She could feel my body, but I could not feel her touch. The operation rendered me numb, but I knew neither of us was deriving any pleasure out of this session. But I paid for it, so I could imagine my money’s worth: how good my newborn scars felt in her hands, the ropey pink flesh relenting to her persistence—she was my healer, my Jesus, and her pleasure ego was enjoying this small miracle. “Hummm...” The air around us kept us packed together, a vibrating bubble for the allotted 45 minutes. I forgot her and my body, and somehow I slipped into a memory of 25 years ago, in the country, cursing time and my existence as a child...Then she touched me there, where the feeling had not died, and I remembered where I was.
Souls travel on trains. That’s why people become immersed in nostalgia, like it’s a much-needed baptism after decades of hard living, when they board a train and spend more than three minutes gazing out the window at life as a blur. A lot of people believe that souls travel through the sky, in the air, as if they are their own private jet, but souls really go on trains because life-as-a-blur, in soul time, goes the normal speed and makes enough sense to be savoured. Another belief: baby souls—or renewed souls—travel through tunnels. This is true. Tunnels are dark, and darkness is always new. Only when souls have lived a few years in a new life—only then do they graduate to trains. They begin their lives at soul-speed, watching life by the side of the tracks.
I was worried that he’d find the chunk of pizza crust lodged in my molar, so I kept it short and sweet, even though it was a long goodbye. I told him not to touch my cheek because it was sensitive from the slap of East coast winter wind, but he didn’t listen. Never had. Arrogant. And wanted to catch my cold before I left for warmer places.
I put on my helmet because I knew I was gonna be late for practice. I always am when Dad has to drive me instead of Mom. So I put on my helmet so I could just run in and join the team on the rink. But I was really late because Dad rear-ended some old woman in an ancient stationwagon, and I hit my head on the dash, and the old lady was screaming at him and wheezing, but at least my head was okay.
Fluorescence balanced on beams discarded from storage rooms in a restaurant shut down last night. Our usual route home was interrupted, blocked by this piece of concrete gone astray. I challenged Mum to a tightrope-walking contest. She protested her heels were brand-new, not worn down enough, but I knew she didn’t want to lose to a nine-year-old. Besides, she was older and knew more about how to keep one’s balance on the brink of a fall.
She told me to sit still. “Gerald, stop being Mr. Antsy Pants. Don’t worry about your damn head! I got you covered.” And she did, slapping her left hand where the glare off the billboard hit hardest on my pate. Darlene was always good like that, mothering everyone until the big deal was swept away to nothing. I look at that picture now and laugh because I remember how I’d just wished I could keep her red purse from bonking me in the head.
I was just playing hide-and-go-seek with my twin 10-year-old boys, but this little Asian lady thought I was a crying bum and stuck a loonie in my hand. I tried to give the coin back and explain to her that it was just a game, but I didn’t know the universal gestures for pretend-disappear, make-believe runaway. So I kept the loonie and went to look for my sons. Turns out, they disappeared for good.
The sudden exit of endorphins left me feeling like a vengeful slab of lead, ready to be used to kill with an inertia all my own. I don't want to move; I don't want to sit still. My mouth being pulled down into a monster yawn. And now the sun pierces my limbo, shooting into the solar panels on my heavy head.
Just in case you might not gather that it was a mug meant for coffee, the word "coffee" was painted all over it--in big letters, messy letters, uptight letters, black, red, yellow and orange--with tufts of steam floating among words. Dennis despised how the mug's designer assumed the stupidity of the consumer. He pushed his mug off to the side of the table in disgust. The coffee slopped over onto the table and floor. He didn't want coffee anymore. Instead, he wanted tea, Lipton, in a bag, in the coffee mug. Resist and subvert.
This morning I watched two pigeons build a nest in the awning of the cafe. The problem with doing something once is that you become lazy afterwards. Cherry blossoms aren't good enough for the blackening sky. It feels like everyone's traveling in a tunnel, they move so straight. Other birds are motionless, shit the day away. Man exits cafe with open paper bag, confident about what he thinks is his.