Fading Flame

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A piece of Cynthia Reed’s short story, “Crosswords,” reads,

“It wears him out. He’s resolved to ignore the smell of her hair when she wakes him to rub her back in the night. Acquiescence makes life sadder, but quieter, he’s decided. Frances is not capable of managing her own medication but, in his perpetual state of near-exhaustion, he insists to their children that he’s only trying to allow their mother to be independent, to maintain her dignity. In reality, he’s grasping at respite without the ignominy of speaking its name.”

Reed’s story provides a window into the daily life of an aging man dealing with his wife’s dementia from a perspective poignant in its simplicity and sincerity. Find the full piece of fiction in Issue 2.

Photo Credit: Brian Aydemir
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/kitby/5175594682/)

Cynthia Reed Sobotka

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Extinguishing the Flame

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An excerpt from K.M. Zahrt’s “Damn You, Steve Jobs” reads,

“I think of Mom. I’m too young to be a drain, but too old to dream—not after Dad’s death, not after divorce. I know too much about where it all ends. Dad: heart attack. Mom: dementia. Not six months ago, Steve Jobs even, the great Steve Jobs: cancer.

I don’t want it to take that long. I want it now. What’s the difference anyway? What could possibly happen between now—between divorce and dementia—and death?

We board the plane, Sport Coat and I and nearly one hundred others. Wouldn’t this be good? How many times would Cheryl have to explain it to Mom? ‘No, Mom,’ she would say. ‘Sandy died in a plane crash over Lake Michigan.’ Why not? It’s as good as any.”

Zahrt’s ability to neatly wrap up a cabin’s worth of emotional baggage in a story compact as a carry-on makes this story about dealing with mental deterioration, romantic detachment and death in the digital age simultaneously humorous and heavy in the most human way possible. Find the full story in our upcoming second issue.

Photo Credit: Robert S. Donovan
(http://www.flickr.com/photos/booleansplit/5306523435/in/photostream/)

Zahrt