Monday, December 20, 2010


Sarah came over last week and we drank too much wine and sang along with songs we looped on repeat back when we were young. Somehow I still remembered most of the words that I used to scrawl across the pages of my notebooks when I still believed in forever. Sarah said I used to listen to these songs in residence and gesture love over a webcam to that boy twenty minutes away. She told me this and at first I didn’t believe her but then I did but I still couldn’t remember that girl but then I could and I could even still remember all the words.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

i want to go everywhere

*This was written in a tiny notebook on a train from LA to San Diego the other day but I'm only now finding the time to enter it here.

It's been forever because there is too much to say and feel but never the right words to say and feel them in. Or maybe I'll just never have the right words for the present. Maybe I'm only ever capable of writing beautiful about the past. Maybe the past is always beautiful because it's not the present. And so maybe I can write now because I'm on a train and the sound of metal against metal reminds me of a past I can see as beautiful because it became the past will over two (!) years ago. I remember riding a different train back and forth between my temporary and soon-to-be homes constantly that year that has now become long ago. It's too dark to see anything outside this window and it was always too late back then, too. And I was a different person then as well. But this feeling of journey, of travel, of departures and arrivals is suddenly so familiar I find myself listening to that album I listened to on repeat for all those trips of return and goodbye. And this feeling is all so strangely f
amiliar I can remember how it felt to first glimpse the purple and white lights of the city in the distance, to put away my book and button up my coat, to will the train to race into the station, to know how Jim Guthrie felt as he sang "I want to go everywhere with you" and bounce through the cold of the station unphased. And it's probably the free wine swimming around inside, but I can't help but listen to Jim on repeat again and shed a tear or two.

Monday, September 27, 2010

this season around

It’s been too long, but not because nothing has happened. No. This summer was the brightest and the bluest and how do you write always sunshine and the longest days turning into longer nights and the hazy happy blur they all became? This summer was also one of Toronto’s hottest on records so I floated through it, above and beyond the heat. But that heat was strong and in that heat I slipped away. Last week I saw myself from a distance and I felt distant from that girl I saw. Somehow in that heat I’d forgotten myself. But yesterday, a text from an old friend suddenly so far away came. He said fall had been feeling heavy but my words made it feel lighter. And then I walked home alone in the cold and the crisp and the dark and everything seemed to right itself. Fall signals the onset of winter and all sorts of endings, but yesterday, during that walk home, everything felt like the beginning and possible. I remembered the me that came before the heat and I realized how much I’d missed her. I want longer days and the longest nights, and I refuse to float above them this season around. Pass me a hat and scarf and I will be that girl I used to be.

Friday, August 13, 2010


My recent business travels through New York State this summer remind me of the road trips my dad became consumed with taking throughout my preteen years. He navigated those American freeways as if he’d been doing so forever. From the I-90 to the I-79 to the I-279, he was invincible. Traveling in my mom’s more sensible grey Toyota Corolla, he was still a warrior as he passed baby blue Buicks and singing minivans. In that instant it didn’t matter that his health was still too unsteady for him to work full time, even though it had been years since his first operation. I no longer cared about flying to exotic destinations like my friends did; we too were flying through those anonymous cities, blurred green landscapes, Dunkin Donuts standing glorious as they marked the miles we’d traveled.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

hey now i'm movin'

For the past two years, I've fallen asleep to the quiet hum of the 24-hour bus that drives up and down the street outside my bedroom window and woken to Tender Green walls and spent afternoons with the warmest midday sun. These same Tender Green walls have come to hold my memories and helped me make memories and even held me when there were no memories I could even think of making. The walls in this room slope and make hanging photos and art hard. The ceiling is ugly popcorn and the floors may be hardwood but they are creaking and breaking, slowly but surely. There are dead bugs trapped in the light fixture and I'm partly too lazy but mostly too scared to clean them away. I've spent night after night sitting on that broken floor, staring into a mirror, wondering if it was a red lips sort of night, wondering who I'd meet, or if I already knew the answers to all these questions, wondering if he'd call or I'd text and wondering if I'd regret it all in the morning. This room is on the third floor of a house built at the turn of the century, and so the winters are always too cold and the summer's much too warm. But this room held my hand tight through a degree I never thought I'd finish and it held my hand even tighter when old hopes slipped away and new ones formed in their place and this room may not be perfect and even though it is time to leave it behind, I know I will forever search for the way this room erupting in late afternoon sunshine made me feel when this city was still new and everything still waited ahead.

