It’s been too long since we took a ride together. Too long since someone else was at the wheel and I got to score the passing Canadian fields with my new favourite songs. Too long since I saw the old crew and filmed them landing aerials on the farm.
We drive through lovely little villages I’d never want to live in but always think of visiting some day. They’re too small for comic book stores and decent Chinese food and any possibility of getting lost, but big enough to hold the hopes of anyone who ever wanted to build a life for themselves in a quiet community full of old-world charm and decay. The tiny economy based on tourism from an annual country music festival or historic school will make sure it stays like this forever.
My dad used to take me fishing here. I thought it was five hours away when it was only about an hour and a half; time passes at a crawl when you’re a kid in a car, anxious to catch more fish than your father. Except we never used rods, we just put half a worm on a hook (from a dozen bought at a bait shack on the way) tied to a spool of fishing line, and sit by the edge of Lift Lock 21 on the Trent–Severn Waterway. I still remember their little bodies writhing on the pavement in blood and guts and soil as we divided each with a razor.
I was too young to feel anything then, and I’m too old to feel anything now.
With the big dipper low in the sky, Tomasini told me that you’re always confronted with love in moments like this. I’d been meaning to put that sentiment into words for weeks now, but I couldn’t figure out how to do it as succinctly as this man had done between drags of a cigarette.
Addressing parents by their first names doesn’t feel foreign anymore. I’ve always used Mr. or Mrs. as a sign of respect — a habit one quickly grows into in the Chinese culture — but now I see myself as an adult, and respect myself enough to call them Laurie and Lana.
This is middle age. Not when you’re young enough to be a dependent, or so old that you need to be taken care of. It’s the time in your life when you’re truly responsible for your actions and you have the greatest sense of control over your life.
I always wonder how people can pick up their friendships where they left off after so much time apart, like they never grew up and moved away and started families, and still had dinner every Sunday. It’s a relationship I’ve never had myself, but when I get to experience it like this, I start to understand how the right connections are made and never lost.