Photo by Pedro Dias on Unsplash

When my grandma died, my roommate Lisa drove me to the airport. A co-worker of hers had a flight at the same time — 6:50 a.m. — and we both wanted to get there the recommended two hours early. It was too early for public transit, too expensive to justify a car service. It was dark, before dawn, and chilly waiting for the heat vents to warm us. …

Photo by Devin Kleu on Unsplash

As I hustled down to the lake in my favorite floor-length dress, backpack strapped to my back, I willed myself not to throw up. I’d scoped out the location the Friday before: a dock at Green Lake at sunset. It had been acceptably emptied of people then, but I knew it might be different tonight. Even during a pandemic, the lake remained a popular place. Now I felt relieved to see no one on the dock, but it didn’t make me any less nervous. I knew my boyfriend’s cousin was luring him down to meet me, and I needed to…

Growing up in a small, conservative town, I didn’t have the words to make sense of myself or my history or my world, but I have them now

Photo by Jasmin Sessler on Unsplash

When I first learned how to read and write, I used to copy stories from my Little Golden Books, word for word, into my notebook. I loved stories, but I didn’t know how to write one myself without looking to somebody else’s. Life is like that, I think. I was always looking to other people to figure out who I was and what I liked. I lived in a small, conservative town in Iowa, where there were few people and limited possibilities. I tried to follow the narrative laid out for me, but my story, as I lived it, often…

This Love is a Broken Record

Photo by Author’s Best Friend

Once upon a time, I fell into the trappings of an on-again, off-again relationship. The longest Chris and I went without breaking up was 10 months. After that, we were lucky if we made it more than 2 months before one of us called it quits again. The highs were high, and the lows were low. When I wanted to get back together, nothing but love songs played on the radio. When I wanted to break up, nothing but breakup songs.

The first time I dumped Christopher, Taylor Swift played as my soundtrack. Literally.

Photo by Author’s SO

When our relationship was just six months old, my significant other and I packed up his parents’ Euro van for a road trip to Glacier National Park. It was the Friday evening of Labor Day weekend, and I wanted to arrive early Saturday morning. According to Google Maps, our destination was a nine-hour drive from Rylan’s Greenwood apartment. We stocked up on caffeinated beverages and agreed to sleep in shifts.

Rylan drove the first leg of the trip, while I pressed a pillow up against Big Blue’s passenger-side window and promptly fell asleep for the next five hours. He’d later…

Photo by Author’s Friend

My significant other Rylan and I are at the age where our friends are getting married, and I’ve noticed a common trend at the ceremonies. The vows don’t seem to be vows in the traditional sense anymore; instead, they’re more an exchange of relationship-defining stories, as if each person is answering the question: When did you first know you loved this person? Rylan’s grandfather is a Lutheran minister and would probably have a few words to say about this new convention, but I happen to like it.

I’m not married, but I am in love. …

Anika J. Miller

Seattle-based bookseller. YA writer. Personal essayist. Foster cat mom. INFJ.

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