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Pasteboard Houses

Rebecca Jung

In the 1950s, you could tell you were getting close to Akron before you saw it—an acrid smell of burning rubber and sulfur permeated everything. Tall brick smokestacks above dark, dingy tire factories coughed up oily black soot that coated everything—your clothes, your hair, even the insides of your nostrils.

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The Procedure

Polly Richards Babcock

When blonde, angelic-looking Annie asked if she could stay with me while she recovered from her intended abortion, I concealed my shock and said, “Sure. You can sleep on the sofa.” At nineteen, a decade before Roe v. Wade made abortion legal, I naively relied on inconsistent condom deployment and boys’ assurances that withdrawal was effective. This was the first time I had been confronted with the consequences of my bohemian carelessness.

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Feast

Emily Corak

The first time I decided to uproot my life entirely came after a lazy morning lying in bed and watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother. I’d recently moved to Portland right after college because of a boy, and I had settled in nicely. I had an apartment, a job, and this boy and I were on the verge of cohabiting.

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The Bicycle Crash

Adrian Fleur

Once it was June it was hard to remember the despair of March. The winter was always slightly too long, the dark skies and short days lingering just past what was reasonable for any human to endure. It was a despair which infused all former pleasantries with an unexplainable sourness; you could hardly bother with hellos or how are yous.

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Second Best

Dave Wakely

‘Every time I see you, Mr Woodcock, you look a little taller.’
Unaccustomed to displays of diplomacy or flattery, and still learning to acquire the habit of booking restaurant tables, Bernard smiled shyly at Sergio’s greeting. Back in England, his expectations had been distinctly lower.

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Wealth

Linda Heller

Sharon asked Daniel, a young ceramist—they were at a month long glazing workshop in upstate New York—how he supported himself. Most ceramists didn’t earn much and she wondered how he managed to drive a brand-new fully loaded Land Rover.

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