Wednesday, January 23, 2008
It was an unusually mild Christmas day when my dad and I drove down the country road on our way to Grand Desert Beach. Dried out rushes that had struggled to poke their heads through the snow only days before were now free and the soggy soil at their roots threatened enough water to bring them back to life one more time before a quick death at the next snowfall. The air was wet and soft on my face as I leaned out the window—you had to go pretty slow in Seaforth, wouldn’t want to hit a curious cat or sweet little family too mesmerized by their brand new baby to see you swerve around the corner too fast. Tragedy. I had that empty, loveless feeling that makes you like a lonely snow covered night just waiting for something worse to happen. I had made myself so sick thinking about Ange over the holiday it was like my body wanted to vomit out every last trace I had ever ferociously consumed. I was suddenly, painfully, simultaneously wet and nauseous at the ill-timed moment when the memory of her bright eyes and crooked smile slowly descending backwards down my belly coincided with aunt Ann asking me to pass the cranberries. All December that was how I remembered her—my tongue meeting Ange’s nipple over scrabble with my ten year old cousin, the apple-y smell of Ange’s damp, just washed curls wafting under my nose in the middle of a banal Friends re-run. Still sleepless at 8 am, I’d given up trying to punch out these ghosts and I could feel my worn-out psyche collapsing huffing and puffing, defeated, in the corner of my brain.
It was time out as the Dyke Road sign appeared at the top of the gravely intersection.
“You know that’s where all the lesbians live,” my father smiled wryly as we turned passed this old, familiar point of childish banter.
“Quick! Go back! Go back!” I screamed, so convincingly, I found myself startled by the amount of authenticity I could still muster after all these years.
“Aw, too late now. But maybe another time?” I had heard these lines so many times it was impossible to forget my part: “Oh, definitely. And if you drive past Dyke road one more time it’ll be me who takes the wheel and turns us back!”
“That’s the spirit,” my dad smiled again as he reached out a weathered thumb to wipe a few stray tears from my cheek.
Part of the Lovelorn (And Not So Lovelorn) Winter Fiction Series.