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Illustration by Lizzy Stewart

Santa Tecla [private]

The hotel where she had hoped to spend a very happy week was in a small village in Tuscany at the end of two trains and a bus, facing a wheat field. “Santa Tecla is where celebrities go to relax,” her friend Alice had said. She had showed her a picture of Madonna by a pool, #vacation #bliss, drinking an Aperol Spritz. But the Hotel Santa Tecla looked nothing like what had been on Instagram, and as she waited for her key at the check-in desk, she realized that Madonna or Madonna’s assistant had put in the wrong geotag.

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Illustration by Lizzy Stewart

Filling Station

There’s a filling station down the road, a lone storefront off the old highway. Its sign dangles from rusted chains, ready to fall at the slightest touch. I went there last week when the new Shell was overcrowded only to be reminded of why I’ve taken my business elsewhere. My mistake was in forgetting: Every time I go to Johnson’s, I swear it will be the last time.