Jul 9, 2009

manitoulin, day 7

Thursday, July 9, 2009

This morning I spontaneously but accidentally woke myself up at 5. I slept on the pullout with the blinds open so I could experience this sunrise. Simply, simple. No words. Just blues into yellows into oranges for a while. Everything was motionless and temporarily dead outdoors. Not dead, only sleeping. Simply still.

It is the last day, and the living room has been injected with this little milligram of grief. Everyone looks like they’re mourning, or just tired.  I’m not sure if their expressions concern the ending of this trip, in strong expectation of another reunion next summer, Michael Jackson, or their sleeping patterns that have been appropriately altered due to the need to either sleep in a trailer or with another person; things they aren’t used to doing every day for a week. These expressions change very quickly though, as the room becomes itching with activity, and mosquito bites. Ha-ha.

Usually, the blinds in the living room were shut until around 10 in the morning, but no one seemed to fuss with my decision to leave them opened overnight. In fact, someone even opened the door, allowing the fresh, last day of Manitoulin air into our abyss. Fathers clean their truck’s windows, grandfathers retrieve the home made bread from the maker, uncles check their mail online, grandmothers are hiding, aunts try to find their sweaters, brothers are sleeping, other brothers are rocking in rocking chairs, and daughters are watching the Tour de France 2009. I, here in this pink chair I previously touched on and rocked in, itch my bites. I write now to recollect these memories whenever I wish to. I like to record, to remember. I could be out on the deck or by the lake, scooping tadpoles out of the shallowest of waters, but I soon will be. First, I like to jot down ideas and memories and phrases. “The water’s nice, you should be down there swimming. I don’t care if it’s cold, you should go for a swim,” the grandfather declares. “You guys are friggin’ vultures,” he also announces, regarding our undying need for a piece off the loaf of fresh bread. “What are you looking for?” “Butter.” “Butter? We don’t have any butter.” We have butter.

The daughter scoops out her signature piece from the familiar loaf, the end, the top, the muffin top, and plans to share with me. Here I go. Ta for now, Andrew.

*        *        *

We are now en route back home. Father, brother, daughter, dog, I. A very small amount of dust has collected on the ledges in the truck, as we have appropriately avoided the use of any sort of vehicle through the week, aside from when the father let his daughter and I both drive yesterday to the board walk, for ice cream; Espresso Flake. It was my fourth time driving, and her first, so he shared with us some words of advice, and of experience: Once you get over your nerves, you’ll be fine. Confidence, plays a big role in your driving. And these words sunk in. The daughter also drove home from the boardwalk, after dipping our feet and shins into the chilled lake and sliding down metal slides that reflected the sunset in the form of a foggy rainbow into our eyes, our minds. The father rode in the back with me, and the uncle, a policeman, rode shot gun. He thought he was being punk’d (Ashton? Ashton?? Ashton!??!)  when the father and daughter traded places, choked, and then went with it. The ride was radioless, thus it was a very unusually spiritual ride in this Optimus Prime of a truck. Sky, pink. Feet, sandy. “Don’t you think you should be in my place?” the uncle asked his brother in-law. “No, this is good for her.” And it did do her good. We arrived alive, and then some.

Also on the ride from the boardwalk, I noticed something new. Since I was young, I was always fascinated by the facial expression that drivers made while driving in the rear view mirror. Today, I still enjoy, and still take note of these expressions, and the daughter’s gained and held my attention. She resembled an actress, an adult, woman. Her limp red curls were still amidst the timid wind pouring throughout the front seats, and faintly into the back. Her eyes blinked at perfect paces, in sync. The blue in her eyes were more lighter and more vivid than ever. If you were to colour a picture of her, looking dead ahead, there would be thorough burgundy shades, and this serene, wad of blue similar to the walls of the cottage. Her pupils were miniature, and focused. She looked so confident and very in charge, modest, never boasting. Before she was at 11 and 2, but now 10 and 2. She looked like she was nodding in her head, applauding herself like a woman near the green during that hole in one. Her turning was slow, but all right. Not fine, but good. When she spoke, her words were more articulate than usual, as no one was speaking for the majority of the ride back home, aside from the few, low sentences of direction from her uncle. Her signal was left as she was pulling over to the right, and an ugly turquoise 7 seater van trekked past, angrily, lacking awareness of our endeavors and the new concepts taking place. “Hi, driver,” her grandma welcomed her with, smiling motherly, as we enter the cottage. We missed Jeopardy! today but that’s okay. Although, there is something about being a teen and getting some of the questions right, ones that no one else knows. For example, I loved answering “May” to the question about the painting “Execution on the fourth of what by Fransisco Goya.” “I love art.”

When we returned and settled into one of the most comfiest, most calming rooms at night that you could ever witness, our new (little girl) friend Emma came to the cottage with her grandparents. We met her earlier at the lake. Us three caught minnows and butterflies with our mesh nets. One green, one pink, one even more youthful, as it was shaped as a Crayola coloured butterfly. We helped her trap two dragonflies into her also fluorescent bug catcher. “Do you guys want some more friends?” she asked her freshly adopted flies. I’ve been using that word a lot when referring to Emma, adopt. That is what we did. We adopted her, very temporarily. It felt very right and very natural, like it was supposed to happen. I never planned on going to the lake, but wanted to instead read, but everyone was down there, so I brought down water and sat with them, investigated, heard her laugh, compared her to Mischa Barton. She reminded me of my cousin’s little girl, very happy and smiley, and very blonde, with acute, but big blue eyes. Citadel blue, so oceanic. I tried to convince Emma that she had a twin sister named Gemma, “Jem-Ah,” obviously by exposing her to the Mirror setting on Photo Booth on my lap top. She was shy and cuddled into the daughter, as though they’ve known each other since her birth four years ago. We all nestled into the futon, relaxed and calm. When Emma had to go, I felt a little sad. Her ponytail goodbye was new to me and I wanted to see her again. I wanted to ask her questions and allow her to tell me stories and just laugh at her mumbles that were supposed to be sentences, but were, in her opinion. That’s what you do sometimes. When kids speak, you just have to laugh. Partly because you haven’t a clue what they just said, even remotely, but because you just want them. Their natural, untainted hair and skin and lashes, their innocence and the moments that will soon turn into classic childhood memories that you’ll spend hours referring to by asking, rather stating, “Remember when we,” and “Remember that time when.” She was so anxious like most little kids, having difficulty smoothly spitting sentences, getting a little frustrated and breathing loudly, thinly. She was so very rich in personality. A glowing moth, flapping, but harming no one. A home made fuzzy peach.

We saw Emma again just as we packed up and left, homeward bound. She was sporting white shorts, a pink t-shirt, orange sunglasses, and was blowing up and deflating, repeatedly, a blue bunny blow up figurine about the size of both your fists. We discovered she lives in Barrie, and I hope to reunite with her eventually, rather it be next summer (If I’m invited, Megs...) or in the future sometime. I feel like we connected and/or soon will, further. I can feel a sense of development in this spur of the moment, new relationship we formed as a trio. I hope she will remember me because she will not be forgotten. Good bye for now, Emma and Gemma.

Now it is 1:53pm and we are snacking on sugar gummies and I am casually sipping this Banana Colada Fuze juice on the way home. We’re pulling into Tim Hortons and I’m about to close my cottage entries. I’ll make it short by saying that this week has been memorable, and completely enjoyable, every day. Thank you.

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