I have to remind myself every day.
I found your footsteps in the snow
I’ll follow them wherever you go
How did it get to be like telling a secret? I wear it on my hands each day and I hold onto it like sand you cup in your hands until it slips through your fingers. The words always catch in my throat and then when they’re spilling out they come so fast and foreign I can’t stop them or put them in order or control them. I’ll always hold my breath and hold them in until the last second or until you ask directly and there’s a moment of hesitation and then it’s done before I’ve even decided to say it. And then yesterday I watched someone confess it to a room full of people, with little warning but in a calm and measured voice, with the appropriate pauses and some flush in her cheeks. I strained my neck and watched and listened and didn’t learn a thing. I’ve always had trouble letting go and the release still scares me and I wonder that’s just the way it will always be.
Something that scares me: the idea that I will begin to remember only through the words of others. Through the memories of others. Whenever someone relays an old joke she told, or a funny habit she had, I wonder how it is I didn’t know those things. And then I wonder how much I really know at all. The reminders and the tiny revelations are welcome and cherished, but they hurt a little bit too. I know it myself, and I see it in the expression of the person relaying the joke, grasping at the frayed strings of memory.
I want to learn everything about you but not to hurt you.
The wind is warm on my skin and it’s the most peaceful thing but still its whisper keeps me up at night and into the cool stillness of the morning. The wind stirs the leaves and stirs my thoughts and smokes like a cigarette.
In half an hour you made my night and broke my heart some, too.
When I miss you I might listen to the music that reminds me of how long we’ve been friends and I might drop you a line to remind you we’ve got a long way still to go. You’re on my wall and on my mind and when I really miss you I think about dusk and the dock at your cabin and the lawn chairs and the beer. Or long nights of questions and discoveries and that feeling when you know something’s changing.
Just something that keeps occurring to me lately.
Dusk at the harbourfront on a holiday evening, the promise of pyrotechnics brings the town down to the water. Tiny shadows shift out on the breakwall as crowds gather and the gazebo just across the harbour is lit up red and blue and they’re playing Frankie Valli and people are dancing. Children are waiting excitedly and mosquitos are biting and when it’s quite dark and the water is still the music stops the show begins. It’s loud and it’s beautiful and sometimes the crowds ooh and ahh as their faces are lit up by a certain spectacular spark or an unexpected colour. The whistles and booms come again and again and are doubled by the echo off the condo development behind us. It’s small and it’s nothing fancy but it’s tradition and probably every other town along the Bay is having its own display and across the country families are gathered and couples are holding hands in the lingering warmth of the night and everyone’s looking at the sky and I’m looking at the reflections of the lights on the water and I’m thinking of you.
I have been home now for a month. It’s been nice to wind down at home and settle in and spend quality time with loved ones. I think I’ve fully recharged and now I’m itching to get a bit of a move on. Since I know nothing else, and because I miss it - I’m returning to Montreal for a few days. Following that, I’ll make the rounds to Toronto and London to visit some key players and stretch my legs. I spent May doing a bunch of babysitting and chores and generally trying to be useful, but I’m on no real schedule and have nothing nailed down in terms of work or obligations, so I figure I may as well go wandering.
When I left Montreal, I had six years of stuff to pack up and move home. There was a lot to sort through, since I tend to accumulate things. I packed up essentially my entire life, since almost everything I owned was there with me - it’s been years since I had a bedroom at home that had really been mine, with clothes or CDs or books or anything else really. For a long time, when I came ‘home’, I was visiting - I had to bring anything I needed with me from Montreal, my real, day-to-day home. In any case, out of necessity and for some catharsis, I did a lot of sorting when I was packing for the big move. I sorted through all my things and left a lot - I mean a really big pile - of stuff behind to be donated.
Now I’m in my father’s house in the town I grew up in - and I am settling into a bedroom that used to belong to my sister. My second year in Montreal, (when she was sure I was gone), my sister moved into my bedroom and packed everything I’d left behind into boxes, putting them in the closet of the new ‘spare’ room. This week I’ve been sorting through them for the first time. It’s all knick knacks and keepsakes from when I was a kid. School papers and old crafts, gifts from my godmother and stuffed animals. So I’m doing it again. Sorting through, taking stock, and cutting it in half. Some things aren’t easy to let go of, even though they’re just things.
So I’m going through the boxes, picking apart my past, and packing it back up again. Except now I get to do something new. I am packing away some keepsakes from the past few years - important school things, a stuffed dog given to me by a boy, sentimental cards from people I love. I’m adding some things - those items you just can’t seem to part with - to the boxes that contain my past, making a little more room for the present, and the future.
with babies is just the best way to spend rainy days.