What a long week it has been. I relax in my own comfy chair next to an open window in the corner of my living room. I watch the tiny movements of the maple leaves and listen to the traffic on Granville and beyond. The chirp that accompanies pedestrian crossings on either end of my block. This feels like the first moment of stillness in months, but we only arrived on Tuesday.
I’m surrounded by boxes after four days of a near empty apartment. We had a miscommunication with the moving company; our stuff was not delivered when we had expected, so we had to make do with what we had crammed in the car and what our new building manager was kind enough to lend us. Sleeping on an air mattress notwithstanding, it was nice to get to know our new living space without our possessions.
The building is old . A little run down, but comfortable. Charming and colourful and compact without feeling cramped. A nice change after the soulless townhouse in Edmonton. Oh, it was a decent place to live for the time we were there, but it had no mystery. This place already feels like it wants to be home.
It has been a week of motion. By car, by bike, on foot. I’ve walked kilometres this week. In sun and shade and cloud. Walked down to surprise tall ships off Kitsilano Beach. To an excellent sushi place. To Granville Island. Up and down the shops near our place. Re-learning my feet.
Tomorrow, I start work. I don’t know if the ordinary style of permanence that a job gives life will tip me into the reality of my situation. Because it still feels like I’m just visiting. Even though everything I own in the world is here. I’m not really here yet. Because if I’m really here, almost everyone I want to share this adventure with is too far away. And I’m not ready for that.
I’ve been saying goodbye all month. Goodbye to people and places and pigeonholes. A goodbye stretched out too long even for me. Leaving and leaving and leaving but never gone and starting again. And of course, you never start again completely. Because everything you gouge out and throw away leaves a bit of a scar. I’m learning to love this unseen pattern of scars all along my past.
Separation, impending or imminent, highlights importance and unimportance. Faces and hearts and minds. The ones I will cherish. Carry through and through and through no matter where the world sets me. The others I will quietly wipe from the slate. Spend an evening shredding evidence and walk away smiling.
I’ve spend the last two days purging old memories. Photographs. Letters never sent. Half-written stories from half-my-life ago. Diaries of a seventeen-year-old me. But I kept the billet-doux passed in elementary school halls. Handwritten letters from lovers (former and current) and friends. All the bits explaining how I came to rest in this moment .
When the pictures have finally come down from the walls. After we have cleaned between the tinny echoes of empty rooms. Once the car is crackling forward on the gravel that never gets completely cleared from these streets. I may acknowledge the sadness of packing up and disconnection. I will frogleap into the west coast rain and resolve my life into waves.
It has been a trying day. For no reason other than this smouldering coal seam restlessness flares into anger at unpredictable intervals. The day has reminded me of all the patterns I am so close to breaking. The habits of other people that impose on my time will all dissolve into transition. Fade to the next scene. Please, God, let me fade to the next scene.
And in answer to this day, the evening resolves in the smallest consolation: washing up the supper dishes. Despite chaotic emotions and interrupted projects and incessant calls for help, I can competently, completely move dirty dishes from one side of the sink, through mere soap and water, and rest them shiny and dripping dry on the other side.
So forget the other hours. Inconsequential demands of time compared to these 5 minutes and this return to order and peace. I make myself a cup of chamomile tea to the rhythm of playoff hockey commentators.
The scent of pine trees waking in the ravine between here and there. An echo in this circular push and body crouching against aluminum frame. Coiled mimicry of metal. Finding the flex and strength of muscles in parallel with these angles. We are testing air, dust, asphalt against endurance. Endurance against terrain. Metres and kilometres expanding and crossing time with motored vehicles that misunderstand our intentions. They’ve never felt the release of sinew fresh from hibernation. They pause in perpendicular confusion. For us. The space between joints, a cubby hole for breathless laughter.