‘Club Heaven’ by C. Imani Williams

I was solo as I entered Heaven, an after hour gay dance spot on the northeast side of Detroit, MI. A rare find in a city that didn’t offer much to the black gay, and trans populations. Totally closeted I hadn’t approached anyone about where Black lesbians hung out.

Heaven was a cultural gem that stayed under the radar.

Creating Community

Folk don’t give too much of a fuck about Black gay folks today. In the late 70s they sure weren’t dealing with the “funny faggot” issue. The Black power era was not inclusive of all its brothers, and embraced even fewer sisters. By 1992, Heaven was a staple for Detroit Black queers, who enjoyed the sanctuary of a “for us” space.

Seeking Safe Space

I was quietly bi-curious and Heaven was a place for me to check things out. Anonymously. I always went alone, with the exception of a couple of times, when I left  a straight house party in search of more music with a str8 friend, who was used to queer crowds.  Her dude was a house dee jay. I doubt if any other of my str8 crew would have accompanied me. I felt like a spy on a queer ass mission.

I Needed Heaven

The music was an aphrodisiac, House does something to me. It’s spiritual. I get high off the rhythm; I ride that bitch, no alcohol needed. Back when Heaven was open, I was still drinking, especially if I was partying. The fact that I’m an alcoholic hadn’t quite kicked in yet. With thirteen years of sobriety I look back on that time and see a lot of places where I was overly confident and sometimes just plain foolish.

This night though, I was full. Not drunk, but still floating from the music and the long island iced tea I’d had earlier. For five dollars you could dance at Heaven from two am till five thirty. Sometimes, the music played longer and daylight was on the horizon when patrons exited the club. I’d decided before heading out that evening that I was going to ask someone to dance. I didn’t’ know the protocol.

No Facebook Live To Capture The Vibe

As I walked in the walls were sweating from the energy in the room. Queens walked around dressed in miniskirts and six-inch stilettos. Others opted for platforms. Faces beat, in all that heat. There was a party going on!  The music was hyped and folk were taking up every inch of space.

As usual there were not many women in the house. By women, I mean lesbians. There were a few but mostly the crowd was gay and trans. This was their spot and I was grateful to be allowed to enter such a sacred space.

I Watched With My Heart

As I took in my surroundings a young male couple hugged in front of me. I guessed them to be in their late teens. They were all over each other, as if the days between meeting at Heaven had depleted them, and this was their opportunity to breathe again. They kissed, as the shorter one pulled the taller one back into him as he leaned into the wall. I watched them feeling all kinds of things.  I noted to myself that there was nothing wrong with feeling that way about another human being. Their passion was intense. I’d heard of people fucking through songs on the low. They weren’t that deep but they were close. He turned his man around and made him claw the wall he’d so eagerly backed into. I was digging it.

Well, Hello!

I looked up and saw “her”.  A couple of inches shorter than me, me she stood about 5’2” and had curly hair. Somebody with Indian blood was close in her family line. Deep dimples dotted her chocolate skin as she smiled chatting with the woman next to her. She was working her jeans and her Guess fitted tee, very nicely.  I didn’t know if they were a couple but I was feeling the music and decided, that I was going to make my move soon. Generally you don’t ask someone to dance at a House spot. Everyone is on their own thing. Dancing alone, partnered, and in groups. But I didn’t know the etiquette rules for bi curious folk.

There was a lot of good feeling going on. Drag Queens on platforms dancing sexy above everyone on the dance floor. The fog machines were pumping as people danced under the many strobe lights.

Heaven Made Me Feel Free

You could literally feel the stress of living black and queer in a pro-hetero, homophobic, community falling off through the hypnotic music. It helped folk deal the constant racism and oppression of a straight thinking community. Layers of bullshit were removed at Heaven on a weekly basis. It was a spot where black queers found acceptance and nothing but love.

Thank you, Ken Collier

DJ Ken Collier brought his musical gifts opening the door for many Detroit House deejays. He inspired and groomed Detroit mix masters both women and men who have made huge names for themselves, with thirty plus years on the tables. Detroit’s “Godfather of House” Collier defined entrepreneurship in the arts for an underground movement that pushed through to become a genre staple for across the world.  Respected until his passing in 1995 for bringing some peace and good time to people who deserved a break, even if, it was only once or twice a week.

Understanding this, I over stood the passion of the two young men slobbing each other down, and feeling each other up as if their lives depended on it. It did. As for me, I got that dance and Dimple’s phone number.  

Copyright 2017 by C Imani Williams. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Smoke Celebrations’ by Jostein Wolff

“I stumbled out of bed
I got ready for the struggle
I smoked a cigarette…”
Leonard Cohen

The three of them have been inseparable for a long time. They have been best friends since elementary school.

Anna made the decision. Alex took the initiative. They have tried many ways to convince Milena to give up smoking but all proved a failure. They discussed her deteriorating health, they talked about the rising prices of cigarettes, but Milena seemed too addicted to quit. She insisted on being careless with time. Her time on earth.

Anna is the formal kind of person. A dirty job indeed, but somebody’s got to do it. Especially in a company of three, in which no other is willing to take the responsibility. On the day Leonard Cohen died, she felt the need to make a formal statement on the social media. She took herself too seriously to not comment on such a serious event.

“R.I.P. great poet,” she wrote in all formality.

