peace in port perry

21/10/2010 § Leave a comment

There is one willow tree beside the pond in Port Perry and I found it. Weeping.

I sat with my legs stretched in front during my “pensive” moment (away from everyone, inside myself).

The branches of sleepy leaves sheltered me from the sub-urban sprawl that barricade the pool. I didn’t want to look at the monotony of architecture and I didn’t want anyone to look at me whilst I sat. Thinking.

My mom picked me up from the last-stop Oshawa GO Station late at night, around 7:30pm, with Bella in the backseat of her two-seater SmartCar. Cherry Red.

The dog was excited to see a new but familiar face and I was happy to put my feet up on my luggage at my feet. She managed to wedge herself onto my lap, pressing my face between her body and the seat. She Smells Like A Horse.

“Mama, I can’t breathe.” But, oh could I laugh.

After squeezing Bella back into the trunk she wedged herself into a crook on the floor. Collapsable Dog.

Over hills and twinkling street lights we drove in a darkness that only exists beyond the city’s borders. We Drove And Drove.

“Almost there, girl.”

My parents’ place is funny. It reminds me of many memories mashed into one: the farm house, the condo in Carleton Place, the downtown apartment in Toronto, the chilly Hastings flat South England. Some how for some reason, it still feels like home. Perhaps it is because they have had the same love seats since I was 6 years old, one of which was my bed for a year when we lived on the farm.  They’ve got good bones. Mama Always Said.

The next day, we sipped morning coffee and took the pup to a field so she could fetch her frisbee. The field is down the paved highway from the pond, a vast space with banks of cookie-cut houses, but  a view of fall-bitten trees and a colour-changing sky. I tossed the pink and floppy disc into the air from my black dollarstore gloves and watched her fly. Bella Is So Fast.

Chicken Pot Pie for lunch.

Pops came home after school. He had a long day but he still wanted to question me.

“Have you read Beatrice & Virgil? It’s good, you’ll like it. You like Kingsolver? You should try Hopkinson, you’ll like her. Are you o.k.?”

Homemade Lasagna for dinner.

We took Bella for her evening run in the field.

“Keep up, girl, did you forget how to walk with me?”

Oh yeah, I forgot.

Dusk was not dark, but red. Bella is a dark-chocolate black. We played pup-in-the-middle to exhaust her. Before we lost her without light, we snapped on the leash and walked home. Very Fast.

We watched television programs on the computer as an adaptation to this changing world. Hawaii 50, Castle, no, no Castle, NCIS, did we watch that one? The Future.

“Hey, did you want dessert? Your mom made an apple-pizza thing. There are only two left, but you can have one.”

“No, pops. I already got my peace.”

***

Mama dropped me off at the first-stop Oshawa GO Station this morning. The sky and trees were red. Cherry Red.

I thought of the weeping willow tree. Still Green.

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thursday: swing

14/10/2010 § Leave a comment

I had a dream. More like I had a nap and I lived in the moment of a far off place.

I was on a swing, reaching for new heights with each leg pump. I pushed forward and pulled back, still.

Still, I caught glimpses of the water slide below me that ran from the top of the hill on a beach towards the ocean. The water was blue and dark and coated with grey clouds. I heard the rumble of waves and felt the salted wind cling to my hair. I would pull back my legs to see the structure of the set that held me up and let me swing. Then, again, the slide into the ocean.

The sand was coarse and orange like my hair and my skin.

You were there, but you weren’t. Perhaps you were behind me or on the sideline watching, like a parent pushing me or that pole.

When I woke up, everything was back to the way it was.

We need to keep pushing and pulling instead of keeping still.

But you already know that.

thursday: hello!

07/10/2010 § Leave a comment

Head down and burrowing into notebooks, she noticed the ink of her pen was running out. The life of a felt-tip is fleeting, she thought.

She flipped through piles of words she had written searching for a pattern.

3,6,12,24…

It was rumoured that at the age of three was when she got a hernia operation. She remembered the hospital smelled green, like mouthwash or formaldehyde, simultaneously sterile and sickening. She remembered not knowing why she was placed inside a cage and wheeled away, screaming “Mama, mama! Don’t let them take me!” Her mother’s sad eyes are still written in her memory. She remembered waking up with a green band-aid on her abdomen, but she didn’t remember falling asleep.

