Sleep-Talking


It’s taken a year but I think I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can’t go back. I have to keep telling myself that it just wouldn’t be the same. I have missed the Royal City a hell of a lot more then I thought I would. In the past year I’ve tried not to dwell – but it’s hard not to rush back to those rose coloured memories.  It’s pointless to even wax poetic about the city I called home for four years because it doesn’t need the pomp and circumstance or frills of adverbs and adjectives. Because for once in my short life … I lived a very straight forward existence. An uncomplicated, gilded but unremarkable time … shockingly unremarkable actually.

But it was safe. It was warm. It was a microcasm … it wasn’t reality.

The train would roar past my window, and I would stumble home from rehearsal giddy or bitter. Ready for beer or tea or gin. I miss that train. My street in Toronto is eerie and desolt at night. I feel like I’m the only one awake…but that train was a simple gesture, a loving reminder from another reality … that life still barrels forward.

Friendships don’t quite feel the same now either. The camaraderie of academia is gone. The begrudgingly written essays or the books we secretly wished to burn that we collectively moaned about. There are some who are still here but I sometimes fear, rather neurotically, that they simply put up with me.

I told someone once that I wasn’t a good phone conversationalist. He said that wasn’t true … impossible! he said, and I believed him and I talked, talked…talked till my ear was numb and we both nearly fell asleep with the receivers against our ear drums. But evidently I talked too much … for now my finger hovers over the talk button. Terrified my friend will see my name and shudder.

I miss the city I called home because I was confident. I knew people loved me, and I loved them. This unwavering band of merry miscreants. Clever and lovely and foolish and stunning drinkers, dancers … laughers. We could laugh. I don’t laugh as much now.

And the absolutely worst thing I could do is attempt to reassemble. Because its not the same place … literally. The gallant grubbiness of my west end neighbourhood is getting scrubbed clean for GTA yuppies and there’s a starbucks.

I miss my merry miscreants. My slap-dash family. I have volumes of minute memories: The way the sun shone when I went to the market for the first time. The ice-flows in the Speed. The moth-balls of Massey. The fog. The sideways rain. The gales. Taking my socks off and lying in the sun on the grass in the Arboretum = pure joy. The way the snow fell between us while I tried to make you like me.Pink cigarettes. Self-inflicted wounds. Stage fright. Risk. Jealousy. Joy. Happiness. Denial.

But it’s like making a sequel. Why can’t I just be happy with the present with what I have?  “Change is the only constant,” I used to say. I should start saying it again…. more often. You too.

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