Thursday, March 30, 2006

'cause there are no reasons

I am happy to report I didn't get sick. I did, however, pick a fight with my mother when she called to say goodbye. I don't even know what it was about, but it broke apart into a jumble of nothing and everything. My eyes are almost swollen shut but I'm trying to focus on the packing. Maybe it's the trip, maybe it's the life, the dissapointment, the insignificance, the nothing and the everything. Whatever it was and is and will be, over and over again, that kind of talking never solves anything. I upset my mother and now I feel terrible about it, and I can't conjure up the excitement I had been feeling for the weekend. It's gone, and that's a bad feeling. I know this feeling will pass. But then I also know it will come back.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


I'm getting ready to go away - a girl's weekend. Last night I had plans to go for a run and then come home and get organized for my trip. Shoshana invited me over for dinner, trying to commendeer my plans.

"I haven't seen you in ages!", she complained.

I pulled back at first, but then came to what I thought was a fair compromise. I would still go for my run and then after I'd go to her place for dinner. And she made me a delicious meal! How could I have been so ungrateful, I wondered, feeling guilty while eating the chocolate and strawberries she served for dessert.

The next morning she called to tell me she had been up all night vomiting.

"I have the stomach flu."

As she described her night in vivid detail all I could picture was the virus coating every strawberry I ate the night before and I wondered when it would strike. All I could think about was how pissed I would be if I missed the weekend. Selfish? Perhaps. Neurotic? It's possible.

On my way home, I stopped at the store. I bought gatorade, chicken broth, and gravol. It got me to thinking how when I was small, I often worried myself into a frenzy, calling out for my mother in the dark.

"I'm going to throw up", I would cry.

She would rush me into the bathroom and I would gag and cry over the toilet until the feeling passed. Shaky and pale, I would spend the rest of the night in her bed, listening to the sound of her breathing.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

volunteer work

I think I just gave a friend of mine her first orgasm. Yeah, you heard me.

When she told me that she'd never had one in all of her 31 years, I just knew that something had to be done. I took her shopping and guided her into the purchase of a vibrator and some relevant reading material. I gave her some basic logistic advice to go along with it. You'd be surprised what people don't know about their own bodies. Only time will tell how it goes. I don't know about you, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

nothing comes between a man and his ear

He gets on at Union Station
This little elf of a man in a trench coat and hound’s-tooth hat
He drops two over-stuffed briefcases at his feet
Bends to unzip one of the bags
Removes some kind of a trade journal
And opens to an article
Something about ethics
His forehead wrinkles with effort
As he reads
Without taking his eyes away from the article
He reaches is hand to his ear
Like a baby and his thumb
He pinches at something deep within the folds of his ear
His forefinger and thumb blanch with effort
As if to pull at a tiny scab
Again and again
Station after station
People get on
People get off
He continues to pick
Like a CD skipping
No longer a song
If only he would look up and see me
Read my face
Surely he would stop

Friday, March 24, 2006

asking the tough questions

Conversation with Evan

r: I fell in love with my spinning instructor today.

e: Really?

r: Yeah, seriously. He was so hot. But do you think if a guy plays Deborah Cox, 'This House is Not a Home', it means he's gay, because the other spinning instructor I love is gay and he always plays that song.

e: Huh?

r: Well, I was thinking maybe Deborah Cox is like a Canadian Streisand...

e: Well, if that ‘s the criteria, I’m not gay...Do you think wanting a guy to suck your cock makes you gay?

r: Maybe you're just curious. I would think more guys would be curious to know what a guy sucking their cock would be like - I’m pretty sure they'd be better at it than any woman could be.

e: Yeah, that’s probably true, but I’m not sure I’m interested.

r: In which, the cock sucking or the having your cock sucked?

e: Either.

r: What if it was through a hole in a wall?

e: Well, I’ll be honest with you, and I guess it depends on the situation, but I think a mouth is a mouth - especially if I can’t see who's on the other end, it only matters what I IMAGINE is on the other end.

r: Good point.

e: Anyway, Tracy's home and dinner’s ready. I’ll give you a call tomorrow to see if you're coming for Shabbat dinner, ok?

r: Perfect, talk to you then.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

on how the race is won

He opened the door for me and I walked in. My chair was facing the wrong direction, sitting out of place, as if the last person had left in a hurry. I stopped short, looking at the chair and then back at him.

“What, were you trying to get my chair closer to yours?” I flirted. He looked back unwavering. No response. He’s good at that.

