Marcie Lynn Tentchoff
In our neighbourhood every face is friendly and familiar, one we’ve seen before across a smoking barbecue, with memories of grilling meat and laughter mixing with the screams of happy kids. Or from a yard sale where the price on some long outgrown child’s toy was cut to match our daughter’s not-too-large-at-best allowance, when it’s been already drained by ice cream cones and chocolate bars. We know the old cars, new cars, hair styles, the much regretted impulse buys, and every celebration, argument, new playmate, boyfriend, fashion choice that has ever been paraded past our neatly manicured front lawns. We know to smile and nod when Victor Jones two houses down waves a somewhat grumpy paw as he lopes to fetch his morning Times; he’s never at his best before he’s brushed away the remnants of his dinner hunt with mint and fluoride, then had three cups of coffee laced with cream. We commiserate with Katherine when she storms out of her Tudor showing off her patchy scales, and wailing over pool guys who can’t get the chlorine right, then agree that good hydration is the cornerstone of health, and that health is, after all, the most important thing. Then we chew the fat with Angie ‘cross the street as she, eyes rolling, waits with barely curbed impatience for her son to tie his wrappings on just right to make the waves he wants to make at school, and comment on the “Tut Tut” bumper sticker that her husband thought was brilliant wit, even though she thinks it’s gauche. But we never ask whose fat we’re chewing, which neighbourhoods that are not ours have lost a child, an aunt, a grandpa, or an over-hearty parish priest. It’s not our job to pry into our neighbour’s secrets, or to push the boundaries of what might happen out beyond our own.
Marcie Lynn Tentchoff is a writer/poet/editor from Canada’s west coast, where she lives in a tangle of dense underbrush with her family and miscellaneous creatures, both of the indoor, outdoor, and in-roof varieties. Marcie’s work has appeared in such publications as On Spec, Weird Tales, Polar Starlight, and Star*Line, and her third poetry collection, Midnight Comes Early, is currently available from Hiraeth Publishing.