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“I was not quite done with smoking when my car stopped”


Dear Diary:

I stood at the intersection of C Avenue and Eighth Street on a hot 2018 night, pushing back tears from my eyes so I could see well enough to order a Lyft.

While waiting for the car to arrive, I noticed a small group of people nearby. They were smoking cigarettes and chatting. I walked over and asked for one. They stopped talking and looked at me. A young woman handed me a cigarette.

I returned to the corner, the cigarette lit and my nerves starting to calm down even as the tears continued to fall. The same young woman approached me.

“Are you okay, girl?” ” she said. “I saw you here earlier with a guy.”

I was surprised.

– Yes, thank you, I say. “I’m fine. I just thought he was my friend. Turns out he isn’t.

She nodded and stayed next to me, mostly silent but also offering a few words of encouragement. She said she noticed my dress earlier. It was fitted with a belt that I had taken from my mother’s collection.

I wasn’t quite done with smoking when my car pulled up. The young woman approached the driver.

“She needs a minute,” she said.

The driver looked at me, then nodded solemnly.

“You tell him to take his time,” he said.

– Hannah Kinisky


Dear Diary:

My husband decided that we would no longer park our car in the garage and pay the monthly fee, but rather park it on the street. By us, of course, he meant me.

At the time, I was a stay-at-home mom with a young child and another on the way. Pretty much every day I would wake up, pick up our child and move the car. Most of the time I would spend over an hour waiting for the sweeper to pass.

Over time, I made some parking buddies on the block. It was a tight-knit group, and we defended each other if strangers came and tried to grab them and make sure parked cars left enough space for others to squeeze in.

My husband decided to join me on my getaway to the alternate side of the street one morning. As we sat in the car and I greeted the familiar faces, he discovered a new part of my life.

When the sweeper appeared, he told me to walk around the block.

“Are you mad?” I yelled at him. “I’ll never have room again.”

At that moment he turned around and saw the line of cars behind me, like a rolling ocean wave or a baseball falling neatly into a well-oiled glove, pulling into the street to make way for the street sweeper. street, then backing up to their empty spaces.

“Do you do this everyday?” My husband asked.

“No I said.” Not on Wednesdays, snow days or holidays. “

– Léora Lambert


Dear Diary:

On a sunny afternoon in Riverdale, I took my new bike for a little ride. Later, as I was walking up Broadway on my way back, an older woman with an umbrella waved me down.

I was late for a call, but she looked lost or maybe confused. She might need some direction, I thought.

As I stopped, she smiled. And then she handed out a hard butterscotch candy.

“Thank you,” I say.

– You’re welcome, she said in a language I didn’t know.

– Malcolm Wiley Floyd


Dear Diary:

I watched a yellow boa constrictor hoverboard on Bethesda Terrace. It was draped over the tattooed shoulders of its owner, who glided in a slow eight.

To the right of the fountain, a toddler in a stroller passed a small dog strapped to his own stroller. Salsa dancers walked through the tiled plaza as the audience lounged on sun-drenched benches.

Not one, but two newlywed couples, arms crossed, posed for wedding photos. A cyclist was spinning at full speed on a dazzled bicycle. The blue gems matched her spandex. He braked next to me, stopping to admire the laughter and the sunlight.

– Annette Zenker


Dear Diary:

I was a regular at a restaurant in Brooklyn. I would always sit at the counter and order a Greek salad and unsweetened iced tea.

Once when I was there the waitress stopped by after taking my order.

“How is your mother?” she asked.

“She’s passed away,” I replied, “but thanks for asking.”

Next time I was there the same waitress was too.

“Greek salad and unsweetened iced tea?” ” she asked.

– Yes, I say. “Good memory.”

“How is your mother?” she said.

“Still dead.”

“Yeah,” the waitress said, “I should have remembered that too.”

– Cindy Zaglin

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Illustrations by Agnès Lee





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