explaining heart strings


A restaurant in Gastown burned down this week, scorching my friend William‘s apartment into ashes with it. For now he’s staying with me and some other people, bouncing around as he tries to pick up his life, while he searches for a more permanent residence. Does anyone need a roommate? $500/month, comes with a cat. He’s clean, he’s tidy, he’s even sort of cute in a blonde looks-like-Jesus sort of way, if you like like them young and sweetly idealistic.

Playing with the moon.

Shuffling facts like piano keys, trying to play this history in the right order. This is how it all went down, this is how the penny dropped, how the worst occurred but the patient survived. I try to keep it light. We’re Talking About Boys as we walk through the rain. Coats slowly soaking through as we make it to a gallery, everything splashing as the words pour out of me. “He brings me clean laundry like a valentine, when I would rather the time was spent folding origami roses.” She is also troubled, someone who should have missed her did not phone. Someone who loves her, but only in sections of time, sliced like wedges of cake iced like a clock. My problems are more and less ephemeral. My heart’s not a mess, it’s simply too clean, too drained of colour and left to beat untroubled like glass.

I’ve waited with her for a bus, then turned in my own direction, continuing as the rain. He is walking toward me, then stops, a stranger, says hello, turns around to walk me home. Unasked, he tells me how his father died and refers to me as a female, leaving me conversationally in the cold. My guess is that he’s been drinking, a faint perfume of anise and something less particular but just as sharp. Mark says hello from the doorway of Falconetti’s, a temporary rescue. We make plans to see each other Sunday and I leave when the strange man’s back is turned. Half a block later he’s there beside me, taking my arm, enduring the rain. We see Jess, wave to her, make more plans. The stranger is taken aback, does not understand how I know all these people. Makes guesses that fail. When we reach my apartment, I make him wait outside. When I return, I am holding an umbrella. “Here, take it,” I say. “Happy holidays.” I do not expect to see him again.