Sunday, October 29, 2006

holding helium

On most days
I can let myself out
In metered doses.
It's for your own good
But for example
I can’t make any promises
When I’ve been drinking.
I make no guarantees.
Last night
You're just lucky
I didn't have your number.
I stood there in the bar
With my friends
But alone
With the realization
That I can never go back
To a time when this would have been
My kind of fun.
A lonely thought.
And I know
You would have understood.

I'm lured in by your sweetness.
Your nooks and crannies
And you get it.
You get me.
Do you know the relief that brings?
But then like everything
Eventually does
You'll turn off
Like a light.

There's nothing to hold onto here
It's just a string
And a slow leak.

Monday, October 23, 2006


I went to his apartment and confessed. He paced. He punched the wall to the left of my head. I flinched but didn’t move. He called me a slut and a cunt. The tears streamed down my face.


I'd just started university. Jason had been living in an apartment with a friend of his and I was pretty sure they were dealing, but I could never get a straight answer. They had some kind of falling out and Jason had to get out fast. He found a room in a place with a couple of girls. I can't remember how he met them but there they lived, in a large but beat-up apartment with next to no furniture. I remember playing cards and smoking cigarettes cross-legged on the worn beige carpet.

The girls slept most of the day and went out at night. They were constantly being paged and were often picked up in souped up cars. Each was pretty in her own way, but rough around the edges. One was curvy and bleach blonde, the other, a brunette, was tall and thin. I suspected they were prostitutes but Jason denied it. Either way I kept them at arms length. I made sure I was always just nice enough to stay on their good side but off their radar, a skill that has always served me well. We got along fine.

Back then I was just beginning to take school seriously after barely making it into university. I was struggling to keep up in an intensive Shakespeare course I chose as an elective alongside the required first year classes like psychology, sociology, and philosophy. Jason wasn't in school, was doing a lot of drugs, and barely holding down a job. We fought a lot - we were on one minute and off the next. During one of those off periods I was at a party and went home with someone - a mutual friend of ours actually. It was my one and only one night stand, though I’d known the guy for years so I’m not really sure if that counts. I was pretty fucked up, but I can still remember all the way back to his house how I kept thinking, WHAT are you doing? Get out while you still can. But I knew it was too late. I knew what was expected and I let it happen.


A little while ago at the local used bookstore I asked for Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. The guy behind the counter looked at me for a moment and then focused on the computer screen, typing in the search.

" think it's a good one?", I asked, trying to fill in the silence.

"Did you like the movie?", he countered without looking up.

I don’t know why, but I told him I didn't.

"But a friend of mine recommended the book", I lied, "so I guess I'll give it a try".

I've never seen the movie.


I woke up about 5:30 the morning after, feeling like I was going to vomit. I stayed very still, trying to remember what had happened, taking inventory. I was naked and sore and I could hear him breathing behind me.


I inched away from him, peeling skin from skin. I got off the bed carefully and put my clothes on without making a sound.

Walking home, the sun shone and the sky was blue. I squinted against the sharpness. I passed the odd person jogging and prayed no one I knew would see me. I remember thinking that to these people, it was probably a beautiful fall morning. I ran my fingers through my hair and tried to look casual, willing myself not to throw up. I was trying to pass for someone on her way out rather than on her way home.


"You fucking slut."

He stood an arms length away, head down, hands gripping my shoulders. He stared at the carpet and squeezed. I tried not to wince, but it hurt.

"Rachel", he shook his head and exhaled. "Rachel".

He pulled me toward him and held my head to his chest.

"Don't you EVER-".

He stopped mid-sentence. I waited for the rest, but instead he held me closer. He pressed me up against the wall and lifted my skirt.

When he forgave me, I considered myself lucky.


Tonight, standing on the platform waiting for people to exit the train, a heavy set aboriginal man with long black hair stopped in front of a little boy of about four who was holding his mother's hand. Blocking people from getting on or off the train, the man held a white plastic bag out to the boy.

"Take it", he growled, slurring his words. "Come aaaahn. Take it."

The boy moved closer to his mother.

Next he said what I thought sounded like, "Fear and loathing, come aaahn".

He gave up, dropping his hand, and walked away.

Clearly I misheard. But come to think of it, through the thin plastic bag, it almost looked like it...but nah, that doesn't make sense.

I pushed through the crowd, onto the train. I reached into my bag, feeling around for it. I pulled out the book. The same three stripes of color: blue, yellow and black.

Ok, that's just weird.

I looked around the packed train car. People crowded together, people whispering to each other, people talking into cell phones, people pretending they're somewhere else.

Reptiles. Animals. We're a bunch of fucking animals.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Last night I stayed in, drinking a little vino tinto, catching up on phone calls, blahgs, tv shows, and home cooking. I just got back from a business trip and I have no idea where I'm going with this except that I should drink wine on an empty stomach more often. I felt great - maybe a little too good to be sitting there alone.