When she was six years old, she fell in love for the first time. It was a boy named Michael in Mrs. Curtis’s class. He was new to the school and she was shy because of a black eye from playing catch with her cousin the night before. During the week, the whole family would get burgers and onion rings from Harvey’s and drive to their parents’ intramural softball games. It was the year that Harvey’s gave away softballs of electric colours with their combos. She chose the green and yellow one to accompany her burger (just ketchup, please!) That night, she was teaching her cousin how to catch pop-flies, lobbing the fluorescent watermelon ball into the air. When it was her turn to catch it, she tried to show off by catching it like they do on TV, waiting until the last second. In the last second, she saw the blue sky and then it was dark.

Twelve was twelve. Amidst sprouting pimples and late blooms, something grew behind her eye. She felt like the hunchback of Notre Dame. She discovered that humility had the low low price of existential reasoning.

Twenty-four came and went without a whisper.

On the table, a dragonfly landed. Like a worm, she inched her nose close to examine its rather ugly body with bulging eyes and red, striated torso. Getting closer, she noticed its green hue catching the light, the twitch from its rear legs, the wholes in its body made for breathing. She got closer and saw the pattern on its wing much like a leaf. Although veined and translucent, it began in one point and pulsed a structure through the flaky wafers. These flakes are what make it fly, she thought. It’s so tiny and its life is so fleeting.

She looked up, left her notebooks and went outside.

 

the valid dictorian

30/09/2010 § Leave a comment

On top of a hill, on a long veranda, on a chair. he sat and dipped ginger snaps into his black coffee and wondered how he got there.

He was older, but not old. He could not remember his first steps or his high chair or the first time he climbed the stairs. He remembered the sound of his mother’s voice, “Oh, you were something, you were such a hoot. The sound of a great thud and running to the bedroom and seeing you climb the ladder to the bunk bed. You wouldn’t walk, but, man, you would climb everything!” She told him that story a lot. As it turned out, he decided to skip walking and chose to run or leap or fly.

He was harder, but not hard. He knew he liked salty crackers and sweetened tea and the bitter taste of dark chocolate, but he could not put his finger on it. He did remember the early mornings with his cousin and grandmother, rising before the crack of dawn to watch the weather station and dunk ginger snaps into a mug filled with black coffee. “Morning, Fred. It’s going to be sunny today. What do you say we go to the beach and do nothing,” his grandma would say. As he grew older, he noticed that the jar of ginger snaps would always be full. She only bought ginger snaps for him and his cousin.

He was wiser, but not wise. He knew he got decent grades and was mediocre at sports and wondered what everyone else was doing. He learned a little bit of everything from the things that he tried and discovered that he liked language and freedom. Everyday in French class, he was sent into the hall. “No, Monsieur, I will not go into the hall again! It takes two people to talk and disrupt the class and I will not be the martyr of consequences!” At recess, he apologized to his friend for sending her out into the hall and she told him it was nothing. It gave her the opportunity to do something other than work, like colour and listen to her tape deck. Later in high school, he, too, enjoyed the moments in the hall during math class.

Sitting alone with a glass half full of coffee and cookie crumbs, he said out loud, “To most I am nothing, but to few I was something.” He laughed.

ww & thursday: a cylinder

23/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Tubes and tunnels bring back memories of empty paper towel rolls. Much like everyone else, I remember taking the flimsy, hollow logs of cardboard, pressing it around my mouth and hollering like a wolf or monster or sports announcer. It would leave a ring, a red impression, for a few minutes. Then, I would take it and pretend I was an explorer of sorts, holding it to my left eye and yelling, “ahoy!” It left a temporary monacle. Looking down the cylinder, I would notice how much brighter it looked on the other end, contrasted by the dark, cardboard tunnel.

Last night, I got to spend a little time with STB. Of course, sitting in her bedroom with newly acquired posters and trinkets, we started talking about books. For some time, I have not found the space (as I have a lot of time) to enjoy reading. Perhaps, it has been the literature that I have chosen.

Over a bottle of tap water, I explained my frustration of a book by Tom Wolfe, “I Am Charlotte Simmons”. It’s about a girl from Sparta, North Carolina, a small-town girl, who goes to college and finds herself lost in the sea of peer pressure: Sex and drugs and rap. It’s the same story, but it was poorly written. It sucked because it tried too hard.

