Photo by Diana Parkhouse

“Well, my great grandmother’s still alive, and you can see how that would be an issue.”

I looked at him and jotted the words great grandmother in my notebook. He stared at his hands.

“She wants grandchildren to see me get married, so, you know, if that’s okay with you, maybe we could pretend that…” He took a breath and forced the words out. “Maybe we could pretend that it’s something we’re planning on doing.”

I scribbled down the words marriage and children. “That’s no problem at all.” His shoulders relaxed, and picked up his coffee for the first time…

How am I? I’m fine. You’re not asking out of obligation, are you? It’s not that I think that you are, it’s just that, you know, I’ve asked you for support a countless number of times and you hardly ever ask me for the same so — and I know I don’t need to feel guilty and that we’re friends and this is what friends do, I just, don’t want to feel like I’m pawning off a conversation meant for my therapist on to you, you know?

by Sanghyuk Yoon

I don’t mean to be talking so much. Things are fine, yeah. Well…

Hello. I am not a successful person. In fact, you would be correct in calling me an “angry teenager” or a “therapist’s gold mine”.

Throughout my life, while eating sandwiches at my desk and looking at the small amount I have left in my savings account and realizing that it will need to go towards car registration, because, of course, having a renegade off-the-books 2001 Toyota Prius would reduce society to shambles — I have observed the successful people around me, and have noticed some patterns and behaviors that they share in common.

Before I begin, please keep in mind…

No one came to the restaurant today.

Mimi sat in the corner booth furthest from the entrance, on the side of the table where she could see if someone entered. She looked down the empty aisle that led from the kitchen to the front door, which separated the booths from the rest of the tables.

Photo by Charles on Unsplash

Her head rested on her arms. She stared at the soy sauce containers and remembered that on her first day, she found out her parents never cleaned them, but instead just added more until they were full. …

Well, therapy worked so now I’m a bad writer.

To be honest, I always knew that it was a bad idea. I’ve always had the quiet suspicion that happy people, at the end of the day, have nothing interesting to say. “What a lovely Bordeaux! What a day at the office.” Boring, non-consequential things that make for boring, non-consequential stories.

Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash

But now, a year and a half into bi-weekly sessions with a divorcée named Martha, I’m one in the same.

I used to feel things. Extremes. I would see a stranger walking with a book and write pages and pages…

Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Hamilton on Unsplash

Fine, here’s your essay on Emily Dickinson. She was a good poet. She was born sometime in the 1800s, or maybe the 1900s. I’m not sure. I’ve looked up several articles about her on my own free will, and not because you, Mr. Larner, and our librarian double threatened us with a bad-cop, bad-cop routine by staking 50% of this grade on the citations we used — thank you, by the way.

Emily Dickinson ate breakfast every morning —

You know what the worst part about all of this is? I actually like Emily Dickinson. Turns out, she’s a great…

Photo by Julie Johnson on Unsplash

“I don’t think it’s written very well.”

“What do you mean?” Brian Becker asked. His eyes narrowed as he stared down the twenty-something intern sitting across from him. This intern, Mark or Andrew or Steven, one of the three, was as naive as they came. His shirt, Becker noticed, was not ironed.

“The jokes don’t land, it’s not that original, it’s called The Jungle Bungalo which made me think that this wasn’t a real script but maybe just a joke at first, plus it’s so pompously written — ”

“I’m going to stop you right there.”


I wrote this…

illustration by Elvis Vasquez

I’m sorry, this is my first exorcism. Could I use your bathroom?

No you’re right, I’ll go afterwards. Thank you for restraining him to the bed. I’ll just need a second to get ready. What? Did I bring a…what? I’m sorry, he’s being very loud.

Oh, I do have a bible. And here is a…oh no. It spilled a little in my bag. Anyway, I have some holy water with me too.

Okay, here we go. Dear spirits. It is incredibly rude of you — I’m sorry. Let me start again. …

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Roger opened his letter of termination. There was no malice in the way it was written. Budget cuts, restructuring, a thank you for his five years of employment. He looked it over one more time before folding it neatly back into the envelope it came in.

“Do you want some cheesecake? It’s Linda’s birthday and there’s cheesecake in the kitchen.” A coworker said as they appeared in the doorway of his office.

“No, thank you.”

“Okay, suit yourself.”

Roger looked at his desk. Several manila envelopes remained stacked one on top of the other, each labeled with the name of…

Yusong Liu

25 year old writer living in Los Angeles. Everything I write doesn’t exist until you read it, so thank you for reading.

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