This morning I met Lana for breakfast. She ate for two while I kept her company drinking cafe con leche. Part way through I saw this guy a couple of tables away. I was glad that I had taken a few minutes before I left the apartment to put myself together on the one had, but at the same time I was relieved that I didn't really care. This seems to be the only way I'm ever sure I've done the right thing. It seems I almost never trust myself until later and then I know it was right when I feel it sink in. I think the only time that I haven't been sure is with Michael. I can't seem to let that one go entirely. Maybe I never will. In fact I called him when I was waiting for my connecting flight in Vancouver, just to say hi.

So it feels good that I know I made the right decision in bag-boy's case. There's also this new guy I talked about last week. A couple weeks ago, on that not-so-good second date, I saw it fade like a dying flower in fast forward. That was followed up with a date rivalling the first, a couple of days before I left.

On that second date, sipping saki, he asked me if I got attached to the children that I took care of in the ICU.

"Hmmm. Good question", I told him. "I love the kids - every single one of them, but attached? Well...let me put it this way, it wasn't hard for me when they were discharged - as long as I knew they were with their families and they were loved. The only time I had trouble was when they were in a bad situation, like the suspected shaken baby who came in with a severe head injury and detached retinas - classic signs. That one...that one was hard. I just wanted to take him home with me. Broke my heart. Then there was the little girl that was lit on fire by her grandmoth-"

I looked up and saw his face. I'd lost him.

"Never mind that stuff", I interrupted myself with a waive of the hand. "I think we need a saki refill."

Later I found myself telling him how I save my subway transfers.

"I'm attached to them somehow. They represent the passage of time - the content of my life."

I told him how maybe someday I'll use them for a mixed media piece. As soon as I started with that I knew I should stop, but for some reason I couldn't. I finished the story anyway. Who cares, I thought to myself. He'll find me out sooner or later.

Two days later he called and asked me out again. That time it was good, like the first time only better. And the chemistry? Also good...

The rockstar invited me out tonight to a fetish party. I have no idea what that would be like except that he said people wear leather and take a lot of drugs. I don't think I'm in the mood, but I got my leather chaps out just in case. Ha!

Monday, October 16, 2006

clumsy chopping

A bottle of wine and a few games of pool later, the new guy dropped me at home and I went upstairs to get ready for bed.

As I tried to get myself into a comfortable position in bed there was that familiar feeling. It's hard to explain...kind of like a subtle scratching in the walls, you aren't sure you even hear. My sleep had been so good lately I'd almost forgot there had ever been a problem and so at first, I was happy to pretend it was my imagination.

I looked at the clock for the last time at about 3:30 am. I got out of bed again, only this time I took an ativan even though I knew it might make getting up for work in the morning harder.

I must have fallen asleep soon after. I dreamt that an unlikely pair, a mother and her teenage daughter, came knocking at my apartment door. Through the safety chain I could see they each held an axe. They clumsily tried to chop at me through the crack in the door. They must have broken the chain, because the next thing I knew I was in the hallway with them. I managed to take the older woman's axe from her and threatened that if they didn't leave I would use it. They were determined to kill me and so I had no choice but to chop them each with the axe, again and again. With each swing I would tell them to leave. Finally, bloody and injured, the mother turned to the daughter and said:

"Fine then, let's go."

I got back into my apartment and it hit me how narrowly I had escaped being murdered. What if they come back? I ran to the phone to call 911. It took several attempts to dial out (as it does everytime I call 911 in my dreams). It started to ring and then I was on hold - FOREVER. The battery of the cordless phone was wearing out so I got my cell phone from my purse. I figured I'd dial this one too so I'd have a better chance of getting through, but I kept getting a system busy signal. The other phone died and I went to check the plug on the charger. It was a huge extenson plugged with hundreds of outlets and they all started to come out leaving me scrambling to try and fit them back in like a puzzle.

The alarm went off and I pressed snooze. The next ten minutes was the only good sleep I had all night.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

down with the leaves

The other day I went to keep a friend of mine company on an errand. We stepped into the elevator of a highrise office building.

"What floor?" I asked.


My heart jumped. I broke out in a sweat. The number caught me off guard. All I could think about were people trapped, hanging from windows, jumping to their deaths.

The elevator shook ever so slightly and my ears popped. I swallowed hard. When we got to the floor I pretended to listen while my friend made small talk with the receptionist.

A couple days later the news of the plane crashing into a building seemed surreal. Poor Yankee. The rest of the day was filled with rain and grey sky. Why has it rained more in the fall than it ever does in the spring? It's a big lie, those April showers. People should just tell it like it is. The rains come in October and November and the only purpose I can see is to rain down those leaves, those slippery dead leaves.

And so because of the dampness and the desperate fear, it was hard for me to be that fun girl, later that night, when the new guy pulled up in his sleek black car. Where our last date seemed perfect, I was unable to maintain the momentum (as if it was all up to me).

It feels like it is.

I've had enough. I'm sad and I'm tired and I'm lonely, and in case you haven't noticed, not in the productive way.

Look, I'm really trying here. I am.

Monday, October 09, 2006

blowing a super

I went to see The Trailer Park Boys last night, the Ivan Reitman film based on the television series. On the way into the theatre I slipped on a spilled drink and pretty much did the splits for the first time in my entire life. In the process I came down hard on my left knee.

