pg 48


Emma,
January 31, 2010, 10:49 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

There are a few things you will need to know if tonight, your first time babysitting for us, is to go in any sort of way well. For me.

1. Moi will want to tell you the story of her name. She loves this story, it is her favourite. But, to be completely honest with you, she has been an absolute prat all week, driving both amelia and i to our wits end-in part the reason we hired you tonight. we need a break. so, because i’m mad at her and her eight year old immaturity, I will tell you this story now. When she gets excited you’ll notice Moi’s eyes light up as though someone has just lit the fuse of her dynamite personality that will no doubt explode all over the evening effectively blowing your patience to bits. Yes, you’re right. I AM overdramatic/overtired. but this spark, usually punctuated by an adorable ‘oh! oh!’, this is when she is getting ready to tell you. now what i need is for you to roll your eyes in exhaustion, and say, ‘yes moira i know and i don’t care, let’s watch a movie’. The movie will be her favourite as a way to make up for the disappointment of not getting to tell you the story. (it’s Days of Heaven– she loves the wind blowing the wheat and the scene with the fire. strangely, she is indifferent to the murder)

Now I, we, will know you have done this because of the hidden cameras that are capturing this magical evening of yours. sorry but you just never know these days. if you follow through, you will get a $50 bonus. Amelia already bet me you won’t follow through so, if possible, i’m hoping to spend $100 to disappoint both of the women (ok 1 woman, 1 child) whom i love.

here is the story. please prove to moi by mentioning some parts when she tries to tell you:

years ago, before i met amelia, had any thoughts of having kids, i had broken up with, ok been dumped by, a woman and in a fallout perfectly befitting the loss of first love, was a reck. before leaving for good, this woman, her name was megan, told me she had decided to hitchhike out west. this only served to drive the knife deeper. This i’m not proud of but, in our relationship, the love that was Ally and Megan, I was the leader designate and she was the follower. Oh the joys of relationship power playing. Toxic, but possibly unavoidable. So when she said she was staking out on her own to hitchhike, after she had said she was really staking out on her own, it felt like again a betrayal. And I, in my melancholic stupor, hatched a plan of my own. She would go west? Well then I would go east. I wanted to race her, hit my ocean before she hit hers (we had been living in Toronto, I had the odds).

and all in all, sure enough, it WAS a horrible trip. rides came few and far between after Quebec. Hell if I never stop foot in New Brunswick again I guess I won’t have to kill myself. But, in any case, I eventually found myself in P.E.I. And thank goodness because this is the part in the story Moi gets really excited and it’s awesome. It was in August so the weather was balmy with a warm wind that nipped my heels and curdled my tears. I had made my way through Charlottetown, the birthplace of Anne of Green Gables (one of Moi’s favourite characters) and by nightfall had stumbled upon a secluded beach down a road. Amidst grass waving (not unlike Days of Heaven) I followed the road with its red, red soil and rickety fences, a P.E.I postcard if i’ve/you’ve ever seen one. The beach, as i said, was secluded. I had my sleeping bag and there was more than enough driftwood for a fire so i decided to sleep outside. At about 3 in the morning I awoke to a low rumbling in the distance. The fire was down to embers by this point so, as the low rumbling revealed itself to be a vehicle coming over the hill, I was able to douse the fire easily and quickly without drawing attention to myself. or at least so i thought. here i thought it was the cops, or worse, locals, so i quickly gathered up what i had with me and made for the dunes. The car parked and from my crouched point, i could see 3 people get out- 2 women and a man. The man was carrying a box i couldn’t make out and the one woman had shovels. the third had nothing but, in the darkness, i could only make out her silhouette and see/hear her quiet sobbing.

they left the car lights on, casting a glow that led their way as they made it down the beach. moving from dune to dune to dune i followed them (stupid maybe, but i was curious). at various points the woman carrying the shovels would, with a free arm, drape a consoling arm around the other woman who would then in turn run her hand through the man’s hair. he was carrying the box so the movement ended with him though he did lean into her grasp. This way, they looked like emotional dominos.

they didn’t walk far but came to a spot all seemed to know well for they changed direction toward it in step without a word. when they got to ‘their’ spot, both the women started digging. I saw the man open the box and take something out, i couldn’t see what. they buried it, made their way back to the car, and left. the whole time, save for the sobbing, nobody had spoken.

i didn’t know what i wanted to do. the curiousity was killing me, i did have a flashlight but i sure as heck didn’t want to be the one who found that severed head or whatever other morbid thing sobbing people bury on a deserted beach at 3 in the morning.

eventually i dug it up. and again thank goodness i did. even still when i tell moi that part of the story she gets anxious and excited- ‘oh no! was it a body?’ to which i respond, as always, ‘call it what you will’ and she will shriek. but it wasn’t a body. or rather it wasn’t a body anymore. there were two ziploc bags filled to the point of bursting with ash. besides the bags there was a picture.

have you ever noticed how people, couples especially, never seemed to really smile in those 1930s/1940s type black and white pictures. maybe it was their wool underwear. in any case, the people in this picture WERE smiling with faces so goofy that it was perfectly understandable however many years later even that they had their eyes bulged out in delight.

the picture was in a nice wood frame, not with the picture matted but kind where you could take off the back. i had my flashlight with me so i opened it up hoping for something more, a clue. all it said was: oscar and moira, 3 am, 1947

i decided right then and there, if i ever had kids, these would be their names. and thank goodness i did because if i hadn’t i never would have met amelia. but that, even though i hate this phrase: is a story for another day.

