Friday, November 12, 2004

a [ ] day

It's been a [ ] day. Long? No, not really, sort of average length. Cold? Not really, the temperature was brisk but if you were well-wrapped and walked fast you were fine. Sunny? In bits. Mostly it was cloudy. I woke early and Patti and I walked to the grocery store for some shopping we had to do before the day began. I think for me it was a chance to get more honey, I eat the stuff a lot. Too much. I think Patti needed money out. In any case, I brought in some film to the photo-developing counter and was standing there staring off into space (it was a little after 9 am, and I was debating whether I should grab my films back off the counter and go to the nearest small-business photo developer, instead of give Super Valu more of my money, such is the tenacity of my obsession to support small businesses) when behind me there was a whir and a thunk. The photo lady came out from behind the counter, opened a small door in the wall, and pulled out a small canister made of thick blue plastic. She returned to the counter, opened it, and pulled out an envelope of finished photos. [The developing lab is one floor up.]

"Huh," I said. "I always wondered how you guys got that upstairs." "Yeah," she said, "It sure saves a lot of leg work." She put something else in the canister, went around the counter to the wall, put it back in, and shut the small door. If you didn't know it was there, you'd think it was for a fuse box or something.

After we got back there was school-redying and after that there was the walk to class and after that there was campus, and the random people you see or don't see as you walk along the brick pathways. Professors walk, along with gaggles of students. Some of them form clots outside of buildings and smoke, looking absently into the chilly wind. The landscapers (two men that I quite like, they wear plaid jackets, and ripped, stained jeans and look ruggedly capable) have put wooden boards on all the sets of stone steps, to make them less slippery when the ice comes. It makes you more aware of all the steps we have to walk up and down--campus is built on a hill, after all. The new board steps rattle a little and although they are secured, you place each footstep more carefully.

After my last class, which was Latin, [I-stem nouns of the 3rd declension, and a review of the ablative] I did a bit of homework with two classmates, then made my way to the bus stop. The bus goes down the hill through the neighbouring campus and into town, and I got off on King Street and went to the library, where I pulled the New York Times off the rack. It was loaded onto a funny device I have never seen before, it was a wooden spindle with separate long sticks extending from a handle. It held the paper in place and allowed for reading. I read about Falluja and the Shiites and the Kurds, and then I read about Pasco County in Florida. I also read about a mayor in Mexico who got shot and killed just before the election, but she won anyway, and they asked her husband to take her job. It sounds like it's straight from a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, doesn't it?

I met Patti and Tracy at the café at 4. Instead of my usual hot chocolate with whipped cream, I got a big solid white mug of black coffee, and drank it straight, with a chocolate oatcake that I periodically dipped into it. We laughed louder than anyone there, and would nudge each other's knees when a good-looking boy walked past. Soft, steady music played: Tracy Chapman, Sarah Harmer, Moby, Jack Johnson. Guitars, voices, softness. Outside cars drove by and busses stopped at the stop, and people thought their thoughts as they burrowed into scarves and hats. The sun began to go down.

We took the bus home and watched television, did some schoolwork. Ate sweet, chocolate-y things. This is what little girls dream of, of being able to watch as much telly as they want, eat as many sweets. No-one's here to tell us what to do. Why is it then that some days I want to be a little girl again? And have Mum make my meals and read me stories. Bundle me up and take me to the woods, where the smell of moss is enough to get my imagination racing with stories of my own, tangents of the ones I hear at bedtime. Romance, adventure, mossy woods.

Tonight I'm listening to Ani Difranco strum her guitar through my speakers, and thinking about my name. I wrote it out a couple of times, L.e.a.h, and then C.a.m.i.l.l.e, and thinking about who I am, and how long I've lived. It's strange to write your own name out like it's another word, and look at it as though it's not your name. It's an interesting way to step outside yourself.

When I was a small girl I remember once that I looked in the mirror, into my own brown eyes, and didn't recognize myself. I had the momentary feeling that I was a different person inside than I was outside. I wondered if maybe I was an alien.

Then most likely I put on my gumboots and ran outside, into the mossy woods.

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