Friday, June 25, 2010

young hearts

Young love, you were so many summers ago. Tanned and fresh faced and twenty-one, I waited at streetcorners with the hope of you floating all around. Beautiful you were as you crossed the street to greet me with a kiss and beautiful I felt, too, from the way you kissed me. Young love, you were light as a feather as you shared shared shared and listened to it all. And light as a feather was I when you lifted me into the night and said you loved me and meant it in a way you only can when you're eighteen. And my eyes were only ever wide open and bright that summer and they hardly are anymore and so sometimes I close them to still see you standing there, a bouquet of sunflowers in your hand.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Sometimes, like today, I really think it would be possible for me to flee this city and all its people. On most days, the idea of elsewhere always seems alluring and exciting and a little bit dangerous but never real. On most days, I have no need for elsewhere because here is where I only ever want to be. But today is not most days. And today as I sat on the streetcar coming to work, all I could think about was what would happen if I didn't get off at the same stop I get off at five days a week and instead stayed seated, riding the streetcar in giant circles around the city, never having to speak to anyone once. And then I started thinking about jumping in a car, or even a plane if I could dream big enough, and going so far away everything would be new and nobody would be familiar. I didn't know where this elsewhere would be. All I knew was that it would be better than today.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

when the night meets the morning sun

Rainiest of Mays and I'm walking home in the rain, again, and the wind is so strong it pushes my umbrella inside out and my bags are so heavy I have to stop four times to shift their weight and rest my hands, all the while juggling an umbrella that won't right itself, and I walked these same streets drunk and in the fog just days ago, and everything seemed different back then because right now I'm crying and I don't know why and all I want is for the sun to come back and for it to feel like real May again and all I want is to hear real words and to be hugged at the end of it all.

you still smell like last winter

It’s last winter whenever I think of you because you were only ever last winter to me, and last winter will always be the hope of it all that followed the heartbreak of what came before. You were there in the snow and the cold and the hush to walk me home and hug me goodnight, and you were there in a tie on my birthday, and you were there, but always too far away to touch and always too nervous. And now it’s next spring and here you are again, but only for a night. And you still smell like last winter, but there is no hope of it all because you were the last heartbreak there was.

Monday, May 10, 2010

after the rain

This city smells like spring these days and this city smells the most like spring in the early evenings that follow afternoon showers. Shocked but damp and clean, I watch this city shake itself awake as the yellow cuts into the grey, and I find myself trying to do the same.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Driving north with him, driving backwards, windows down, blue breeze blowing, pressing play on my favourite song at my favourite part of the drive (the moment we pull off the highway and I realize we are suddenly the only car following this curving road back to his once home), swallowed up in green, the familiar dotting of houses, the one with rotating stuffed animals outside, pulling into a driveway still marked by a basketball net, stepping out of the van into air that is always cleaner and cooler 1.5 hours outside of the city, stepping into the house he grew up in and into his mom’s open arms.

Almost two years since I last took this drive, I still find myself replaying it on days like today where everything feels on the brink of springsummer because this drive and that one tiny town he once called home and what it felt like to be twenty-two and in love are forever springsummer in my mind.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

the past in present

The past is never the past because it's never gone. No. The past catches you off guard as you round the corner one day and bump into him and his new life hanging off his arm. And the past is there every morning and every afternoon as you ride past his house on the streetcar, sometimes daring to peer into a bedroom that still looks the way it did so long ago when you thought of it as your own, too.

But the past is more than just the physical recurrences of him stamped across this city. It's more than just the way your hands sweat at the mere sight of any and every lanky boy with brown hair dressed in a heather grey tee. It's not just because you still refuse, after all this time, to wait at the corner of College and Spadina in fear that you may round the corner and bump into him and his new life again. The past isn't even just tied to him. There are so many pasts of so many boys following you around that they all become one in the end.

