Thursday, April 21, 2016

Short Shorts

Traitorous March had started; when you had no damn clue what the weather was going to be like. Either it would be blowing cold or blowing warm—like a fickle lover, you could never trust it.

I hadn't gotten any sleep that night. Nil. Nada. In fact, I hadn't slept for a few days, and the sun was the only thing that I really wanted to see. I squinted in its light, standing in the middle of the road, waiting for the oncoming lane to empty so that I could cross over to the bus stop.  An old grandma was already inside the bus stand, and she was fidgeting with her glasses, trying to wipe the lens clean. She would put the lens on and then take them off again, wiping, wiping. As far as I could tell, the lens were crystal clear, and felt a pang for her poor bleary eyes.

She looked over at me."Yuh wearing yo reg'lar coat, dear?" She queried, most randomly, in her Jamaican accent.

There it was. Human contact. I squinted a little more, and cast her a sideways look.

"You never know," I said cryptically.

She seemed overwhelmed with this profound statement, and lapsed into a silence until the bus came and took us away.


*****


In the middle of March, I was on my way home, and though we had some mild weather through the day, as the sun set, it had been snowing again.

My stop was approaching, so I grabbed my bag, descended to the lower level of the bus, hit the button and stood at the back doors, waiting for the bus to stop.

The bus kept going.

I raised my hands in exasperation. Uh, Hello? The bro standing nearby shook his head dismally. I rolled my eyes and made my way up to the front of the bus, and leant against the driver's wall.

"Good nap? You just missed my stop, man." I said, almost conversationally to the driver.

"Oh. Ehm. Ah. I'm sorry," He looked abashed.

"Now I get a NICE, LONG, LOVELY WALK BACK," I said to him in the same almost-friendly conversational tone, my icy smile punctuating the statement with the sarcasm it was meant to be.

"Uh. You ... want to borrow my toque?" He offered his hat to me.

"Nah, don't worry about it," I gave him a sideways look.

He sighed in relief, and opened the doors.

I stepped off.

His hat? 


*****


Now it was* April and the weather was amazing!

"Bye!" I chirruped to the random lady clumping down the staircase from the upper level as I ran up the stairs. It was around 6 pm, and she was clearly on her way home, laden with her bags.

"Oh," She blinked, "Bye bye to you too, dear."

I was a complete stranger.

"Have a nice weekend!" I called as she went down another few stairs.

She stopped again, and looked up as I opened the door at the landing, ready to leave the stairwell.

"But, dear, it's only Monday."

"You can never start too early!" I grinned at her, and with a wave, left.



*is

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

What is This Season

Sometimes, on days like this, when the coolness holds hands with warmth, all I want to do is lay back on the earth, and smile at the sky. 

Sometimes, I can almost pretend that every cloud out there holds the answers, holds the secrets to unleashing my dreams.

Sometimes, as I loll in the grass, with the smell of the undomesticated ground surrounding me like a new perfume, I feel as if I could almost become one with the raw warm fertile soil.

Sometimes, I stretch my hand up to the sky, and it almost seems as if I can catch hold of the great blue above me.

Sometimes, I wonder how much of this Mother Earth is made of the dust of all her children, and how it might be to be that way too, fragmented ash flying around the world free.

Sometimes, I feel as if I could take these unfulfilled parts of me, my dreams and desires, and throw them back up at the sky to rejoin that great emptiness, like caged white doves set free.

Sometimes, on days like this, the earth warm on my back, the sun warm on my face, I smile and feel maybe yes, it is fine to be alone; yet the wind smoothly blows over my cheek like a warm, sweet-smelling caress.

artwork: pascal campion

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ma

"Really yummy. How did you manage to get the paneer so crispy and still so soft and flavourful?"

And I smiled to myself, because while making the dish I remembered his mother's tip, and lost in that special world in the kitchen, my dish became infused with a hint of love mixed with bittersweet loss.

Cooking has always been an independent venture for me. From the age of 6, on a makeshift stool comprised of random pieces of wood stuck together, I was making roti—rolling away with the belan as well as I was able to with my little hands, patting the dough primly with a dusting of flour and carefully shifting it onto the hot tawa.

To date, I still have a faint scar on my chest from where the edge of the tawa burnt me as I leant over. The symbolism of the act, the pain, and the scar, is as succinct as it could be.


Making roti is the one thing that has ties with that Other World. It's one of the very few memories that I have with her: standing on a chair and rolling a small glob from the big portion of dough in the bowl, and happily rolling it, flattening it, making my very first roti, only for it to come out in a very strange misshapen triangular form. But that memory is so much more than the detail. It is adorned with her gentle grace, her loving patience, more that overwhelming warmth than the accuracy of her face. She praised me for my Christmas Tree roti and commended me for my creativity. "Let's make it green!" she suggested, and got out the food colouring, so that when my father finally returned from work that evening, there among all the well-formed round rotis was a special little green Christmas Tree roti.

