Posts tagged with "women"

found and lost

I don’t know how to tell my friends about you. What am I supposed to say? That all we shared was some tea and talk and those four hours are reason I still believe in chemistry after all the practical failings of my past relationships? And how do I bring you up, now that it’s been so long I wonder if you even remember me?

Perhaps you wouldn’t be in my mind so often if Green Eyes wasn’t one of my favourite songs. It always takes me back to those days on the mend, when all I had was your brother — singing with a voice like it was soaked in Scotch and left to dry on a line in winter — to give me something new to love. You were the one to give me something to be excited about when it felt like nothing mattered anymore, and just as much became an inextricable part of that time.

That’s why I haven’t forgotten you. That’s why I never will.

I can still see the cavalier way you’d toss your curly hair over your head every now and then, as if you were perpetually deciding how best to wear it. I’ve come to appreciate that kind of casual comeliness, and the fact that you were so unaware of it made it all the more endearing.

We were supposed to start a band of our own. I’d pick up keyboard or cello if you wanted to stick with guitar, we’d do covers of Andrew Vincent, open for house shows, and get signed to Kelp some day. Instead, all I have is a picture of you dancing at the Raw Sugar, and what if forever on my lips.

I may hardly know you, but the truth is I miss you. I still want you in my life. I want to know where you’ve been and who you’ve loved, what you’re dancing to and how else your creativity has taken form. But all I can do is wonder if our paths will ever cross again.

thanks for the trouble you took from her eyes

That little furrow was there because you weren’t. That’s why you never saw it, of course. You must think I hate you cause it was the only thing I couldn’t help her with myself. But I could never hate you. You gave her what she wanted. In the end, that’s all I really wanted too.

I knew it was serious when I saw your umbrella under her bed, back when she hid those kinds of things for my sake. You never realized she only took it as an excuse to see you again (not because she was particularly scared of getting her merino socks wet), the same way you never realized how easy it all was for you. That was a sign that you were the right one. I knew it before she did.

If only there was a bit of mystery left in you. Instead, I had you pegged by the second night, and all I can tell people is that you’re a nice guy, when I want to say you’re an artist, a lover, a fighter, a worthy rival, a slayer of insecurities, a breaker of barriers, a testament to testosterone, a hero among men. She deserves more than the painfully pedestrian life you’ve given her, but I know she’s had enough of heartbreak to think that normal is hard enough to come by. And so I’ve learned that a person’s happiness is all that matters, not the dreams you have for them. I guess it’s hard to give up those dreams when you’re part of them yourself.

I want to say I’m leaving for some noble reason of great importance, but it’s really because there’s nothing left for me in this little town. I used to believe I could escape; eventually I realized you can’t outrun your memories. Now I’m just trying to figure out where I belong. She was all I knew for so long, and now that life is gone.

And so I must tread carefully with new lovers; it’s impossible for me to tell my story without that part of my past. That’s why I wonder what she told you about me, about us. About losing feeling in her face and letters you wouldn’t know how to write. If she intentionally left anything out, or whether our time was even worth mentioning. But the past is still the past, and that’s the only reason I can write a letter now to the man who saved her without ever knowing it.

missed connection

(I was going through some old e-mails when I found this missed connection post I wrote years ago. Aside from getting in touch with the person I was writing to, one person replied, “I am not her… but I read this page hoping that one day someone would post something this nice about me after a random smile exchanged on a street corner. Well Done.” Don’t we all.)

I was walking north on O’Connor around 5pm yesterday, lost in a thought, when I turned the corner and saw you looking at me.

You gave me an uninhibited smile, the likes of which seemed to convey a strange familiarity. Like we had seen each other at an office party but were never formally introduced, so we knew of each other’s existence but were too shy to be the first one to say anything, and relegated our communication to giving each other quick glances when passing each other in the hall.

It made me think of this line that Emilio Estevez says in St. Elmo’s Fire:

There are several quintessential moments in a man’s life: losing his virginity, getting married, becoming a father, and having the right girl smile at you.

