December 24, 2014 by Wayne.
Those clued in about my personal life will know that I’m caught up with a couple of things at the moment. As such, I’ve had to postpone all my 2014 Lists until the end of January at the very earliest. Shame. In the meantime, I’ll be scheduling a bunch of reposts – although not exactly. All original posts on this blog are typically first/second drafts. This set of upcoming reposts are from the 3rd draft onwards. Enjoy (please).
When she was ready, we walked to the bar. The streets were quiet. Winter had just let up and the warmth was cautiously feeling its way back into the morning air.
We talked. About what I’d do once I went back. About the guy she’d met on her trip to Toronto; about the fact that this was our first real talk in close to 3 months and we would have stretched that record if not for the other fact that this was pretty much a prolonged goodbye.
We had four photos together. One and two: after artisanal pizza and gelato, we walked back to my place; she’d her duffle coat and her 7fam jeans, and I had a cardigan over my favourite Spurr shirt. Three: She wrapped her fingers around mine while we lulled in the sunlight, heads heavy with sex and sleep.
Four: The one on her laptop she deleted the next morning.
Afterwards, while we waited at the intersection (already filling up with white vans and white men on fixies), I asked her to come back to my place before it ceased being mine. Wayne, she said. Please walk me home.
We walked past the mexican restaurant, which in a few hours would have seats spilling out onto the sidewalk and a queue of people with coronas in hand and topless men skateboarding past them and the busker with a guitar by the basement bookstore with an arrow chalked into a blackboard propped against a tree with arms that twisted away from each other, reaching out towards the windows of the hairstylist and back out from the buildings, struggling to cross the stream of concrete and tar and steel into the rails that led away from this town – and with good reason. Why stay, after all? All the meaning we derive from this place, we derive from ourselves. Sure, I wanted many things when I first reached, but for all the heavens she could be, all I wanted was to have and to hold.
And though she had the unsurmountable knowledge of the past, and my oversized brown sweater, and my purple buzzer she drew in circles with, gasping in silent Ohs, and my hand through her hair while she cried outside in the bitter cold while foreign men stared from the mirrored room, she could have everything but she’d never know me. Hell, I don’t know me.
At the end of it though, she drew close for a last hug and I kissed her on the forehead and when we pulled apart, she said: Can you do one last thing for me? Don’t call. Or text. Just, please, keep…out of touch.
That’s a really shitty last line, you know?
But she wasn’t laughing, and she wasn’t grinning along the way she used to, just smiling sadly and looking away and leaving.
I sat at the table near the stairwell and watched people walk past towards cups of coffee and smiling girls and spring classes. The steady drone of words and laughter was already rushing back, in increasingly eager waves that broke against each other then curled back up with the next one, rushing like the water down the saksa river, rushing away from this city of eternal chill and pasta specials and international houses and girls who curl away on the opposite side, socked feet and bare legs against your back –
She was moving quickly up the stairs now, not looking back, and her tiny disappearing figure in the white jacket is the last thing I remember of her.