red, gold, orange – autumn’s blur from my bicycle, accompanied by a crackling whir.
awww, autumn. your golden days make you glorious. your colours wrap around me.
there was this teenage girl walking, rather slowly across an intersection. the first thing i noticed was her large bubblegum headphones, then the red light, and then the numerous rush-hour cars screeching to a halt to avoid hitting her. will never know if she was defiant or oblivious. but as i sat behind the wheel, respecting the light she was disrespecting, i willed her to make it to the other side, untouched – the headphones (her shield?) still over her pretty, long, dark hair.
quite a while ago, before we moved back from san francisco, i took james for one last stroller ride down to the bay. he was about nine-months old. i bundled him up and covered him with the baby blanket i had made him before he was born, determined he’d be warm despite the cold, damp air.
he proceeded to kick or pull his blanket off throughout the walk. i was struck by his independence and i had what i guess can best be called a parenting revelation: although i’ll know what’s best for him, it, of course, doesn’t mean he’ll listen. he’ll have to figure things out for himself. i also had a temporary heartbreak, because his defiance crystalized for me that he truly was no longer a baby per se, and well on his way to toddlerhood.
being a relatively new parent, i could easily let my imagination run wild. i suddenly could see the day when he’d no longer need me. as hard as that is to imagine, i tell myself that that’s the job i signed up for and that’s when i’ll know i did it well. oh the irony.
i see this sight pretty regularly and it gives me this little, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach every time: a man sitting in an old kitchen chair, looking out of a deserted store-front window, with ladders and scraps of lumber behind him. he has a mop of white hair and vivid blue eyes which are distressed, sad, and lonely. often he’s clutching his own arms or shoulders beneath his soul-ripping stare.
james and i pass him on our way to the park. i’m always acutely aware of the incongruity of our happiness, our action, our togetherness.
i now live in toronto again. in many ways it feels like i never left. it’s almost like i have to remind myself that i lived in san francisco for four years. yet when i plan where i want to go—even just to run errands or take james for a walk—pretty sf places always surface first. i’m displaced or homesick, or both.
i’ve always hated scars, but now i’m the owner of a rather largish one from my emergency caesarean. the proud owner. i like it. it’s my badge of honour. the other side of trauma. james’ escape route into the world. it’s like having his thumbprint (or two) on me. the line is fading to silver, imbued with a certain beauty. the physical signpost of something bigger.
(photo thanks to Paul)
most evenings before james’ bedtime, i put on some mellow-ish music for us to listen to. we spin around in the office chair, dance, or just walk around. tonight i put on massive attack’s mezzanine. when angel played, i sang along: you are my angel / come from way above / to bring me love. i was struck with how fitting tonight’s choice was for my miracle baby. happiness.
sometimes you can feel homesick for a person.
northbound on a flower-fenced highway. fog-coated interludes become sunlight washes. big blue bays. chocolate-chip cows on cookie mountains. california, i bow to your beauty.