swings. She pulls herself up by the chains, stands on the seat, and pumps defiantly. When she flies, she can forget.

Paris

Chestnut petals drifted like snow. Parisian parakeets sat outside in brass cages. Because the two were together, they know that this was so.

Oz

Em packed pantyhose, pumps and lunch, but her snowy hour commute east became 2,000 miles west to a place where ruby camellias were blooming.