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Purgatory - Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019
Monday, Jul. 22, 2013 @ 10:10 am
Saturday night, at a rooftop penthouse party in Olympic Village. Seventeen floors above ground, stunning views that sweep from city hall to Strathcona. Yaletown shimmering like a jewel-encrusted crown. Yachts in False Creek, and intermittent whistles from racing dragonboats. Drinks flowing, someone is DJing, and a giant cut of meat is smoking on the BBQ.
I - get this - I mingle. I introduce myself to strangers. I meet a solicitor and a doctor and a plethora of beaurocrats. I'm standing up there on this ritzy rooftop helping myself to cider from a keg and making small talk with lawyers. Oh, and it's a costume party so we're all wearing dirty white tank tops and cutoffs.
The sun sets and we're dancing and everyone is so happy that my heart is about to explode in gratitude. And then, on the hill behind city hall, fireworks crack and echo and flash in the sky. The display reflected in the glass towers, so it's happening in double.
On Sunday I ride to the beach. I head out to the far end of Spanish Banks, an attempt to recreate this day. (It's funny, I knew exactly how to search for that entry in my diary - using the word 'tumble' - and it turns out that it was the exact same day of the year as yesterday. A whopping eleven years ago! How persistent that memory was, how circular to seek it out on the same day of the year. How my life has come full circle, and how much my heart has stayed the same.) I lay on the sand, feeling lithe and relaxed, waiting for the tide to come in. I watch the sandbars disappear, and the families come in to the shore, and the water churns over the hot sand. When the time is right, I step out into the ocean. The water is bath warm, warmer than the Caribbean, the Mediterranean. I wade out through the shallows, the sand still hot beneath the water. I walk steadily forward into the harbour, to that point where the currents collide.
I dive under the surface, shafts of green light through the sandy water. Weightless, floating on my back, the waves pushing and pulling gently against me. I stay out there in utter bliss until my hands become wrinkled.
Later, we are BBQing our dinner on the rooftop of our building. I harvest some greens from my little garden plot, and we're standing there watching the sun go down, and I'm wondering how much of this happiness is self-created and what percentage of this is due to dumb luck. I like to think that what we have right now was carefully engineered. We both changed careers, went back to school. We moved north to gain experience. We sacraficed years of ourselves in order to get ahead. And here we are, standing on this rooftop, revelling in the fruits of our labour. We were agents of our own change - don't forget that. There was risk, discomfort, temporary financial setbacks. But in the end, here now, we played our cards right, and I rake my winnings towards myself. Not that I think that I deserve this, I mean, I recognize the privelege of living in this country, of the opportunities and gifts that I have been given over the years. But there it is, and why not enjoy this time? I've spent so long, as Daniel complains, being dour.
The fireworks, the tumbling warm ocean, this sparkling city and the heat waves rippling up from the asphalt. Dour? Not right now. And hopefully not again for a long while.