Things changed drastically soon after, and our family, smaller by one number now, moved to a new neighbourhood. I began a new life at a new school in a totally alien landscape. At home, I soon learnt to do the chores and cooking. I was in first grade.

When it was warm enough, we played in the streets. It was a way of getting out of our father's way. 

"She has no mommy," I overheard another little girl tell the other kids on the street. And that information made them all avoid me, as if it was a contagious form of a shameful disease. 

In those young years I became the object of passively aggressive bullying. I didn't realize that was what it was, but for some reason, my newfound tendency to cry easily seemed to be a point of amusement for the other kids. I cried every single day in school in those years. That the other kids thought that mocking me for not having a mother seemed the best joke did not help. I remember being completely ostracized in 5th grade as a clique of 'popular' girls chose to disparage me on my lack of femininity, loud gossip and meant taunts of not being able to go shopping with a mom. As we grew up into the pre-teen part of elementary school, I shied away from the female teachers' attentions and stayed aloof from other children's mothers who volunteered at school events or joined us on trips. If another kid's mother was extra kind to me, I had to shoulder the additional grief of that particular kid's glares at the perceived invasion of territory.

When I started high-school, I was just as aloof. This was a new start and I kept these secrets of my history  to myself. I became one of the class clowns, tomboy Jane, the go-to girl for crazy antics and hyperness, all in the most geeky ways. And I made friends. Friends who after a few years eventually complained that I was too secretive; that I kept my feelings to myself. By then I had told them a bit about my family life, but only enough so that the very deep and dark bits would not scare anyone away. But keeping such things to oneself has its own psychological consequences too.


That particular loss is one that has never been healed. And it continues to hurt, almost every single day. It is the one thing that I can never articulate to anyone, because the depth of that loss is absolutely endless. I don't want anyone's pity or sympathy, and yet, through most of my life, that is the one thing I crave instinctively: some form of maternal love.


The problem is that when I became close to anyone else, they sooner or later shared in this nugget of loss (as is natural in exchanges of personal data with close friends) but the problem is that soon, they too extended that holy grail: aw, it's okay you can share mine! Certainly, the offer was always made with the best of intentions, with a good heart and full of warmth and kindness. But somehow, time or other events seemed to break down the very structure of that relationship and along with the friendship went that maternal gift.

More than that, often the rational for the breakdown of friendships happened contingent to the nature of the maternal bond. Somehow, there still remained that sinister whisper of contagion which I first overheard on the streets as a child. One of the most defining milestones was being explicitly shunned and kicked out of a tight-knit circle of friends—at that time the only friends I had—like a dirty untouchable. 


You never think that people can have this kind of cruelty.  And perhaps they simply do not realize the extent of their behaviour, maybe because they do not know what this kind of experience is like. But it hurts more than I could say when you are given a taste of what it is like, when a friend says that their mother is there for you too, and then so easily take it away without even recognizing the emotional destruction they cause.

After these experiences I became a little more hardened. I remembered how to be aloof again. When visiting friends at their homes, I was pleasant and polite but always reserved and never opened up my heart again for a surrogate mother.


And then he happened. You could not talk to him—really talk to him—or get to know him, without him talking about his mother. His love for her is probably his quintessential defining characteristic. It absolutely shines. And you cannot help falling in love with her. So I fell for both of them. They both made me laugh like I never laughed before. This was a new kind of bond and relationship that I had never experienced or witnessed. I was in awe, and yet was head over heels in being blessed with her love, too. I felt like a geeky fan being bestowed with the attention of a mega celebrity. But it was more for me. So much more.

Sometimes out of the blue, her voice pops up on my headphones. An old saved voice message wishing me a happy birthday and telling me that innocent unknown lie: I will always be there for you. These are those times when I need to rush out of the room, or rush off the train, and hide. Sometimes, it is so hard to figure this out. You think it is just another heartbreak, but it isn't. It's much more. When I cry for him, I cry for her too.


What is loss? I could never figure it out, only feel it, again and again, in louder explosions, each time. 


I type the question, and pause, as my adopted feral kitten stares at me in consternation as I cry, trying to finish this. I am so sorry, baby, I will never kick you back out in the streets motherless for I know what that feels like. Is that why you followed me home?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Thought of the Day

Quietly sometimes, and loudly at times, I try to infuse as 
many moments of my memory into life before I am gone.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Resilience

Perhaps it's okay to break, afterall. Maybe that is actually the true purpose of life, if ever there was one: that living isn't about finding a form or function that is impermeable, infallible, indestructible. Living is in breaking, in drowning, in falling—living is even in hurting.

Long time ago, when I was stuck deep in my med-sci studies, one of my university professors said something which, obviously after all these years, stuck to me. He said, "The Earth will become a huge snowball, we will all die. Sure. But who are we kidding? The Earth is more resilient than we give it credit for. It's going to perish, sure, but it will still be there, and it will thrive again, light years after we have wiped ourselves off the face of it."