Growing up, we were taught to look both ways before crossing the street, even if the light was green or the crossing-guard was guiding us. We were taught to be aware of our surroundings so that we could jump out of the way of danger, or, better yet, just yield.

Growing up, I used to think that endurance was equal to perserverance. I thought that putting one’s head down and struggling would bring me to the other side. From my observations (and my subjective right to create defintions), perserverance is to laugh in the face of hardship, whereas endurance creates it:  As soon as I am done school, as soon as I get off work, as soon as I finish this book… 

The problem is that we get lost in it. We put our noses into bad situations (books) and torture ourselves, hoping for a “better” at the end. We feel like we already put in so much time, we should not stop now. When it comes to the little things, that for some reason we seem to sweat over, we get tunnel vision. 

Raise our heads, look both ways and cross the street.

thursday: wondering about wonderful

16/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Rolling into bed with the expectation of a morning’s headache: Spaghetti with chorizo-bolognese and a bottle of Australian wine brought to you by a half-Australian, half-Canadian friend and chocolate cupcakes fresh baked because of a photo shoot of a girl in just an apron in the kitchen. Sitting in the autumnal chill into the wee hours of an early night, as 6AM is when the brain clicks on. This is going to hurt, you think.

Some people choose their poison well. They can act as a catalyst that encourage one’s finer traits.

“Yeah, I function really well on booze. I like the drink. I tend to giggle a lot. Whereas weed makes me paranoid and over-analytical, booze lets me be me, but just a more hilarious version. Uninhibited to laugh at myself, you know?”

“Yup. I’m guessing weed makes you paranoid, makes you think too much, and leaves you burnt-out for 3 days?”

“Yup. I think what we ought to do or drink or not do or not drink is all bologna anyways.”

“Bolognese!”

My friend, B-rent, spoke about his friends that are high-functioning pot-heads, chronics. They smoke anywhere from a couple of grams to a half ounce of weed a day. Something about the lethargy calms their body and mind. The high lets them touch down.

Surprisingly, this morning my head did not hurt. I felt fresh and invigorated despite the consumption. It reminded me of times not too long ago, when every Thursday afternoon I would roll into work and greet my friend with a hug.

“Hola, Jameson!”

“How you feeling? Maggy is feeling the bottles of wine you guys polished off last night. She is a little hangover, hehe.”

“Surprisingly, I feel great.”

Perhaps it was because it was Thursday, and it has always been my favourite day.

Still, our motives behind our actions puzzle me. There are not only things that we just like, but crave. Everyday I want butter. A dollop of salty fat spread onto anything. I like when I watch it melt, leaving a glistening rink on a fresh baked bun. I remember being fiendish for butter since I was a kid, spreading it thick on the heel of white bread and dipping it into a steamy bowl of chili or spaghetti sauce.

Some people don’t like butter. It does not react well with them. It leads to breakouts and heart murmurs and an overall dissatisfaction of the ensuing guilt. Perhaps, those people should not eat butter.

Talking with a small group of friends, we discussed the phenomenon of de-naturalization: the one where we stopped listening to our bodies. They brought up that we do listen to our animal cravings, but where we are lost is questioning the reason behind it. Some people crave sugar, some salt, some fat, some all of the above. But, why? Once you understand it, then you can love and accept it.

Butter is the nostalgic access to my salty tendencies. Wine has a syrupy sweetness — one that leaves my head light and my face rosy — that reminds me of old Wednesday nights with good food and a good person. After I indulge, my body is still bewildered at feeling wonderful. Perhaps they give me warm feelings, ones that melt my heart and mouth, but not in my hands. Perhaps I am a high-functioning butter&booze chronic. Or, perhaps I feel wonderful because it’s Thursday.

thursday: good things

09/09/2010 § Leave a comment

Starting off the day with sleepy eyes and warm embraces, and cream and cinnamon in my coffee, and a hug from a lady love, and a mysterious man stealing new shoes from a kid to bring to me, and cleaning the bathroom, and eating oatmeal with coconut and banana, and riding my bicycle against the blistering wind, and reading a nonsense book written an old, rich man about contemporary college drama, and eating cheesey palitos from Argentina, is a good start to a Thursday.

It’s dark outside, but there is light in my heart.

The little things.

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