It's all made me nostalgic for my burnt down apartment and got me running around showing everyone how stinkin' cute India was three years ago.
Anyway. I found this story I wrote back then. I don't really write fiction anymore, mostly because I'm terrible at it, but this one was kind of sweet. I'll leave it here for you to read. I don't know if I'll have time to post again before Bolivia.
No word about my momma yet.
The Magic Hour
September 4th, 2005
It’s raining again.
You’d think I’d be used to the damn rain after living here for two years, but I’m not. I miss sunny Alberta.
It’s 6:30 am. I missed the 6:00 Sea Bus and I’m going to be late for work again. Fuck.
There’s a guy sitting to the left of me. He’s got on a real expensive looking suit and a leather briefcase beside him. He actually just took out a pocket watch and checked the time! (who has pocket watches now a days?) His hands don’t match his suit. The nails are chipped and it looks like the pad of his thumb and pointer fingers are stained with grease.
I heard an interview with Robert Munsch a while ago on CBC and I remember him talking about how he hears voices in his head all the time. This world famous children’s author who’s sold over 21 million books hears voices in his head. He said, “It makes me wonder sometimes about all the effort it takes for some people to just sit there, looking as normal as they do. You never know what’s going on inside them.”
That’s right, Rob, you don’t.
I try to imagine what I look like to the people who see me and don’t know me. If I was the fancified mechanic beside me this morning, explaining to the police what the girl who jumped off the side of the sea bus because she was going to be late for work again looked like, what would he say?
Well, officer. She was youngish.
I don’t know, around 26, 27?
She had light brown hair and I think she was short. It’s hard to tell how tall she was exactly.
She was sitting down the whole time.
Well, yes, she stood up to jump into the ocean, but I didn’t notice how tall she was then.
No. That’s all I remember of her.
She didn’t look like the type to get up and jump into the ocean.
September 6th, 2005
I caught the 6:00 Sea Bus today. Feel a little more in control of life in general.
I just finished reading “Life After God” by Douglas Coupland and I think I’m in love. Man, that guy’s intense. It’s like he just reached into my head and pulled out my brains and threw them in a book. All that emptiness and searching and finding. That’s it you know? That’s it.
I went out walking my city last night again. It’s my city. I want to make it my city so I figure I’ll go out walking at night and it will become my city. Kind of like Lila Futuranski in “Girls, Visions and Everything”. What a stupid name though, “Futuranski”. I know it was Schulman’s first book, but come on, “Futuranski”? More like “Dumberanski”. Anyways, so I’m walking around Vancouver by myself, like Lila, taking it back from, from…well, maybe just taking it, and I’m thinking about Doug C. and I wonder if I showed up at his door and told him I wanted to fuck him, no strings attached, if he would go for it. It’s hard to tell you know, those artsy types can sometimes be a little morally high ground, and sometimes when they die you find out they did all this gross crap like make-out with their sisters and hire prostitutes and that sort of thing. But maybe he would, you never know. I know what I would do though. He would answer the door and I would get all embarrassed and decide to abort the mission and probably thrust my dog-eared copy of L.A.G into his hands, mumbling for his signature. He would give me that squinty-eyed look that men give. Like when they want to fuck you but aren’t sure if they’re picking up the right vibe from you. He’d shut the door, slowly, giving me a chance to call him back and land in his bed. But I wouldn’t. I’d go home. Cursing my cowardice.
Man. Why can’t I get it together?
I want to live like Doug C. writes – seemingly careless and yet pointedly. I feel unanchored. I feel like I’m floating around loose, like I’m supposed to be tied to something but I’m more like an astronaut in space, grasping at a cord that has somehow become unplugged.
Maybe it’s because I had such a crap childhood. Well, maybe it wasn’t crap exactly, more like, rotten bananas. Mushy and black. Not bad enough to screw me up enough so I could use it to fuel my creativity and become famous, just bad enough so that I have to take those damn little pills everyday that cost an arm and a leg and keep me working at Telus because they have such a good drug plan, even though the work is mindless, monkey crap. It’s so crazy that they’re on strike right now. Telus should just fire all of the strikers and hire monkeys to replace them. They could pay them in mushy, black bananas and save all their drug money.