2. Moi will also want to play hide-and-go-seek with her imaginary brother oscar. Please abide.

3. Pizza money is by the fridge.



at least i brought the dip
January 31, 2010, 10:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

i dreamt a dream
so pure
and true
that when
i awoke
i needed,
wanted, couldn’t,
tell you and
everyone she
knows

is there anything?
more. cliched. than. dreams.
so instead, head bowed,
against the winds of force, bubbling
through the living room
out your eyes
and
yours
with hers
and
his
i took, made
read the geriatric
cat for a hankerchief.
half! price!



the city abounds!
January 31, 2010, 9:58 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

the banister slip, slides
shades of certain neglect
pop up; here, there
i’m already beside you
listening to the dulcet
tones of your snores
get your own arm rest
we’ve still got:
miles to go



birth
January 31, 2010, 9:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

they didn’t think he wuold like it, but i knew he would and told them as much. cats love placenta because the meat of it is attached, contained in a skin not unlike real skin. The cat, i think jerry told me they had named it change. (I think change is a better name for a dog) Anyway, change batted it around the linoleum kitchen floor for hours without it coming unattached. Even this suprised me because when Am and I had Moi, the neighbor cats, as strangely as old stripper addled men would be at their deaths, the neighbor cats must have b-lined straight for the tree we buried it beneath because when Am and I came out back two hours later, the hole had been clawed at (we only buried it a foot deep or so), overturned and gone was Moi’s afterbirth. Or in this case maybe it would be Amelia’s. She did do all the work. But Moira would have too no doubt. Hmmm. But i don’t want to turn this letter into musings on the struggle of the fetus, I wanted to tell you about last weekend because how often does one of our friends from school have a baby?

so far, with butts and kate and their brood, nichols’ little mistake, and E pregnant now, I would say, estimating, E is still pregnant, the average is about once every six months. if you start calculating from the first baby.

Sorry. I keep getting distracted. I was telling you about last weekend. If i were to make a super 8 about it, i’d probably call it ‘weekend at jerry’s’ and make it everything ‘weekend at bernie’s’ was not-namely, nostalgic. After all, what else could it be. Moving to Halifax has been the best thing possible for my friendship with Jarret. Because i’ve been working overnights and Jerry has been working half days at the lab and Mal generally naps off the ill effects of the pregnancy in the afternoons after i’ve woken for the day, Jerry and I have taken to spending our afternoons together. Sometimes, often, it’s spent walking the harbourfront, staring across to that dirty dartmouth that we know you hate so much. You actually come up a fair bit. At first, when i was just settling in, and back into hanging out with jerry, and things would get awkward, we’d use you to break the ice. Heard from Dan recently? Remember that time he streaked the high school cafeteria? Yeah, or that time he jumped off the roof into the shrubs? things like that. so thank you. in a way, if it wasn’t for you as conversation, i don’t know if jerry and i would’ve stayed close. maybe dawn, that unstoppable monster of a friend to Mal they tried setting me up with when i first got here, would’ve got the call instead.

oh thank god it wasn’t both of us there. between jerry, mal, the midwife, and me we wouldn’t have had room. you’ve been to that apartment on queen. sure it’s big enough and three floors makes it more of a duplex, split level, whatever, but Jerry’s parents flew in for sunday and Mal’s mom would pop in and out over the course of the weekend. her and i, on the second day, completely raked out and turned over the back yard/garden. between you and me, Mal’s mom kept bending over and her underwear would ride up so i could see the top of it over her pants. they were old lady white and the band was almost frilly and most definite ribbed cotten. you know, we’ve talked about it, how this turns my stomach and how often one comes across it, at the bank, the bus, the library. But the thing was she had the most amazing mole, it almost, sometimes glowed but it would only happen depending on what she’d be doing so that the less bend (but still enough bend mind you) the mole would appear. when i first saw it she was just positioning herself to stand back up and it looked like it was pulsating. she mistook my staring to be past her and into space so she told me this wasn’t the time to make her do most of the work, the backyard didn’t need another scarecrow. [on that note, fuck. they. have. the. coolest. scarecrow. ever. Next time you’re here, you’ll see, it’s like no scarecrow i’ve ever seen before]

But anyway. Sorry for that tangent but i thought you might be interested after all those afternoons at our old place on college, tossing that sweet potato back and forth, watching old episodes of corner gas trying, cheering, to see lacey’s cleavage mole everytime she came on the screen. of course you remember. well i miss that sweet potato. and that mole.