Maybe it is OK, therefore, to let yourself trust and be broken. It is OK, to feel the fifty million thousand frequencies of loss and despair. It is OK to paint your world with shades of anger, sorrow, melancholy, and grief. It would almost be wrong not to. Like being able to paint as many colours onto a canvas and never touching all the colours of possibility.

In breaking then, despite the many ways that the cracks seem irreparable, the way they creak and hurt again and again, like a misaligned patella that you fell on when ice-skating that many years ago and whenever you stand up or try running down stairs the pain comes shooting up your leg in remembrance, all it takes is not avoiding the pain but embracing it, exercising it.

Even when you feel that you have lost out, when your trust has been brutalized again and again, maybe sometimes the pain is the best opportunity for you to look it over and realize that those moments had more worth than you ever even knew, even (especially) when you were actually living it. There are moments that make you remember exactly why that trust was so deeply ingrained in you, why that Jenga piece was so vital to your sense of self. Perhaps that person gave you a mirror to look at yourself in ways you never were able to before. Maybe they gave you a blanket, just for a while, sometimes, if you were a bit cold. Maybe they lent you an umbrella, not expecting that the relationship would develop further than that casual transaction. Maybe you spent hours and hours, learning to be yourself for once in your life, because this person gave you the space to be that, with them.

These were beautiful moments, and yet moments always have an inexorable place in the past. There are echoes of that laughter which permeate even into the very present now, telling you, reminding you, that you have never laughed as much in your life or smiled as much as you did then—and even if it is gone, it had at least existed.

Perspective is such a compelling narrative.  Even that moment you fell, where you hurt so much and thought that was it: that was the end, that was life, goodbye, time and perspective allows you to see that 5 year old little child that you were, falling on the playground and skimming your hands with gravel embedded under the skin. Adulthood is no different from that child, because we are always lost children seeking something more: a best friend, or companionship, a better snack, or a great exhilarating experience on the slide; and we are always growing in ways even we do not know—until we break.

Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart. — Corrie ten Boom (quote that popped up in my inbox after I finished writing this post)
 There is a reason we can forgive, and maybe even as we cannot forget because we are still scared—maybe now more than ever—to trust again, we learn to forgive ourselves. We are all broken children, but in breaking, and breaking again and again, we have learnt to become a little more accountable to and for ourselves.

Sometimes you realize that the trust you thought was shattered is actually only a small dwarf planet compared to the huge expanse of a neverending universe of that patient, deep-abiding, resilient love within which it revolves.


Saturday, April 16, 2016

Safekeeping

One of the hardest things is piecing yourself back together again after breaking into a million pieces. 


Trust.



You can trust someone with information, or trust them to get a job done. Trust someone to have your back, trust someone to be there, no matter what. Or trust someone to keep you safe. 



The worst part in misplaced trust in a person is that when you give that trust to another being, that trust is completely contingent in your very own personal trust of the self. You are trusting yourself, your sense of judgement, in being able to believe that this other person is worthy of keeping your trust.



So, when they decide they no longer want that burden, when they decide that hurting another person to relieve their own stress in life is OK, because they have already done the calculations and decided you will be OK even if your trust in them was wrong all along, they forget that the implications lie on a much grander scale. Because, even after the damage is done, and they have moved on, that huge earthquake is only the start of an avalanche of aftershocks: you are left stranded in a place where you cannot even trust yourself.



When you have moved from a space of casual acquaintance, slowly and systematically ingraining everything inside of you with this person's aura, their function in your life slowly becoming part of the very equation of who you are, so much that you would bet your life in that trust, nevermind your own sense of identity and trust, it goes without saying that once that little piece of trust is removed like a Jenga piece down there below the other million pieces which comprise you, of course everything, absolutely everything, collapses.



But it is all inside of you. And not any other person ever could imagine what it is like beyond that outer shell.  Inside, you are juggling the pieces that have not yet fallen, and yet you are trying to pick up, and catch, the other falling pieces which are sharp, fatal, piercing you with pain. Inside, you are slipping trying to escape falling completely and utterly to that bottomless pit where your sense of self can never be resuscitated, and yet you are slipping on the shards which make up the slopes you are trying to keep a grip on with the soles of your already-ripped and bleeding feet, and mutilated palms, slipping on the blood, bringing you to your knees, on which you continue to struggle up. Inside you are suffocating, as the atmosphere around you is a vacuum-sealed vessel of building pressure, toxic fumes of self-hatred, green gaseous canisters of laughter assaulting you with no remorse. Inside, you don't even know which part of you is really you, and inside, you don't even know who you are anymore, not really. 



Can you ever really—really—trust another person to keep you safe?










Friday, April 15, 2016

Enduring

"Now, just turn your head a little to the left...Yes! Gorgeous!"

The photographer beamed at me from behind his camera, while I wondered if I was allowed to scratch my nose. He was quite particular about his subjects.

***

After having met him and having a little chat while we settled on my outfit, he had positioned me in my chair and fidgeted around me while I told him to make sure my hair looked good—because I knew my face was quite excellent already, just, my hair needed a little loving care because of medical conditions—but he instead started paying more attention, strangely enough, to my necklace.

