Sunday, May 02, 2010

2. Madagascar

Last night, my friend barbecued under starlight. In the last two weeks, she said, she has watched all fourteen available episodes of Glee, and then watched them again. 'I keep wanting to try that show,' I said. 'It might be partly the singing,' she said. Because she’s a professional singer herself, and teaches voice to high school students.

I slipped Charlie’s medicine into a cup of cranberry juice. He started drinking it. I was talking, but the corner of my heart was singing because he was drinking it. Then he knocked the cup over.

After dinner, Charlie and my friend’s little girl sat at the table watching Madagascar on a laptop computer, and eating chocolate cake with teaspoons. My friend and I sat on the couch and she showed me the first episode of Glee.

Walking home through the almost full moonlight, I had the mad happiness of a perfect barbecue, red wine, chocolate, and a new tv show that I already loved, deeply loved, all those episodes stretched before me.
I looked it up on Amazon as soon as I got home, so I could order it.


Just before I fell asleep, I remembered the day when a window fell on my hand. I was thirteen, and it was afternoon rollcall. Something snapped in the window and it came hurtling down onto my hand. Nobody saw. I turned around expecting a shocked hush then a rush of exclamations, but nobody saw except Carolyn. I looked at her. She looked back at me. Carolyn had a wide gap between her two front teeth, and it was her job to be mean to me. For the whole year, she’d been mean to me. She was always referring to the braces on my teeth, and narrowing her eyes at my hair.
But this day, she moved towards me and said, ‘Are you okay?’

I was so moved by this. I decided I would dedicate a book to her one day. To the girl with the gap between her two front teeth, because she asked if I was okay. I thought that would be more poetic than just To Carolyn.

I don’t think I will though. Dedicate a book to her. It’s good that she chose not to scowl or call me Braceface at that moment, but actually, when a window crash lands onto somebody’s hand, it’s just common courtesy to ask if they’re okay.


I fell asleep and dreamed that I accidentally joined a Canadian political party. I had to participate in a debate. My team mate was going to do a humorous skit, where he hooked a pair of sunglasses over the front of his shirt, and then said, ‘Wait a minute! I thought this was a tie!’ It was going to be pretty funny. But I had to do a speech. ‘I want to tell you something,’ I said into the microphone. ‘Once – once, I read some legislation, and I did not understand it.’ I paused for dramatic effect. ‘But then an expert explained it to me … and I did.’ There was breathless silence in the stadium. ‘And that is why you should vote for me.’

I sat down again, without another word. There were gasps around me. Two men in oversized, crumpled suits gave me the thumbs-up signal.