The “Alaska Option”

By J. Cameron Davis

Colby and I always talked about the Alaska Option, while we were in rehab.

Both determined to quit killing ourselves with drugs and alcohol. Both tired of hurting our loved ones.

If we ever relapsed, we decided we’d hop a bus to Alaska, get high as a kite, and kill ourselves.

As I boarded the bus, teary eyed and concealing a bottle of vodka and a pipe in my suit pocket, I thought about the Alaska Option.

When I got to the cemetery, I poured the bottle over Colby’s gravestone and smashed the pipe, thinking of what could have been.


J. Cameron Davis is “a recovering addict trying to inspire others.”

Depression

By Megha Nayar

I have 102 degrees of cabin fever. It happens whenever I marinate in could-haves and should-haves for too long.

Do little things, says my therapist. Take a bath. Make your bed. Walk. Call a friend.

Easy for her to sing that song.

I’ve lain here for hours now. I last drank water in the morning. My armpits reek of yesterday’s sweat. My scalp has sprouted little balls of sebum that I scratch and weed out when I’m bored.

This can’t go on.

Out I jump, as suddenly as I’d slumped.

I step away from the brink, into the shower.


“I write because it is the only kind of validation I know.” – the writer

The Subway Musician

By Shira Wilder

The day has been long. I’m sick of the city, I tell myself. My weary body won’t hold me up forever. Soon I will look like one of those old ladies everyone pities, until they become one themselves: lonely, back permanently hunched from urban living, weighed down by grocery bags and regrets.

My footsteps echo in the freezing station. I approach the melancholy refrain of a lone saxophone, playing just for me. The old man’s eye is foggy with cataracts, but his melody sees deep into my soul. Transfixed, I can’t help but smile.


“I write because the mundane really is magical.” – the writer

Waves of Regret

By Michael Degnan

The ferry arrived 20 minutes ago, but I still feel the swell of the ocean. How strange the way we can preserve sensations in our bodies.

It’s the same with you. I still feel you pressed against me, swaying during our first dance. I still feel the lace of your white dress. That was 20 years ago.

I look at the sky. The sunset’s red streaks are like the lipstick marks you found on my collar a couple of years later. I arrive alone at my rental and sit down, regret still pulsing through my body like a violent ocean.


Michael Degnan lives in Peaks Island, Maine. He writes because “it helps him think.”

Self Care

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By Laurie Janey

She lies in bed, 3.30 in the afternoon, spots of sunshine creeping across the curtains, and she thinks about death. She’s not scared of being dead. To be dead is to not be. It’s the dying bit that’s a hassle. She’s not into pain, not into fear, not into leaving a mess behind for someone else to deal with. And besides, she hasn’t finished watching that TV series about the serial killer and the kinky cop. She gets out of bed, 4.10 in the afternoon, crisis averted, and smears herself in an overpriced anti-aging skin serum, from hairline to nipples.

              
“I write because my brain won’t shut up.” – the writer

When I’m Alone, I’m Afraid

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By James McEwan

I can’t remember when I first noticed the little bird, a wheatear. When the telephone rang it appeared at the window and when I hung up the handset, I would drop some seeds or crumbs outside.

A bond developed between us and mutual expectation. The bird became my companion, and I was its source of titbits. We were creatures of habit, and the little bird became a great comfort to me in my moments of deep anxiety.

The bird will migrate soon, what will I do? I wished the calls would stop, or at least whoever it was, would speak.

             
“I write to free the souls trapped in the cavity of my imagination.” – the writer

A Tree Reborn

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By Tanzelle

Circular cracks show on its map
Its rivers do not flow, only dried up sap

Mountains rise up and its structure still sure
However, the dying giant has no cure

Grey, empty, hollowed out
Water it cannot go without

It gains new life on a lonely night
when by lightning strike it is set alight

Its ashes nourish
The soil it will encourage

Seedlings sprout from its ground
The extent of life is ever profound

              
Tanzelle writes “for creative expression.”

Golden Years Gone Wrong

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By Dianne Moritz

How I yearned for the golden years as I hit retirement age. Days with plenty of free time, relaxing by the beach, traveling to far-flung, exotic places: Tahiti, Peru, Paris. No work. No worries.

In reality many friends died, suffered dementia, or moved away. Then, suddenly came a global pandemic no one could have fathomed in their worst nightmares. Life changed in an instant.

Now, we huddle in our homes, wipe everything down, wash our hands raw, wear masks, and pray. Yet, still, people die.

The future of this brave, new world looks bleak.

            
“I sometimes write to help lessen my anxiety.” – the writer

Dancing Girl

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By Arinda duPont

If you stop the dancing girl, and stare into her eyes
you can see they are red and puffy from crying all the time.

For all her whirls and twirls,
and carefree spins
there are tremors in her hands.

If you can watch her long enough you might realize
that she is not dancing,
but trembling, silently weeping, spinning out of control

             
“I write because I don’t know who I am without writing.” – the writer

Her Misery

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By Andaritian

When he says he feels the happiest these days, she can only smile. She doesn’t congratulate him, nor say she’s happy too. Because she envies him. She’s always wondering how it feels when someone’s genuinely happy. She can only dream about it. But when someone so close to her says they’re happy, she suddenly thinks she’s left behind. Everyone she knows has found happiness, why can’t she? Why does she always think she’s trapped in misery? Why can’t she move on? And in the end, she can only cry. Silently. Without, no one knows.

             
Andaritian writes because “it keeps her sane in the crazy world that seems to always want to drag her down.”