“I don’t LIKE salad!”

The lobby of my YMCA was in full Saturday bustle. I chirped my entry card and veered to the right around the staircase. Parents herded their kids, trying to make an exit.

“I don’t LIKE salad!” I heard a toddler announce right before he almost ran into me.

I scooched out of his way and smiled. Honestly, it didn’t sound like he was throwing a fit. It was more an honest assertion.

I wanted to lean down and say, “I feel you buddy.”

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STUCK

My little VW Beetle was parked close to a curb at a friend’s house. Their grassy lawn sat on the other side. As I opened the door to get in, the sharp lime-green corner stuck in the earth. As hard as I pulled, I couldn’t get it free.

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Stay on the Line

The cop took a U-turn at the light, following me in my lane.

“There is a police car behind me,” I explained to my sister on the phone. I put my blinker on and turned. “Oh no, they turned too.”

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Communicate the Line

Engrossed in a good movie, I didn’t want to leave. I cursed myself for chugging the large coke, waited until a spot in the movie that I could tolerate missing and sprinted to the bathroom. A line greeted me. I smiled at the people in front of me and tried to be patient. I was pretty desperate and didn’t want to miss any more of the film. What was taking so long? I didn’t want to appear pushy. So I waited just a little more.

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Muscle Memory by Author Lindsay Leslie

Rollerskating. The shine of a newly waxed wooden floor. The clunk, clunk, clunk of those four wheels speeding around the rink. The throbbing pop music pumping through the speakers. I love the roller rink. I spent my adolescence there, and now, as a momma, I take my kids.

The first time I took them, I hadn’t been rollerskating in a while, but I was game. We laced up our skates and hit the floor. Literally. It didn’t take more than four rotations before my face made a beeline for that waxy wood. But something in my mind kicked in.

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Reggae, Amputations, and Trice by Author Jess Hagemann

I met Trice at The Absinthe House on Pearl Street. The bar doesn’t exist anymore, but when it did they had weekly reggae nights. I spotted him immediately—that woven tam cap slouching over two kind eyes, those baggy jeans swaying gracefully to the music. He asked me to dance, and I asked him what he did—proving that first impressions aren’t everything. That sometimes, the soul’s story sounds like The Wailers when it sings.

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New Year’s Fire

Over Christmas, I got to build fires at my sister’s home. I was a bit out of practice and enjoyed the challenge. Rachel and my brother-in-love have these little “fire starters” that you can place and light to help get the rest of the fire going. I thought, “oh this is going to be easier than usual…a little wood and one of these babies and wham we’ll have a fire.” The first fire I built looked architecturally fine, but didn’t last.

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Rebekah Manley Comments
Hold Space

I circled the packed YMCA parking lot. My anxious pre-yoga pep talk did not go well: “I’m not going to get a spot and I’ll be late for class. There might not be room for me. Even if there is, I don’t want to be that person.”

I took a deep breath and kept circling.

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Peace Like a River by Author Chris Cander

Inside, 20 teenagers—many of them scarred, tattooed, broken-looking—talked in small groups. After I was introduced, the kids looked at me somewhat suspiciously. As I told them why I loved this incredible story of a young boy’s journey across the frozen Badlands of the Dakotas in search of his fugitive older brother, it occurred to me that I might not be able to give away any books at all.

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