Monday, April 25, 2011

Rain Until Friday

Today is Easter Monday in some parts of the world. People are celebrating in various ways. Some eat painted eggs and scallions by the banks of the Nile. Some dunk young Slovak girls in creeks then whip them (gently) with willow switches. Some stand in St. Peter's Square and listen to the "Urbi and Orbi" blessing. Others parade down Fifth Avenue in their Easter bonnet. Meanwhile, on Grants Lake Road, I lie on the couch watching television. I flip up and down the channels looking for something to keep me company. I don't usually watch television. In fact, I never watch it. Friends and family will attest to this. I have gone so far as to tell them it's evil. For over twenty years, I haven't even allowed the electronic beast to enter my house.

But now, in this Grants Lake sublet, a television already exists. It sits in the corner draped in a silk cloth. It comes with three remote controls and Shaw cable. I approach carefully and whisk off the cloth. I arm myself with a remote. I flip up and down, up and down, searching for what seems to entertain the majority of the population. For a couple hours, Patch Adams allows me to enter the world of a do-good doctor. Then I hear about the plight of the Vancouver Canucks. Then about the length of time people are waiting at Horseshoe Bay to ferry them back to the mainland. I am reminded I'm alone while others make their way to loved ones. I wonder if I will always be far from loved ones. I flip the channel. It's twenty degrees in Winnipeg today and sunny. They predict rain on Vancouver Island until Friday.

I flip the channel. A cat jumps onto my lap and we watch a talk show host called Nate advise a nurse to wear stilettos once in awhile. Nothing like stilettos to boost your morale, he says. I flip and flip again. I am filled with the hope that soon, on this Easter Monday, I'll feel a sense of communion with the world at large. Outside, the rain falls and a red-winged blackbird flies past. Hope fades. Five more days of rain. Four more months until my husband returns. Who knows how long until all those friends I've met at the right time in the right place will be beside me again, sharing a glass of wine.

The television informs me Kate and William's wedding will air at 3 a.m. PST and that eighty percent of new car purchases are made by women. As the sky darkens and the flipping continues, my mind begins to blur. My eyes lose focus. I know it's time to turn off the television, but I can't. I leave it on while I go about my business, allowing the voices of strangers to fill the house. While they talk of the Chicago Blackhawks, I wish I were by the Nile eating fresh scallions with a slight breeze tugging at my bonnet.

It's a day of new beginnings and perhaps new beginnings happen best when you find yourself alone in less than desirable circumstances. Only a television could have reminded me of this. I turn it off and know what I must do. Something as ancient as the Nile. I go outside and breathe the scent of wet earth and budding leaves. And I remember I've smelled this scent before. Maybe even for lifetimes. The frogs begin to sing despite the rain. It becomes more and more difficult to feel sorry for myself. And so I start again, from the beginning. Today is Easter Monday in some parts of the world. People are celebrating in various ways.

Thank you for reading.

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