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Posts Tagged ‘warmth’

Prompt 3

We missed the bus.

We thought we had it all planned out but the movie ran longer than we thought.  I think it was a triple feature but which movies they were, I couldn’t tell you, that information lost after so many years.  I seem to remember that the theatre always played triple-features and they were somehow related to each other.  Three movies with Brad Pitt or three movies about high school or three movies with the word “Light” in the title.  It didn’t really matter, as long as they had something in common, they would play the three together.

The theatre is called the Mayfair and I’m pretty sure it’s still there.  Every time we go back to Ottawa to visit we take a drive down Bank Street and see it there, looking just as it did all those years ago, at least from the outside.

The listings for the movies used to be printed on coloured pieces of paper and would be tacked up in the common areas in residence.  It was before you could check movie listings online.  It was before smart phones and all of that.  We barely had email back then.  I know, I’m just realizing exactly how old I actually am.  A quick search online confirms that yes, the Mayfair is still there and now it has a website with all of the listings.  Of course it does.  It actually makes me a little sad to think about now.  Like the kids sitting in residence thinking about going to see a show at the Mayfair are missing out on something by just looking it up online.  It really was much better when you all had to gather around the piece of paper tacked to the board in Rez Commons.  Things are always better back in the day.

I don’t remember what the movies were, I don’t remember why we decided to go that particular night, I don’t remember if I had popcorn although, let’s be perfectly honest, I don’t know that I’ve ever been to a movie and not had popcorn.  I vaguely remember who I went with, not because I have a specific memory of it, but more because I spent almost every minute of my first year of university with the same group of people so I will assume we were at the movie together: my roommate and the two girls who lived next door to us.  An unlikely foursome brought together from four different cities in four different provinces.  About as far apart as four people could be, brought as close together as four people could be.  It was one of those amazing phenomenons whereby had we met under any other circumstances we probably wouldn’t have been friends but we were thrown together, all new to a  city, new to the idea of university, new to just about everything and we bonded quickly, tightly and for eight months we did almost everything together.  Like going to the movies that night.

The Mayfair is technically close enough to the university to walk to, and in the warmer weather we usually did walk, but in Ottawa in the winter, you don’t walk anywhere.  We took the bus, the good old #7 bus that took us pretty much anywhere we wanted to go and then brought us home again when we were done.  Except when we forget to double-check the schedule and we missed the last bus.

I don’t remember the circumstances surrounding realizing we missed the bus or making the heart-wrenching decision that we were going to have to hoof it on foot, but I do remember the cold.

I have never been that cold in my life.  Within three minutes of starting out on our way, I couldn’t feel my thighs, so cold was the wind biting into my jeans.  We tried to talk to take our minds off the cold but our teeth were chattering so hard that soon talking became impossible so we just kept making noises, any kind of noises to keep our lips moving so they didn’t freeze in place.  Having spent the first 17 years of my life in a much more moderate climate I had never felt this kind of cold before.  People warned me, tried to prepare me for what I was going to experience, but until that night I had no idea.

We walked as fast as we possibly could, counting the blocks as we passed by them.  We reached the dingy pizza place that marked the halfway point and kept on walking.  My feet were now frozen and it was like dragging two blocks along behind me.  Why had we decide to go to a movie anyway?  Who’s idea was this?  Next time anyone suggests going outside in the winter I’m going to say ‘no way’ and stay inside where it’s warm!

The funny thing is though, when I think back to that night and the bone-jarring cold, the other most distinct memory I have is how much fun it was.  It was an adventure.  I was there with the three people who had, in such a short time, become my whole world and we were having the time of our lives.  That year is still one of the best I have ever had and that night was just one adventure in a year filled with so many new experiences that I can’t even remember all of them.

But I will never forget missing that bus, and walking home in the cold, so cold that I honestly thought we weren’t going to make it, and yet also feeling so lit up inside.  Like suddenly realizing I was exactly where I was supposed to be, becoming the person I was always supposed to become.

Maybe missing the bus wasn’t so bad after all.

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It’s January 13th and it’s approximately 14 degrees outside.  I live in Canada so that’s 14 degrees Celsius which, any way you count it, is warm for January.  It’s warm for about six months of the year where I live and it’s definitely warm for January.  The snow has all melted and there are kids outside riding their bikes up and down the street.  I’m sure they have no idea what’s going on either, only they spend less time contemplating and more time enjoying.

We were outside for a bit this morning, long enough to realize that it’s warm for January.  Back home to do all of the chores that only seem to get done on Sundays and to prepare for the coming week.  Each time I walk up and down the stairs to get something or put something away, I look out the window and am surprised by the sight of green grass where only days ago there was snow.  If I didn’t know better, I would think it was March.

A little while ago I took a break from the chores and sat down on the couch with my book and a cup of tea.  The book is the newest John Grisham, comforting in a predictable way.  Sometimes it’s nice to read a story that is, in fact, a story.  It moves quickly, there are a lot of people to keep track of, I feel like I’m learning something.  So often the books I choose (or the ones that choose me) end up being a lot of “inside ones head.”  I spend enough time in my own head, let alone tagging along for the ride in someone else’s, so the break is nice.

Suddenly I look up from the page.  I feel stifled, hot, closed in.  More than anything else I decide what I need to do right in that moment is open all of the windows.

It’s a good thing it’s warm for January.

I start upstairs first, throwing open the heavy curtains and cranking open the windows to feel the warm breeze coming in.  It brushes past my cheeks, stirs my hair on its journey through the rest of the house.  I feel lighter than I have in days. I imagine that breeze reaching the furthest corners of the house, pushing out all of the old, the stale, the stagnant, breathing new life.

Not my curtains…but you get the idea.
(Image: http://sweetwhisperdreams.blogspot.ca)

It’s been one of those weeks where, to the naked eye, nothing has changed but on the inside, deep inside, actually everything has changed. There have been hours spent under blankets, with comforters tucked up under chins, warding off chills. There has been too much thinking. Where one short week ago I thought I had all the answers, now, one short week later I realize I wasn’t even asking the right questions.

And after days of all that I’m so ready to take deep breaths, exhale out all of the old and replace it with some of that beautiful fresh air that is now pouring in my windows.

I know that soon the house will be cold.  The kids will come up from the basement looking for a snack and will question why all the windows are open.  Don’t I know it’s January and you’re not supposed to have the windows open in January?  If I’m still feeling energetic I may suggest we go for a walk. Or I may decide that’s too much for today, requiring too much discussion, too much debating, too much bribing. It will make me fondly remember the days when they were too small to have a say.  When I could just plop them down in the stroller whenever it was I felt like going somewhere. Long gone.

But for right now they continue to play and I have learned enough to just leave them alone.  My inquiries often seem to break into their imaginary worlds and the quiet play ends too soon.

So instead I sit here, at my desk, in front of an open window.  The breeze is blowing softly and the sheer curtains dance.  I can hear the sound of geese.  I wonder why they’re here, aren’t they supposed to be wintering somewhere warmer by now?  I’m sure they too are confused by 14 degrees today.  I hear their honks and wonder if they are discussing it as we are.  Saying 14 degrees?  That’s very warm for January.

Or maybe they’re just enjoying the fresh air.

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