Walking across bridges at night used to be one of the more dangerous things I could do. All the hollow butterflies cut out of my tummy silenced when I finally stood on the rail. All the water catching the lights. Why does the ocean never reflect the stars?
It could have happened like this, I could have lay on my back in the middle of an intersection.
Instead, I picked up the phone. I dialed. I said, “hello”.
It’s a heavy on the saxophone moment, an understanding of grace with a long hard breath of sound. “Hello” Yeah, I know that one. Emphasis on the beginning of the word, low on the aich, more air than vibration. “Is this?!” There’s someone in town who knows how to conjure your name, your careful explanation of the hazards of cussing out christians in french. You know the game. It’s like a quick agile dance, how we speak. Soft insinuation this way, a little that way. All of it encapsulated in the way I shape your name. Those eyes, watching mine watch your hands. I remember that ring, but I didn’t think of it at the time. I almost offered to trade. Now I know that would have been meaning for meaning. We’re lunatics.
“Jhayne, can I ask you something?”
“Anything you want.”
“Are you crazy?”
The children were delightful, small tiny voices that didn’t know english. A catastrophe of insane grinning.
Mike was upstairs when I wrote part of that, but all I heard was the soft susurration of cars passing by in rain. A very vancouver thing. The room I was in is full of polished steel appliances and red hardwood shelves clumsily full of yellowing books, a modern room cleverly awash in english antiques. The lamp at the foot of the stairs, (which has on the landing a half-size grandfather clock), is a bronze victorian woman, hands upraised like victory, a torch in each hand where the lightbulbs fit. Explosions In The Sky playing quietly, making the moment feel as if it was cut out of a novel about a lonely young professional who is questioning life enough to make an interesting book. It would have the kind of ending where you feel incomplete for having run out of pages.
That was before going to Afrikaa Bombata on Thursday, while waiting for Andrew. My day had been splendid, full of fierce joy. My smile felt like it would crack, I was so happy. Friday was different. Friday was still, flying in a comfortable holding pattern as my absent keys looked for a way to land at the shop, where I needed them to open with. (Raphaella came bringing the succor of sweet responsibility, no worries.) Friday was a dopamine calm. Friday I woke naked after an hour’s sleep in an unfamiliar bed. Friday the door opened at nine:thirty as I was about to tie my shoes and Kyle came in with a metal pail of tea and juice and bottled water.
My hero, my clumsily found grace. He lives only a block away from my home. The worst part is that this is perfect timing.