Ordinary Love

Written by Phuong Nguyen, Illustration by Gracey Zhang

“Ordinary Love” is found in the details, prodding at the question of vulnerability, and the means of attaining it with another person. Is it a place to be breached, or just a feeling, transient like any other? Is vulnerability where we welcome the other person into our magpie’s nest of memory, family history, grief?

Phuong Nguyen writes in a way where the retelling of a small, fleeting scene, out of many, is made grand and meditative. This is the kind of fiction which inspires you to collect each vignette and hold it dear, until you reach the final paragraph, and probably long afterwards. What will stay with you is the imagination: in oven-baked worms, or how the sweater of someone you’re fond of can look softer than anyone else’s. Here is a story within a story, shared in quiet, near darkness, from one person to another: the way many, if not most, stories are told.

Featured story for February 2019

Moments like that were specific and self-contained, that’s what made them special, as if the universe passed a secret through for only the two of them to share. It’s what separated extraordinary love, the once-in-a-lifetime loves, from the ordinary ones.
— Phuong Nguyen

Gracey zhang

G, Grace, or Gracey, is a Canadian illustrator and animator. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design she has spent her time between continents and worked with clients like The New York Times, Plansponsor, and CBC Radio. Her work often focuses on the figurative and gestures of everyday life. She is represented by Writer's House.



Phuong Nguyen is a writer living and working in Toronto. She has been published in Ricepaper Magazine and Shameless.