On the other hand, Milena suffered in silence. She’s the invisible type. She spent some hours smoking, in front of the screen, watching the posts, the comments, yet she did not participate, or interact in any way with anyone on her friends’ list.

“I’ll talk to the guy who owns the shop downstairs. That’s where she usually goes.” Alex was sure that their plan would work.

“We’ll have to find every shop in the neighborhood and inform them,” insisted Anna, arranging her hair in the mirror.

“You’re probably right. Still, I’m certain she will be too bored to go far. Just the closest places will be enough.”

“Do not underestimate the power of addiction.”

On the day Leonard Cohen died, Alex uploaded many of his songs in a few moments. He would have uploaded more, if he hadn’t had to go to work. He, too, spends most of his free time on the internet, commenting on every subject he finds interesting, without second thoughts.

Alex is the impulsive type. Without him boredom would prevail among them. He is the spark, initiating fires, when routine gets tiring.

“Next time she comes for a pack, talk to her as much as possible,” Alex told the guy in the store.

“I don’t get it,” answered the man. “But I will do it if you think it’s necessary.”

Milena is desperate for a smoke. She goes down and asks for a pack.

“So, how’s life going?”

“It’s ok,” she answered, avoiding eye contact, to end the conversation quickly.

“The prices have gone up. How do you get by?”

“I still can handle it.” She had not realized the man knew her. Perhaps it was time she changed her habits. She should buy her cigarettes somewhere else, where people did not know her well enough to engage in small talk.

A few days later, she had already visited most of the stores in the neighborhood, having faced the same reactions.

All shopkeepers seemed in the mood for small talk. Milena hates small talk. She has always been the introvert in an otherwise extroverted company.

Anna, in her best dress, is ready for a night out. Milena wants to stay in. She has run out of smoke again, yet her options are limited. She could either visit one of the closest stores, which seems a nightmare to her, considering the conversations she will have to get herself into, or drive to the next town, where her face is still unfamiliar.

“Have fun,” she tells her friend, having decided to sleep early.

“You should quit smoking,” says Anna, in her formal voice, as if she is talking in front of a camera.

“I don’t want to, yet I think I will.”

“I know.”

“You know what?”

“You hate small talk, you hate going far, it seems you have no option,” Alex said in enthusiasm.

Milena unfriended both of them. Both in life and social media. It was an easy choice. She chose addiction.

Manipulation is the end result of formality along with poor impulse control, she concluded. She set fire on their friendship and used the flame to light a cigarette.

She moved to another city and threw away her old phone. Leonard Cohen started smoking again when he turned eighty.

Two years later, he died. She was already eighty four. Determined to be carefree with her time. Determined to celebrate the rest of her time on earth, in smoke.

Copyright 2017 by Jostein Wolff. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Over-Reacted’ by Gloria Christie

She had invisible sharpened cat claws that scratched me bloody. I had known her for every moment of her life, and still…I can see her wicked smile every time she hit a vein. Oh, sure, she was the favorite one. The one who wouldn’t eat even as our mother begged, but the one who was adored for her small size as Mom called me that ugly, disgusting word –“big”. The one who got the permanented curls while I got the butchered bangs.

Yes, I was jealous. Of course, how could I not? And she knew it. I can see her inside of my mind, standing in our mother’s shadow. That smile as she watched Mom take anger out on my psyche. That smile as she feigned a headache, and I was handed her chores.

Mom handed out the labels that I squeezed myself into. I was the smart, big one. She was the petite popular one. That meant I had to be the clodhopper hiding in the corners of solitude with saddened eyes, afraid to step out, while she had countless friends and countless good times.

She had invisible sharpened cat claws that left me shredded, even though she was not as smart as me – Mom said. Each claw had a honing instinct that reached deeply into the spot that would hurt the most. Yet, any retribution was forbidden. It was my job to accept the abuse even as it drained my life blood of self.

She got what she wanted or else she took her teenage tantrum self to her car and hit the speedometer, breaking ninety and more. Once, I talked back, and Mom slapped my face. The humiliation stung worse than the pain.

At a time when I was counting out slices of bread at college, paid in full by my years-round job, Mom was buying her a house. I was jealous with the anger than simmered always, its stench unbidden.

Distance has its advantages, yet she reached across my self-imposed crevice and tried to get the federal government to invite me into their cells for punishment of an uncommitted crime, one never even considered. She reached across the canyon of my separation to get a restraining order barring me from our father’s hospital bed. Why? “Because I like to.”

She called my largest contractor repeatedly unbeknownst to me, causing them to pull away from my “unstable” business, which fell into the space between us, crashing on the rocks of her entertainment.

After a surgery, so needed a cane to walk, but refused. They found her lying on the sidewalk unable to rise. A concussion. “Use a cane for stability”, others urged. But no, she did not want to, always did what she wanted, and so she did not.

She fell again. Another concussion and two black eyes. And she fell again, another concussion. This time with convulsions. Another fall, and now there was brain damage.

She lost her short-term memory, but her short-fuse anger remained. Furious with me for imagined slights, “pissed off” and not speaking, which was a normal state of being, the two of us, and one I rather relished. Then, the text.

“I over-reacted.”

Two words, an apology that verged on the miraculous. And then, my world as I defined it in relationship with her shifted. The past tense had a new context, one that felt strange in my mouth. Now, I must feel my way in the darkness of this newness, of the formerly cat clawed person brain damage had shaped into something neoteric.

