My College experience

During my college years, I was a lonely guy. I had no social skills to speak of, at parties my anxiety would spike and I would do anything to avoid social contact with others. I would read any nearby magazines or books. I would even stare intently at plants, anything to fake that I belonged there. Or I would drink, heavily. That never worked out well.

Imagine my surprise when, at a friend’s house party, I met a girl. She was smart, funny and ridiculously attractive. We talked and laughed long into the night.

She called me a week later. We chatted for what seemed like forever. She really seemed to like me. My self-image could barely handle it. I’ve never considered myself an attractive man, but I do have a charm that turns on by itself at random moments. She seemed out of my league, but I went with it.

We arranged for a date downtown. My excitement was through the roof. I through on my least shabby clothes and made my way to the restaurant.

There she was, waiting on the corner by the restaurant, smiling and radiant. We made our way inside. I was all smiles and charm.

We seated ourselves and looked at the menu. Then it hit me: the Stench. Her perfume was overwhelming, this thick miasma hanging over the table. There was no escaping it.

My reaction was uncontrollable. Coughing, choking and gasping for air, I covered my nose and mouth with a napkin. Her reaction was understandable, anger. I tried to pass it off as a cold I was fighting. She did not buy it and the meal passed quickly and coldly.

We talked a few more times on the phone. Much better for me, scentwise. My charm miraculously returned and she gave me another chance. Coffee this time.

We met outside the coffee shop, so radiant she was. Her perfume punched me squarely in the face. I desperately tried to maintain my composure but I could tell it was already doomed. Perhaps it was because I was dancing around her, trying to stay up wind of her. She looked at me like I was mad.

She politely drank a cup of coffee with me and made idle chit-chat. I was still struggling to breathe in her presence. Then she left and never talked to me again. I remained and drank another coffee and pondered the situation.

Through the sadness of the moment, a smile cut through it all. It was the most Seinfeldian moment of my life. Cue the bass line.

Many years later, I met another woman. Smart, funny and ridiculously attractive. And she doesn’t wear perfume. Plus, she introduced me to the other Love of my life: a cat named Wesley.

A Mother, remembered.

My mother passed away just over one year ago.

Several members of my family gathered to remember and feast in her honour. As I have no connection to  my spirituality, much of their words fell flat in front of me. But I understand their intent: a woman they all loved died and they needed to gather and remember.

What I have to offer, is a story of Her:

My family never had much money. My father could never hold a job and my mother had the task of raising a gaggle of children. We walked a lot.

The nearest grocery store was a considerable distance away, walking there and back took quite a bit of time. One day, my father asked my mother to go to the store for a few items. She obliged, and set off.

Time passed. One hour. Then two. We children became anxious, looking up and down the street in hope of spotting her. My father became angry and demanded that we go out and look for her. Happy to get away, we left eagerly.

We walked to the grocery store and looked around. She was not there. We looked in the local thrift store, always one of her favorite stops. She was not there either. We looked in every store up and down the street from the grocery store to our home. She was nowhere to be found.

We returned home some time later, empty-handed and sad. My father’s anger was great. Where could she be?

As the sun set, my mother came home. We all ran to her, our fear washing away. We asked where she was, what happened to her. She told us.

She was arrested.

My father was a chain smoker. A pack a day, perhaps more. It was a difficult habit to maintain on a tight budget. My father coerced my mother into occasionally stealing a pack for him. This was in the old days, when cigarettes were put proudly on display in a rack by the front tills. She was caught, and taken to the local police station and given a fine.

She walked home. It was a very long walk.

She was so angry. The shame and embarrassment of being arrested brought out a fire in her that I’ve never seen before. She had never been arrested before, she only committed the crime at the behest of my father. She unleashed her fire upon him and he shrank back in the face of it. She swore that she would never steal for him again.

And she never did.

I have never forgotten how strong she could be.

Stories are now all I have left of her.

A Writer rewrites*

I’ve always been shy.

I’ve always had a hard time fitting, especially as a child. As an adult, I’ve learned that I don’t need to fit in anymore. In most cases, I actually don’t want to. I am, overall, happy with who I am.

As a child, it was different. My shyness held me back. I couldn’t open up to other children, even the ones I liked. As a result, I had very few friends. The other kids didn’t know what to make of me. I was wierd, different. I was picked on, bullied. But mostly I was left alone. Very alone.

One year, Grade 5 if I can recall correctly, I made a friend. I was chosen to work with a classmate on a project. We bonded over the course of the project. To my regret, I can no longer remember my friend’s name. We did what young friends do: we hung out during lunch, played in the park after school, we talked and laughed. It was a shining moment in my young life.

One day, our teacher stepped out of the classroom for a washroom break. I seized the opportunity and turned around to ask my friend a question.

And just like that, the entire class (it seemed) turned on us and shouted

“FAG!”

“FAG!”

“FAG!”

The words chanted in unison, echoed throughout the room. I’d heard the phrase before but was not sure what it meant. It was only ever used as an insult.

My friend started to cry, then fled the room.

I sat there and endured it, Hiding behind a wall of anger and sadness.

The teacher finally returned and quieted the class. He located my friend and brought him back into class. Everything went back to normal, we continued our lesson.

After class, my friend left immediately, without saying a word.

I found him the next day before class. I wanted to see how he doing. He was my friend. I was worried.

He turned to me and said, “I’m sorry Ellis, but I can’t be your friend anymore. I don’t want to be called that ever again.” Then, he walked into class, and never said a word to me again.

I spent the rest of the year, and the year after that, without a friend. It was in the last year of elementary school, grade 7, that I was assigned to introduce the new kid around school. He was Irish, very loud, and brash. He loved to laugh. We became friends. He taught me to laugh freely, without looking over my shoulder. I discovered that I could make him laugh as well. I had a sense of humour, which suprised and delighted me.

We remained friends for the rest of the year and into the summer. Then my family and I moved away and I never saw him again.

Hi name was Clyde. He was a good friend.

 

*This was one of my first stories, written several years ago. I’ve written it here, with minor editing.

 

A Writer writes

Uh, Hello!

I am a 40 something native american who works in a modest job in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

I make ends meet, I have a fabulous S/O, I have a cat that I love to the end of the world (Wesley is his name), friends that I respect and admire. I have many hobbies, well 2.

Life should be good, but

IT

IS

NOT

See, I have this burning desire to WRITE. A desire that heretofore, has gone unsatisfied. Well, no longer.

I grew up painfully shy. Paradoxically, I discovered that I am also a natural storyteller. Writing, for me, is the best way to express the words that roll around in my head. I have so many stories to tell, I despair at never being able to tell them all.

I have a story to tell.  A novel, actually. I am using this blog to kick the rust off my writing skills, and see what I can improve.

I will be writing stories of my past, my present and possibly, my future. Some will be funny, others not so. This will not be easy for me, but things that are worthwhile rarely are.

I hope those who read these words enjoy them. Please share and follow or subscribe or whatever.

Thank you.