2002-09-07 @ 2:23 a.m.
The Clock Strikes 12
It's cold outside.
There was a party on the 'Shore tonight. I figured I should attend, seeing as Shuswap was the only time I saw that group of friends all summer.
I entered the party through the kitchen. The kitchen is a safe place to start - you can walk through without getting stuck for too long - as opposed to the patio where people are seated in a circle. I was greeted with looks of astonishment: "What the hell are you doing here? On the 'shore? Being social?"
I nearly left right then.
Somebody handed me a beer and gave me a hug. I did the rounds in a daze. Dave sat on the patio with the other pot smoking people. So many faces that I couldn't remember ever meeting in the past. So many faces that I hadn't seen in many years. A girl I played in pre-school with was flashing around her new engagement ring. The baby was being passed around like a new kitten. Bottles clinking, music thumping, faces blurring.
It felt like I was in the centre of the merry-go-round. Everyone on the edges spinning around me, laughing and smiling. There I am, in the middle, turning in one spot, feeling nothing but my stomach clenching up with the accelerating dizziness.
There was a pad of post-it notes on the kitchen table. I amused myself, or rather focussed my spacey attention, with origami paper crane making. The cranes piled up on the table, flocking around the bottle caps and sticky scattered playing cards. With the one last yellow note, I crafted a fortune teller. I scrawled morbid fortunes under the numbered flaps: cavities, divorce, premature death, poverty...
I escaped into the bathroom and sat there for a while. Quiet.
When I returned, I positioned myself in a corner, somewhat part of a conversation circle. From this vantage point, I could see the drunk people telling each others fortunes, nostalgic at the girly grade-5 novelty. Laughter erupted when one strong-livered boy was forewarned of a hangover.
Like Cinderella, I escaped at midnight. I left out the back without saying goodbye.
The ride home in the dark was quick. I took the lower road beside the ocean, and stopped at the end. I walked out alone on the sand. So cold out there, the hood from my sweater over my head, the winds pushing air across my face. The city seemed to float. Atlantis rising from the Bermuda Triangle. No moon - did it already dip behind the Island?
Where am I going?
Where, oh. Where!? It's so cold here.