Copyright 2017 by Gloria Christie. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Tiny Puffs of Air’ by Art Metzger

A man is looking nervously around the waiting room. He is dressed, not in the suit that his wife wanted him to wear, but still nicely in dress pants and a white shirt. He is sunk down in a leather chair that is almost too comfortable. He fidgets in the chair, every few minutes he feels an almost uncontrollable urge to get up and pace. But pacing is for maternity wards, not marriage counselors. Besides, he isn’t sure when his wife will come out of the inner office. When she does he wants to at least appear relaxed. When she comes out it will be his turn to enter the inner office to tell his side.

The man edges forward in the chair as if he is ready to spring. He has never been and never expected to be in the office of a marriage counselor. No, not a marriage counselor, a couples therapist. “I’ve arranged for us to see a couples therapist,” is what his wife had told him a few weeks before, taking him completely by surprise. What was she telling him? He doesn’t know of any problems, at least none that are serious enough to warrant bringing in a third person.

He looks at his watch. She’s been in there for nearly thirty minutes. The need to pace, or at least move around, is becoming stronger. He pushes himself up from the chair and stands. For a moment he considers picking up a magazine from the table next to him. He knows he won’t read it, but at least it will give him something to do wih his hands. But just as he reaches for one the office door opens and his wife comes out. “It’s your turn,” she tells him. She bends down to kiss him. “Please try to keep an open mind.”

The therapist’s office is decorated in the same style as the waiting room. In the middle of the floor two leather chairs face each other. Against the far wall is a leather couch. The wall to the left of the chairs is dominated by an ornate wooden desk. He wonders, as the therapist closes the door behind them, if he will be told to lie on the couch. He wonders if his wife had. But the therapist waves him to one of the chairs, then sits facing him.

“I have to admit,” the therapist said, “that though I’ve often seen couples for problems in the bedroom, none have been quite like this. I know your wife is the one who made the appointment, but can you tell me in your own words what you think the problem is?”

“I know that she doesn’t like that I won’t use a blanket. If I’m cold, or if it’s a cold night, I turn on a space heater, even though she says it runs up the know electric bill.”

“Do you know why you don’t like blankets?”

“As I’ve told her, I just can’t stand the weight of them on me.”
“Why is that?”

“I don’t know, but it’s been that way for as long as I can remember.”

“Anything else?”

“I usually sleep with a pillow between us, right against my face. And often when we make love I wear pajama tops. She doesn’t like that.”

“Do you know why you do that?”

“I know this is going to sound odd, but I can’t stand the feeling of breath on my arms, the little puffs of air when I exhale. So I block it with a pillow.”

“And the pajama top?”

“Same thing. The sleeves cover my arms so I can’t feel her breath when we’re close.”

“Okay, that’s essentially what your wife told me. She doesn’t understand why you can’t just change. Those slight rushes of air are harmless and she doesn’t why you can’t just ignore them.”

“I’ve tried to. She knows that. But it’s just no good.”

“And you have no idea how these habits originated, when they started?”

“No, it’s just always been that way.”

“One thing you need to keep in mind is that your wife called me because she’s worried about you. She wants to understand what’s going on, and I believe that you do as well. She suggested, and I agree with her, that if we could find the reason you do these things it would ultimately be easier for you to stop, to break the habits. As problems go these seem rather harmless, but they obviously bother your wife, and you yourself might feel better if you knew the reason for them.”

“So what do we do?”

“Have you ever been hypnotized?”


“Do you have any objection to hypnosis? It might be the best way to find out what’s going on.”

“No, whatever it takes.”

“We can do the first session today and see what happens. After that we can set up a schedule for more sessions until we get to the bottom of things.”

“That would be good.”
“Okay, if you have no objections I’m going to have your wife come back in to observe. That way she’ll see that you’re willing to take steps to change, and it may help her to understand what’s going on.”

The man waits nervously while the therapist asks his wife back in. She settles on the edge of the couch and mouths a silent “Thank you.” Then he is told to relax and begin counting backwards from one hundred while the therapist moves his watch back and forth and talks softly.

It’s his bedtime and he hates going to bed while his father is still out. His father has been off work now for at least two hours, which means he’s stopped in a bar somewhere. The boy begs the babysitter to let him stay up. If the boy is still up perhaps his father will simply pass out when he gets home, before anything happens. But the babysitter says no. She doesn’t like it when she has to stay late waiting for the father to come home, despite the fact that she is paid for the time. She has other things to do, and she has school in the morning. So, knowing it’s inevitable, the boy undresses, leaving his tee shirt on, and pulls on his pajama bottoms. Then he climbs into bed.

He pulls the covers up around him, even though he knows that they can’t be trusted, they won’t protect him. He is lying on his stomach, it’s easier that way, and that way he can keep his face buried in the pillows. Then he waits, waits in the darkness. A short time later he hears the garage door.

He hears his father come in, then hears the babysitter leave. There are footsteps on the stairs, then the jangle of keys and a belt buckle as trousers drop to the floor. The boy buries his face deeper into the pillows as he feels the side of his mattress sag with extra weight. Then the weight is on top of him, and he can feel his father’s breathing, small puffs of air, on the back on his neck and his arms. The breathing quickens, and the boy’s pillows begin to soak up the tears.