We talked about his pants, whether they were olive or brown. We agreed that we wouldn’t be able to pin that one down. One of those things you have to be ok with and move on.

We talked about the summer when I was eight - the summer I precociously fell in love with every senior staff member at camp. As I recounted the story, I laughed about it, maybe even feeling a little proud of how I was ahead of the game. He listened quietly.

"It was the summer after my father left and-" I stopped mid-sentance. He nodded, eyebrows raised.

Maybe there was more to it - more behind the ease with which I fell in love. Suddenly I wasn't sure, of then and everything that came after. I rambled, half sentances.

"Is it that obvious? Is it? How pathetic. How the fuck did I miss that?", I demanded.

He said it was understandable that my feelings were confusing. He reminded me that for a child, the messages my father gave out were generally confusing, things my father himself couldn’t keep straight.

“Yeah, he laid a lot on me.” As I said it I almost choked laughing, realizing how it sounded, realizing my mistake.

“I didn’t mean it like that!”

I laughed and laughed. I tried to stop, but I couldn’t.

Almost imperceptibly he settled deeper into his chair.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

how I died

It was a perfect afternoon. I had a pedicure, went for a run, and then to yoga. When I got home I made myself some kraft dinner and ate in front of the television, periodically tapping at the computer. When I finished I took off my clothes, turned on the shower and stepped in. I slipped, catching myself at the last minute, the lotion left over from the pedicure my assailant. I steadied myself with one hand on the tile and the other to my chest. And I saw the aftermath:

Me, naked, in an unnatural position at the bottom of the shower, the water beating down, the lights glaring. Like this I would stay until sometime tomorrow. A friend I work with would worry, except she's slow to act. Where I would have been on it by 10:30 AM at the latest, she would wait, not sure if she should say something, call someone. She's never sure. Perhaps by the end of the day she would think to look in my contact list on the computer, call a few of my friends, my mother. Has anyone heard from Rachel?

"I know she's been sick.", she would tell them. "Maybe she decided to stay home and forgot to call in... "

Someone would call my friend who lives in my building, who keeps a set of my keys, to ask him to check in on me, only he's on holiday in Cuba. Someone would have to find the building superintendant and convince him to open the door for them. Upon entering my apartment they would find the television on, wads of kleenex on the coffee table, next to blisterpacs of Sudafed. My ibook would be waiting open to my ongoing word files. There would be my notebooks and journals filled with illegible handwriting and a pair of dirty underwear on the floor, crotch up.

They would hear the shower running and sigh with momentary relief and maybe even a hint of frustration.

"Rachel", they would call out to me, knocking on the bathroom door. "Rachel it's me, I was worried about you."

Only then they would find me in the bathroom, broken and bloated from the water.

And to think, it was such a nice afternoon.

Monday, March 20, 2006

good morning

As I got in the shower this morning, something in the mirror caught my eye. It was a chocolate chip from the night before smeared across my clavicle. Funny enough, when I was trying to fall asleep last night I kept smelling chocolate but I thought it was just evidence of my 'sunny disposition'. I might have to lay off the chocolate chips. Do you think I have a problem? Next step - cocaine.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

trans canada highway

Breaking the endless silence of the middle of nowhere New Brunswick
A place that is darker and quieter than anything else I have known
In a strange bed
I could hear the transport trucks off in the distance
Of the Trans Canada Highway
Eighteen wheels
Of Freightliners and Peterbilts
Moaning louder and louder
A sound that disappeared faster than it took to come

That place never got familiar
No matter how many times my father took me there
To the soil where he was planted
And grew
No matter how many times I curled up under the covers
Thinking, no, not that sound again
When will it end?

Tonight, the moaning of the March wind at the window above my bed
Brings me to New Brunswick
To animal urgency
Fear and emptiness
Like a cow in labor
Alone in a dark barn
Somewhere bewtween dusk and dawn

no clue

Got me a cold, so I took it easy this evening. No drunk post. No Sunday hangover to look forward to (although I did buy a bottle of Goldschlager in preparation for whenever the hell I feel like it). I went to see Dave Chapelle’s Block Party, which was great, and then I picked up some Montreal Bagels and some “ultra” Kleenex on my way home. The bagels were still warm from the oven. There is nothing like the Montreal bagel. I am SO about to top off the popcorn and diet coke I just consumed with a bagel, peanut butter, and banana, under a blanket, while I watch the Office. And it was Col. Mustard, in the billiards room, with a candlestick. Whatever.

