“i’ve never been arrested” is all he said to me when he picked me up at the front door of my mom’s place. i was 16 and he was 19. i thought i was so cool because he was an older man. he had a tattoo-it was an eagle. and he tucked his cigarettes into his jean jacket.

yeah, he wore a jean jacket, so what…?

he took me to the movies. i forget what movie it was-something silly and action-y. the entire movie he kept trying to touch my thigh and i wouldn’t let him. i wanted to wait until we were alone. it was extra weird because he just kept telling me i had nice legs. baggy jeans were very popular in those days, i don’t know how he could’ve known.

i guess he only knew one compliment.

after the movie we went to my house and sat in his car for a while. he asked me if i wanted a smoke. i smoked it and i thought about making out with him. we kissed for a moment but the taste of his breath and the cigarette boiling my blood i had to quit because i thought i might puke. i told him the jean jacket was too much and i had to go. i promised that the next time we went out i would definitely make out with him.

the next time we went out i definitely made out with him. he was 19 and he had a jean jacket and said i had nice legs! of course i made out with him!


i took the train across the river and as the steam rose off the one small unfrozen strait it felt like an ocean. On one side, my was, was the only place that would have me. The only place that listened to our side of the story-our side of the story is my side. On the other side is only conjecture and assumption and notions of non-existent power dynamics.

as the train crosses the river and i see all of those beautiful heading to the place that the law forbids me from entering i speculate about what could have been. i wonder if i made the right choices. i think back on that day and speculate on a future where i said no to those big eyes with so much brilliance and mischief behind them ; if i’d said no to a hand reached across a desk; if i’d never been so taken aback by her lust and unconventional theory; if i’d just been able to think at all.

some mornings when her limbs twitch in dreams of consequence free violence i wonder if i gave up too quickly. but later, when her hand touches mine and she is outrageous about japanese earth quakes and libyan revolution i smile and am ok on my side of the river tangled up in the only future i can have.


sitting here on the train i see a man sliding his tongue in and out of his mouth, drifting in and out of sleep and i feel glimmer of nostalgia for 12 years ago-theatre school silliness. it all comes so simply now and it all falls to habit before i know it. i can be anyone and it isn’t even a challenge anymore. suddenly famous and inconsolable in boredom. the man, i want to grab him by the tongue and pull him into my hotel room and examine every inch of his skin; to take him into me and learn a new way of being this silly chameleon.

i don’t, of course. people would care and it would be in the paper. the national paper. “canadian sweetheart defiles stranger on the train”. i’m too old to a “sweetheart” but my hair colour has stood the test of pollution and my late 30s.

the train clicks into my station a moment later and i realise i never miss this place. “canada’s sweetheart comes home!”. how devastating. he gets off too and i follow him for a moment: up the escalator and the stairs and out into the harsh, cold sunlight. people recognize me and i want to reach my hand into his back pocket. i follow him for a block and stop, i pretend to look for something in my purse and turn around. i blow him a quiet kiss goodbye and head back toward my “homecoming”. i miss the pollution of elsewhere and wish i still smoked.

(WOLVES!) #11

tonight i ran with the wolves. the leader of the pack howled at my doorstep and i put on a pair of shorts and went with him. he’d asked before but i’d always said no so “what was different?” my roommate asked me when i came home impossibly late with my shoes missing and my legs torn to up by brambles and thorn, droplets of blood pooling around what remained of my socks.

“well,” i said, “this time he asked nicely and didn’t assume i would say yes.” secretly it was because he looked so strong there at my door. no longer like the big bad wolf but rather the confident, strong leader wolf. his hindquarters shone in the moonlight and his fur glistened as if just coming from some sort of mythical wolf salon. “my body reacted before i even had a chance to think” i said. she chuckled and picked up her wine glass. “well,” she said, “while you were out running with the wolves i watched an entire season of america’s next top model.” i laughed and went into the kitchen to get a rag and a glass. i rejoined her in the living room and sat on the couch. i poured a glass of wine and began to tidy the cuts on my legs. she looked over at me, this time really looking at me for the first time since i walked back in the door.

“you’re going to do it again? aren’t you?” she asked after a moment.

“tomorrow. i’m going again tomorrow.”