Copyright 2017 by Art Metzger. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Let’s Be Clear I Am Completely Here For Black Liberation’ by Imani Williams

The countless murders of Black people by police, the rape and violence perpetrated against Black women and children, and brothers killing each other, along with a society that is confused on what consent means and when to apply it, have me worn out. A shift has taken place over the last week. At least with me, it has.

As I’ve dealt with all the privilege that floats down my social media timelines, I’ve felt a pull. That pull is leading me closer to my destiny. I abhor all the isms that make this life unbearable for so many. I abhor the people who use “isms” as navigational tools the most. That Black people support white supremacy without even thinking about it, is very concerning. As a people, we accept so much and question so little, where it matters.

The shift that took place happened after I published a piece on cultural appropriation. A topic which burns me up and warrants discussion. As a Social Justice writer and activist, I put uncomfortable shit out there. We have to deal with it. Some white people on my friend’s list are not dealing well with my Pro-Black Queer Stance on equality and advancing this Mighty Race. Marcus Garvey was onto something, so was Brother Malcolm.

I know that now. I extended an olive branch in the name of “I’m not always right and I’m big enough to admit that.”  As I explained in the article, my white friend and I both artists, both outspoken, and will go toe-to-toe for our beliefs. We worked through our stuff, it was hard. I wasn’t backing down, she wasn’t either.

Last night, I get an inbox from another Facebook friend, also white.  She cautioned me against alienating white people with my anti-white posts. Let’s also be clear on the fact that I’m not anti-white. I’m against white supremacy. Two completely different things. On top of that, she and I aren’t close Facebook friends. She rarely comments on my posts, it’s happened maybe twice in five years.

I’m like man I am so over white people who refuse to do their anti-privilege work before stepping to me. With this shift I’m channeling not only Garvey and Malcolm X, I’m rolling with Dr. King, Mother Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nat Turner. I’m so over it. I want to drag edges with Maya Angelou’s poems as my shield. I’m channeling Yoruba Priestesses and Priest. All.Of.This.

I’m feeling every bit. I’ve been an advocate for justice and equality a long time. The world has changed in the thirty + years since I’ve come of age.  I don’t recognize people I thought I knew. I’m so concerned for the children. They don’t get to remain innocent long enough. I’m concerned for our elders. Who’s really looking out for them?

We haven’t even had our post-slavery discussion talks yet. No real town hall gatherings where we check in and love and love on each other have happened on a large enough scale for me. We’ve survived so much and yet the struggle continues.

My recent shift entrenches me deeper on the path for Black Liberation for my people. White supremacy be damned, my armor is on and there ain’t no turning back. I’m using my pen and the blood of millions of Black people as strength. If people handle the truth and they have privilege on their side and aren’t using it to right the horrific wrongs that exist, I have no use for them. Not an iota.

I’m about freedom and equality for Black people. When redlining and gentrification are stopped, and Black education means quality education reflecting the cultural greatness of Black people in this country and the world, when school  administrators stop stealing from babies, housing is affordable, and child care doesn’t make working outside the home futile, when food deserts in Black communities are banished and instead are overflowing with well-tended community gardens, and libraries are opened and functional in urban neighborhoods, when my people stop breathing in toxins that corporations pump into poor neighborhoods, and health care is not only affordable but accessible, when people dying of cancer and hypertension are treated, and stress from being poor and tired is lifted, I’ll take a break. But, as long as the fuckery continues, I’m in the game.

Copyright 2017 by Imani Williams. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘An Open Letter On Cinco de Mayo’ by Imani Williams

In 2005, I like many others celebrated Cinco De Mayo in Southwest Detroit. I did the street festival and ate at Armando’s. My feet were burning from wearing new sandals on hard concrete I was full and tired. I called my Cool Cat when I got home. I had no idea it would be the last time I would ever speak with my Daddy. His power was out and he’d called DTE to explain his bill was paid.

Daddy’s words, “I’m sorry for not being much of a conversationalist baby, but I’m having problems with this candle,” will forever ring in my subconscious. The phone line went dead. I called back three times and tried to lie down.

I was restless, something was wrong. I jumped up, grabbed my keys and purse and hit I-75. I made it to Southfield in 15 min. I could see and smell smoke as I drove up the I-696 service drive. Firetrucks and a Channel 2 news van took up the length of the block. I think I almost passed out from fear. After parking behind trucks, I walked up the block as six or seven firemen hoisted Daddy into an ambulance. I followed the ambulance to William Beaumont in Royal Oak, they couldn’t handle his injuries. A few hours later we were at Detroit Receiving. I waited alone for five hours to before I was called up to the burn unit.

Complications from the fire and several surgeries over three weeks took a toll. I knew when I walked into his room in the Burn Unit of Receiving Hospital at the end of May, that he’d taken a turn for the worse. The nurse shared that he was unresponsive when given a shot. I’d gotten to know the staff and this young man knew what he was talking about. The doctor confirmed a stroke and my heart dropped again.

We did hospice at Receiving and Daddy held on a couple more days as not to transition on my birthday. He passed away on June 2, the day after my 41st. I haven’t celebrated Cinco De Mayo since. Southfield Fire Dept. and the staff at William Beaumont and Receiving Hospital Burn Unit, will forever have my gratitude for being empathetic And professional. This year I stand in solidarity with my Mexican Sisters & Brothers by writing this letter. I am not here for laws that criminalize and throw people away for wanting a better life. My Cool Cat was a humanitarian with a big heart. I honor that spirit.

