Saturday, August 30, 2014

Afterlife

I had the same family but I also had a son. Or maybe my daughter was a son. Some Indian neighbours dropped by to visit, ostensibly to connect our two young boys. More and more of them came in and soon, it was a party atmosphere. From the onset, I had felt that connecting the two boys was a ploy and that really, the mother wanted to speak with me. I was not at all surprised when she took me aside and warned me of our imminent death. They left. We got into our vehicle for what Rob and I knew was our last trip. Our daughter had returned to her gender at this point and we protected her from what we knew was to happen. We had many near accidents along the way and braced ourselves each time. At one point, I don't recall how it happened, we ended up in a large, compacting disposal skip--like at a scrap yard. Rob and I thought, "This is it," but we told Lexie that the sensors would surely recognise that we were people and would stop the machinery. Strangely enough, this is what happened. Some men did help us out and we made it to our destination. When we got there, people were so welcoming and warm. I began to notice that the sun did not set but followed us in the sky wherever we went. Finally, I accepted that we were dead. The people who had helped us out of the skip must have been paramedics removing our bodies. The machinery I had glanced outside the skip must have been stretchers. But, I had felt no break in continuity from life to death. No pain. No loss of consciousness. During our stay at that place with the warm reception, we had occasional visitors. Rob's good friend Dave would stop by. I guess he would dream of him or visit him in a quiet moment. We began to forget details of living. You have to realise that this entirely opposed to everything I've ever believed about death. I don't believe in an afterlife and certainly not one that masquerades as a holiday camp. I believe that when one dies, one's energy returns to the universe. This was so strange and yet, as dreams tend to be, so very real.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Kato: December 27, 2007 - August 7, 2014

It's too late to be awake dearest but when I close my eyes pictures of you roll down my face. It's too late for I'm sorry, I did my best. It's too late for 'could I have done more?' Clickety clackety, jingle jangle, flip and flop. It's too late for your lovely sounds. It's late now. Sleep and return from whence you came.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Doppelgänger

Today I caught a glimpse of someone I once knew. I sucked in my breath at the similarity and the weight of those few fleeting seconds. Then my heart shattered again. And again. And again.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The End is Nigh

I took Zoe to the veterinarian the other day for her semi-annual geriatric check-up. The doctor said that Zoe had a heart murmur and the lumps, which we had assumed were fatty deposits and arthritis inflammation, were in fact tumours. She said that she could biopsy them but really that she could predict the result. I told her that we had long ago decided that we would put darling Zoe through no further invasive procedure, even if it was merely diagnostic. The point is that even if she is riddled with cancerous tumours, I don't want to know. It won't affect how we treat her or what joy she brings to us all. My only concern is that she live her remaining days blissfully. Smelling the sunshine. Chasing butterflies. Grumbling irritably at the younger dog--as is the prerogative of the elderly. Pointing in beautiful position at whatever forest creatures pass behind our fence. Kissing us gently with her little 'corn-on-the-cob' nibbles that she gives to keep us and herself clean. I have increased her pain medication and she seems to be coping well. Somedays she falls or doesn't quite make an attempted jump. Her embarrassment is tangible. I see her looking at me, with that one whisker that never goes in the right direction, as if to say that it must have been a mistake and surely that it couldn't have been her fault that she fell. She's proud, my girl. My first girl, I call her. I love her so much. Zoe has brought me so much joy, comfort, and compassion. How could I repay that with a selfish desire to prolong her discomfort? I hope that she chooses her own time to die, when she's ready and when she knows that we will be okay.

Friday, April 12, 2013

RIP Dr. Kate Bride, my faerie

My thesis co-supervisor died suddenly on Sunday after a brief illness. Today was her service. Having just completed first revisions and planning to submit to the examiners next week, I feel totally surreal working on my writing knowing that Kate won't read the final product. There was a memorial service for her today and I was asked to read. Reading at funerals always makes me panicky--not because I worry about my ability to do it: as a trained actor, the reading is the easy part--it is the selection of works that causes my anxiety. I always feel that I should choose something appropriately sombre or even religious (which I am not) but instead feel a subversive urge bubbling up inside me to be irreverent, sardonic even. Always the anarchist. But thankfully, I know to trust my instincts and I went with humour. In fact, I adapted a posting from this very blog, 'Dog Love'. It was well received but most importantly, Kate would have appreciated it. My other supervisor told me that Kate, not having tenure and being on a postdoc, was not actually being paid for my supervision--that in fact she was reading my work, encouraging me, challenging me purely because she believed in the type of writing I do. I am glad that I know the truth of her not being paid. I could carry it as guilt but instead, I will hold it as a very precious gift. A memento of confidence for me in the dark hours when I doubt myself, my words, and perhaps the value of both. Kate told me not to worry about being self-indulgent when writing in my own narrative; that it is the work of heartful educators to broach personal questions in order to be critical pedagogues. She also told me when in doubt to walk the dog. I don't believe in angels but as my work is in fantasy, I do truly believe in the faerie world. When the fair folk enter a human's life, it can never be for a long time or harm will come to either the mortal or immortal world. Kate was my faerie and I thank her for the time she allotted me.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Casual Naïveté

