This Week

My aesthetic this week was:

drinking warm wine out of waterbottles in a park on a sunny day wearing a blue dress that lifted with every gust of wind and a smile that curled with every word spoken

How To Spend a Sunny Day

1:33 p.m.
Accidentally drop your phone in the school bathroom’s toilet, forcing you almost completely off the grid. After delicately fishing it out of the porcelain bowl, decide you are secretly happy that you are now unreachable (because you’re not entirely sure that anyone is really trying to reach you anyway).

1:52 p.m.
Decide you will walk home to your sleepy suburban neighbourhood from your downtown campus after classes. Rely on your poor math skills and attempt to calculate speed x distance x pee breaks needed, and unknowingly find yourself on a 4-hour journey across the city. Accept that you will never (EVER) be a mathematician. Briefly entertain the idea that you may die of starvation before you ever make it home.

2:28 p.m.
Act like a tourist in your own city. Smile at miserable-looking businessmen, take the sunny-but-probably-impractical route home, and stop in strange-looking storefronts along the way. Pretend not to notice when people stare rudely at you as you sing along to the Blind Pilot song on your iPod.

2:56 p.m.
Allow yourself to be lured by the grassy fields that surround the city’s legislature. Flop down on your sweater and swear you can feel the freckles poking their way through your skin, desperate to be reunited with the sun. Marinate in the brief moment between the departure of snow and the arrival of bugs.

3:31 p.m.
Go to a coffee shop and run unexpectedly into a boy you used to pine for. Decide he’s not as cute as you remember (or maybe you’ve grown as a person, you’ve heard that’s what it means to be human), but sit down and catch up with him anyway. Allow yourself to be silently satisfied with your choices in life, because he was a path you once almost went down, but the sites were prettier and the winds less harsh in the other direction. Order your first iced coffee of the year, and smile as you sip it.

5:26 p.m.
Visit your friends at the hip, noisy bar where they serve beer to businessmen. Accept a free caesar in exchange for details about the new guy you’ve been seeing. Decide that the best thing about boys is telling your friends about them, and blush when you describe his dark eyes. Get drunker than you meant to, and pass out immediately when you finally make it home, blistered and bleary-eyed. Dream only of the warm sun and nothing else.

Photo 2015-03-31, 2 37 43 PM

Word Envy

Nothing amazes me more than others’ words being able to explain how I’m feeling far better than I ever could. This week I read a piece by Srin (http://burninggravity.tumblr.com/) and it was like she took the exact thoughts from my head and organized them into a single perfect, coherent passage.

“God I wanted you to hate me. I wanted you to shake with the rage of it. Feel the trembling within your bones and consume yourself with the unfairness of me. I wanted to be it. Nothing else. No in-betweens, no gentle goodbyes, no altruistic valedictions. I wanted you to feel my claw marks on your arms long after you pried me off of you, leaving your own set of scars on my wrists in turn. It wasn’t supposed to be sweet or sorrowful or well intentioned. I wasn’t supposed to be laying in a lukewarm bath with my mother knocking on the door to see if I’m alright. There was never anything gentle about our love, about our loss, about the words we threw at each other like shards of glass. You were supposed to roar for me goddammit. I was supposed to scream until my throat could no longer contain my heart. I was supposed to spit out my soul and you were supposed to catch it. You were supposed to catch it.” -Exit Wounds, Pt 1

Tumblr is full of crazy gifted writers, most of whom I blame when I find myself in Hour 6 on Tumblr in a single Saturday afternoon, a stack of assignments piled next to me ignored.

My favourite 3 writers on Tumblr:
1) Azra T, http://5000letters.tumblr.com/tagged/prose
2) Lang Leav, http://langleav.com/tagged/Popular
3) Iain Thomas, http://officialiwrotethisforyou.tumblr.com/

SF

Sometimes you just have to book a flight. Sometimes this happens after too many bottles of wine with three of your friends, in the very dead of winter. The kind of winter night when your scarf sticks to your snotted face and dampens with frost.

You choose a location because it’s warm (the opposite of where you currently are), and because everyone knows that nothing heals a broken soul like the feel of the sun on paled shoulders. And your soul is broken- it was snowed on by school, by dark skies at 4:00 p.m., by the grumpy lady at the front desk of the dentist’s office.

You decide on somewhere you know nothing about. “San Fransisco” someone mentions with a cotton-mouth made from merlot. Isn’t that where Full House was set? Don’t they have some old prison there? Does everyone travel by trolley car?

You choose a sunny apartment after careful consideration. Scouring maps for potential neighbourhoods is difficult when you’ve never heard of any of them. You eventually agree on Hayes Valley, which sounds sorta like the Osborne Village of SanFran. Think yoga studios that double as coffee shops that also sell vintage clothing.

In the search for The Perfect Apartment, the requirements are specific. A balcony is necessary. So is a coffee maker. A full length mirror is essential. But you know that wherever you end up, the four of you will make it into a place worth living. A place that feels like home.

There are things you can never predict about a trip, elements that no amount of research will prepare you for. Lonely Planet can only tell you so much. In the end, you find that the unexpected moments are the ones you think fondly back on the most (is it still a cliche if it rings true?). The carefully researched TripAdvisor itinerary sits in a crumpled ball at the bottom of your suitcase, untouched.

