My short story “Between the Pines” appears in the current issue of Paragon, published at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
This story takes place in Ottawa and was inspired in part by neighbourhoods Glen Cairn and the Byward Market, as well as my experience working in childcare. “Between the Pines” is included in my first collection, Men and the Drink.
“Pinky is relieved, along with her students, when the bell rings at lunch. She walks five blocks to her retreat, a long narrow park that edges the Ottawa River. It’s quiet contrast to classroom chaos is soothing. She strolls along the stretch of green until she comes upon the two large Austrian pines. She sits between them on a blanket of brown needles.
The pines are similar to those that dominated her front lawn when she was a child. Although the two trees started off as saplings, one had trouble keeping up with the other. Every Christmas, Pinky would hang heavy loops of blue and green lights on her wrists and unwind them slowly for her dad. Eventually he needed a ladder to reach the tops. Her cat Tommy would often climb them and meow. She wanted her dad to rescue him, but he always said that the cat was fine, that Tommy liked to be in the trees because he felt safe.”
Thank you to the editors at Paragon Press for accepting my story.
A reminder of the importance of perseverance… “Between the Pines” was rejected thirteen times before finding a home on the East Coast.