Copyright 2017 by Imani Williams. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

Featured Image Courtesy of the Author

‘The Moon’ by Lucy Heasman

Silver star duster,
Light guider,
Path finder,
Sky brightener.
Night keeper,
Pure encircler.
Symbol giver,
Sleep enricher.
Wisdom seer,
Grace caller.
White revealer,
Bright blazer.
Hill top lighter,
Glare in darker.
Cloud and star enhancer.

Copyright 2017 by Lucy Heasman. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.


‘A Breath Of A River’ by Lucy Heasman

Doubt recalled a spout of the water formed, rocks of mould.
Melting with the green floss, sing water, sing,
Up higher the trees surround, shades fall and coolness bring.
Down below the river flow, motion, water gently ripples with a fold.

Green lava, smooth slick and thick, darkness deep,
Underneath there are growing river weeds and colorful fish that swim,
Catch a glance if your eyes are quick, up to the surface they spring.
Jumping over rocks and the waters sinking surface, feather light leap.

Voice of the river, soothing soft slither of water beneath the trees.
Trees rustling in the breeze, sounds of the sea can be heard.
But this is a trick, leaves like a tambourine, fly bird.
Shaking and blowing, shiver leaves.

Dips and a plop and drums soft stop, the flying fishes fall,
River pour your water from hilltop, down, shower and never cease,
Always you must flow and drip and grow over plants silent crease.
Applauds of the leaves, flashing wind, river call.

Copyright 2017 by Lucy Heasman. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

Featured Image By Lucy Heasman

‘Fireworks’ by Lucy Heasman

I had my fireworks. They were not the usual kind. Not big bangs and showering stars

of huge delight. The surprise of a spinning Katherine wheel is lost on me. The noise,

popping, hissing streams of sparkling light flying and spraying through the nighttime

sky only make my ears hurt and my neck feel stiff from staring up with wide eyes for

the next explosion.

I had my fireworks this warm November in 2015.

We were walking home in the light rain, dampening our hair with drops of soft moisture.

When I looked over to the hills on the horizon, I saw a huge rainbow which seemed to

envelop Mark and I with a warm, gentle cuddle. I pointed. “Look at that,” I said with

wonder in my voice. It was the biggest rainbow I had ever seen.

“We have found our rainbow,” I said, turning to Mark, and he was laughing.

Continuing our journey home, we walked towards it but never quite got there.

Yet nature’s gentle threads weaving wonder in our hearts had lifted our spirits for those

brief moments and we had felt alive. That was our fireworks.

That evening, while others stood in the frosty night winds gazing at the firework shows,

Mark and I were safe, cozy and warm with the walking afternoon glow of the autumn

sunshine still fresh on our rosy cheeks.

Copyright 2017 by Lucy Heasman. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

‘Dandelions And Daisies’ by Jen Hughes

There’s a cozy-looking two story house in the village, where a cozy couple live. It’s conveniently a ten minute cycle from the garden center where Blossom Moonie works, but a mildly inconvenient car journey for her fiancée Phineas Furley who works in an office in the city. Blossom wishes he’d help the planet by getting a bus, but she says nothing. Sometimes Phineas doesn’t understand why they stay here: they are scraping by to meet costs, it’s an hour and a half away from the city center where things actually happen and there are cheaper flats elsewhere. But this was Blossom’s Granny’s house, and a place that is close to her heart and she wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. She can’t stand the noise and the pollution and she adores working in the garden center. She would be so lost among so many people in the city, she might disappear. Phineas knows this, so here Phineas stays.

Blossom and Phineas are still in bed, wide awake after some cozy morning sex. They chat about all sorts of things afterwards! The weather, Blossom’s progress with the garden (that was ‘her project’ as Phineas says, staying well inside.), work, politics, the environment. Blossom loves it when Phineas gets all passionate about issues. They reminisce about the dates they had over their three years together; when they first met at a wild university party, back when Blossom thought university was for her. How his aura shone golden yellow that night. The debates Phineas used to speak at back when he was in the debating club, his Ted Talk about the media and climate change, that he performed at the student union.

When Phineas proposed to her in the botanical gardens in the city- the most beautiful moment of Blossom’s life. Underneath a cherry tree with the biggest flowers she had ever seen. The sun shone down and reflected on his golden hair, twinkled in his brown eyes. They say down on a mat with a small picnic, when Blossom thought he was getting out the first sandwich, he had a black box in his hand. Opened it up, it had a ring with a little diamond in the middle. How it sparkled! How Blossom’s heart glowed for him that day, and every day since!

When they first moved in a year ago. Not long after Granny died, she had to claim it before any family tried to sell it off. They had a bunch of friends and family help them move in, a couple of the neighbors, too. The crazy housewarming party Phineas threw for his university friends- they had to clean up for two days after! How handsome Phineas was (and still is) even when he’s hung over and wearing his scabbiest t-shirt. They’ve had to fashion a spare bedroom out of their study with second hand furniture. Phineas said that they needed a lodger to meet the costs of the house, and had put out an ad online. Blossom had a notion of using that room to house a refugee but Phineas quickly snubbed that notion: how are they supposed to pay the rent if they can’t speak English? Blossom could have taught them, but once Phineas decides something there’s no trying to convince him otherwise. Besides, he is the more practical one out of the two of them.