Saturday, March 18, 2006


I was the first to get to the class and as I started setting up my bike the instructor walked by and stopped in front of me. I looked up.
“Is it just the two of us tonight?”, he asked with a sly grin.
I held his gaze evenly and smiled back.
“Looks like it.”

Just when I think I don’t have it in me
I pushed through this albeit gentle winter
Without the obligatory hibernation/depression
I am physically stronger than I've ever been
Haven’t smoked a cigarette in over a year
Fly around the world with ease
And I’ve never felt so ready
I’ve been lonely to be sure
And wanted desperately to fill that space
Never convinced I could hold the other half intact
Hoping maybe they would be just a little more
Offering just a few more of the answers
But something new has come to pass
In that turnstile sort of way
I’m not sure what to make of it
Except that I feel ready and sexy
And for the moment
Like everything is going to be ok

Thursday, March 16, 2006

heart of glass

Debbie Harry, you were right. It is a pain in the ass. This week my dating score is 0 for 2, and for the purpose of this post scoring doesn't mean "scoring" in the home run/through the uprights sort of way. Not even close. Shit, I would give points to it not being hell. Am I really asking too much?

Two blind dates. One was a huge turtleneck with feet and the other was nice, smart, even fun to talk to, but was so far from attractive I left feeling like a horrible human being. It's not that I need beauty, but there has to be chemistry. I have to be able to look at the person and feel something (hopefully many things). I feel vital these days and I am not ready to give that up.

Here's the thing. I feel like I keep having the same things thrown my way, over and over, and although intellectually I think it means nothing, at some level I wonder if it's a sign.

My mother once told me a joke. it goes something like this:

There was a terrible flood. A very religious man waited on his roof and prayed for divine intervention. A boat came toward his house.

"Get in," shouted the boater. "We'll save you."

"No", cried the man, "G-d will save me."

The scene was repeated twice more, before a helicopter finally arrived and hovered over him. Once again, the man refused help on the same grounds ... G-d would save him.

The man drowned

When he arrived in heaven he looked at G-d with obvious confusion.

"I placed my faith in you and you let me drown," he complained.

"Let you drown?", exclaimed God. "I sent three boats and a helicopter!"

My mother finished it off with the moral of the story: "G-d helps those who help themselves".

It seems that every guy that comes my way is "great" in a number of ways, yet fails to meet my expectations in at least one major palpable way. In all fairness to myself, I am a firm believer that the things you can "put your finger on" are only a fraction of the story - the tip of the iceberg. If that one thing really bothers me, chances are there is more to it than that. Both last night and the night before are perfect examples. I didn't like either of them, mostly because they didn't meet my physical requirements, which is shallow, makes me feel terrible, sends my mother into her, "give him a chance" diatribe with the insinuation that the moral of my story is that I am going to be alone for the rest of my life.

I don't thing I will be alone forever but the guilt I feel is coated in a fear. What if they were my boats, my helicopters?

What if I just missed my ride?

turn and face the strange changes

When I was little, I used to be enthralled with Connie Chung
Last night I slept without my nightlight by accident
Nothing happened
No one came into my apartment to kill me
Or steal everything I own
Things change
Change is like ocean waves
It keeps coming at you with it’s swollen momentum
It rushes in and draws out

Monday, March 13, 2006

of oz

Count on me to never expose your flaws
To never draw back the curtain
I don’t want to know that there’s no wizard
I'll surely look the other way
I have seen one too many
Trying to pass as wizards
I grew up surrounded by men
Who took my pity
And sparked my resentment

Sunday, March 12, 2006


Back to Sunday. It seems it is always Sunday. And lately I am hungover every Sunday, wishing I could start the weekend from scratch. What is different though, is that this Sunday is going to be a balmy 16 degrees Celsius (probably about 64 degrees Fahrenheit). I was recently taught a simple conversion equation (thanks FEF). I am so excited to get outside. This morning I woke up to find I have just been bumped from first place in my hockey pool and that I have FIVE injuries. That sucks. I loved that I was pissing off every guy in the pool. It was killing them that I had the lead. I’m still in second, though. Second still wins a prize, so I’ll take it.

Last night was “girls night” There were seven of us. Sheer volume always brings on “shooters on the house” and other forms of complimentary drinks. Girls totally fall for that shit.

