The Summer of the Duck

by Shayn Davenport

My brother Josiah has always been my wingman. Like me, he is strong and stout. Besides our blonde hair, we are every bit the Czech image our father has passed onto us. He is exactly two years younger than I am, and he is one of my best friends. He knows everything about my life.

“Are you ready to go, Josiah?”

“In a minute. I have to piss.”

“Hurry up; Mom will be back soon and I’d like to avoid that whole shit-storm.”

“No shit, should we leave a note?” cynicism laces Josiah’s laugh.

“Yeah, she’ll be wracked with worry about her two lovely boys.”

We both have feelings of despair. He feels the abandonment and emptiness of our family. It is as deep as Death Valley and just as dry. One good thing about inattentive parents, though, is they don’t miss you when you’re not around.

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Inside Voice

by Amy Dennis

Fearlessness is a slick shyster. We tend to think of fearless acts as those steps of faith that balance on the tightrope between dreams and disaster. Not always. Fear rides around in our back pockets every day, just waiting for the chance to hold us back from our own growth. The good news? Fear’s alter ego, fearlessness, hitches a ride, too. It’s in the other pocket: the odd, brittle good luck charm from your childhood that you can’t quite bring yourself to ditch.

Women especially tend to hold fear close, like a trusted companion. Sometimes that’s healthy. Fear can, after all, prevent us from engaging in dangerous behaviors. Fear settles into our guts and raises goosebumps along our unsuspecting arms, pulling us away from dark corners of decisions that don’t even need to be made. So powerful are those instincts that they often override the stubbornness and social dissatisfaction that can lead to powerful life changes. What does that look like?

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