Blossom purrs as he strokes her short black hair, cuddling into his warm hairy chest, not taking her eyes off him for a minute. “Phineas…” she asks him.

“Yes, petal?” he looks down at her. She is awfully kittenish sometimes.

“What do you think she’s like?” she asks as she twirls his blonde chest hair through her fingers.


“Erin, the lodger. She’s moving in today, right?”

“Yeah.” Phineas smiles. “She’s nice enough, we’ve spoken on Facebook a few times- you know, logistics and stuff. I think she’ll be a big help.”

Blossom knows Phineas means she’ll be meeting her costs and a good whack of the bills. He’s mentioned it a few times, along with her working at the Clematis Hotel, an affluent golfing resort near town. She’s still looking up at him, as he looks up at the ceiling. He seems contented.

“I just hope we all get along.” Blossom remarks. “I’d hate it if she didn’t like me.”

“There’s no reason why she wouldn’t like you, petal.” Phineas chuckles. “You’re a cute and likable person. Besides she’s not due for another hour… you think maybe we could squeeze in another round?”

Blossom adores when Phineas calls her cute. It’s like ‘beautiful’ except it suits her better. She climbs on top of him. They have nothing on but smiles. There’s a tingling butterfly feeling in her tummy. She wants the new lodger to like her. She leans in to kiss his golden skin. He runs his hand through her black hair. He sits up to wrap his arms fully around his love. Just as they start to get breathless again, there is a loud knock at the front door. They look at each other for a second, before Blossom reluctantly climbs off of him and shoves on some pajamas. She rushes down the stairs and opens the door. Her aura sparks red around her sculpted body and her Barbie blonde hair.

“You must be Erin!” Blossom beams. “I’m Blossom, Phineas’s partner.”

“Yes that’s me! Nice to meet you.” she grins, her bright white teeth showing. Her clothes are efficient looking silver. “Can I get in?”

“Sure!” Blossom smiles. “Do you want a hand with that box?”

“Thanks, but I’ll manage, really. They’re not that h-yeavy.” She says as she plods upstairs, hugging the box to her body.

Blossom looks outside and sees a dark skinned man with a mahogany ponytail and another blonde woman lugging boxes out of a car. They must be Erin’s friends or family. She goes out to the drive barefoot to introduce herself.

“Hey, can I take anything in?” Blossom asks.

The man introduces himself as Erin’s boyfriend Leo and the woman as Molly, Erin’s best friend, before offering Blossom the handle of a large pink plastic suitcase. As Blossom lugs it into the house, she notices that there are dandelions sprouting from the cracks in the driveway. She won’t weed them until more flowers have bloomed in her back garden- the bees need pit stops. Phineas emerges from the stairs with jeans and his favorite brown turtleneck jumper. As she heaves Erin’s suitcase up the stairs, she notices her saunter past her down the stairs to the car. Hm, she must be eager to get all her stuff unpacked, thinks Blossom, as she humphs the monstrosity up the last step.

She leaves the suitcase in the spare room, with a solitary cardboard box. There’s definitely more to come up.
Phineas bumps into Blossom as he enters the spare room, resembling some kind of pack horse holding two of those large pink suitcases and a silly red leather handbag strapped to his chest. Isn’t he so strong? Blossom swoons a little bit. Erin follows close behind hugging a cardboard box into her large bosoms, then dumping it on the sofa bed. Away Blossom goes, down the stairs to help offload more of Erin’s stuff. But there’s not much more to come, except for one box which Leo is bringing in. Or was it Neo? Blossom didn’t want to be rude by asking him to repeat himself. She shouts upstairs- anyone for tea? She hears a “Yeah put the kettle on” from Phineas, and scurries over to the kettle in the kitchen to fill it to capacity.

As it starts to bubble, Erin and Phineas come downstairs and sit down side by side.

“I’ll unpack everything later.” Erin giggled, flicking her long blonde hair. “Phew, such a sweat, carrying all this stuff.”

“Hey Erin” Blossom asks, “Did you want a cup of tea?”

“I don’t drink tea. Do you have coffee?”

“Yeah, sure I’ll just get you one.” Blossom smiles, as Leo (or Neo) comes through to the kitchen and sits across the table from Erin. She asks him what he takes- milk and no sugar. Right ho! His facial expression is a little like a storm cloud, his aura is a very light pastel blue- passive. She hands him the mug with a smile. She looks at Erin and Phineas sitting together. She catches Phineas glancing at her breasts for a brief minute. She can’t blame him, they’re difficult not to look at. A storm on Leo’s face rouses. Blossom can almost feel lightning- it wants to strike something.

“So are you feeling all settled in?” Blossom asks Erin.

“Oh yes, thank you.” She glances at Blossom briefly before looking at Phineas. “This coffee is lovely.” Her thick eyelashes flutter.

“Great.” Blossom looks down at the contents of her cup. Chamomile tea. She doesn’t want to think this, but part of her wishes that she’d dressed in something smarter. Or at least a little more revealing.


