FICTION

Flash fiction about endings and beginnings

When it was all over they studied how it started. When it was all over they rearranged their calendars. When it was all over they kept the pets they’d adopted, but allowed their closets to fall back into disarray. When it was all over they had new leaders, new songs, new science, but old habits, old hatreds. When it was all over they went on vacation.

When it was all over they joined a book club, feeling suddenly as if there was nothing they couldn’t do. When it was all over they congratulated each other on their survival without forgetting…


Guide To Google Drive

Managing the logistics of death can also be a way to heal

Woman smiles while she looks at old photo album with Google drive icons in foreground.
Woman smiles while she looks at old photo album with Google drive icons in foreground.
Photo illustration; Image source: LumiNola/Getty Images

This piece is part of How Google Drive Can Make Every Corner of Your Life Easier

I’m a spreadsheety kind of person by nature. The tidy progression of columns and rows is comforting to me. Maybe that’s why a spreadsheet was one of the first things I made after my mother died.

My sister and I faced the difficult task of figuring out what to do with our mother’s beautiful house. My mother, who worked hard for every dollar she ever spent, had collected a perfectly gorgeous and bewildering array of framed art, pretty objects, handsome furniture, and lovely clothes…


In 20 years, I’ve had almost all women bosses. Here’s what I’ve learned (so far).

An Asian woman presenter interacting with the audience at a business presentation in the board room.
An Asian woman presenter interacting with the audience at a business presentation in the board room.
Photo: piranka/E+/Getty Images

Somehow, thanks to magic or fate or luck or all three, I have worked for over 20 years without ever taking a job that didn’t report to a woman.

To be clear and fair, there were some jobs where I reported to two bosses and one was female and the other male. And in the most recent in-an-office-at-a-desk job I held, a man became a manager after my original boss left.

But those are small exceptions. Everyone who’s ever hired me has been a woman. And for the most part, my two decades in the workforce have been shaped by…


Fitter. Happier. More productive. There, robot worker drone, you’re fixed!

Photo:
Luis Alvarez / Getty Images

You know what would be great? If I weighed 30 pounds less, worked more efficiently, fought for justice, parented with patience, spent less money, and never experienced sadness, anger, frustration, or temptation.

Hey, I know what I’ll do! I’ll just resolve to make that happen! First, I’ll decide that I’m going to change, um, everything about myself, and second, I’ll decide on an arbitrary day to begin — oh, hell, call it January 1.

To start, in order to lose 30 pounds, I’ll get a wearable health device and join a gym. Unfortunately, this means I’ll need to break my…


Despite recent upgrades in technology, legislation, and cultural attitudes toward pumping breast milk, pumping still leaves much to be desired.

Photo: Michael Sugrue/Getty Images

As a pumping mom, I had it comparatively easy. I could afford a pump and accessories, I had a dedicated place to pump (I called it Our Lady’s Hallowed Shrine of Liquid Boredom), and I had a boss who supported me. But pumping was still time-consuming, expensive, awkward, tiring, and messy.

Ever tried to describe the experience of pumping breast milk to someone who’s never done it, like a curious male co-worker, and watched their eyes widen in disbelief and sympathy?

“Well, first you have to buy this little machine, which comes in a bland tote with a bunch of…


A four-step guide to cleaning out your parents’ house after they die

Photo: 10'000 Hours/Getty Images

The first item on any list, my mom always said, should be to make a list. That way, you can cross something off immediately.

When my mother died last year, she left her affairs well-organized — unsurprising, for someone with her talent for list-making. But after many months of declining health, her death came so suddenly that my sister and I never got to have that all-important conversation about her wishes for her memorial, her bequests, and what she might want done with her things.

Her things. That summer, after my mother’s death, it fell to my sister and me…


And yet here we are

Photo: Westend61/Getty

Do you have a flannel shirt on? Are you drinking a warm apple cider festooned with a cinnamon stick, or a pumpkin spice latte, or somehow both? Are you eating an actual caramel apple in an actual corn maze? Are you surrounded by pumpkins—just, like, absolutely hemmed in by them on all sides, like an actual prison made of pumpkins? How about mums? You got a gajillion of those? Maybe even some of those Frankenmums that are somehow yellow and purple and orange because they are botanical visitors from the multiverse?

My family recently visited one of the prettiest damn…


It could be the key to lessening your mental load.

Mom and young son on phone and tablet.
Mom and young son on phone and tablet.
Photo: @jcorso510 via Twenty20

I see you. At the playground, at pickup, at the soccer game or dance class. You’re the mom looking at her phone, flagrantly, in public, in a kid-related space, when you could be scrupulously watching your child every second, unblinking, until your eyes dry out. Or until you’re handed that Mother of the Year trophy we’re all supposedly gunning for.

You have that look in your eyes — I recognize it. You’re stressed. You’re either scowling down at the screen while you try to fit 48 hours of activities and work into 24 hours of a day, or you’re spacing…


Pop’s letters from Vietnam remind me how fiercely he fought his demons

Photos courtesy of Siobhan Adcock

My father was a good man. I really think he was. But when I was growing up, he was also violent. Frightening. Depressed. Alcoholic, and not in a fun-at-parties way. Often mean. Sometimes racist, as liberal, left-voting white people can casually be. He could be — as even the people who loved him most acknowledged — an asshole.

But he could also be heroic, as he was for me and my little sister, who adored and feared him. Pop was certainly a larger-than-life figure for the kids in our neighborhood, who he would load into the back of his pickup…

Siobhan Adcock

Siobhan Adcock is the author of two novels, The Completionist and The Barter, as well as essays in Ms., Salon, Slate, and McSweeneys. siobhanadcock.com

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