At the moment the languages were confounded, I was bent over a parchment, trying to ignore the sounds of construction that by then filled the city. I had no interest in the project myself. Indeed, I was apprehensive about its appalling hubris and the mind-boggling safety issues it presented. This was philosophical and personal. My brother oversaw construction of the balustrades that wound their way up the tower—a feat of engineering science I could never grasp, but that gripped him like a childhood fever: numbers were his, letters mine. Daring was also his: he always took on the most perilous duties himself.
I kept my misgivings to myself, however, even from him. The prophets who had spoken warnings of judgment and destruction were dead or in the quarries, Continue reading Day Eleven: Jonathon Penny
I’ve been spending a lot of time in hospitals lately. And the thing about hospitals is that they make you think a lot about cycles of life and death. For one thing, you can’t avoid it. Death, that is. In normal life you can meet the thought of your own mortality with a healthy dose of denial. And even when you go into the hospital, you can cling to that denial. Death is what’s happening to the other people. You, on the other hand, well, you’re just there to have something taken care of.
You can hold on to that delusion until night.
Because at night, in the hospital, everything changes.
Continue reading Day Ten: Kerry Spencer
Cada Regalo Perfecto
Watching three orphans scramble on half-buried tires,
and the others grip pencils and crayons as if we’d given them chocolate,
I turn my purse inside out. Continue reading Day Nine: Deja Earley
The Shoe App
Catherine liked setting up her laptop in the café because the internet was free and she had hacked the video camera feed outside. From that she had created an app that would ping anytime a man over six feet entered the store.
Graced with her father’s lanky genes, she had hit 5’10 in the tenth grade and stayed there. Worse, she had an addiction to three inch heels, courtesy of her mother, a heritage she clung to since she passed. So she needed the man in her life to tow the 6 feet tall line.
Otherwise the thousands of dollars she had invested in shoes would go to waste on their custom built racks in her generous walk-in closet. Her mother had always said “A good pair of shoes will chase away the blues.” Something Catherine had desperately needed after she was gone. Her obsession was more than mere vanity.
She would burn her shoes before she allowed others to label her as vain.
Catherine was chic, savvy, fashionable, and determined. Not vain. Continue reading Day Eight: Emily Debenham
Oil of Gladness
The Elders’ Quorum president held up the quart-sized bottle for everyone to see. “For anointings we use olive oil—preferably extra virgin,” he explained. The women murmured in approval. They knew that extra virgin, product of the first pressing of the olives, is the best.
The liquid in the bottle shone a rich yellow. Pretty, but not as impressive as the olive oil my grandmother poured freely in the days of my childhood. Imported from Greece, the thick green oil came in square, gallon-sized cans marked in geometric Greek. The filigreed designs in red and gold reminded me of the stained-glass windows in the Greek Orthodox church, where I fidgeted every Easter, nose wrinkling from incense, under the eye of the emaciated Christ hanging above the nave. Continue reading Day Seven: Kathryn Soper
You were wanted,
not an accident.
Your first fluttering cells
set plans pulsing—
names, knitting, nursery colors,
Though two others came before,
I saved a part for you.
Continue reading Day Six: Merrijane Rice
The Road Not Taken
Caraline sat at the spaceport cafe table and watched herself walk in. As always, it was a strange experience. The woman paused in the doorway until she spotted Caraline. Then she wove through the tables toward her. The other woman had gained some weight, softened. Caraline straightened in her seat, suddenly conscious of her slender frame and stylish pantsuit. Perhaps she should have dressed down more, to match the other woman’s comfortable jeans and sweater.
Prior to the accident she had been both Cara and Caraline depending on the situation. Now she was just Caraline. It was a simple way to distinguish, to declare some semblance of separateness. Continue reading Day Five: Sandra Tayler
Christ will come down from the sky
Dressed in glorious red robes.
Every knee will bend;
Every tongue confess.
All wrongs, all pain, all evil will fail.
Until that day,
I need to keep my bank account balance Continue reading Day Four: Emily Harris Adams
No Substitute for Chocolate
“I have some bad news,” her husband said as he came home from Sunday bishopric meetings. “I really tried to suggest it. But they wouldn’t listen. You’re not getting food for Mother’s Day. You’re getting pansies.”
“Seriously?” She shook her head. It’s not that she was surprised, just that she was hoping for a little magic this year.
“I know, I’m sorry. I couldn’t convince them. I’ll try again next year, though.” He kissed her cheek and joked, “But hey, I hear you can eat pansies.”
She stuck her tongue out at him.
I am not getting pansies again next year, she silently vowed. I’ll make sure of that. Then she smiled. She had an idea. Continue reading Day Three: Jeanna Stay
The Elder Who Wouldn’t Stop…
Elder Russell’s greenie was the most diligent, obedient missionary he had served with so far in Spain. There was only one problem: he wouldn’t stop drumming. During breakfast, lunch and dinner; phone calls, visits, and discussions. With his fingers, his fists, his feet, his knees, his mouth. With forks and spoons, pens and pencils, pamphlets and notebooks, twigs and breadsticks. On the bus and on the metro; on the table and on the counter; on the elevator and on the stairs. On his chest and legs and arms. On his scriptures, on his dinner plate, on his backpack, on his bed. On every door frame, every handrail, every seat back, every street sign. And even sometimes on Elder Russell. Continue reading Day Two: Wm Morris