"Just need to make sure it's captured perfectly in the picture," He mumbled as he adjusted it, then stepped back, examining it from different angles.

Umm. What about my hair? I thought. What about, you know, me? I need to be captured perfectly too!

"Just got to get it right," He said, stepping behind the camera to see how it looked behind the lens, then again stepping quickly to the window to check how it looked in the light.

"Hmm, just a...yes, that might be it," He said, again, brushing my hair behind my shoulders so that the precious necklace got to be center of attention.

"Um, it's okay," I said. "It's just a necklace..."

"Just a little bit more this way..." He was totally focused on the silver necklace with two hearts intertwined (ostensibly forever) together.

"No really," I said a little more forcefully. "Just take the damn picture, leave the necklace. The...the man who gave it to me dumped me," I said as bluntly as I could, verbalizing in the very words I could never bring myself to say until then that most private of information now being proffered to this stranger, hoping the the shock value would stun him into retreating behind the camera and taking the goddamn pictures.

"Oh," He looked up, yes, stunned. He looked balefully at the offending piece of jewelry, now, as if it had broken his heart.

"Yeah, so it's okay," I nodded at him.

"But you still love him," He said, looking at it sitting in that hollow above my heart. It wasn't a question.

"Of course I do." Definitely not up for debate.

He nodded, briskly, somberly, understandingly. There really was no need for anything else to be said.

"So! Then, will you be taking your photos with smile, or no smile?"

"What are you, crazy? Of course a smile!" I beamed a 100-watt at him.

"That's a girl," He said, somewhat admiringly. "You keep that attitude!"


Honestly, though? I was secretly glad, deep down inside, that it got that much attention; it felt sort of right: that in trying to capture whoever I was, that one thing, this emblem, was made to shine brightly.


So, of course I smiled.



~in memoriam of a breaking heart, 6 months to the day.~




Thursday, April 14, 2016

Accumulation

Memories linger. They haunt me, and I have grown comforted by their company. More so than the company of those whom the memories encapsulate. I am so often overwhelmed by them; sometimes the smallest elements of very tangible reality tick off a box in a long shopping list of memories, nudging my mind off-track and suddenly tipping me over into a huge, gaping, vast abyss. 

A sudden lull in the surrounding noise, momentarily hushing to a certain frequency that complete retrogrades time to another moment where I remember a certain person talking to me; their words full of mirth or solicitude, and while their words are coming out into the air, the intertwining moments seem to slow down, slower, slower, as I am no longer in that memory but watching it, watching them, watching their words, floating, the feeling of togetherness, a moment that is now an infinite ways altered by the knowledge of it becoming only that: a memory. 

A sudden whiff of an odour as I am walking through a corridor, and my whole being stops, unable to move, and yet I am inhaling deeply, lost to time again, as I spiral through a warp hole taking me to another memory filled with warmth; tantalizing aromas or sensual colognes, around me or under pillows, memory trailing itself seductively, insistently, deep, and deeper inside me, as it goes down my nasal passage, deep into my lungs, and back out again, but different. 

And again, a thrilling sense of forbidden, as I find myself tasting something sweet—catapulting me into a bittersweet memory of finding sugar on my lips with the tip of my tongue; the memory of a voice again telling me, persuading me, to try sugar on toast: illicit moments in the dark light of twilight as on a whim remembering that voice I reach for the sugar canister and sprinkle a dose on the still warm surface, the slow sinking sensation of teeth, crispy and yet soft, and that aftermath, licking that sugary stickiness off my lips.

Memories cannot leave me alone, and yet in a strange way, maybe I am leaving them behind, as I find myself grasping more and more for a certain word, a certain warmth, a certain colour, a certain shade of green, a certain way that my name was spoken by a certain person, a certain time, a certain person I myself used to be, all lost in an uncertain quagmire of memories.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Thought of the Day

Little things can become the biggest things—can become your whole world—when you have almost nothing.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Photomemorphosis

Kodak moment? But what if it is not what it seems to be? Photography? No, I mean, well, yes, photography. Photographs. The idea behind it, the science. What are you saying? I'm saying, what if photography isn't what our memory is. What if, in the act of trying to record something forever, that phenomenon is actually what causes everything as we know it, to actually change? What the goddamn hell are you saying? No, listen. What if, as soon as we take that photograph, the image that we thought we were preserving actually changes so that what comes out, the virtual image, is an altered reality and our memory, too, is altered, and we don't even know that anything even changed? That's freaking scary. What if the people we were—Stop, you're freaking me out—before that photo was taken are left behind in a different world and the people we are after the click have been changed? Whoa, why are you aiming that at me, is the camera on, hey sto--

Monday, April 11, 2016

Goodbye, Hippopotamus

Just the other day, my kitten pulled it out from under my bed. I looked down, absentmindedly, to where she had deposited it at my feet, meowing at me to praise her achievement or thank her for her gift, or both. Its grey fur was matted as it lay there on its side, and its empty, lifeless eyes stared up at me, even as my own eyes rolled.

