In our Apostrophes section, (614) Magazine attempts to highlight some of the incredible literary talent that lives, works, and writes in Columbus. If you are an interested writer, please direct your submissions (1,000 words max for prose, 300 words max for poetry,) along with a brief bio, to firstname.lastname@example.org
An excerpt from Somewhere
By W. Kay Wilson
I landed in London, and the terminal seemed surreal. I had been there so many times before, either to Columbus or from Columbus, but this time was different. I had no desires to shop duty free, to eat, or to buy a t-shirt showing where I had been. The only longing I had was that my children were with me. My arms felt so lifeless, as usually I would be loaded down with one child in my arms and another one close behind, ready to dart towards any toy store he saw. I hadn’t eaten anything for more than ten hours, but the pain in my heart far outweighed the one in my stomach. The far-off look in my oldest son’s face preoccupied my mind. His expression as he packed his suitcase searching around his room deciding what to take was branded on my memory. I can’t remember exactly when he stopped expressing, his eyes becoming void of the childish sparkle and turning hazed, expectant. It was like he was always waiting for something to happen, but never surprised when it did. Like the build- up of the wave breaking against the beach near our house, he just kept quiet knowing it would happen as it did time and time again. No matter how big it was when it crested, he knew wherever it landed some of the sand would surely be sucked away from its path. I realized we robbed him, his father for abusing me, and me for accepting it.
I sat on a chair at the terminal noticing all of the gates, so many of them gateways to exotic places, foreign lands, but the one that caught my attention was the one I just passed through, back to my babies. I got on the phone to call a girlfriend. She helped me go to the U.S. Embassy the day before, she had suspicions I was leaving but I told her if I did I would call when I was safe.
“Hi Sissy, it’s Kim, I’m in London.”
“Girl, your husband has been calling everywhere wanting to know who you were staying with and did any of us know you were leaving. Are you okay?” I could hear a collective gasp of relief.
I could no longer hold it in. “Sissy, he has the boys, we got to the airport and he took the boys, I don’t know…” With each tear, my breath drew shorter.
“Please, stop crying. Do you want me to go check on them?”
“Yes, please.” I wasn’t sure if it would be possible, but I knew if anyone could get through the door Sissy could. She had the most welcoming spirit, paired with feistiness from growing up on the South Side of Chicago.
Another voice came on the phone. Apparently, my frantic husband, searching to know who helped me to leave had awakened some of my girlfriends in the middle of the night. Which one of them knew I was trying to take HIS children out of the country? That possessive pronoun – his. Everything was his: the children, the cars, me, my thoughts, every minute of my day. I know how they must have felt. Gbenga had a way of convincing you that the answer you were giving him was somehow not the right one, or at least not the one he was looking to hear. His voice is like a strange melody, sweet blues dipping into your soul, coveting your happiness and covering it with dark, slow tones.
“Hi Kim, it’s Megan. Gbenga has called all of us. Are you all right? Why didn’t you tell us what was going on?”
“He has the boys. I am in London. He took them, and he told me Heather’s husband called him to warn him I was leaving.” My voice was falling all over itself with sadness.
A fragile voice came on the telephone.
“I am really so sorry. I was hoping that my husband would talk to Gbenga and convince him to change his ways.”
My nose was filled with snot, making it so hard for me to breathe. I fumbled through my purse looking for a tissue. I blew my nose and talked as fast as I could, aware the calling card could cut off any minute. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done? Did you think I was leaving simply because I was sick of the place? Do you know what danger you could have put me in, Heather? It was not a lover’s quarrel; he was kicking my ass! Two of my ribs are cracked, my ear was bleeding, and he burnt the back of my neck with a cigarette! What were you thinking?” I knew she clearly was not thinking. Heather’s husband adored her. He was an entrepreneur who moved from Silicon Valley with hopes to pull Nigeria’s broken infrastructure onto the information highway, and his spare time was spent doting over his wife.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know and I didn’t think my husband would tell him. He told me he wouldn’t tell him.”
I couldn’t say another word, my mind could no longer think. I breathed in through my nose, and lowered my eyelids, I could feel the water welling up in my eyes, the inside of my nostrils getting wet, so I swallowed, giving her my grandparents’ phone number and hanging up the receiver.
About the Author
W. Kay (Shabazz) Wilson was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating with a BA in Marketing OSU, an MBA from Ohio Dominican and experiencing life as an entrepreneur, Kay is enjoying the journey of writing. Her debut novel Holding On To Somewhere unravels the complex threads of a mother’s love, family, identity, and the spiritual intelligence that shape a woman’s life. Her book is available at Amazon.com on Kindle and Nook, or on her website, www.carbon2diamondpress.com.
By Janelle McGill
we gave ourselves away
to the inanimate. books took
our spines, chairs borrowed legs,
made them without feet, then
doubled them. deadly unlit
derrieres shine white bright against
a black asphalt background.
we compromised our own thoughts
to keep our favorite parts. my most
prized possession: the place where
the heel of my foot meets the very
bottom of my calf, or to some, the
better half of my leg. but also my favorite
point of view. the part of me that
says to no one in particular:
“this means sometimes I can be
tantalizing and fragile.”
and then I gave away the parts
that weren’t. you’ll see them
rooted in bars and back roads
on subway cars, under postal codes.
and when you look closely
and see them there – let them go.
release the central nervous system,
those who support me and the
desired plump muscle.
About the Author
Janelle McGill is a Columbus resident at school at Miami University; signed up to be our summer intern, we couldn’t resist publishing her poetry (submitted as a writing sample) because we think it’s awesome. Look for more great work from her in the months to come!
But This Is Reality
By Amy Turn Sharp
I can’t really get into Sci-Fi films because it feels fake and I know I have to suspend my disbelief but I have zero problems standing in the freezing cold outside of a pub and telling someone we used to know each other in another life and that’s the reason we always find each other like flicker flashlights in the dark of a city. And I have no problems telling you that you come to me in my dreams and may be important to the next stage of my life. I’ll pull you close to me and whisper how it’s all about the things we know and the things we choose to pass out like candies. Like sweets. You look at me like I’m crazy but you know I’m not.
She’s talking again.
She’s turning on lights.
She’s walking towards me.
Why can’t she just be still?
Because some people were born to illuminate you.
About the Author
Amy Turn Sharp is a poet; she also works for an ad agency and freelances for magazines, has a “prerequisite first novel in a drawer,” and has lots of dreams. Her family are toymakers, and she wrote a poem every single day in 2012, so check those and her other writings out at www.amyturnsharp.com. She also hosts a poetry reading,“Word Church,” at Brothers Drake Meadery once a month.