My poor city; her limestone face stained with the memories of what she used to be. “The Gate Way to the North,” “One Great City,” “The Chicago of the North,” you wouldn’t have believed these were her nicknames before the Panama Canal was built.
Maybe that’s why this city meant so much to me; she and I could relate so well. We both were exposed; still living out our lives in the day light, but the bare bones of heart aches are apparent for all to see. At night we were left to stand, cold and tired waiting on eventual winter morning light.
Her citizens were just as tired as she was, they would pass as quickly as possible from destination to destination, clutching their roll up the rims, hoping to catch a break. The winter nights would stretch on long into the winter mornings; sometimes it seemed no end to the season was in sight.
The winter I returned home, I would cower in the bus hut that smelt like wet Big Macs, slightly willing the bus to not be late today. While I waited, I would try to ignore the homeless guy staring at my iPhone, at the same time, trying I would my own guilt of owning one.
Having a broken heart could be the second worst part of living in the Paris of the prairies during the winter months. The worst is having to step outside your door every morning; to have your breath instantly taken away by the wind, your eyes tear incessantly as your face into the neck of your jacket- I’d take a broken heart any day over having to deal with that shit for the rest of my life.
Waiting in that bus hut day after day, I would think of him while I would slowly lose feeling in my fingers and toes. I didn’t see the point in pining over him anymore, so instead I would just create scenarios in which our lives may have been different; if I hadn’t fucked that guy after the punk show, maybe I chose not to send that e-mail, sometimes I never get on the plane. The end result was always the same: get home from school, put on my slippers with the grippies on the bottom, eat Chunky soup and talk on the phone for hours to my friends that I never got to see.
Livings to forget a memory is like walking on hallow floor boards; with each step you’re anticipating the possibility of falling through. Some of the memories are so heavy; they cause the hardwood to snap under your feet. Walking becomes difficult when you’re always afraid of falling.
And so the winter months passed me by, and spring came around at some point without my recognition. My heart never mending but the resilience to the memories became stronger, instead of my fingers freezing with the thoughts of what could have been, instead, they started to thaw and the sun began to last longer in the sky.
Planes flew through the sky to destinations I wished I was going. But I am was there, in the bus-hut, but at least I wasn't alone. My city was and always will be with me.