I WORKED ON THIS PIECE for 5 years before I got it “right.” The process of writing about something so intensely personal was a huge learning experience for me, and I was immensely pleased when the story found a home in Issue 9 of Proximity Magazine.
EXCERPT: At Least One Rainy Season
I left the boxes where the movers dropped them. Instead, I painted. A bottle of wine, an Ativan, and the stroke of a brush. The swatch promised cappuccino, but it was going on beige. No matter. It did the job, hiding stains and sealing the cracks. I built shelving and a loft, a notional, utilitarian facsimile of a home. I wouldn’t take calls—not from friends, not even from my mother. Once, when the silence threatened to inhabit me permanently, I rewired the bathroom overhead without turning off the breaker. It was a rush. I wasn’t hurt, but I could have been.
I rewired the bathroom overhead without turning off the breaker. It was a rush. I wasn’t hurt, but I could have been.
After my girlfriend left, I renovated, moving through my new apartment deliberately and mute. We’d spent seven years together, time we’d gifted each other unhesitatingly. We’d believed that our love was inimitable; we’d behaved like it was invulnerable. Maybe it was another lover responsible for our separation, or maybe it was my personal failings. She gave me both these explanations and then she gave me more, until I realized that there was nothing left for either of us to say.
Instead, I fixated on things I could change with my strong back and stubborn fingers. I was mindful to feel my accomplishments, to numbly grasp at these rags of dull pleasure.
During that December, as Toronto’s winds battered the windows, I saw myself as though an observer, shivering in a worn bathrobe under the muted light of a SAD lamp. Beside me on an end table, an enormous philodendron burst from a 40-litre pot, bowed under the weight of its own vitality.
“Screw this.” I yanked the plug from the wall. Three days later, I sold the lamp to a nervous-looking fellow in a corduroy blazer who claimed the light was for his sister. It paid for half of my one-way ticket to Mexico.