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Progress, Not Perfection 
by Charles Stafford

JENNIFER sat in the circle with the rest, eyes to the floor, toeing the curled edge of a warped linoleum tile with her turquoise pump. People chatted with their neighbors in hushed voices; barely audible nonsense flittered about her ears. Her ponytail was loose. She leaned back to smooth and gather her unwashed hair and retie her scrunchy.
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The Cruise by Blaise Lucey

The boat set sail early in the morning, on a summer day. Mark boarded it first. His wife, Linda, followed. The children came last, jostling each other other in their excitement.

"Stop that," Mark said to them, embarrassed.

Baby, Be by Philip Swann

You see Mr Barnes peeking out from the net curtain, and he sees you, and he looks dismayed as his wife closes the gate behind her. Mrs Barnes crosses the road with such elegance; she could be a ballerina. She watches you more than the traffic, they can’t touch her; they can’t catch the pirouettes of her body. Cars roll by with their accustomed morning groans and you play the game your father taught you: ‘now listen love, listen to the engine and tell me, is that petrol or is it diesel?’ Father worked as an engineer and he wished you to follow him to the murky depths of oil and pistons and the nameless array of devices that could tear a body from its limbs. Such thoughts were the damnation of his dream. Poor father.

Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing Hurt by Colleen Kimsey

The last time the lights go out, I take my backpack and begin to walk. You aren’t my destination, but when my feet find the familiarity of your green concrete doorstep, there is only a moment of you peering behind a dim door crack before you slip out and follow me into the growing darkness.