It’s a Monday in the cozy little house. The sun is shining this morning, and Blossom is outside in her pajamas in the back garden meditating underneath the apple tree. She is meditating for peace. Erin has been living here for three weeks now, and Blossom is trying everything to make her feel welcome. Erin’s aura is becoming redder and more aggressive. Blossom knows this doesn’t make her a bad person, just different. Every yin must have yang. It’s one of the reasons she and Phineas were so compatible. The birds are singing; distant cars are humming. She thinks about the work night out she has been invited to tonight. Her eyes are closed but she knows the sun is shining down upon her beautiful garden. The grass is bright green with little flecks of white and yellow of dandelions and daisies. She remembers playing here as a child, on the tyre swing, with kids from her the village. The snowdrops and daffodils grow in the fortress flowerbeds carved and fenced lovingly by Granny. The tulips and bluebells are due to bloom any day now, waiting to burst from their buds. Granny would be proud of this garden, Blossom smiles to herself, she has kept it well.

The little tinkling alarm she’s set on her mobile reminds her that it’s time to get ready for work. She gets up from her spot, lifts her towel. She can see Phineas having his toast and coffee from the kitchen window. She walks inside, and goes upstairs to get dressed. She sees Erin storm down the stairs in her work clothes- grey pencil skirt, black glossy high heels, white low-cut ruffly blouse, grey cardigan.

“Morning, Erin!”

“Morning…” Erin sighs.

She stops in her tracks and watches her as she scuffles past her. She looks like she’s been crying, or angry or something. Her makeup is still flawless- how does she do that? She follows her as her high heels click on the hall lino, along to the kitchen. From the kitchen door, Erin can be seen boiling the kettle and sitting next to Phineas.

“What’s wrong?” he asks. Erin’s pink glossy lower lip quivers

“Me and Leo are finished.” She starts to break into a theatrical sob. “We’re over!” She wraps her arms around Phineas, clinging to him like a koala. “I don’t know what to do.”

Blossom comes in to finish making Erin’s coffee. In the state she’s in she’s probably forgotten about it. She reluctantly detaches from Phineas to take the mug from Blossom and cups it in her hand.

“What happened, Erin?” Blossom asks her.

“He just texted me! Been with me a year and he leaves me by text! It’s not going to work between us, he says, we’re too far apart, he says. Ha! It’s because I wouldn’t move in with him after a year together.” Erin sobs angrily. “Sorry, Leo for not being GOOD ENOUGH!”

She puts the mug down and puts her head on the desk suddenly. Phineas strokes her back for comfort. Blossom wishes there was something she could do.

“Do you need to take the day off? I can stay with you for a few hours, make sure you’re okay. We could walk and talk?” Blossom suggests. “I can make up those hours later on today, if I let my boss know.”

Erin raises her head and shakes it, looking at Phineas and Blossom, “Oh no please, I don’t want to be a bother. Really, you need to go to work.”

“It’s no hassle really, Erin.” Blossom smiles. “My manager is really flexible…”

Phineas looks at his watch, “Crap.” He pushes Erin off of him. “Erin, I need to go or I’ll be late for work. Call me if you need me.” He holds her face in his hands, and she lets him go. He dashes matter-of-factly out of the kitchen and to his car. Now only the kitchen fan can be heard, and of course, Erin gulping her coffee. She is avoiding eye contact with Blossom. Maybe she’s embarrassed for being as upset? Erin puts down the mug and jumps out the chair, tottering to get her handbag.

“Phinny!” she calls out, “Wait up, I need a lift to work!”


And now Blossom is in the kitchen alone. You’re very welcome, Erin, she thinks as she goes to the bedroom to get dressed for work.

Blossom comes back to the house after a whirlwind of a night out. She’s a little tired out after all the dancing and singing. There’s only so much of people Blossom can take before she needs to go back to her nest. Phineas would have been more than welcome, but he said he had to see his mother tonight. Erin is no doubt getting drunk with her friends tonight. So Blossom would be in the house alone.

She opens the door. Part of her is relieved to have some solitude, but she misses him. She’ll be happy when he tumbles in whenever he gets b-

What’s that noise?

The ceiling is thudding. Thud, thud, thud, thud, thud. Too rhythmic for an earthquake, not enough is shaking. A fast paced, faint squeak can be heard from upstairs.

“Ohhh Phinny. Ohh Phinny, fuck me harder, yes! Yes!”

Erin. Phineas. Erin and Phineas. Upstairs. In her bed.

Blossom’s handbag drops to the ground. She has so much emotion rushing in her body she cannot move. They can’t be… no they can’t be doing that. Betrayal. Anger. What should she do? Should she go upstairs, shout at them both? What could she shout? Get your hands of my man? How could you Phineas? Give Erin the satisfaction of being the victor, the successor? She is in so much pain right now, she can’t even scream as the tears roll down her cheeks. She wants to punish them. Yin and yang, no. More like survival of the fittest. Didn’t Blossom have enough stamina? Too small a pair of tits? Not pouty and polished enough? Blossom did have brains though, unlike Erin. Erin and Phineas didn’t even notice the door opened.

