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Great rich handstrokes, the both of us. My signature curved on the page like staccato ocean waves of an angry sea, and his was big, flowing and luxurious, like he was wrapping a Lexus in the motion and he probably was. The transaction cost me $595 and it was over in 12 minutes. He shook my hand as an afterthought and left. He hadnít shaved or worn any nice clothes.

So this was it, the triumph of 12 years of resistance, deviance, study, debauchery, designer drugs, European beers, furl in my brow, hot sex, closing myself in and finally making dull realizations that nevertheless boosted my spirits: I owned an apartment.

I remember marching down the main streets in a spring mist, convening on the legislature and being let down by the PhD on the megaphone: ďWhat do we want? Change! When do we want it? Now!Ē The man had written smart books; Iíd skimmed a few. But in his politician position he was reduced to this, and they loved it.

One year there was a pivotal music show. I wonít say who it was for fear of name-dropping, but youíve heard of them even if you donít like the music. It was a good show. Not spectacular. I followed my friend through packed tables, pissy pints in hand, and he spoke softly to his friends along the wall. He didnít introduce me but that was fine. Not every experience should be living room, and sometimes itís best to be the quiet stranger in the dark.

I saw this day coming out from the fog over Halifax last spring. Itís not a bad day at all, understand, but itís a day that makes you think about other days. I was looking over the Atlantic Ocean, my first time, and my cousin was running out over the rocks. It was a meaningless day. I tried to understand why past silliness had not registered this way, and all I got was a flurry of flash-reminisces that didnít add up: the day I had two girls; my friend Jorge, who did not get a single girl in those five and one-half years, and only because he wouldnít commit himself; to eating cheese and onion sandwiches on benches alone in London and walking through local markets that had become foreign because of tourists; to my first ďrealĒ job, earning $13.91 an hour and feeling so overjoyed for such a short period of time: it didnít add up.

That autumn I scraped the sum parts of my life into a bowl and swished them around. There wasnít much to see. People were falling into pairs and I was worried because we never had so much fun as when we only had two or three hours to have it.

With the birth of my best friendís kid I realized the tragedy was the lack of change: he was exactly the same. We build ourselves to this image of sameness without knowing it, and we follow that person forever because we donít know where else to go. 

So (wearily), the kids of the world grow into pairs and create black unions against golden backdrops on the curving plastic road that winds forever toward the horizon but is never flat, not for a stretch and the choruses and happy families drown one another out until the meaning of one minute is the Tyco toy, the thing in its base: rigid primary colour plastic block vroom.


And the lonely man walks between the black ink walls and he looks up on either side. Things move so fast. Above the sky is blue or crimson or whatever he imagines, and the walls are rock (no gems), and the warm muddy water rushes fast through his legs, and the hike is pleasant as long as youíve got a good walking stick and you can find high ground every once in a while.

[Forever after at]


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