"Are you ok?", I heard some guy asked. I didn't even look up.

"I'm fine, thanks."

I got up as fast as I could.

By the time we turned the corner, my friend and I were in hysterics. I immediately took my hat and coat off so that none of the MILLION people who watched me wipe out would recognize me if they saw me upstairs. At this point my knee was starting to THROB. I got some ice in a cup and took it into the theatre.

I grew up close to where the movie is set (in Nova Scotia). I feel a little nostalgic about the whole thing because in many ways it reminds me of home. For example, while I myself did not grow up in a place like that, a dealer from a trailer park that I went to highschool with taught me how to play pool - an invaluable skill that has impressed many a good-looking guy (if they weren't first immasculated by having theirs ass kicked by a girl). A friend of the dealer's also blew me my first super (if you don't know what that is than you probably shouldn't). The movie was very funny and had some cute inside nods - Gord Downie played a cop, there was some jailhouse shinny, and Bubbles woke up to his clock radio, singing along to the Vogue Optical commercial, which anyone from NS would know by heart. Of course the movie was over the top, but I liked it.

About 20 minutes in, the projector had a meltdown and the movie stopped. The room went black. The audience booed, threw out the odd f-bomb, and one guy called out "Marco!". Someone in my row who had a magnalite key chain projected his hand onto the screen, to the applause of the audience. He turned it off after a brief show and people yelled, "More! More!". He turned the light back on and gave us all the finger. A few minutes later an employee walked in and made an announcement in broken english.

"My apologies. Please bear with us-"

"Bear? What? There's a bear in here?", some guy yelled.

"Um, ah, um, we are looking into the problem."

After about ten minutes the movie came back on. Later, as we left the theatre, the employee and his colleague stood at the door and handed out movie vouchers. Among the comments I heard in reaction to the free movie:

"This rocks."
"Fuckin' A"
"Ahhh, choice!"
"Yeah, boy-eeeees"
"That's the shit!"

Gotta love the crowd.

Anyway, now I'm home icing and elevating a purple swollen knee. But it was worth it.

Actually, my attorney was with me when the whole thing happened. On the advise of my attorney, I'm going to go blow myself a super.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

low expectations

The thing about the Rockstar is that when we met, I'm pretty sure his expectations of me were low and that every grain of information he's gathered about me since is a pleasant surprise.

We met at a party. He saw a girl in heels, good jeans, long blonde hair, and nails nicely manicured, holding a glass of pinot noir. I could see it in his face early on - he jumped to the conclusion that there wasn’t a whole lot more to me.

Meeting the Rockstar has come at an interesting time in my life, where I can no longer live with being only what others expect. He asks a lot of questions and I've answered pretty honestly. For example, over time he's discovered that I write, and very vaguely, the kinds of things I write. He’s been to my place, seen my bookshelves, lined with everything from Lacan to Richler. I'm beginning to feel like a good book that he wants to read. Part of it is that he’s smart and creative and open, but I think it also has something to do with what I'm putting out there. I'm being myself.

He coaxed me out of my sick bay the other day for thai soup, which totally hit the spot. He brought up how a friend of his is trying to get published and how publishing his work is everything to him. When he asked me what I do with my 'stuff' I told him, "Nothing, really. I write more for myself”.

“That’s fine to a degree", he said "but I think that any form of art is meant to be shared.”

I shrugged, unsure of what to say to that. “I don’t know…”

"I have an idea for you!"


"You should start a blog.”

I tried not to look amused.

“You think?”

“Yeah, seriously, you should.”

I held my breath for a second while he talked about a friend of his who wrote a blog of her travels. Now would be a good time to throw it out there, I thought to myself.

“I’ll take that into consideration”, I told him instead, smiling.

I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It felt like it would change everything and fast. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

like this

In my dream I was somewhere on vacation with Carry, a controlling childhood friend. I told her I didn't feel like going along with her plans for the day and she yelled at me. I didn't back down. In fact, I yelled back - really told her how it would be. Then she completely lost it, told me it was over. Our friendship was done.

Crying, I left and called Josh for sympathy, only to my horror he told me he was done with me too. He said it was because I "get like this" too much and he had had enough.

I was inconsolable. No one could take it. No one could take me. Everything was gone and I was coming apart.

But then there was this man... We were in the shower and he was holding me, lathering my body in fresh smelling soap, his face resting on my shoulder, pressed into my neck.


When I woke up I thought of the boy on Oprah [accidentally typed opera] yesterday whose parents split up because they individually came to the conclusion that they were gay. Now they each have their own same sex partners and raise their children together. When asked if he had any advice for other people in similar situations, the boy said, "don’t be afraid to be yourself".

Sunday, October 01, 2006

lack of material

I've got nothing
But a cold.
The rockstar says it's cause I eat meat
Which annoys the shit out of me.

I've got nothing
But the word "cloying".
A good word
It's like girls with spaces between their teeth.

I've got nothing.
It's like I'm in the back seat of a car
On the last leg of a very long trip.
I can think of nothing but getting out.