It was the velvet armchair that sat next to the open window that the sun loved to touch for 4 hours each day. You would sit there, eyes closed, coffee (sometimes wine) in hand, and take pleasure in the ease of it all. Forget pills, forget band-aids, you are convinced in that moment that open windows can heal open wounds. You begin to feel your soul patch itself back together.

It was your friend Justin, a tanned Californian boy, offering to drive you all to Santa Cruz for the day. After seeing San Fransisco, you didn’t think you could love a place more. And then you went to Santa Cruz.

Everyone was friendly and laid-back as they traded business suits for wet suits in convertible jeeps on the sides of roads. Your hair curled from the salt in the water and the sound of your friends’ laughter stretched your face into a grin. You brought a blanket and you bought a bottle of vodka and you sat there and sipped from it while you watched the surfers, all of them looking like tuxedoed penguins floating in the distance. You felt your soul exhale, contented.

It was the night you all loudly burst out of the apartment because suddenly the sky had exploded with shades of pink that you didn’t even know the clouds were capable of. You all didn’t wanna miss the moment so you grabbed your cameras and sucked hurriedly on cigarettes while you tried to capture the beauty of the magic hour. But of course, the photos couldn’t show the buzz in the air or the feeling of your friends’ arms around your shoulders as you willed the moment to last forever.

I let someone tattoo me at a house party

The incessant pokepokepoke of the needle felt irritating but did not hurt. I admit, I was more concerned with what my parents’ reaction would be, and whether or not I was about to contract hepatitis B.

I looked down (big mistake) at the sweaty, shaggy-haired jock drawing lines on my skin. He breathed stale beer on my ankle as he bent his head in concentration. The ink sat still in an old bottle cap on the kitchen counter.

I glanced over at the boy (there’s always a boy), for whom I was subjecting myself to such pain. He was sipping his beer and looking in a completely opposite direction.

Well, so much for that.

I looked down at the fresh tattoo wound on my ankle. It was supposed to be a simple, elegant ‘X’, but one line was much thicker and longer than the other, as if drawn by a 3 year old child with poor motor skills.

X marks the spot where I once got a stick-and-poke tattoo at a house party for a boy that I thought was cute, just because he got one too.

It took four months before I stopped worrying that I had contracted some fatal infection from the sewing needle used to stain my skin an ugly shade of off-black.

And if you’re wondering if it worked, if it got the attention of the boy that I convinced myself was The One through a fog of beer pong and cigarette smoke, it didn’t. Does it ever, really?

In the years since, I’ve gotten tattoos that have hurt less and meant more. The needles have been sterilized, and no cute boy has been the thief of my morals.

The ‘X’ remains on my ankle, faded and crooked.

Years later, The Boy asked me out. He didn’t remember me from the party, wide-eyed and worshipping. We compared tattoos, laughing at the extreme stupidity of our choices.

In the end, it didn’t work out between us, as many things don’t. But that’s ok.

X marks the last time that I sacrificed myself for a boy, the last time that I did everything I could for the desperate, pleading attention of another person.

A Modern Day Love Story

A very lonely woman signed up for an online dating website.

After corresponding with a man for a few weeks, the two agreed to meet at a local bar.

“I’ll be the girl in the white and gold dress,” she emailed him.

That night, she sat at the bar clutching a warm Chardonnay until closing time.

Men walked by her, seemingly searching for someone, but not one stopped.

She walked home alone, defeated. A single tear crawled down her carefully contoured face.

Two blocks from home, a homeless man shouted at her from across the street,

“Love the blue and black dress on ya, sweetie”

I fall in love with cities

I fall in love with cities the way others fall in love with people. I lust after the curves of street corners and the winding paths of boardwalks just before dusk. I am charmed by the cracks of old buildings, by their missing bricks and worn, splintered boards. I want to kiss the sky where it meets the water, the two most perfect shades of blue I have ever taken in.

I stare longingly out of bus windows in big cities. It seems that everyone has somewhere to be, someone to meet, something to do. There is so much LIFE between the tall concrete slabs of skyscrapers dotting smoky skies. I find comfort in the fantasy that I, too, might be on my way to meet an Australian lover at a local cafe that serves avocado on your toast if you only ask politely enough. We would sip sugared lattes and get lost in a neighbourhood we’ve never explored, and we would laugh the entire cab ride home, my feet on his lap.

I often think that these are the places I should be at 22. Getting a bottle of wine at 3:00 a.m. and Chinese takeout at 4. Roaming streets that are weighed down with wanderers, no matter the hour. Dancing with strangers to a DJ I’ve never heard of at a dingy club down a dark alley. Feeling alive simply because I am standing in a place where things never stop. 

But then again, I come home and it feels like magic. I walk down the airport steps, fighting through throngs of…no one. The airport, as always, is quiet and unassuming. No one has somewhere to be, someone to meet, something to do. The Chinese food place closed at 9.

My parents pick me up and we are home within minutes. There is no traffic. My friends and I sit talking at Tim Hortons until midnight, the rest of our suburban neighbourhood already fast asleep. I smile and sip my coffee, knowing that I will visit many more cities and fall in love with them all. But tonight I am happy, doing nothing, going nowhere, in my sleepy little town.