• DANCE LESSONS

    I had been invited to a wedding and needed to learn how to dance. Mark’s dance studio offered three introductory dance lessons, for free. Surely, I thought, I can learn enough in those three days to save myself from embarrassment on the dance floor the following weekend! I signed up and was pleasantly surprised when Mark’s youngest son – tall, dark and handsome with deep brown bedroom eyes – introduced himself as my instructor. In those first few lessons, he taught me the basic steps of waltz, foxtrot, tango and rumba. As my free lessons came to an end and the wedding day loomed, I realized how naive I had…

  • MASTER OF THE DANCE

    To me, a worn pair of dance shoes was an illustration of commitment to craft. That is, until one day in 2011 and a particular dance lesson. Twenty of us were assembled in a classroom, waiting for an instructor. Ten men and ten women stood in segregated lines against opposite walls of a long room. The men stood with their backs against a blank wall, facing a mirrored one where each of them was expected to observe their frame and how they held their partner within it. The women backed against the mirror. Precisely on the minute that the lesson was to begin, the senior instructor slipped through the door,…

  • RIVER’S WINTER ENCOUNTER

    The young man hastened along the sidewalk of a busy city street crowded with holiday shoppers. Hands stuffed in his pockets and toque pulled low over his ears, he watched clouds of frozen breath float before him. “This will have to be a quick lunch, Riv,” Ben said, flicking the loose end of a scarf-end over his shoulder. “I have to get back to the office. “Me to,” River replied. “The boss wants a draft of my work on his desk before I leave tonight. I’m expecting a courier shortly. In the meantime, I have just enough time to grab a quick bite.” The two young men skirted the building…

  • WINTER SOLSTICE

    Eirlys, the Winter Fairy, tromped along the wild mouse path, the soft mud sinking under her feather weight, leaving tiny footprints that dried in the afternoon sun. Eirlys hated autumn weather. It was so indecisive. One day it was sunny and warm, with a slight under-chill. The next day it was foggy, misty, drizzly, rainy, cloudy, dark, or any combination of conditions she deemed boring. She could hardly wait for the Winter Solstice, two days hence. Then her true powers would be returned to her. Distracted by her brooding thoughts, Eirlys was surprised to realize that she had found her way to the river. It was running high and fast…

  • MAGGIE GIRL

    Ian had visited his great uncle Sylvester many times as a young boy. His parents would make a day of it, driving their green Austin Ten along country lanes until they reached the old man’s home. The drive seemed forever in those days. Later, he realized that it took less than an hour. Ian recalled his happy past with longing. His parents were young and spirited. The journeys to visit Uncle Sy were fun. They’d have sing-alongs in the car to pass the time. In the summer, they’d stop at a sea-side village on the way home for a dish of ice cream, which they would eat on a pebbly…

  • RIVERS OF BLOOD

    Bill stood near the stern of the HMCS Bayfield, one of sixteen Bangor Class mine sweepers comprising the 31st Flotilla of the Royal Canadian Navy. He watched the sea off Omaha Beach and waited for the next sighting of a soldier’s body. As lead stoker, he should have been below deck, spared the sight of carnage that dotted the waves. Since mines were now few and far between, however, the sweepers had been charged with recovery as well. Two days prior, the Bangors had been ordered to the Bay of Normandy. The Germans had planted a minefield stretching 120 kilometers across the Bay, sixteen kilometers wide. For the allied troops…

  • A NECESSARY FIRE

    “Why must you go?” Ingeborg Andreasson wailed. “You are the last of my sons! I can’t bear it!” “Mother, please,” Hans said, struggling to control his frustration. “We have been over this so many times. I can stay here no longer. There is nothing for me. No future. My father and brothers are gone. As are their boats. The storm saw to that!” He turned from his mother, feeling the sense of loss overwhelming him. He pounded his fist into a birch post, raised by his grandfather years ago when the house was first built. Pain shot through his fist and up his arm. He welcomed the distraction. Shaking his…

  • TRAVEL PLANNING

    I’m beginning to think that the thrill of travel is more appealing than actually travelling. When my husband and I decide on a journey, we might spend a year, even two, planning where we want to go and what we want to achieve. Why Travel? We are both history buffs. We have little interest in resort or warm-weather-only vacations. We enjoy discovering the history behind ancient cities and connecting the dots of what was – and is – the basis of our civilization. The stories that we hear along the way help flesh out what bits of history we might have learned in school or picked up as adults. If…

  • MOOR OF THE ROCK

    Tariq knew in his bones that he was meant to be a warrior, and now it was time to follow the path forecast by the deities.