I sit in a hotel. In Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. A frontier of sorts. An edge to something, though I haven’t discovered what yet. A hub, perhaps. I arrived in darkness. December, north of 60, couldn’t be elsewise. But something about this darkness is thrilling. I am in the centre, and this city is so quiet. The hush and hug of these particular mountains squeeze me into less silent shapes. So now I want to talk. I want to tell you everything. Who I am, why I’m here (even though you will always look confused when I try to explain), why the intangible pieces of me are fluttering through my skin.
I think it started with the unlikely chickadee that perched on the suspended TV screen at Gate 18 and warbled and chirped to itself. I watched it, wondering where it came in, where it would go, whether it felt lost and alone or just alone. I don’t know what chickadees do when they’re alone.
From then, I wanted to be open in some way. To connect excitement with words in intricate patterns across two minds. And so, I declined the solitary cab and hopped on a hotel shuttle. Rewarded with a woman from Argentina, in Canada on a post-secondary student exchange, and determined to see as much of Canada as budget would allow before going home. She has never seen the northern lights, and so the clouds will clear one night for her. She said. And I hope. When we reached my hotel, we were the only two passengers left. She sent me air kisses, and we wished each other northern adventure.
I’m unafraid of this town. Though clearly, I’m not from around these parts. They can tell. I am quiet and I read The English Patient over my hotel bar & grill supper. I order lemon tea, and I am far away from whatever I didn’t want to talk about. I contemplate conversations with strangers, but rarely lift my eyes from the page.