SWORDFERN
Rooted, I used to think.

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Monday, Jan. 05, 2015 @ 2:15 pm
Happy Holidays



Rain, rain, rain. Winter storm warning and all that happens is rain.

This holiday stretched out in a lengthy emotional novel, the chapters varied but with common themes.

First: my birthday. I spent the day deeply sorrowful. Standing in the shower in the morning, the water pounding on my back, my insides soft and twisting and tears welling. Walking to work, listening to music, feeling sorry for myself, so alone, so sad. At work, diligently pushing through the day. I arrive home and begin to clean the kitchen as I cook the rice. D walks in the door and starts to yell at me. What are you doing? The dam breaks. I walk to the bathroom at sit on the toilet lid, sobbing quietly to myself. The year, the weight of my birthday, a burden too heavy to bear.

Next: Christmas Eve. The usual dinner with my parent's neighbours, their family now with three small grandchildren. The dinner is focused immensely on the children. I get it, I truly do. But I don't know why I'm there, other than to be an audience for their children. Nobody asks how I am. Nobody asks what I'm doing with my life. All they notice is the absence. The absence of an engagement ring. The absence of a mortgage. The absence of offspring. I'm saying goodbye to Blake and his new infant daughter, and he jokingly pats at my stomach and asks when we're going to start having kids. Time stops. Anger, insult, frustration, despair. When we can afford a second bedroom. It's a lie, but it's a less complicated answer.

Next: Christmas. I wake up in my childhood bedroom, D's arm flung across my chest in the small bed. The sounds and rhythms of this house, the smell from the vent when the central heat comes on in the morning. I hate how I feel in this room. I wish this house wouldn't exist, because it overwhelms me with nostalgia. It's like a cheap ice cream sundae - I want it and enjoy it for a while, but then it creeps up on me and fills me with sorrow. We visit family and eat food through to the end of Boxing Day. It all feels mechanical, and there are vast stretches where I sit on the couch and don't interact with anyone.

Next: Wedding. M and N started dating while we knew the both of them in PG. We went to their wedding on the Saturday. I had a good time here, I truly did, and I couldn't stop staring at M in her dress and makeup and hair. And the whole time I tried to imagine what it would be like if I were her, and these were all of my family and friends. I felt pretty, and I wore patent red heels and my long wool coat and my hair was cooperating, and this is when the holiday break started to feel real.

Next: Funeral. And then there was this. Heels again, this time black. And rubber boots for the cemetery. Macabre yet practical. I felt very little. All of the Catholic nonsense (sorry if I offend; I don't understand). The alter boy rings the bells, and I nearly laugh out loud and my face quivers in all sorts of ways as I attempt to quell my smile. I'm second closest to the casket, and I desperately try to sober myself. The priest drones on, reading from the books roboticaly, as if he hasn't done this hundreds of times before. I ignore him and instead think of Eva, of some of the moments of her life that she told me about. I imagine her soul rising from the casket and soaring out of this mediocre church, flying over her childhood farmhouse in Saskatchewan, her journey West by train, teaching at one room schoolhouses in Northern BC, meeting her husband, living in Vancouver and then North Vancouver, the birth of three daughters, her garden bursting with roses and raspberries, and walking her dachshund in the rain forest. With my mind, I infuse her with love and joy. The priest finishes, and we proceed to the church hall to awkwardly eat funeral sandwiches.

Next: Two glorious days of snow hiking in the sunshine.

Next: Chris. I met up with Chris. The Chris. The Chris that I've spent the last 9 years regretting. I called him, hands trembling. His voice instantly reassuring. Yes, he'd like to see me. Yes, he has time to meet up. I went alone. Again, my hands trembling as I counted out change for tea. The magnitude of this - an hour and a half with Chris, his undivided attention, and me memorizing every detail of his face. He arrives, smiling and relaxed. I get up to hug him, and it happens so fast that I instantly feel cheated. We talk non-stop about work and life but mostly about work. It's how we met, after all. I'm trying to listen, and it's the most interesting conversation I've had in weeks, but all I can think about is his face. How it hasn't aged. How it's familiar and soft and radiant, his hair messy and exactly the way that I like it. Eventually it's over, and he walks off into the rain. I want to know where he's going, who he's meeting next. I want to know where he's doing tomorrow and what his apartment in Calgary looks like and how his brother is doing and what it's like to have a niece and go on every single hike and adventure with him. I want to know too much. That I know. In conversation, me mentions that he is single. Like biting into a stone in a bowl of porridge, my attention instantly sharpens. Why did he say that? Was it intentional? Why is he still single? How is this possible? Why didn't I throw myself at him a decade ago? Why hasn't anyone else seen him?! There was one brief moment where we made eye contact, and for a second I saw through him, and I was transported into a different reality where we were having an argument and we were both hurting, and I saw the look on his face, and my insides crushed with what I was doing to him. And then the look flashed away and his eyes were happy again. I drove home, alone, in the rain. There will be no resolution.

And with that, I'm back at work.

There will be no resolution.


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