In other news I can do 5 "man" push-ups. Just wanted to share. It was only 4 weeks ago that I couldn’t even do one. You may or may not find that piece of information interesting or impressive, but it (very) loosely leads me to my next point of discussion. Remember Ben, the guy I dated for a while before I went away in December (AKA Arty)? We spent a great deal of quality time together at my apartment over our time together and I got comfortable enough that, when I was wearing something, I wore my favourite pajama bottoms. They are t-shirt material leopard print. What is it that guys hate about animal prints? I think it’s kind of funny. It’s my sense of humour in pants, really. It’s not like I am wearing silk leopard stirrup pants with stilettos. It’s not serious. They're t-shirt material! Cute, no? Well, Ben hated them. They also had a small (read moderate) sized hole in the ass, which seemed to actually make him slightly angry, but in the face of that, and maybe a little because of that, I insisted I would not throw them out and in fact, maybe wore them more often then I might have had he not mentioned them. My point in all of this is I am doing some spring cleaning and wearing these pajama bottoms. The hole now basically encompasses my entire ass and I no longer have to keep them as a symbol of my strength, but now I feel attached to them in much the same way as my parent’s old couch. What's wrong with me (aside from the delirium tremens)?

Thursday, March 09, 2006

home economics

It was the first day of grade ten science class. My first day of high school. There was a shortage of classrooms so ours was being held in the home economics room. We sat in tables of three and four. There was a nervous quiet in the room as we waited for the class to begin.

The door opened and he walked in. A wallet chain hanging from his pocket jangled with every step. He wore a jean jacket over a plaid shirt, and and old pair of combat boots. His hair was sharp spikes of orange. I knew of him from the neighborhood, but not well. He was older than I was.

He dropped his bag on the floor in the space next to me. "Stiff Little Fingers" was written across the front of the bag in thick black marker. He looked at me and smiled. My heart picked up.

“Hey. How’s it going?”, he asked, all eyes in the room on our exchange.

“Good, thanks. And you?”

He shrugged and sat down, still smiling at me. He seemed amused. He tapped the table with his hands. After a moment he turned away and scanned the room, back toward the classroom kitchens. When he spotted the fridge he got up, walked over and opened it up as if he was at home. Next he looked in the cupboards. He pulled out a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, started opening and closing drawers until he found a knife, and then he opened the fridge again and took out a jar of jam. He made himself a sandwich, oblivious to the surprised onlookers. He returned to the table and was about to take the first bite when he caught me staring. He held the sandwich out to me.


“Ah…no, no thanks. But thanks anyway”, I stammered, feeling my face get warm. I hadn’t realized I was watching so closely.

Just then the teacher walked in and class began.

I could hear him next to me as he ate his sandwich, enjoying every bite. I don’t think I looked at him again the whole class.

I also don’t think I missed another science class that semester...until we started to miss them together.

Monday, March 06, 2006


Recently I went to my first yoga class. The instructor began by teaching us how to give ourselves a rest.

"Breath deeply and let your bodies settle into the mat."

I listened to my own breathing. I melted flat as wax.

Then the oddest thing happened. My eyes kept filling with tears.

‘What the fuck is wrong with you?’, I asked myself. ‘Are you insane? Stop it!’

But you know what it is? It's the beginning and the ending. The laying flat and breathing. It took me by surprise that first time. For me the in between only serves to build up your thirst for the end. Every muscle in my body shakes with fatigue. It's like a glass of chocolate milk after a peanut butter sandwich.

How crazy is that? I could lay flat and breath almost anywhere, but I don't I guess. I do lots of other things. Read, write, watch Law & Order, wash dishes, search for a needle in the Jdate haystack, clean up, think about what to wear tomorrow, pack my lunch, invent recipes, burn CDs, look things up, cook, think, think, think, shower, take a bath, wash the floor, talk on the phone, make lists, masturbate, sleep, worry, ruminate (ok that's just more thinking)...

Sometimes it is the simplest thing that is closest to perfect. It's even greater to be able to recognize it when it comes. Yoga gives me more than a good excuse to wear Lululemon. And trust me, I didn't need one.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Standing in the front hall in my nightgown, I shift back and forth, one foot to the other. The slate tiles gather and retain the cold coming through the opaque glass panels flanking the front door. I watch my father put on his rubber shoe liners, maintaining his balance with a hand on the door frame. Reaching into the closet, he slides aside coat after coat, searching. He sighs, sets his jaw, and his face reddens. He finds the one he's looking for, pulls it from the hanger, pushes his arms through, and heaves it over his shoulders with a shrug. I watch his fingers maneuver the oblong wooden buttons through the leather loops. Reaching up, I grasp the forearm of his coat and the lines on his forehead deepen. Relenting, the lines smooth out.