jerry’s parents got there on sunday. they flew in from timmins visting lynds. all things considered it was really good timing, the birth coming when it did. maybe that means he’ll, the baby, come into grace in his new life.

i was at work friday night when jerry texted me, “better get some sleep tonight bud.” he’s started calling everyone bud and incorporating more of a drawl into his speech. as though his real heart of hearts town is in Texas not Halifax. Am’s mom, the last time she was down, shared her theory that whatever town you run into people, well that’s your town. I want to believe it, what a fatal idea!, but i run into people all over the place so i don’t know.

at work, i did end up shirking off my duties and napped gloriously. by the time i got off at 7, i went to the store and picked up what i would be making everyone for dinner-homemade mac and cheese with chorizo (mal wanted to eat meat the day her baby was born) and roasted beets. mal wanted the beets. wise choice. she was hoping it would turn her pee as red as possible because it was to be a water birth.

a week or so before! the! birth! weekend! jerry and i went to pick up the inflattable pool they were going to set up for the water birth they’d planned. when we got back mal was lying on her back on the living room floor in an oversized t-shirt that was stretched to the seams (by the end she’d gotten fucking massive). She had taken probably an exacto knife or something to the stomach of the shirt so that it was like one of those breast feeding bras with the flaps, on there was no t-shirt flap. her belly was wide open naked. And the three of us lay on the floor talking about birth and terror and doing pushups as a funny way to prepare for terror, whatever terror. jerry was drinking orange joice and i was drinking cream soda (and half thinking about clear cream soda, remember that?) Eventually jerry half wrapped himself around Mal in a pseudo sort of fetal position with his head resting on her stomach facing her feet. it had been a lazy afternoon for all of us so when jerry would every now and then lift his head and take a sip, sometimes swallowing once his head was back resting on her stomach, it felt like the room was perfectly in step, in time, with the rays of light shining as they were through the curtained windows.

and then it got fun. jerry started letting the orange juice trickle out of his mouth and down the crest of her (massive remember) belly so that it ran into her crotch. He kept it up until he was out of juice and then mal let me and my cream soda into the mix so that the bottom of her t-shirt was splashed orange and pink. doing this we discovered that resting your head on the baby, it (because it was still at it at that point, they wanted a surprise) would kick causing your head to jump a bit and if you timed it right you could spit or trickle out your mouthful as though the baby itself was already real and had kicked you cheeks to make you pop.

and then it got weird. i took too big of a sip and let it all out at once. ‘Ally stop! you’re going to make me pee! i have to pee!!!’ But she was giggling something fierce when she said it. jerry with his grin started tickling her, making her giggle even more, i tried to keep my head on her stomach but she was shaking too much by this point. “i dare you” i said, laughing. ‘i’m going to! oh man!’ still laughing and still with her back on the floor, knees up, feet on the floor she peed her pants! i will tell you brother, i haven’t laughed that much in a long time.

later that night we all talked about how neat it would be if during the pregnancy somebody, jerry i guess, ha, not me, got a mouthful of green food colouring and did the same as we’d already done but this time the food colouring would meld with the blood, shit, piss, of the pregnancy so that baby wouldn’t know what was going on.

on one of our afternoon hangouts, jerry and i tried to figure out the logistics of the thing. first off, it couldn’t be done in the tub because obviously sandy, the midwife, had to be in there. and when the time finally did come, there she was sandy, knee’d in (lukewarm?) water, mixed in with the, well, blood, sweat and tears. nobody knows this but that’s where the expression came from originally-childbirth. or at least that’s what i’m going to start telling people. we came, or jerry did (i was more along the lines of a glorified yes man from start to finish) to the idea of filling up large buckets of water from the tub and carting them into the next room right beside the bathroom. if you don’t remember, it’s (the one with) high, high ceilings and the giant window that looks over the back yard and inot the backs of the houses where you can see gardens and roof top gardens; homes with balconies and patios, some of the lattices riddled with ivy, many with flowers still in bloom.

when i got there on sat morning Mal had already been in labor for 6 hours or so. i met jerry on the porch smoking and frazzled. i know you’re not there yet but man if you ever do, once the labor has started, things are set in motion….



January 17, 2010, 11:09 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

with a shadow of a doubt, they all eventually gave up and went back to what they were doing. the noise had been loud enough, but also quick enough, that it gave the aire of never having happened at all even though it most certainly had. it was a crack of wood. much like lighting could tear a strip of bark or a baseball bat could send a ball into the rafters. anna kept her head up, looking around and surveying everyone else who had already so easily fallen back into their own goings about. (?) eventually, with her skinny pale right arm wresting elbow on the table.



good idea
January 7, 2010, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

baby wigs



January 7, 2010, 10:07 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

i’ll keep you posted but…my (in)ability to use a fork is becoming a cause for concern.