September 10th, 2005
I was listening to the CBC today, who is also on strike, and heard a repeat of Richardson’s Roundup. Old Bill was talking about this streetwalker who came up to him in China town one night “in a bad way” and swore she would do anything for him if he would give her some money. “But I’m gay,” says Bill. “There’s nothing you can do for me.”
“But I have a very hairy chin, she said. “Just feel it. All the gay men love me. Feel it.” And Bill Richardson, of Richardson’s Roundup stood in China Town stroking the poor, worn out hooker’s chin. I hope there was some transfer of kindness in that touch. Or something.
September 18th, 2005
I saw a kid this weekend when I was working the tea booth at a music festival, trying to pick up a little extra cash (those pills are so damn expensive). All the kids at the festival are dressed up real nice. They’ve all got their name- brand asses stuffed into name-brand jeans, carried around by name-brand runners. All day I’m telling people “Sorry, no coffee. We only sell tea.” It says right on the sign. “STEEPS TEA” but everyone assumes we’ve got to sell coffee too. I’m working away. Not really paying attention to what’s going on at the end of the line up but I keep seeing this lurching flash of red in my peripheral and I finally look up long enough to see what it is. It’s a kid wearing a puffy old winter jacket, like the kind I used to wear as a kid ten years ago, and a baseball cap that looks like it should be on a crotchety farmer, not a fourteen-year-old boy at a music festival. Everything about him looked “country”. Not “country” as if it were a fashion choice or something, which would still be weird in the middle of Vancouver, but Alberta style, just got in from feeding the cows “country”. I watched him because the line up died down and he was still hanging around on the edges, trying to read our menu, but I could see he was having trouble and I guessed he couldn’t read. There was something wrong with him. When he walked, his arms curved away from his body as if he had an invisible basketball under each of them and his legs seemed permanently bent at the knee. After five minutes of standing back, he lurched up to me all nervous. Man, his face though. I’ve never seen such an open face in my life. It made my head hurt. His skin was creamy smooth and his cheeks were this bright pink like a baby’s. He raised his eyebrows when he talked, with his eyes wide open, like had just been surprised by something.
“How much for a coffee please?”
“You want a coffee?” I asked him. I wanted to buy some time with that openness. It was selfish of me.
I told him we didn’t sell coffee, just tea. And that open, rosy face turned and walked away from me. I couldn’t stand it, and this is clearly why I have to take those stupid pills. I started crying. I wished I could have given him his coffee. I wished I could have made his life a little easier, a little nicer than it probably was. I felt sick that that poor kid had to face life every day with his arms and legs out of his control and that vulnerable face of his just waiting to be hurt. I would have liked to have given him a coffee.
September 20th, 2005
It’s 6:30pm. I spent the entire day in my pyjamas, thinking about that kid. Wondering why I didn’t just talk to him, tell him I liked how he looked, tell him I liked his rosy cheeks, give him a free fucking tea at the very least.
I listened to the CBC all day, trying to cheer myself up. Nothing. All repeat programs I’ve already heard.
September 21st, 2005
I went out walking the city again. It was “The Magic Hour”. I always think of those words, “The Magic Hour” when I look outside and all of the colours are thick and bright, and the houses and trees are like cut outs against the blackening sky. It was so cold. My fingers were getting stiff while I smoked because I forgot my mitts, but everything looked so pretty and artificial, and I felt like I was a character in a book, so that I didn’t want to break it and go back home.
I walked to the Sea Wall and there was ocean to my left, dripping vines and forest to my right, and downtown Vancouver in front of me. There was a square of sunlight on the ground and I moved in to it to warm up a little. I stood there, looking out at my city, thinking about the boy. Thinking about floating astronauts and loose ends and I looked down at my shoes. I could feel the gravel of the path beneath them and I imagined the layer of sand beneath the gravel, and my mind kept drawing me down through layers of rock and underground rivers, strips of undiscovered oil and bones, right through to the boiling centre of the earth, all red and troubled, past to cooler rocks and water and bones again, until I came up, through to the other side of the world and bounced into another soul, that was standing on the exact same spot that I was, on the other side of the world. I took my cord and I tied it to that foot, that unawares foot, that is alone and confused but somehow, moving in a mirror image of me.