“OK hon, give me a kiss. Daddy has to go.”

“No, please”, my voices starts to quiver, “Don’t go.”

I feel the grasp of his strong hands lifting me from under my arms, my stomach rising with a lurch. I sail through the air, trying to temper the smile that has involuntarily begun to spread across my face. I circle my arms tightly around his neck. He smells of soap and his hair is soft, the edges newly trimmed. He kisses my face.

With a cold piercing burst I find my feet back on the floor. With that he is gone, the door pulling shut behind him. I rush to the window at the side of the door, but I can't see through the thick lined glass, no matter how hard I try, cupping my hands around my eyes. I run as fast as I can up the wood stairs, into the living room. I jump onto the couch, the thick corduroy upholstery pressing into my knees. Leaning against the back of the couch, at the centre of the bay window, I cannot see my father but I can hear the sound of his car picking up speed, shifting gears. I strain forward, the knot in my four year old stomach settling heavy with the fading sound. I press my face against the glass trying to catch a last glimpse. Then there is nothing.

Turning from the window, I let my body slide into a sitting position. I shift to the edge of the couch, trying to focus through my tears, on the green glass grapes on the coffee table. I slide to the floor and settle cross-legged, pulling my nightgown down from where it has gathered around my waist, and fold my arms on the table. I lean my chin in line with the grapes. Blinking hard to clear the blur from my eyes I stare into the depths of the rich green glass. They look like they would taste brilliantly sweet and sour, like the suckers I get at the doctor’s office but I do not try to taste them because I already know that they taste like nothing. Carefully, I reach out and touch one of the grapes, let it nestle in my palm. It is cold, heavy, and perfectly smooth in my hand.


Slightly drunk and home on Saturday night at 1:49 AM. Doing what the police told me to do to deter burglars after my break-in, I left my radio on while I was out. I got home and my radio continued to play while I undressed. But then it cut out and I was afraid. When I was little someone told me that if there was a nuclear explosion somewhere in the world, everything would just stop. Televisions, telephones, cars in the street. Everything. The cars were the most powerful image for some reason. I couldn't get that vision out of my head.

So tonight the radio cut out and I thought I should try the television, but I was afraid to find it wouldn't work. Thirty seconds passed and the radio came back to life with Intergalactic - Beastie Boys, which seemed like a good sign.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

sunny saturday

It really pisses me off when people take my schedule and my life for granted. I may not have a husband and I may not have any children, but I do have my own things to do. It may be my fault because I do believe that, to some extent, you teach people how to treat you and I have often been too easy to concede. Yesterday I made plans to meet up with a friend of mine, sacrificing the gym. I left my gym bag at home, so when she called mid-afternoon to cancel, I was left without plans and without my gym stuff. Instead I went home. OK, so that is not such a bad thing, but the plans were moved to brunch this morning. I cut my gym trip short this AM to rush back, skipped buying my latte because I figured I would have one at brunch, declined an invitation to meet up with another friend at Starbucks and got home only to find a message to say this friend had finished at her gym early and decided to eat at home. What the fuck? How is that ok? Why do I go through a million scheduling contortions to make space for people? In this case the rationale is that I love her and because she has had a tough three years, but I can always find a reason.

It is a sunny sunday. I have the most delicious multi-grain bread from a bakery, toasted with peanut butter, a coffee, and a green apple and the paper. Now I am going to sit and read through my newspaper. Every single page. There will be no rushing to go anywhere or do anything. I am not going to feel bad for being bitchy about it and I am not going to overcompensate by changing my plans this afternoon. I just won't.

Friday, March 03, 2006

law and order

Cold air
Radiates in from the spaces around the air conditioner
Left in from the summer
Waiting for the summer
Home early on a Friday night
In late February
Watching Law and Order: SVU
And eating chocolate chips
How kind the psychiatrist’s eyes are
The same eyes that were evil in Oz

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


I missed you this weekend, figment of my imagination. I wish I could wipe the spit from your face, pick you up and carry you home.

I miss my hands in the raw and open wounds of others. I used to think I could get in there and clean, dress and heal those wounds but I traded that in for a desk when it got to be too much. Sometimes I want it all back.

And you. I barely missed you at all. I had wheels. I could fly. I wasn’t pinned down by anyone. I was me and me alone, even if it was for just one night.