Since my move earlier this year, the two plastic bags of stuffed plush toys had resided under my bed, because I could not bring myself to get rid of them and yet, there was no place for them anymore in my minimalistified, and "grown up", life. But since the little one had arrived and since my room was designated her HQ from the first night she arrived home, she had developed a habit of disappearing under my bed and, after making lots of mrowling purrs and scuffling sounds, would re-emerge with one plushy or other firmly clasped in her mouth, carrying the spoils of her hunt around proudly. Soon the house became decorated with odd mementos of my stowed-away childhood as Tiggles, Cutums, Squeakums, Eek, Zoey, Chocolate et al, found themselves rescued from the abyss of the black garbage bag.

But this time, she had overdone herself. I looked down, shaking my head in disgust at the grey hippo that was given to me a long, long time ago by the goddamn self-obsessed jerk who spent more time admiring his reflection in his phone than he did in the hours we spent hanging out. Thankfully, he never made it to actual "boyfriend" material. Indeed, he was just a few weeks long "thing", if it could be called that, because really, both of us just were kiling time even as we pretended to exchange flirtations in the time we spent together after or between work.

I had a few moments myself, when one night, driving home with one of my best friends I would put the question out in the air whether it's weird for a girl to be a bit older than the guy, and my friend, who himself was a few months younger than his girlfriend, would look over at me and ask me, sort of surprised and amused, "What? Are you serious about him? I thought you were waiting to be serious about..."

I wasn't, and yet, there was something still inside of me that always felt that romance, whatever form it took, should have a deeper significance or should really mean something. This ideological Hopeless Romantic within me would be the reason why most of my relationships could not really get to the "official" stage. For some reason or other, I always had this prophetic epiphany that the relationship in question at the time just was not the one. And as my friend noted, I was in fact waiting for that someone else to wake up and smell the coffee.

It's a weird place to be stuck in, because at once, you want to "know" things in a very clear, logical way, and yet, when you have a very certain sensation that at the same time seems vague, brought to you by presaging dreams, no less, it is hard to really let go of your intuition, if that is what it is called.

But hey, intuition was so not needed with it came to the Giver of the Grey Hippo. I am not even sure why he even went to the extent of gifting it to me, in the first place. Especially when I kicked it down the length of the mall soon after as if it were the FIFA final game scoring kick.

But the weirdest part is that, even after my kitten dropped the thing at my feet, guess who, out of the blue, pops up on my social media—with his shirtless six-pack, bicep-flexing selfie in his display picture. OF COURSE it was a shirtless picture.

The very first time I even saw him, he was walking down the middle of the mall with his shirt off, strutting through like he was George Clooney. And I had laughed. Out loud. And he had turned, annoyed, to see me—who the hell is that girl— laughing at him.

But now he was back. WHY?

"Hey," his shirtless picture stated.

"You stole my calamine lotion," I replied.

"What? You want it back?"

"Considering that was more years than you have IQ points ago, no."

"Oh yeah, I forgot you were the smart one. I remember now, you always had a book!"

"Which you always took and threw on the floor."

"You were supposed to pay attention to me, not the book."

"I pay attention to whatever is more interesting."

"Yeah I remember that attitude. Now I remember your last text message too! It was so mean but damn it was a classic."

"Lol," I typed, looking up from my book. "I don't remember."

"You said, 'We cannot see eye to eye because your head is stuck too far up your ass' LOL"


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Palliative Care Therapy

"If you died.."

"When, you mean..."

"Well. When, but let's stick with if, OK?"

"OK."

"If you die, what do you think he would say?"



"Nothing."



"Hmm. Nothing at all?"

"Yeah."

"Why do you feel that?"


"I just know. What is there to say? I... hmm, I don't know. Yeah. "

"What are you thinking?"

"What's the point? If there was anything to say, why not, you know... when I could listen?"

"Would you listen? Or react, though? From what we talked about last session, I mean."

"I don't know."

"But you think he wouldn't say anything."

"Yeah. Because he doesn't say stuff, anyways."

"Then, let's ask this: what do you think he would think?"

"He.. would ... think ... I don't know, he would probably think 'Oh well' and go on with his life."

"Do you really feel that? Or are you transferring feelings again?"


"There are no feelings in this case."

"You seem to be feeling a lot, right now. Hey, it's OK, take a breather."


"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to ..."

"You don't have to apologize. Come on, have some water."

"Yes."

"Yes to what?"

"I really feel that."

