Thursday, January 29, 2009

Acting twenty as I approach sixty

I know that I promised to write about my week in Toronto but Ed's dying so quickly stunned me. I didn't think he'd leave this world so soon after my visit. And thinking about him and his family - Lois and Herb, Mackenzie and Michael, especially - occupied my thoughts though I wasn't idle. 

I have been cleaning the house, making it shine, for yet another real estate appraisal. Soon the house will go on the market again, unfortunately at a reduced price, but still Rob and I feel it's time to sell. 

I have also been editing Rob's novel - at last, he's allowed me to read his work-in-progress. It's a mystery, set in France and, beyond being a good read, I'm fascinated by his descriptions of place and characters as I can guess many of the sources. It's as if he has invited me into his brain to show me how it selects and processes data. 

It was Sunday that I found myself acting as if I were twenty years old - quite unintentionally. I met my sister in the city for brunch and as she had to work and I had a hour to kill before meeting a friend, I asked if I could use her second-storey apartment. She lent me the only key, giving me strict instructions to leave it under her front door mat when leaving or she wouldn't be able to get in.

After half an hour or so, I went out to the balcony for a smoke, closing the door behind me. When I went to re-enter, the door was locked. I tried rattling the door and handle, sticking things in the lock, but it refused to budge. After half an hour, I was freezing - no coat - and starting to panic. Finally I heard footsteps and yelled down.
"Can you help me? I'm on the balcony."
A young woman looked up and agreed to telephone my sister who didn't answer her cell. The young woman left a message for her,  apologized that she couldn't help me further as she had to get to work, and left.

Another fifteen minutes went by. I heard a young couple below.

"Can you help me? I'm locked out and freezing." 

The woman ran and brought me a warm jacket. The man knocked on the door below and roused yet another young man who agreed to telephone the landlord who also didn't answer the phone. 

"I have to get off of here," I said. "Will you spot me? I'm not very big."

So I climbed over the railing, hung from the edge, and the men lowered me to the ground.

Eventually my sister showed up. (Why had I locked the door?) She called a locksmith who said he charges $200 for a house call. She told him she'd think about it. We agreed it would be cheaper to break the glass and replace it.

"Do you think you can climb up onto the balcony again?" she asked. 

She found an old piece of sturdy trellis in the back garden and up I went, flipping over the railing. Before breaking the glass, I gave the door several hard shoves with a shoulder and it sprang open. Sigh of relief. 

Though feeling myself a fool, I was rather proud of my gymnastics, thinking not bad for a woman who is nearly sixty. 

Later that night, I didn't feel so smug. I couldn't get comfortable in bed.  My back was aching. 




Thursday, January 22, 2009

Fare Thee Well

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Love, Love, Love

I have much to tell. The past week that I spent in Toronto en route to Vancouver was so rich that I don't know where to begin. I promise to record as much as possible over the next few days but I feel it important to speak first of Ed Charles and his family - for Lois really - because she is a faithful reader, has the most gorgeous eyelashes (a private joke), and I love her granddaughter.  

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

La Vie - 2009

At the last moment of 2008, Rob, Bedding, and I stood in La Place with a glass of champagne and welcomed 2009 to the village. The only sound was the clinking of glasses and our voices, expressing the hope that the new year would be a good one.

Soon after, we went home to our respective houses to sleep and wake the next morning for a champagne and oyster party at Susan and David's. 

Will it be a quiet year, I wonder. 

January 2nd: I drive to Albi, sit at an outdoor table of a small cafe, under a strong sun, working on a story.  Suddenly I realize that I am happy and record the moment in my journal. 

January 3rd: I am restless as hell. I want to make concrete plans for this new year and I don't know where to begin. I have only so much control over what I can and can't do. My major worry is about money. What to do? 

I grabbed a poetry book and discovered Kathleen Raine's poem "Confessions:" 

Wanting to know all/ I overlooked each particle/ Containing the whole/ Unknowable

Intent on one great love, perfect,/ Requited and for ever,/ I missed love's everywhere/ small presence, thousand-guised. 

On the 5th, Gill returned from Paris with a friend. In the afternoon, I lost myself in battle with a loved one who lives at a distant. Though I measured my words, was careful and respectful, she lashed back at me, chose to think the worst of me. My insides churned and I could hardly contain my tears. I walked round and round the village, talking to myself, trying to think of a way to make her understand. In the end, I sent one short email, saying that she knows me: I am not a mean person. She conceded a little...

This morning, Rob played for me a short video, called "Count your Blessings" and though I found it slightly maudlin, it touched me and I put together 3 pages of images, shown at the beginning of this entry, on the 6th day of the new year.