Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2019 @ 11:01 pm
I fly north to my ‘home’ office located in a small and dusty city in the arid interior of the province. The hotel shares a parking lot with a liquor store, and lost souls lurch around the hardened piles of ice and gravel. The air smells of dust and pulp mill.
After dropping my bags in my room, I change into my glasses, pull my hair up into a messy bun and walk to the grocery store. The streets are eerily deserted. Two guys emerge from a pub – pale and fresh and white, probably from the college. One looks at me and smiles. I stop myself from glancing behind; the smile was meant for me.
I go into the office in the morning and take a desk in a cave-like area down a long hallway and around a corner. I am not in the mood to talk. I cannot answer their questions about the snow conditions in the mountain town in which I’m supposed to be living. I cannot tell about the conditions of the highway. And I don’t know what’s happening in the town’s goddamned Planning department.
The second night, I float for an hour in the dark in the white bathtub filled to the brim with the hottest water and the sad bubbles that result from the meager contents of the tiny shampoo bottle. I used to like being here. Why? Because I was away from him? Now it seems lonely and depressing.
The third night, I put on my running shoes and go down into the hotel gym. I run for an hour on the treadmill, working to shake my mood. Back in my room, I open the window wide, flooding the room with cold air. I curl up under the heavy comforter and read until the book sags from my sleeping hands. I wake enough to turn off the light and place a bookmark.
I sleep heavily. The cold air reminds me of camping on the coast. In the morning, I wake and lay for a while in my warm cocoon.
I watch the sun rise and slowly lighten the room. I roll over and revel is this in-between time that is my own. I let my mind wander and imagine pushing my cold nose into a warm neck.
I pack my bag, check out of the hotel, and walk across the dusty city to the office with a clear head. At least I know this now, at least I have clarity about this one thing: I do not want to move here.
I fly home after work. I emerge from the train at the city centre and am flooded with the smell of fried onions and sea air. The intersection is alive with buskers and pedestrians.
I wait for the bus that will take me up onto the forested mountainside and revel in feeling calm and happy.