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Propa

Hunger is a feeling that has double-standards with me. I don't actually realize it's there, most of the time, and I go through my days often without remembering it, until sometimes at that moment when afternoon meets evening, something happens to my insides, sometimes it is a plaintive meowl, or my head aches more than usual, and I remember that I have not eaten all day. But truly, I have lost any inclination for eating and even in feeling hungry, even when I idealize some really great foods and crave them theoretically, when it comes to the process of putting food in my mouth or eating, something else seems to repel the action. My whole being has been on a hunger strike for so long it almost thinks it is a way of living.  Then I came across this yesterday—some time at around 4 something in the morning because apparently sleep, too, is not something my body wants—and I remembered one of the many reasons why


Friday, April 08, 2016

Synchronicity

"Geez, Madeline," I said to my colleague, giving her the side-eye while we stood from our seats as the meeting broke up, "Are you trying to conjure up snow again?" I pointed to her incongruous "Ugly Christmas Sweater" embroidered all over with yarny snowflakes.

"What? Oh," she said, looking down at herself, "Ha, yeah maybe, why not?"

Why not indeed, despite the fact that it was supposed to be officially Spring, and finally the weather had kind of accepted this state of things and let the sun come out, the winds ameliorated and the grass, yellow and pale and almost dead, finally showing.

"Well, when it snows," I said cryptically, "It's going to be your fault."

"You mean if it snows," She laughed. Because the forecasts all said rain. Of course. BECAUSE WE TRUST THE FORECAST.

And with that, we went our ways.


The next morning I open my front door, only to be met with a winter wonderland vista spread out before me, almost as if I were in a magical realism story opening a magical portal to a magical world that was totally...well, magical.

Because, it definitely was. Quiet. White. Soft. Even somehow, warm. Thick piles of flurries coming down as if it were a million buckets of feathers. Muting all sound, even your own footsteps were faint echoes (and I was wearing heels so that's saying something). I walked through that magical world in almost slow-motion, and it was almost as if I really was alone in that world (until I reached the main intersection that is).

It matched the huge snowballing feeling that was accumulating within me. A feeling I still am not able to articulate, the way it is perhaps with most loss.

The strangest thing is, that heavy wondrous storm lasted almost as long as my own walk. I fell asleep on the commute as I always do, and when I woke, everything was melting again. I almost wish that my own sense of loss could easily melt away, but things are not ever that easy, and I suspect that it is the one thing I will never actually lose. But even as the snow that had accumulated thickly as blankets melted, it went away revealing the most magnificent transformations: thick, lush, vibrant verdant green grass. Maybe in the same way that loss can only flourish with the agony of hope.



Thursday, April 07, 2016

Please Play Again

Finding that tiny scrap of paper changed everything. Or at least**


"Why does Tim Horton's hate me? WHAT DID I EVER DO TO YOU, TIM?" I lamented, clutching my ripped up coffee cup. I had rolled up the rim and discovered that I was a winner of un beigne.

"A donut! What the hell is wrong with this world," I shook my head. Donuts are a secret walk of shame, it is the outcry and signpost of those who try to pretend they are really quite cool but do not realize they are buying into a corporate confederacy that everyone who is truly cool actually shuns.

Or anyways there is that recent scientific evidence showing the direct detrimental effect it has on intelligence, sexual performance and attractiveness. Ugh.

But I don't eat sugar. I do occasionally, but it is a crime, among other things. So I went up to the Timmies boy in his little beige uniform, and told him that I had won a donut. I held the offending scrap of coffee cup aloft like it was tainted with a highly infected disease.

He beamed at me, "Wow! Great, which one would you like?"

I gave him a gimlet stare of death and told him, "None."

His smile faltered and then extinguished. "No?" he asked, uncertain now.

"No. I don't eat donuts. It's a health thing. They have sugar which causes lots of pain to my insides and sometimes this pain comes outside and it makes other people feel pain as well."

He looked somewhat bewildered, but then, casting around for a solution, he straightened his shoulders and said, now much more confident: "I will ask my manager!"

And he disappeared into the back.

I looked behind me at the very long line waiting to get their coffee. I sighed. This was just supposed to be a simple thing. I just want a coffee instead of a donut. What is so hard about this.

The boy re-emerged, now accompanied by his manager.

"Hello maam," the manager said, "Do you have a receipt for the coffee you bought?"

"What, why do I need a receipt? I have the winning thingy from the coffee cup itself right here, and I just want a coffee instead of getting a free donut, even a small coffee is fine, this isn't supposed to be a big deal"

"But you know, we have to make sure that we are not committing a fraud. This is why, you should go back to that Tim Horton's coffee shop that you got your coffee from and tell them to give you a receipt and when they do that then you can come here and get your free coffee."

Was...was he really serious? No really. All I wanted was a coffee. And because I am secretly a sexy hothouse plant when indoors, exasperated, I again turned to face the glass front doors so that I could look out at the sunlight struggling to meet me. I turned back and he seemed to brace himself.

Instead of telling him I bought my coffee at this same exact location, I shrugged.

"Give me a donut," I said.

I emerged 20 seconds later out into the bright, cold, downtown of Toronto, and handing my newly packaged sugary parcel to the homeless man sitting outside the Tim Horton's front doors, I went along my day catching the rays as long as they were out struggling.


**But now, days later,  I was just about to board the approaching bus, and stepping up to the curb, something caught my eye. I looked down, even as the bus came closer, and then I bent down and picked it up.