“Oh my god it’s so big inside me, holy shit ahhhh”

She goes out to the patio and sees that tall, spriggy dandelion and rips it out, then throws it onto the tarmac. Erin is a weed. She doesn’t even help the bees, she just ruins flowerbeds. She just takes nutrients from nicer flowers. Blossom goes and closes the door behind her, storms through the hall and out to the back garden. The garden is black in the night, she doesn’t even need a torch to find the shed. She gropes around until she finds a plastic watering can-like container. This’ll do. Back inside, weed killer, on the kitchen counter. Cocktail cabinet. It’s usually kept for parties. Make cocktails, sickly sweet. Grenadine, Absolute sours, fizzy pop, vodka. Erin does love getting drunk. Phineas will drink it because she is. He’ll follow that whore anywhere, Blossom thinks to herself, though she’s unsure where that thought came from. She reaches for the glasses. Tall glasses. The grunting, the thudding continues. Her hands shake as she mixes the drinks. Weed-killer first. Then grenadine. Shot glass of Sours Apple. Lemonade. Repeat. Blossom isn’t used to this kind of anger.

“Oh Phinny, come for me. Oh my god!”

Blossom freezes. She can hear them moan as they come together. The thudding stops. One longer squeak of the bed. Hide the weed killer.

“Wow, Erin.” She can hear Phineas pant. “That was fucking amazing. I mean, Blossom’s nice and all but god you can’t get that kind of sex from her.”

Blossom’s nice and all. Nice and all. Just nice. That’s all I ever was, wasn’t it, she thinks, nice and cute? Just a lovesick puppy. An unwanted, lovesick puppy. Her body wants to shut down. Maybe… maybe she should let it. Maybe she should take her life. Phineas would be so much happier without her hanging around. He’s obviously so much happier with her. She takes a glass and sits at the table. A sickly mixture. The glass shakes in her hand, little bits spill on her hands. Not that that’ll matter, not where she’s going. Maybe now she’ll finally have peace…

“Don’t do that Blossom.”

She hears a voice. “Who’s there?” she sniffs.

“You’re not ready to join me yet.” Her grandmother. Why am I hearing Granny? Blossom thinks.

“Granny?” Blossom cries into the air.

“And why are you giving up your house to those two anyway?” Granny asks.

She clutches the glass. She sobs to thin air, “I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve to live. I’m nothing.”
Granny sighs frustratedly. “Blossom! Don’t deserve this house? This house was made for you! You are a beautiful, strong and kind woman and the world’s short of souls like you. You have so much to live for, and you’re willing to give it up for that lump?”

“But, Phineas is everything to me.”

“He’s not worthy of you. I want him out of our house. Do you hear me? Get them out. Especially the harlot. It’s for your own health, my dear.”

Blossom nods. She looks down at the tall glass. How would her family feel? It would tarnish Phineas and Erin to have her death on their conscience but was that worth it? It’d be in the local press, and most of all Granny would be spinning in her grave. What would Mum and Dad say? There’s potential. This is her house. She knows now. Be assertive. There’s shuffling coming from upstairs. Blossom empties the other glass down the sink before she goes to the door.

Footsteps pad down the stairs. Phineas. Then, not long after, Erin. She looks up at them. Phineas is smiling tenderly at her, as if nothing happened. He really didn’t hear her come in. Erin titters in that sickening tone she has. “Hey, petal how are you…?” Phineas leans over to kiss her. Blossom backs away.

“Don’t touch me.” Blossom tells him.

“What’s wrong, Blossom?” Erin smiles, beneficently.

“I heard everything.” Blossom’s eyes glare. If looks could kill.

Phineas’s face falls. “Heard what, Blossom?” he asks anyway.

Blossom scoffs. “How stupid do you think I am Phineas? You and Erin were fucking in our bed!”

Phineas laughs nervously. He knows he’s busted. He knows he’s in the wrong.

“It’s not what you think. It was a mistake, a wild mistake.” Phineas pleas. “I love you, only you…”

Erin scowls. “I’m a mistake?. Surely marrying THAT will be your mistake”. She indicates Blossom. “She’s away with the fairies and from what you’ve told me she can’t even give head.” She glares at Blossom. “Phinny needed the touch of a real woman. He told me himself. I’d thought you’d be a bit more sharing, considering how commy you are.”

For all Phineas’s experience in debates and arguments, he is stumped. He can’t find the words. Maybe Erin has said them for him…

“Get out.” Blossom fumes, fighting the urge to strangle her.

Erin scoffs, stomping out, muttering she’ll send someone to get her things, swings the front door open and bumps into Blossom hard on the way out. Phineas still stands, dumb as a post, with a face which is the picture of guilt and regret. But then, this could be an act. She cannot begin to trust him anymore. Who knows how long he was fucking her before she moved in? How arrogant can one man be?

“Both of you.” She declares, staring at Phineas.

“What do you mean, both of you?” he implores her.

“I want both of you out of my house.”

“But where will I go?” he cries. “I love you!”

“It’s not my problem, anymore. Get out.”

“But petal…” his lips quiver, “What about us?”

“GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!” Blossom screams. Phineas scatters out the house like a spider.

She slams the door behind him and leans against it. There is an emptiness in the house without him here. She slides down and sits on the floor, cupping her face in her hands. She’s been cut off from all their memories. If one seeps through into her mind, she could crumble. Blossom cannot take him back after what he did to her.

She’ll have to get used to being totally solitary, a new life- will she ever find someone else? Will she learn to love herself? Who would want to love her? She can’t bear to think about it at the moment.
Her grandmother’s last words ring in her head “The future’s bright, darling.” She takes a surreal comfort in them right now. She gets up and goes to the kitchen to make a green tea.

Copyright 2017 by Jen Hughes. All rights belong to the author and material may not be copied without the author’s express permission.

Featured Image By Norma Baillie