Wednesday, March 31, 2010


She stood there cold. The ice was a raw wasteland of shovel lines and skate cut grooves. Her hands grasping emptiness in her pockets; no arms clutching her waist. Cold captured her like a cockroach under a paper cup--claustrophobic whiteness, no escape--running in circles under a dome sky, not getting anywhere. November was such a long month. His breath was still hot on the back of her neck, yet his shadow remained unseen even though it was 2:00 in the afternoon, on a Saturday.

He used to call her Jade, like the stone. Everyone else called her Jane, but she would only hear her momma's voice, the pursing of her lips, the accusing tone, the questioning inflection at the end of the syllable. "Jane?" she would stare seriously, "I hope you don't outstay your welcome at the Fairburns' house. If you overwhelm everyone, you'll end up alone." She was just Plain Jane to them. Then he came along telling her that stones--precious stones--were very strong and could be made into ornaments. She was more like a stone.

The wind was aggressive. Bit by bit, with arctic force, it shaved off exposed flesh, which wasn't entirely bad because she often felt too fleshy, too bulky in her button down black coat which was already missing a silver button. Owl Creek was meant to be temporary: I'll go to school there, for now; I'll find friends there, for now; I'll get a part-time job there, for now. Even when her dad moved the family up there--when she was twelve--he said, "This is our home, for now," so she never fully settled in. It's now eight years later.

After graduating, Jane became a youth coordinator at the Klondike Arts Centre, a generally painless job that involved entertaining a handful of pre-teens with art projects during the week and going ice skating on Dawson Pond--by the RV site--every Saturday at noon. The kids were all home now. She remained.

Her mind painted that white afternoon black. Black like the night--three years ago--when he took her to that pond and left his truck headlights on. That night when they went ice skating and she slipped her hand into his for the first time, feeling his strength, through mittens, as he ensured she wouldn't trip over the ice's inconsistencies.

Adam's the type of first love Jane won't remember fondly with her drunk, former girlfriends, at their 10 year high school reunion. She won't roll her eyes when she remembers staying up all night, in the eleventh grade, just because he said he might call "late." The relationship won't teach her how to move on and find new romance--like those women in W Network movies who give up on love, only to find Prince Charming sitting at the next Starbucks. Owl Creek didn't have a Starbucks.

Darkness was already nestling into the neighbourhood. It was much later than she thought. Her boots strode back to the soft glow of the town. She manoeuvred through the chain-linked fence. Her crunching footsteps were stifled by Mr. McKenzie's roaring dually truck and snow plough clearing the streets, because he cares about the community, and loves showing off his green Chevy. She had to walk all the way home that afternoon because she didn't hitch a ride with Jen's mom after ice skating.

Walking was more poetic: the sun setting over rickety houses, her black coat and long, brown hair flowing under her toque--like a New York winter wonderland photo shoot for Vanity Fair-- thoughts of a lost love turning in her mind in the form of similes and metaphors. Our romance was like the Neverending Story. Adam was my Atreyu, saving me from the impending un-imagination of the Nothing. Life was more attractive imagined through movie lenses. She walked down the centre of the street for perfect symmetry. She strived for perfect camera angles.