Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Past/Present

I wrote this in my journal a few weeks ago...

On nights like tonight, as I walk through the muggysmoggy that is summer air in Toronto, I remember a time we two lovers were beautiful. As my cute-shoed feet hit the gum-spattered sidewalk, my steps seem to emulate those taken on the way to meet my soulmate, perhaps at a bar or a popular street corner.

We had no obligations and few worries that were greater than, "Where should we eat tonight?" I remember the quickening of my pulse as I made out his strong figure on the concrete, the flutter as he saw me too, face exploding into joy like a thousand fireworks.

"There's a great show on at Lee's. The Rex. The Opera House. Let's check out that band from New York. Halifax. Bergen."

"There's a documentary/Super8/international film festival. There's the Carribana/Gay Pride/Santa Claus Parade."

"There's a new resto lounge/live reading/art exhibit opening on College. Queen West West. The Annex."

"Let's just rent a movie. Drink some wine. Hop into bed. Let's smoke a pinner and listen to that new Radiohead/Zero 7/Roots Manuva album. Let's go to the record shop and see who can find the strangest addition to our vinyl collection. Let's go to the comic book store so you can drool and stock up on Frank Miller and I can mock your nerddom and then tuck myself under your geeky-yet-awesomely-bicepped arm."

"Let's just have one more round. Sleep in until noon. Meet friends for brunch. Let's go to London. Montreal. Stockholm. Let's make cute movies about how much we love each other. Let's take our weird Russian cameras out and capture what we love about Toronto. Let's walk hand in hand to pick up our photos and see how they turned out."

"Let's love each other like this forever. Let's not go to bed angry. Let's kiss and make up. Let's never be like them."

We didn't fight before we had children. Now the anger and resentment are daily reminders of what's bound to cause future damage, like mould in our basement. I try to be a "cool wife," encouraging him to go drinking with friends, take the trip to the Yankee game (on our anniversary weekend), quit the job that he hates. He tries to be the "cool husband," poorly masking his disapproval when he finds me on the laptop at midnight yet again, picks me up from the airport from San Francisco, gets home before me on a weeknight to deal with two kids and making dinner.

I miss us. We were spectacular.

If you knew us then you'd agree. (You might even come to our defense now.) We are trying. Really hard. But the anger is like black tar that boils in my belly and refuses to be contained. I want to push it down, forget it, let it go, but somehow it geysers out in a hot, furious mess and I ruin perfectly sweet moments of reconnection.

I know it gets better. We knew our foundations would be battered again. But no matter how ready you are for the inevitable Florida hurricane, no matter how tightly you board up the windows, stock up on provisions, batten down the hatches, the expected onslaught blindsides you. No amount of extra insurance can prevent what Mother Nature has designed to destroy you and the life you've cultivated so carefully.

I am trying to find meaning in the destruction, to take refuge in the incredible specimens of perfection we created out of love, to cling to mottos like "That which does not kill us makes us stronger," but for the moment all I see is red and the distinct possibility that one day there'll be no going home.

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