Vacation


I packed my bags and took a trip into my body.  I took my sunglasses and a hat and an extra pair of underwear.  I didn’t want to leave for long.

My veins became a road, and I stood at the edge of it, watching cars drive past while purple lights flashed.  I don’t know why the lights were purple or what they were flashing for.  It could have just been decorative.  I’ve got pretty flashy blood.

A homeless woman clicked by with a cart of bottles and bees in her hair.  I don’t know for sure that she was homeless.  I guess her home was in her body in my body.  She only had one eye, stuck in the middle of her forehead.

There was a toonie on the sidewalk, but I didn’t have anything to buy, so I left it for the lady with the bees.  I thought maybe she would eat it.

There wasn’t anywhere for me to go.  I walked around my heart and gave my lungs a little pat, and then I stepped into the middle of the street to watch drivers drive on either side of me.

I was changing lived just by being there.  The people in their cars started yelling, but I spat on their windshields and told them, This is my blood, I can do what I want.

One car swerved and hit another.  Three people were killed, and I felt so bad I can’t even tell you how bad I felt, but then I remembered I was on vacation, and it didn’t seem so sad.

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The First 24 Hours

We were in the car, and I was hungry, and I thought about that instead of later: my family dissolving into the crowd, me alone at the airport bar drinking a $9 pint of cheap beer.  Looking out the window, I could see nothing but the blinking light from the plane’s wing, and I said over and over: I am flying over the Atlantic Ocean drinking a cup of tea; I am flying over the Atlantic Ocean eating a piece of chicken.  I’d never flown over an ocean before, and as the plane landed, I was Christopher Columbus, that old thing.  In stories they focus on his awe instead of his fear and fatigue.  On the train I held my hat in my lap in case I needed to throw up.  I slept the first day and become a man made of shadow at night.  The wind against the windows aching to get in, I counted lights click off across the street until there was nothing but my reflection, glassy against black.

Ex-Pat

In our backwards flats on the other side of the earth, our misery is bearable because it is beautiful, listening to Leonard Cohen and drinking too much, carrying on with the existential crisis we’ve been having since we were seventeen, so long now we are no longer afraid, greeting the abyss each day with a resigned sigh the way a fisherman welcomes the rain.

And Then We Were in Paris

Nothing was simple.  We knew absolutely that nothing was simple.  I mean there we were, in Paris, sitting on the hostel floor, getting drunk off two Euro bottles of red wine and saying what the fuck over and over again.  I mean, what were we doing in Paris?

We had to open the wine with scissors, and we each had a full baguette and a full bottle of red wine, and there we were on the hostel floor in Paris going what the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck, as though we’d materialized through the mist that hung over the city with notes about our past written in pen on our palms and slowly rubbing off: Grew up in the house with the red door and the paint peeling off the windowsill; saw a woman get mugged while walking home one night and didn’t know how to help; and then we were in Paris, getting drunk off two Euro bottles of red wine and going what the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck?

New Money

Those strange coins you held in your hands, reading Hemingway in cold cafes, staring out at the cobblestones that tripped you, that tripped you and tricked you for the past two weeks, past buildings older than anyone alive, down alleys too small to hold you, your self slipping out of you, the wall sockets too startling, the oldness too new to you, experience sliding from your palms past the heavy coins too many to understand the value.