Okay, so maybe Joel Schumacher got the entire concept of St. Elmo’s fire wrong in the movie, and sure, Andie MacDowell’s role was as challenging as putting butter on bread, but she was perfect for it. She had a fresh face with the right amount of charm and mystery to be the love interest of the guy who played the popular jock in The Breakfast Club, and for a moment yesterday, YOU WERE THAT GIRL. If that makes me the crazy, obsessed waiter-cum-law student then so be it. At least I wasn’t the wild frat boy with a bastard son who couldn’t hold his life together that Rob Lowe won the Razzie for, right?

You were the girl who defined one of those four quintessential moments, and it came at the right time, as I had just spent so much time cursing Ottawa for having such inconsiderate drivers and inaccessible downtown parking. I was the guy you smiled at who probably lives a little too vicariously through 80s coming-of-age movies cause I was never cool enough to have any “real” problems, and your smile stopped me in my tracks. By the time I gained the clarity to turn around, all I could see was you walking away, in a long black coat, black hat, with red hair.

All I need now is to lose my virginity, get married, and become a father. Maybe you could help me with those too.

the things we carry

I can’t figure out why I’m so moody lately. Maybe it’s been too long since I smelled the wood of my guitar. Maybe it’s the fresh Autumn colours that tend to magnify my emotions. Maybe I’m feeling overworked, overstimulated, and too rarely understood. Maybe it’s because I haven’t had a moment to myself in what feels like weeks, with so many feelings of loneliness amongst so many people.

Autumn stream


I always think of exile in times like this, and in particular, a stanza from Yevgeniy Onegin:

From all that to the heart is dear
then did I tear my heart away;
to everyone a stranger, tied by nothing,
I thought; liberty and peace
would serve instead of happiness.

Luckily, I’ve been reading The Poisonwood Bible, which reminds me that the only problems I have are first-world problems, and that I’m rich in ways many will never be.

I find it amazing, the immensity of it, how any single person can be responsible for a tome of such rich storytelling, observation, and wit. It’s the only book I’ve picked up in years, and I only started reading to get into her head as much as possible (and piqued by my curiosity on how she could describe a story of the Belgian Congo as sexy). Unsurprisingly, her favourite character is the strong, faithful, warrior daughter. Mine is like me too; the dark, brooding, intellectual child, dizygotic twin to hers. It makes me wonder if liking one character over all others is too often an exercise in vanity.

In the end, Onegin realizes he was wrong about exile, that he couldn’t fill himself with emptiness to replace the sadness, something he only figures out when he finds someone worth loving. That’s what’s pulling me back too, keeping me grounded amongst those dark moments of untempered emotion. I carry the image of her smile with me, the only thing as distinguished on her face as her Spanish eyes, and the reason I call her Cheeks from the way the flesh pulls up to round her face. I’ve studied this smile for so long that I can see it every time I close my eyes, and with that, I carry a strength of my own too.

the lives of songs

She told me she tried to find this album I used to put on when we were huddled in the darkness. The problem was that she could only remember the cover, and it was after we stopped talking for the third time or something cause otherwise she would have asked.

Then she was in Chapters one day. This book of best albums of the 2000s fell down, and there it was, Ágætis byrjun, open at the page. “What are the chances?”, she asked me.

Sigur Rós Ágætis byrjun

I used to think of her listening to the songs I gave her with another guy and grow jealous. But I could never say I didn’t have my own memories associated with that album, lying between a wall and warm body on a bed swollen with covers in New Jersey. I watched Jón Þór Birgisson sing into the pickups of his guitar, his ethereal voice gently making the strings tremble, in a summer romance so long ago.

That was my introduction to Sigur Rós, and in the same way I passed this album on to her. It made me feel so vulnerable to be next to her in those moments (whether she realized it or not). Every time it came on was an emotional flashback, a short-circuit to this part of my past about which I’ve told so few.

I used to hope she kept the songs I gave her to herself, and that she didn’t use them to woo another guy the way I had always tried to with her. Perhaps I was a little possessive about my music and somewhat judgmental on who I deemed to be deserving enough to hear it. Eventually I realized that it’s not fair of me to feel that way. She had shared so many songs with me in turn, giving me as much as I’d given to her, and I’ve since passed those songs on to others.

Now I wonder who else will eventually experience these songs, and what memories of their own they’ll have when they hear them.