afterlife: Philadelphia Metropolis
By Marnie Quinlan»
There is a placard in my local library which bears a quote by Jorge Luis Borges. It reads "I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library". When I first strolled past these words on my way to Adult Non-Fiction, I had just moved to Philadelphia from the east coast of Australia and couldn't have felt more like a fish out of water. I'd made a decision to end my career as a lawyer and leave my family, my friends and the hometown in which I'd grown up to relocate to a country where I knew no one; to a new job, a new city and to surrender my life as I knew it to my first and only true love - my writing.
Nothing was familiar. I didn't know the area, I was learning (and I use the tem loosely) how to drive on the right side of the road, my accent was a dead giveaway that I didn't belong, I hadn't made any friends, I hadn't written a thing since landing at JFK, I was
By Stacia Friedman»
I grew up in a secular Jewish family in which death did not exist. We children were not allowed to go to funerals or cemeteries. We had no concept of Heaven, other than a once-a-year excursion to the Concord Hotel in the Catskills where we were allowed to stay up late and hear comedians tell obscene jokes with Yiddish punchlines. Even better, there was no Hell. At least not after my parents put my sister and me in separate bedrooms.
So what happens when we die? "Nothing," said my father, the doctor. "It's like unplugging a TV." I accepted this with an air of superiority. When religious friends of all stripes spoke wistfully of dear, departed relatives being "in a better place," I rolled my eyes.
By Katie Bambi Kohler»
The mirror which reminded me daily I was not the fairest in the land started to tell an even grimmer tale. My face became moon shaped, the wisps of upper-lip hair -- an Italian rite of passage -- became darker. Acne speckled my face. Most noticeably, I got fat. Like when people pretend to be pregnant and put a pillow under their shirt.
Eight years ago, I was 24. Like most people in their early twenties, thought I was immune to any type of disease or catastrophe. I went five years without medical insurance, only visiting the doctor for severe colds and forgoing the important annual OBGYN appointment required for women of a certain age.
"We are going to be married this year, and then I will be on your health insurance," I reasoned to Tom, my fiancé.
By O.K. Pham»
At a recent get together, my friend Kate related to me the details of her fractured relationship with her in-laws. The troubles have escalated over the years; most stemming from the mother-in-law casually sidestepping the boundaries Kate and her husband have set. The examples she cited revealed a woman desperate to assert some influence on her grown son's life and the upbringing of her grandchildren.
I listened and sympathized, at times fully appreciating my friend's intense frustration. But the mother-in-law had been more meddlesome than malicious, and Kate's grievances in some instances were admittedly trivial. With three young kids, Kate and her husband occasionally rely on babysitting help from myself and both of their families. But ever since the last altercation-- the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back-- Kate and her husband had cut all communication with his parents. Their youngest son will soon have his first birthday party,
By O.K. Pham»
"I don't think of you as Vietnamese anymore-- just as my wife."
My husband Shaun stated as he leaned back in his chair, after a thoughtful sip of his Saison. We were savoring a backyard lunch together on one of those perfect Saturday afternoons in late June. I stared at him across the table where a dwindling platter of steamed corn and grilled London broil sat.The kids had already run off after devouring their lunch, treating us to the luxury of an uninterrupted conversation. My gaze fell from my husband's red hair to his grayish blue eyes, before finding the smile that had been the prelude to our many dialogues.