Monday, 12 November 2007

a certain November day

There was a certain comfort in the rainy November Monday. It was a sharing of sympathies. She let herself dissolve in its greyness.

Later on, at home, she would wrap the evening around her like a blanket, a muffled coziness. The cat liked rainy days too. Patch ceased her prowling and pouncing and settled herself into a rounded tabby cushion on the couch. Between the warmth of the cat and cup of hot Milo she was insulated against the demands of life.

But, this was still a dream as long as she had to tread the weary ruts of public transit. City buses, trains, subway, queueing in the rain juggling umbrella and backpack and tickets and a late supper from Union Station. All the cars were crowded and damp, but at least they were quiet.

She was taking up two seats, watching the misery of the expressway in the downpour. She was damp and dressed to the nines. The academic nines anyway. It had been a day of presentations and she had buttoned herself into the role of lecturer and expert, though she was not above shameless bribes of donuts for the class. The presentation went well, everybody clapped, the professor commented on "exceeding expectations," and she had made a joke or two. But now she let herself unravel beneath her tailored tweed vest, allowing it to keep the shape of her studies while her mind wandered.

The commuter bus home was a non-place. She never felt quite herself. She could be anyone, going anywhere, and this thought unsettled her. It was easy to slip into unformed identity. Yet in some ways it was the best representation of the way things were. She was inhabitant of many worlds, circling circles, always moving and becoming the ideal citizen in each. She was rather good at it in fact. She slipped from one circle to the next, changing clothes and vocabulary and priorities. She got on and off the train at will, sometimes by sheer will alone, forcing herself to let go of certain worldly pleasures to pursue perfection in all.

Tonight the bus was wearisome. She wasn't sure how much longer she wanted to commute, to change worlds. Which world was hers? Where was the windswept crest of the hill, the rock under the stars that told her she was home?

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