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Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Plan

Every time I plan something good, it falls flat. Okay, not every single time, but enough times for the whole concept to royally piss me off. But does it stop me from making plans anyway. Big, elaborate plans?

Not a chance.

This weekend was no different. I'd chose the food, the tasks, even the background music. The invitations went out to the usual suspects. I cleaned the toilet and put away the laundry. I was ready for the par-tay.

Nobody showed.

Well okay, that girl from work, the one I sometimes knit with at lunch, she showed. Brought her knitting bag, too. So we gossiped and looped yarn over needles like a couple of old maids. At least that's not a term that most people use these days. I believe the correct term is flop.

No. LOSER.

That's me. I do my best to get my ducks in a row, but sooner or later I have to face the fact that they're the rubber-duck variety, like kids use in the bathtub, and they've sprung leaks, and bathwater has been sitting inside them for too long so if you squeeze them a blackish crud-pool of bacterial disgust will ooze out of them.

But they're in a row.

Except for that last one.

But we won't talk about him.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Wait

She hated to wait, more than brussel sprouts, squeaking Styrofoam, or spit. The worst was enduring a ticking clock on a day when she forgot to wear a watch.

She stood at the curb, doing her best to not appear as though she waited for someone to pick her up. Yet that was exactly her intention. Except for the part where she knew the man who would eventually arrive for her.

He didn't own a watch. He "gave them up" in a fit of retro-hippie popularity-inducing absurdity. He claimed that people had natural internal clocks and that anything important would naturally work out.

As if.

She crossed her arms over her chest, hiding her bare arm and mentally forcing herself to NOT grind her teeth. He'll be here soon. He wants to see you. He's only stuck in traffic. The mantra did little to reassure her fears that he simply wouldn't remember their date.

What did that say about her? Was she unmemorable? Had he tired of her? Should she return to the office and bury herself in work? Was he worth it?

Yes. Her only sure thought was that he was most definitely worth it. More than anyone she'd ever had the misfortune of dating. More than the sweet taste of honey on Melba Toast. More than sunshine after a long rain.

Friday, 13 October 2006

One

It is possible to enjoy a meal at a table for one. I shouldn't need to have a book or a companion for the food to taste good. The cuisine should stand up on its own merit. Sushi can. Believe me. I've counted on it before.

The Japanese have mastered food presentation -- the small plates, ergonomic cups and bowls -- its art more than sustenance. The tapered chopsticks are akin to sexy legs as they stretch on forever into kissable points.

I close my eyes and allow the tuna to melt on the tip of my tongue. I squeeze the wooden tips together and grip a slice of ginger so thin it must have been carved with a razor blade. With a gentle stir, the settling miso realigns into a soup once more and I drink it like a soothing cup of cocoa.

It's heaven.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Cold

The tea was cold, having sat untouched for hours while I typed. One word after another. One sentence followed the previous. Until I'd delete it all and start again.

I sipped the tea, then spit it back into my cup. I'd steep another pot, maybe after I hit a thousand words. Maybe eight hundred. Five would barely be work. God damn, they just wouldn't come.

I saved my unchanged file for the seventeenth time -- gotta love prime numbers -- and paced around the house. The curtains weren't closed properly so I straightened them. The washing machine had finished so I transferred the clothes to the dryer. The phone showed two recent calls so I scrolled through the call log until the blinky-green light turned off.

My watch must have been wrong. Had to have been less than an hour since I typed a meaningful sentence of text. Had to.

The phone rang. I should've let the machine take the call, but I could afford another ten minutes. My father. He wanted me to bring him chips. I told him no, his blood pressure was too high. We argued. I ultimately agreed to bring him popcorn.

Thirty minutes less in my time slot. I had to make at least three hundred words or I couldn't even count it as writing.

With the kettle filled and plugged in, I rinsed out the tea pot and dropped in another bag. I watched it fall to the bottom. What little water remained as residue at the bottom of the empty pot seeped into the bag and coloured itself pink. Cranberry tea. It was my last line of defence on a wordless day.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

Judgement

Her judgement faltered, in herself, in her relationships, in every task she ever performed. Though she tried to make good choices and she held onto the belief that she maintained a sense of right and wrong, she sabotaged her life, one mistake at a time.

In her sessions with her therapist, she dodged the issue. Always bringing up more pressing concerns like the promotion at work that didn't pan out or the chemo therapy her father endured. The mechanics of her mess, the truths behind why she fell for emotionally unavailable men or why she loved her cat more than herself, these she kept buried, locked, and isolated.

Love hurt. Men didn't like her, they used her. Sustainable relationships were a myth. The mantra of despair to live by.

She cycled through destructive behaviours. One week, she would eat and snack until she made herself sick. The next she would visit the gym every day, doing two maybe even three aerobics classes to distract herself from sadness. The worst, though, was when she would visit her mother's grave and sob, after work each night, sharing her grief with the only person who had seemed to understand her. The net result bought her more unhappiness and a bigger sense of loss for the life she wished she had.

If only she could dig herself out of the dungeon she'd built. If only she could secure happiness without tying it to a man she'd never truly understand. If only life would cut her some slack.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Steam

She painted shadows with steam. Each one a fleeting work of art embossed on acrylic, porcelain, and chrome. Though they captured her mood, they could not hold it for more than a few moments once her body moved away.

Her hand touched the cold faucet, leaving a curve reminiscent of the worn slopes of ancient mountains long eroded by time's passage. When she submerged her hand in the tub once more, she watched the mountain evaporate, reducing to a thin line and then gone.

Pressing her heels against the far side of the tub, she left mid-air footprints in white sand. One after another, her toe prints left a trail of mystery. Where did she travel? What had she seen? Whose lives had she touched.

Many lives.

And like the friends who fade when circumstances change, the prints scattered, leaving her alone.

So dreadfully alone.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Hike

The hike through the woods always brought a sense of peace. The oxygen, the tall boughs, and the whispering of leaf against leaf in the wind.

She stepped carefully, keeping her feet low to the ground and her eyes ahead on the trail. A squirrel darted across her path and scurried up a tree.

"Good day to you sir. Or are you a madam?"

The creature did not respond.

Further along, the trees grew closer to the path and roots stuck up, tripping her more often than not. She searched for each step, cautious of brown bumps. But they hid themselves well, eager to bring her to their level.

They succeeded.

Her pants torn, and her knee scraped, she struggled back to her feet. "I won't let you win. I'm smarter than you give me credit for."

After a steep climb, she dodged a pair of beech trees growing around each other and rounded a corner. Beyond the path, a brook beckoned. She eased down to a rock in the middle and dipped her fingers in the cool water.

Unsure of its cleanliness, she hesitated before cleansing her scrapes. The coolness won out and she dabbled relief on her aches.

"Thank you, brook, for your kindness."

"Do you expect it to answer?"

She spun around to find a man, handsome and strong, standing within arm's reach.