When my childhood best friend and I were still in elementary school, we would frequent a small park. We greatly enjoyed making up stories about our fictional selves, Speed and Spice. Two huge tractor tires were stationed upright, imbedded into the earth, near the playground. We climbed daily onto those tires, who became our faithful horses, although I have traitorously forgotten their names. We went so far as to attach masking tape saddles and reins. One day, in the midst of a storyline, we noticed a man had entered our playground. He stood watching us. We looked at each other and then at him. We dismounted. He waved to us. He said something innocuous, trying to engage us in conversation. I said something back to him (perhaps it was about the time?) when Speed said loudly that it was time to go. Because our bond was almost psychic, I sensed her urgency and so, although I felt she was being a bit hasty and impolite, I left with her. She asked me later: had I not seen his penis hanging out of his pants? That was a crushing moment for me. I felt the weight of what could have been my own demise and a profound revulsion at my own innocence. Of course, we knew not to take candy nor to go anywhere with strangers, but as far as I can recollect, he merely inquired about the time. I did not look down to see if he was flashing us. I just don't look at people that way. When they speak to me, I hold their gaze. Confidence and proper etiquette could so easily have been my downfall. I had seen NOTHING. To this day, at random moments, I am filled with that same dreaded sense of creepy disgust. I have only recently realised that it is my own naïveté. Is this perhaps my instincts telling me that something is amiss? Certain aquaintances will leave me with this feeling and I find myself urgently needing to disassociate. Or am I entirely incapable of protecting myself and will I forever need a good friend and a trusty steed? There have been many, many instances like the park of my youth. Not necessarily all flashers or would-be pedophiles but other incidents where I have trusted, innocently, in the face of what others have had to explain to me. How the hell can this be? I am intelligent and generally socially adept. I am an actor, for goodness' sakes. I can read character. So why do I have such a blind spot for potentially disastrous situations? I do think it comes back to a kind of naïveté--an honesty, an openness. A sort of optimism perhaps and an inability to accept real human cruelty. It's not that I haven't suffered in my life (indeed I have--my school principal used to get me to counsel other kids on how to cope with trauma because I was so well-adjusted after facing issues of my own) but that my suffering has perhaps been somehow elite. I can't seem to grasp the real, gritty, down-in-the dirt fabric of some peoples' tragic lives. My husband occasionally rails at me that I don't notice what is going on because of my academic focus. I get so immersed into what I am doing that all else is irrelevant. The capacity for concentration despite distraction is a skill I have used to my advantage many, many times. But I sense that it--both a gift and a curse--will my ultimate downfall. I have just finished reading J.K. Rowling's novel "Casual Vacancy". The cruelty and malicious intent of the characters is indeed casual and heartbreaking. It reminded me that I am both oh-so privileged and so very at risk.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Gross-Out II

After being reminded the other day of the Rhodesian Ridgeback, whose the cultivated gourmet palate preferred only the finest found feces of homeless Vancouverites, I must concede the 'my-dogs-are-grosser-than-yours' title. I am okay with this. Kudos to the new title holder whose disgusting deed (and ensuing regurgitation) I shall recount for many a day. It seems as though obscured in the dog's consumption and rejection of street person poo there was a veiled commentary on society's underprivileged. In other news, I recently heard that British teenagers have begun a fad of communication via message in a bottle. It seems they are placing personal ads into bottles in the hopes of finding a romantic match--offline dating sites, so to speak. The current generation of adolescents has grown up with a level of technological sophistication incomprehensible to anyone who remembers Commodore 64 or getting the neighbourhood's first microwave/VCR/CD player. The peculiar parallel between the British teens and our Ridgeback, is that in their subversive acts, both are unknowingly enacting a hegemonic defiance.