Tuesday, September 3, 2013
...reblogged from my new(ish) Tumblr,, where I endeavour to re-imagine my own day to day conversations as excerpts from bad chick lit. Please check it out.
"I don’t know why you want to get here so early," his sister told us as we got out of the car at the airport. I wasn’t sure either, really. I guess I wanted to get it all over with, skip past the horrible goodbyes to the part where I was drunk on the plane. That part came easy.
When we got inside I found out my flight was delayed. I felt like I was going to throw up. Ridiculously I felt like someone waiting to head on over to the electric chair—I’d steeled myself, told myself I had exactly this much time till I’d say goodbye, convinced myself I could survive till the moment of departure if I just took deep breaths. Adding another hour of waiting should have been a blessing, but instead it felt like torture.
He was a real good sport about waiting with me—he usually was, I’d discovered. “Do you have any change?” he asked me. “I’m kind of thirsty.” I did, and I bought him a drink, some orange pop I’d never heard of before. “They make it here, he told me, passing the bottle to me for a sip. “It’s the best orange pop in the country.” He talked, and I listened, and leaned into him. We babbled, as we’d been doing for days. There was something about the way we could talk to each other that calmed me down. I avoided looking at the security gates. I tried to keep myself as close to him as I could, practically burrowing into the sleeve of his hoodie. Only days earlier we’d shared our first awkward hug in the Arrivals lounge, just steps from where we now sat. What had felt so tentative before now felt so steady and certain.
They called my flight and I started to cry, which wasn’t anything new at this point. “You’re SUCH a good crier,” he told me again, and I laughed and snorted and generally looked like a soggy toddler in the midst of a tantrum as we kissed and hugged goodbye one last time. I couldn’t even turn around to wave to him one last time; I thought it might kill me, vaguely believed it might turn me into a pillar of salt.
Months later he told me that after he called his sister to come and pick him up, he came back inside to see if I was still there, but I wasn’t. The couple who’d been sitting down the row of seats from us in Departures asked him, “Did you guys just break up or something?”
"NO," he told me he replied, as though it were the most absurd conclusion anyone could ever come to. "I mean, really," he said to me, "do couples who’ve just broken up spend every last SECOND together like that?"
"I don’t think so," I replied, "but weirder things have happened."
Monday, September 2, 2013
It's been eight years since I flew back to Vancouver from Toronto. I'd been home for the last few weeks of the summer, nursing a brand new broken heart, travelling around the province by Go Bus and Via train and back seats, I was crashing on couches, eating my mother's cooking, trying to get it together. "Keep it classy," my best friends advised me on my last night in Ontario, heading out to a party at my old house on Crawford Street, running into my now inexplicably former love, travelling into the past. I kept it classy, or tried to, saving my tears for the run up the block after the party was over. My first day back in Vancouver was the Saturday of Labour Day weekend, and it rained on the walk back from the Granville Island Market, and in a moment I could feel the damp sink into my bones. I could tell the summer was over.
It's been five years since I drove back to Ottawa from Hamilton. I had come home to host a wedding shower for my best friend Danielle, a sunny, perfect afternoon in my parents' backyard that devolved into a regrettably boozy evening out on the town. Driving back to Ottawa with a hangover added insult to injury. What am I heading back to, I wondered, smoking out the window of the Civic, blasting Amy Winehouse to keep myself awake, unable to stop thinking of the man with whom I suddenly found myself in love. I was terrified to say it out loud, even more scared to ignore that feeling, push it down. A week later our emotions would get the better of us and we'd admit, exhaustedly, what we felt deep down, admit we were completely wrong for each other, admit we had no idea what we were doing. But I wasn't quite there yet.
It's been four years since I drove back from Almonte to Kingston, after my best friend Freya's sweet baby boy's first birthday. Everytime I drove back to Kingston I felt so relieved. I was in a happy daze that weekend, making jam, doing yoga, walking quiet and dilapidated streets around the North end. On Sunday the man who'd seemed so wrong a year ago called me up, as he often did now, and asked if I wanted to go for a swim. Of course, I replied, of course I do. We drove out to the secret little beach just past Porstmouth Harbour, and he threw the frisbee for the dog while I paddled back and forth along that oddly lagoon-like bit of Lake Ontario. We ran into Freya's sister on the way back to the truck, off to run her own dog, and I felt safe in a town full of familiar faces and easy intimacy.
It's been a year since I woke up on Sunday morning, and called my best friend Kat to tell her I was on my way over to convoy up to her cottage. We'd spent that Saturday at the Harvest Picnic at Christie Lake, wandering between Gord Downie and the taco truck and the beach, feeling sunburnt and stoned on music and so happy to be home. Something was happening, someone new was around, and for the first time in years, really, I could feel my heart opening up again. It wasn't long after that it all blew up in my face, as, perhaps, I always knew it would. But I wasn't quite there yet.
This year I realize I've spent the past three Labour Days running away from Hamilton. It's been awhile since I called any town home for longer than a couple of years; not to mention I never could've conceived of once again calling Hamilton home. That teenage vow to leave and never return could only last so long--the pull is so strong, the visceral realization that you need to get back to your own magnetic North. And as safe at home as I may be, sometimes I feel my feet start to itch. Usually there is a direct correlation between the level of my heartbreak and the urgency of my need to escape. This year I'm holding tight to my heart, tending fresh wounds, hoping beyond hope that I can stay patient and kind as things apparently get weirder and more magical with every passing moment. I'm still not quite there yet. I might never be. As safe at home as I may be, I keep an escape route in my back pocket. I figure it can't hurt to have a secret dream.