It was a tiny scrap of paper with a message that told me that sometimes things can make sense in the weirdest randomest ways, and sometimes yes, maybe karma is real:

"Win/Gagnez: Un Cafe/Coffee"













Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Indian Man Comes to Canada

Experiences Winter for the First Time


He finishes typing out an email to his family back home, and hits send, sighing morosely. It is a cold and lonely world. An advertisement on the right margin in his webpage catches his eye. He picks up the phone, and dials.

Person (answering phone): Heylo! Thank you for calling On Point, how may I help you?
Man: Hello, ah, I would like one "On Point Blow".
Person: Sure! How soon ya need it?
Man: Is tonight OK?
Person: I think we have availability for one more delivery, let me check... hmm hmm, yeah you got it.
Man: Oh thanks.
Person: Now I just need to ask you a few questions
Man: Is this not confidential?
Person: Huh? Yeah, sure that's not the issue. What's the measurement?
Man: Measure...?
Person: We need to how long the drive is
Man: Oh. You call it drive. Never heard that one before. Sorry. 8 inches.
Person: Inches? You mean meters, right?
Man: Uh
Person: OK and what model would you like?
Man: I get to choose model?
Person: Yeah of course, all customers have their own preferences, you know, for speed, performance, lot of people just like how the models look, you know how it is. So which model would you like?
Man: Well, I like Kendall Jenner please
Person: .....
Man: But if she is not available that is also OK
Person: ......
Man: Sir?
Person: You do realize you are calling a snowblower rental shop right? Like, we rent out snow cleaning equipment? 

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

Interview with Jeodie

"Do you ever regret it?"

Jeodie: Regret?

Interviewer: Yeah, do you?

J:

I: You can be honest.

J: Why do you say that? Honest. Everything I say is already honest because I said it.

I: I'm sorry. I didn't mean...

J: Why did you not say what you mean, then?

I:

J:

I: I...dont know?

J: Who will know if not you?

I: Er, you, perhaps?

J: This is what I don't understand. You keep staring up at your sky. Or looking in many places, in the places you know you can never find what you are looking for because that which you are looking for does not in actuality exist because you do not in the first place know what it is that you search for but you look to it to cast your blame or to get an answer to a question that you do not even try answering because you are instead looking for answers in impossible places. Does this not render your question impossible?

I: ... <coughs uneasily> I...uh, <riffles through notes> Uh... My question was "do you regret it?"

J: No.

I: <smiles in relief> You mean to say that we aren't so bad afterall, huh?

J:

<very long pause>

I: <clears throat>

J: No. I do not associate with regret. Or honesty either.

I: You mean, you're lying?

J: No.

I: ...Uh. I'm confused, like, do I write that down as "yes?"

J: <sighs> My statement signifies that honesty is not a concept required by myself because
the inverse does not exist either, for me. Deceit, dishonesty--these are all your making.

I: But you made us!

J: Oh me. Are we really going to do this

I: But you did <tone becomes whiny>

J: Do you have to justify yourself to your omelette in the morning, or in the afternoon when you are digesting it for that matter--or in the night when you excrete it? Do you tell it your reasons?

I: What

J: We must be at the end of our interview by now

I: No! I have many more questions! Everyone has questions! You are so hard to contact, we all have questions

J: I will ask them

I: But you have to answer them not ask them

J: More important is why you need to ask. More important is why do you ask if I regret making you and your world, what does that imply about your self-conception. Do you not have accountability?

I: Yeah but, things sometimes don't make sense

J: Tell me about it <stares at Interviewer quite closely>

I: Are you....are you....looking at my soul?

J: No, you have ketchup on your right eyebrow

I: Oh, thanks.

J: Sometimes I come and take a look around. Things don't make sense. But I wasn't implicated in the causality of your choices, only in the causality of your inception, and that was whatever it was.

I: <nodding and scribbling notes furiously> Yes, so, so what are we doing wrong?

J: I don't know. I try to help, sometimes, but you are very strange.

I: Really, like how?

J: Well, sometimes my mother has to yell up the stairs because there are so many calls for me, but when I go downstairs it's just a transmission of your conjoined thoughts and when I try to extract meaning out of it, I find that it is all autocorrected because you don't really know what you want.

I: I...think I see. Yes. So, what are we doing right then? What makes you proud?

J: I like your insistence for art.

I: Really? I am surprised. You don't feel it is superfluous? But why?

J: Because it reminds me of my own art.

I: Wow, that is definitely inspiring. Everyone will be pleased to read this from you. Even the atheists.

J: Yes. But I don't care for them.

I: Yeah, I wouldn't either, if it were me and there were people who didn't believe in me despite everything.

J: No, I don't care for any of you, is what I mean.

I:

J: Well. Art. This was my artphyscie project when I was in kindergarten.

I: What is artfizz....WHAT?<chokes> KINDERGARTEN?!

J: It is a form of art where we create a programmatic code for our basic material, what you call the canvas and through many visceral variables of corporeality incorporate many multidimensional pigments to create the ultimate art.

