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Polite, but a tad shy of friendly. You cursed yourself over the years for the silence, since all you ever wanted was to say the magic three words, get on one knee, and ask her to marry you. You kept that dream buried, waited for the five-year reunion, until suddenly you received an invitation from her and her college boyfriend. And after all these years, you still hold on to the smell of her perfume lingering in the air. She smiles, and there come the butterflies — fluttering not only in your stomach but your whole body too.

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The laughter that follows is worth all the papers and years without a steady job. Majoring in English literature was not a mistake, after all, you decide. And she tells you. You can actually talk to her, even now. You feel stupid for wasting all these years looking her up, from one search engine to another, before deleting them all into digital oblivion.

It has become a habit, and all the words you conjured up late at night when you feel lonely in the past year alone can fill a whole book, constructing a fictional world where the two of you are the main characters and live happily ever after. In reality, you know almost nothing about the person standing in front of you right now. She used to be your best friend, a major crush, the love of your life, and all that, but now she is a single mom to a 7-year-old girl.

They just moved back to town after the divorce. Yes, everything is OK now. How about next Sunday, 8 p. She will meet you there, her sister can take care of the little girl.


All Sunday you check yourself in the mirror a total of 42 times. You plan your attire—a simple shirt and jeans. At p. She seems to forget to mention her new boyfriend, who walks with his arm around her, while she casually waves to you before making introductions.

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Most Read in Culture. Short stories. Deus Absconditus, a short story by Mary Costello. Transatlantic Railroad, a short story by Mary M Burke. Locksmiths, a short story by Wendy Erskine. Book reviews.

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Make it Scream, Make it Burn: Essays of compassion and conviction. New poetry. Poem of the week: The Names of the Rat. Women writers Putting Irish women writers back in the picture. Brought to Book. Sign In. Don't have an account? If it was somebody coming to see them, the car would be slowing down by now. But still Carla hoped. Let it not be her. And, of course, things have changed. Highway 7 now avoids towns that it used to go right through, and it goes straight in places where, as she remembers, there used to be curves.

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This part of the Canadian Shield has many small lakes, which most maps have no room to identify. Even when she locates Sabot Lake, or thinks she has, there seem to be too many roads leading into it from the county road, and then, when she chooses one, too many paved roads crossing it, all with names that she does not recall. In fact, there were no street names when she was here, more than forty years ago.

Juliet has not been offered a permanent job—the teacher she was replacing has recovered from a bout of depression—and she could now be on her way home. Instead, she is taking what she has described as a little detour. A little detour to see a friend who lives up the coast. Two profiles face each other. One, a pure-white heifer, with a particularly mild and tender expression, the other a green-faced man who is neither young nor old.

He seems to be a minor official, maybe a postman—he wears that sort of cap. His lips are pale; the white of his visible eye is shining. A hand that is probably his offers up, from the lower margin of the painting, a little tree or an exuberant branch, fruited with jewels.

On the short ferry ride from Buckley Bay to Denman Island, Juliet gets out of her car and stands at the front of the boat, in the late-spring breeze. A woman standing there recognizes her, and they begin to talk.

She often wears black pants, as she does today, and an ivory silk shirt, and sometimes a black jacket. She is what her mother would have called a striking woman. On a visit to Edinburgh with his father when he is nine or ten years old, Andrew finds himself climbing the damp, uneven stone steps of the Castle. It has just stopped raining, the sun is shining on a silvery stretch of water far ahead of them, and beyond that is a pale green and grayish-blue land, a land as light as mist, sucked into the sky.

My mother had a bachelor cousin a good deal younger than her, who used to visit us on the farm every summer. He brought along his mother, Aunt Nell Botts. His own name was Ernie Botts. He was a tall, florid man with a good-natured expression, a big square face, and fair curly hair springing straight up from his forehead.

His hands, his fingernails were as clean as soap itself; his hips were a little plump. My name for him—when he was not around—was Earnest Bottom. I had a mean tongue.

Doree had to take three buses—one to Kincardine, where she waited for one to London, where she waited again, for the city bus out to the facility. She started the trip on a Sunday at nine in the morning. Because of the waiting times between buses, it took her until about two in the afternoon to travel the hundred-odd miles.

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All that sitting, either on buses or in the depots, was not a thing she should have minded. Her daily work was not of the sitting-down kind. At first, people kept phoning, to make sure that Nita was not too depressed, not too lonely, not eating too little or drinking too much.