Cora’s twenty-year-old self had always wanted her twenty-five-year-old self to have days like that. She was in a building that was half ice factory, half studio space and concert venue, and she was watching her friend play improvised electronic music. There were cables webbing across the stage, and her friend was one of three enormous spiders spinning rhythms while the eighteen people in the audience nodded their heads along in appreciation.
And in the morning, Cora dropped her body onto the pull-out couch beside her friend Stephen who had stayed the night. Ice storm, polar vortex, frost quake, it had been a long winter. It was still winter, and it was cold in the living room, but Cora was wearing a thick red sweater with a picture of The Great Wall of China on it. Cora liked this sweater a lot.
Cora had made a new friend who lived in St Catharines, and he was taking the bus all the way to Toronto to hang out with her. It made Cora feel like a celebrity, having someone sit on a bus for an hour and a half just to see her.
Cora stood in her driveway. There was snow all around her, and her two bags of groceries sat on the asphalt beside her. One of Cora’s hands was in her pocket and the other hand held her telephone. On the other end of the telephone, Cora’s girlfriend said, “I’m sorry, I can’t be in a relationship right now. I’m sorry, I need some time to myself.”
Cora liked to listen to the French radio station while she drove. She was in Waterloo where her parents lived, practicing her parallel parking and three point turns for her final driving test.
Cora backed up the car, slowly turning the wheel as she went. She wasn’t thinking about driving anymore or about her test, or even about her grandparents. It was just the French music and the night and the voices of her two friends saying, we believe in you, we believe in you. You’re going to be great.
Cora only had frozen pierogies and an apple in her fridge. That would have been ok, except she’d had pierogies for breakfast and dinner the day before, and the apple had been in her crisper for over a month beside a rotting onion and now the apple kind of smelled like onion.
Cora sat on her kitchen counter eating corn from a can.