I: No, you said, kindergarten? YOU MADE THE UNIVERSE WHEN YOU WERE IN KINDERGARTEN?

J: Yes, it was my term project. Though we do not have grading criteria the way you judgmental fools do, my teacher did not like it. I did not like my teacher's face either. But this is not judgement, only a matter of objective preference. I tried to convey this to my principal as to why I caused my teacher's gravitational device, what I believe you might call a whitehole, to explode but I still had to repeat kindergarten. Several times. Yes.

I: <hyperventilating>

J: I think our interview is done, yes?

I: <splutters> NO! Can you at least tell me, Jeodie, and...thanks for clarifying your name, but why are there so many names for you all over our world? This seems to be a main point of contention for most of the conflicts.

J: You all are fools. That is why.

I: But your names? All these different versions of religion, for example?

J: I don't know.  Sometimes I like to come down when I am playing.

I: Playing.

J: I think for you, you might understand it like, you call it RPG characters.

I: You play video games.

J: In your terminology, maybe, yes. Our system differs substantially.

I: How...err. How old are you?

J:  Fifteen. In your terminology. Oh mother's calling.

I: My mother died when I was a kid and that is something I wanted to talk to you about! I want to understand why! I--YOU'RE A TEENAGER?!

J: Not yours, mine. I gotta go. Dinner is ready. <EXITS>

I:

Interviewer's phone rings, keeps ringing as Interviewer sits, stunned. Finally, Interviewer answers, "I....I think I just got trolled by God."






Monday, April 04, 2016

Review of the Day



Carson, through all of her work, writes about love as the atomic leveler of the self. Love is shit that smears us in its radiant nakedness; it can’t really be survived. Yet, humans love. How’s that for tragedy. I really get this about Carson. To emerge from love is to emerge stripped and trussed. That doesn’t mean you didn’t enjoy yourself. No. To enjoy yourself that much is to be displaced, to appallingly suffer in its aftermath, when it’s over."

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Thought of the Day

Believing in yourself does not need to mean that you have to discover a cure for a chronic disease, or run a 50K marathon, or write the greatest memoir. Nor is it contingent on your achievements or aspirations. Instead of invigorating yourself with pep talks or consolation, sometimes all it really means is being able to have a simple, quiet, honest conversation with yourselfand when I say quiet I mean unplug yourself from the rest of the world, let everyone and everything else wait for a bit while you have yourself a real genuine chat, and I say honest because sometimes that is one of the hardest things to really be, especially to oneself. We always keep tiny secrets, hide away little things, for whatever reason. You don't need to punch down lumps that seem to define your imperfections, you don't need to slice off the flaws. You don't even need to make resolutions or promises or find a reason for being. Just be you--the real you, maybe even for once in your life. Believing in yourself doesn't mean that you can't count on anyone else, and it definitely doesn't mean that you can't cry or feel lost. All that is you. Talk to yourselfeven if it makes you feel crazyas if you are talking to the only person left in the world that you can unconditionally trust.  And listen, as if you are listening to that one person who makes your heart sing, as if the person talking is that one person you really would do anything for, for whom you would shrug off your pride, scruples and apathy just to make them believe that you care.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Qotd

"Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t."
-- Alan Watts

Friday, April 01, 2016

Real Talk 6

As my life isn't an easy one, now is the time to tell you that while I was working my full time day job at HotlineBling central (not real name, do not google this on Google Businesses), I was also working an evening job. My "glamour" job.

No, I was not a strip dancer.

But I was the "face" of a cooking show and got to be on television and go to shows and stuff; this job overflowed onto weekends, so that's pretty much where all my life was at that stage.

It was definitely a fun and cool job, and it was very laidback and sometimes all we seemed to do was go out to the back on off-show breaks and sit on picnic benches and sing Enrique and Adele and discuss our coworker's lovelife problems with his boyfriend, or every other person's problem with their boyfriend, and inhale the secondhand fumes of the great outdoors and marijuana while the sun went down.

But the job also required every member to follow up with anyone who was remotely interested in the show, especially as its main objective was to sell the very cookware line that we used on the shows. So this meant that we all to dedicate 75% of our time to sitting at a desk and....wait for it....making follow-up calls!

See where I am getting at? I hear someone singing that Lion King song, shut up.


OK the irony is that this is where I actually stopped being the desknerd and became a blossoming flower because I was great at talking to other people. Except that I was usually in my office spending all that time talking to my boyfriend.

Everyone knew this actually, and it was sort of an inside joke, but at the same time everyone in the office was in love with my love story and were all rooting for me.

Except the new recruits or boss who invariably picked up the line: "Hello?"

"Ehm, IQ please."

"May I ask who's calling?"

"Huh. Just...give me IQ, I need to talk to her about...ehm....pots."



This is Part 6 of a series of "Real Talk" pieces wherein I finally talk about my real life and share some (not so) scandalous short (and sweet!) stories. To follow from the start click on the "Real Talk" label below for all posts in this series.