My Dad leaves me twenty dollars for groceries while he’s gone. I spend ten minutes at Thriftway picking out teas. It’s Fall now and I’m drawn to the blueberry flavors. As I wait to pay a man joins the queue behind me. He reeks of alcohol. I take a step forward into clean air but he follows. This is a smell I’ve spent my whole life running from. I feel the bile build up in my throat and my skin crawls. It’s barely noon. I wonder if he’s starting again or hasn’t stopped yet. I wonder if he has people in his life who cringe when he comes near. Who hope that when they call him to pick them up he hasn’t been drinking. Who look out the window at the dark trees passing and wonder where the boundaries went. Who love him in this painful silence, skipping over subjects.
It’s been a good weekend as weekends go. I spent time with a boy who takes pleasure in being a gentleman. A boy who tried to impress me with wine and food and money until I told him I wasn’t so interested in material things, that I’d rather he just be himself in old jeans and a t-shirt. He told me to wait a second and then stripped his dress shirt off in the middle of the deserted street. Pulled on a faded green shirt. Asked me if that was better. It was. He spent the next ten minutes giving a stranger directions off his GPS. I watched him underneath the street light. Broad shoulders. One hand in the pocket of his jeans. Maybe it was the wine. I imagined a drift of gentle white snow folding him up and tucking him in. A quiet cold sleep.
My mind betrays me as I sleep. So, I stay up all night trying to write something. Write my heart out in black and white. Drinking cup after cup of blueberry tea. I wake up too late and take two steps out the front door. The air is cooler, crisp with the changing seasons. I shine an apple on my camouflage shorts and crunch into the first kiss of Fall. It’s Thanksgiving weekend back home in Halifax and I finally found a Macintosh.
Norah Jones – Chasing Pirates