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Oh, my heart. My heart.

I like smelling where others have been.

A woman’s perfume that lingers. The faint trace of a cigar, long-extinguished.

It makes me think about all of the lives I may never know.

All of the hearts I may never touch.

This morning I woke to a stretching sun. A ball of bleached blues and sherbet hues, melting its way across the frozen skyscape.

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Before the herald of our first alarm, I silently stole from our warm nest of blankets and limbs – a dreamspace that Marc and I each night create anew – and crept into the cool dark of the house.

Nymeria yawned and quietly mewled from her corner of the chesterfield, her eyes squinting in discomfort as I turned on one of the small side lamps.

The soft light illuminated the many discarded tea mugs and half-finished books populating the table space of the room.

(Hallmarks of a busy workweek and my inability to ever finish a drink.)

I drank a demi-cup of sugary, dark coffee, and read from one of the books, marvelling all the while at the stark beauty, ablaze, across the New Westminster waterfront.

I then slipped into my beautiful new running pants, laced up my runners, and set forth to immerse myself in the golden glow of a world, seemingly reborn.

There are times in my life, where I am unable to stop myself from crying. Tears stream easily, unencumbered from the corners of my eyes. They are fat pearls of emotion – of happiness beyond equation.

Beyond compare.

And this morning I cried.

Racing time.

Racing an untameable sun.

I felt as though I could keep moving forever. That I might blend my body to my path, eternal.

Returning home, I caught a fragrance of a women. And for that moment, I breathed a life; a mind, body and soul – now vanished, or perhaps vanquished – within the thrum and hum of a waking day.

And I was hit with a sense of nostalgia so strong, I quaked.

I was five and cuddled up next to my mother as she read aloud to me on my bed; I was ten and exploring my grandparent’s basement bookshelves, as the dust swirls sparkled in the amber light; I was nineteen and working late closing shifts, experimenting with eye contact and fake names; twenty-four and riding my bike down Hagley Road under the muggy, Brummy sun; twenty-nine and dancing my heart out, my hair stuck to my back, and my calves like two hot rocks; thirty-five and forty-four, and sixty-seven; I was past, present, and yet-to-be present.

Who are we all?

Why are we here?

From where are we going?

Infinitesimal sums of beauty and strength, of wonder and light, of magic and marvel, of love, of love, of love.

So just keep breathing.

And let in the light.

These summer nights

I am seventeen years old.

My hair is very long, and its natural chestnut brown fights a never-ending battle against the bottle red I desperately want to be.

My sister is fifteen years old.

She also has long hair, much thicker than mine, into which the sun has burnt beautiful blond streaks, evenly, so that it reflects both a silver and gold shine under the street lamps, at night.

It is the last week of May, and the time of day is so late that it is now in fact early, and I am not sleeping.  I haven’t slept properly is many weeks.

To keep the insomnia madness at bay, I am reading in bed, curled tightly around myself, like a croissant.  My bedroom door slowly opens, and Jessi tiptoes into my room.  She is wearing tight jeans and a man’s dress shirt, oversized on her tiny frame.

Tonight her hair sits tucked under a stained trucker hat that she insists on wearing, and indeed loving.

She looks stunning.

“Let’s go for a drive,” she says, as she crawls over my blankets to lie down next to me.  I close my book and turn over, facing her.

“Where do you want to go?” I ask.

“I don’t care.”  Jessi pauses as she snuggles down into one of my pillows.  She rubs her face aggressively into it, like a cat.  “How about the airport?”

“Sure,” I say.  The airport is a good choice.  It means highway speeds and the opportunity to gawk at the perverse grandeur of the wealthiest neighbourhood in Vancouver.

I sit up and put on my glasses; lean over and pick up the sweater lying on the floor next to the bed.

“What are you reading?” Jessi asks.  She gets up and walks over to my closet, absentmindedly flipping through shirts and skirts.

“Dracula,” I respond.  After I put on my sweater, I pick up the book and offer it to her.  She shakes her head.

“Is it good?”

“Yes,” I tell her.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes,” I say.  Come on, let’s go get the spare set of keys.”

The warm, wet air whips around the car as we trace the lines of the Fraser River.  Jessi has her feet pressed up against the glove box, her knees scrunched up under her chin.  Tiffany blasts from the CD player and she and I sing as loud as we can, belting out the lyrics with a zealous, almost manic energy.

“OHHHHH, I THINK WE’RE ALONE NOW.”

I know the words much better than she.  She mumbles her way through the bits she is unsure of, only to sing twice as loud during the chorus. I call that “pulling a Mr. Bean.”

“It’s not that I don’t know the lyrics,” she tells me as she shifts herself around in her seat, tilting her face up, so she can meet the rushing night winds and the rushing night, head on.  “I just like mine better.”

She cracks herself up.

It is in these moments that I feel what can only be described as complete love for my sister.  I want to wrap up my soul with hers and drive on, keep moving past the trees, mountains, water, and stars, until we might float up and away.  Away from our earthly bodies, gravity-bound, held down.

Growing up, our mother would always tell us the story of how when we were small, she visited a psychic with a friend.  The first thing the woman told her during her reading was that she had borne twin girls.  When my mother told her no, the woman was confused.  Instead of continuing with the reading, the woman reiterated her previous statement.  In response, my mother stated that she had three girls.  Her two younger daughters, born two years apart, almost two years to the day, who were birthed at the same hospital, on the same floor, in the same room, assisted by the same doctor.  The psychic nodded and smiled. She now understood.  These were her twins of which she had spoken. 

We were her twins. 

One of us had just waited a little longer to come out and play.

As we pull up to the international departures drop-off, I look over at my twin, a girl sewn up in a beauty intricate and rare, bronze skin, eyes of onyx, fingernails of jade, and all I want to do is tell her that I love her.

She looks at me, smiling, her voice feverish.

“I never want to go to school again,” she says.  “I wish we could just do this forever.”

I put the car in first gear; slowly ease my right foot off of the clutch, while gently lowering my right onto the gas.  I look at her and smile back.

“Where to next?”

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