Myths of Stillness

Is this the best atmosphere to write in? I don’t know. It’s so lively. My drink was taking long. I had to go to the bathroom. When I came back the brunette behind the counter exclaimed, “Oh! That’s where you went!”


It is alien here. At these tables I realize home is pleasing: waiting until the dog is calm, Lisa asleep, staying up ’til two, inhabiting the empty cluttered basement, the page. How did I find this routine when I worried no routine would come? I thought this house so haunted I’d be chased into the night. That I would dream ghosts I’d burp up in my sleep.


The corner of this chain café is extremely moody. I am there, and this kid I’ve seen before. Pensive. Thoughtful. Too thoughtful, maybe. Insinuating. He doesn’t even have a book. He’s always asking the girls questions. I think he goes here to get away, and because he likes one of the girls.


As exciting as new bodies are and as curious as the mind always is I must resist or perhaps save my indulgences for the page. Yes, but satisfaction (even illusory) does not necessarily lead to good writing.


I am thinking of the brunette I see always working here. There is no connection between us, I just enjoy watching her operate. It feels creepy but it is the privilege of the still to watch the active. I have always been this way. I wonder if she lives in Orangeville, what life in this place is like (as if I’m elsewhere).


The teen sports queen continues to glance at me. I see her out of the corner of my eye. She has a funny busy life. On top of her school sports she plays some sport whose name I cannot pronounce. There is no team in Orangeville, in Caledon, in Inglewood.

She’s done it now: she laughs and turns to share the joke.

But I’m not watching her.


I wish I was asleep.


Is that J— L—? Maybe I know somebody here. These bodies are so familiar but I did not think I knew any one. Maybe I know one. It is maybe her. I have not seen her in some time. I do not know if her family still lives here, if they are even still alive. I do not know what she is like. I do not know if she will recognize me. I do not know if it is her. It is not her. It is not her.

No. It is really not her.


The other girl behind the counter is slim and slightly angular. There is a masculinity in her features, not unattractive: she looks like a pioneer or a Twenties flapper. I can see myself with all women: that is imagination. But I can see myself with this one sincerely. The other I do not think I could stand. But I do not know either of these women.


I hate to overhear petty differences relayed in great detail. With spouses, parents, siblings. Talk to them. And if that doesn’t work talk to yourself. This is perhaps not a charitable or even realistic notion.


It is my nervousness that causes me to act hard towards others. I wish I could excise that from my soul. If I want to change it perhaps I can.

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