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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Tuesday, May. 07, 2013 @ 11:49 am
Sun, sun, sun. It's like the sun followed me back from Cuba, along with the thick memories that haunt me. The way the Cuban women walk. The lizards. The way the light falls in Havana.
It's like the dog days of summer here, only it's the first week of May. I stand on the roof at sunset, watering my tiny aerial garden. Twelve stories of concrete, and my lettuce pushing forth new leaves, unaware of its precarious and ritzy location. Penthouse greens, a $200 head of lettuce. A warm wind blows steadily from the west, my legs and arms bare. In the distance I can see the ocean. Mountains surround on the other side. Look east, north, west, gulls whirl below me, and it's like I'm flying up here in this blowing warmth. Is this real?
We go out for a ride on Sunday. Cycling through Chinatown, the smell of vegetables and dried roots and back alleys. Stop at a light beside a strip club, men with addictions lurch around, unaware of traffic. Over the tracks to the portside, cruise ship looms massively, gleaming, diesel exhaust and brine fill the air. Through the sparkling glassy towers of Coal Harbour. Through the dense dark forest of the park, swaying ferns and verdant moss. Goosebumps rise across my arms. And out onto the bridge, the Lions Gate, the suspended span so etched in my heart, my adult umbilical cord. Coasting the ups and downs of Marine Drive, past multi-million dollar cottages, Range Rovers, and BMWs. All the while the ocean sparkling and blinding with reflected sunshine.
How did I ever think that any other place could be home?
On the return trip, I am powerful and lean. I tuck in behind two middle-aged men. The follower notices me and begins to communicate to me in hand signals, the road cyclist's sign language. I'm in! The achievement, to be accepted, to be taken under one's wing.
Later, alone, I round a blind corner into a shadow. At least that's what I think happened. Look up. Car. Turning left across the lane towards a driveway on my right. Bumper, large plastic bumper, becomes large and larger as it closes in on my leg. My pale bare leg, skin as delicate as moth wings. Milliseconds from disaster, everything is achingly slow. I scream. I swerve. I brake uselessly against the closing distance. The car doesn't seem to slow or change course. The pitch of my scream jerks to fortissimo. Is this what I will do in the moment of my death? My final word, Aaiiiiiggggghhhh! The car's bumper, my fragile leg, physics and momentum and an old lady's reaction time. The damn shadow of an ancient cedar. I slip into another dimension. She stops. I glide past. My leg, her bumper, just milliseconds from disaster. My birth back into the world, the words JESUS FUCK! burst from my mouth at a somewhat reduced forte. Huh? That's adrenaline for you. As my mouth is spewing profanity into the granite bluffs, I look through the open window of a red sports car directly into the unblinking eyes of a trophy wife.