Sparkling bright lights shine in neighborhoods across the city.  Happy hearts beat in anticipation as bows are peeled from packages. Loved ones reaffirm their booster status before big hugs of reunion. So much joy. And for many, so much sadness. Silent sorrows, surprise spikes of grief, or deep depression can befall us even as the universe implores us to deck…

Not being much of a worrier, I’d been more eager about his arrival home for the holidays than anxious about his winter drive from L.A. to Omaha. It’s a good thing I didn’t waste my worry. I’d be needing it soon enough.  The other driver crossed over the interstate median and hit his car head on. Benjamin opened his eyes to see the stars in the December sky and the flashing lights of emergency vehicles. His car was destroyed around his slender body now crushed on either…

Which is your favorite?   We deny it’s possible. The parent of her children. The movie fan of films. The bibliophile of books. A clear preference demands comparison, and how do you compare a crème brulee to a chocolate pavlova? (Can you bring an extra plate so we can share, please?) Hopefully the other 11 months…

Back in Beantown to visit, a blue-sky morning invited me on a walk to see the fall foliage New England is famous for. I walked for miles.   I admired the muted purple hydrangeas. I bent over to sniff a lone white rose in front of the three story with gingerbread trim. I scanned each street in search of the yellows, oranges, and reds I’d remembered.   I applauded the small ivy-covered patches that passed for yards. I paused a pocket garden that I mused…

The 93-year-old former physicist didn’t make the trip. He was now living in Germany with his third wife, having outlived two. The former mayor of Durham did, however, as did the Harvard psychologist. Ann was tired from working on an immigration matter late into the evening before but coaxing from her classmate convinced her to…

“He said he’d beat the crap out of me if I didn’t.” After a celebratory dinner of fried chicken, beans, and tortillas the room fell silent as Maureen* told her story.  She proudly showed the progress with glossy photos of sessions one, two, three, and four. She explained how Mario was removing her tattoo. Soon the mark…

We argued about the garlic in the guacamole. He stormed outside. I stood at the second-floor bathroom mirror; my shaking hand focused on my mascara. I heard the front door open. His is footsteps coming up the stairs. He opened the door, punched me in the stomach, and spoke calmly.  “Now you can tell your friends I…

First I was confused. Later I silently disagreed. Then I started to question. “You support a lot of people,” my friend said. The conversation moved quickly past my subtle bristle, but my recurring trait of wanting to be right itched like a prickly tag inside a sweater. My children are grown. My parents are dead….

“Either somebody who loves you did it or something mystical is going on,” Megan said, turning her head to the side as if to say, “You tell me.” My coworker had noticed what was happening in front of our office. “Either way, I’m glad,” I smiled. While doing repairs last fall, the utility company pummeled…

He gave up his hippie acreage with gardens to move into the middle of the city with me and mychildren. There he planted tulips and tomatoes anew. When the kids were grown and we movedfrom house to apartment, he grew kale in raised beds on the rooftop and raspberries andpumpkins in the country. He spent…

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