And the past plagues and will never disappear because it can never actually go anywhere. At twenty-four, it's much too late. The past is the present and it becomes easiest to remember everything bad and forget all that was good. And because of those long talks that never fixed a thing and all that was wrong and whatever you felt too much or too little of, you promise yourself you'll never let the past become the future again. And all the while you're trying to figure out if this is possible or not, you sit with walls up and everything securely tucked away.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

old blue eyes

Some dates and some days are impossible to forget. Like last week when I woke up and looked at my calendar and then looked outside and thought to myself how I hoped you were having the best birthday because how could you not with the sun as high as it was? Twenty-six and a face I sometimes don't remember right anymore, I will always remember you eighteen and nineteen and twenty and twenty-one and twenty-two, and how I hugged you the tightest I could on every third of April for all those years. So happy birthday, old friend. Here's to you.


Today I pulled back the curtains in my room and opened the window to the sound of a passing bus. It's been months since I've heard that sound or felt that breeze or seen the way the sun looks shining through the white of my curtains, but it all felt so familiar that it felt like home.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

i'll believe in anything

This city is blooming and beautiful and mine again. All mine. Last night I saw the band that made up the soundtrack to the first Toronto there ever was. I listened to them on repeat that first summer I found myself alone finding myself, back when I didn't know anything west of Bathurst or the difference between College and Dundas. I remember sitting in the first boy's apartment that wasn't his and saying "put on this song. It's a really great song." And there I was, sitting beside a boy who barely mattered but what mattered was where I was and how I didn't exactly know where I was but how I suddenly felt like I could believe in anything. A year later the band still mattered but this time with a boy that mattered and this city now slowly becoming home. A year after that the boy was more of a question mark but we still listened to the band together over a sink full of dishes in a Toronto now familiar in a comfortable sort of way.

But last night they sang this song that once made me feel like anything and everything was possible in this great city of mine and for the first time in a long time I believed it.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

if you go straight long enough you'll end up where you were

A year ago winter became spring and the hope of him slipped away and I walked outside that first morning after and everything looked different and strange the way it does when your heart is broken. The blue was beautiful but it didn't touch me and I floated through the day but not in a good way and I drank too much but the room never spun once.

A year later he tells me about this song as we sit apart as friends and he says he walked to the mall in the rain in first year university to buy the album and listened to it for the first time in his res room full of people and even though I didn't know him then I feel like I did because the words spill so easy and there is everything I want to share and everything I want to hear and here we are, sitting apart as friends.

And it is spring again but this time we greet each other on streetcorners under the brightest sun and we pause to hug hello and he listens to everything I want to share and the blue is so beautiful and this song is my new favourite and we are friends this time around.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

your heart felt good

Sometimes traveling feels more like arriving than visiting. Last weekend, each turn of a corner and exit out of the subway felt like arriving again and again to the place I'm meant to be. On Sunday afternoon, perfect ice cream cone in hand, I looked around Park Slope as the sun was at its highest and thought how I could stay there forever and never want to arrive elsewhere again.

And that may very well be true, but today Toronto was perfectly blue and buzzing and ready to come out of hibernation and I felt like I was arriving all over again and at that moment I knew I could never actually go elsewhere because there was nowhere else I'd want to be.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

break it down

The sun didn't hide once this week and every song I heard was my new favourite and in mere hours I'll be reunited with my most favourite city and fall in love with it over and over again and every day I felt so happy I could burst.

Monday, March 15, 2010

meet me in the city

The city was mine in song this weekend. First there was Joanna Newsom and songs so beautiful they made me feel affected like I was twenty again and hearing her for the first time and they were so perfect I had to stand still with my eyes closed and my breath held tight as two tears fell. Then there was Woods last night and the bar may have been dark and crowded and too tall and too drunk but then they played this song and everything got quiet and the tears didn't fall but they almost did and it felt like last summer but better and I could only think about how happy I was at that moment.

It's been forever since two nights of music were more than enough and so this weekend made me think of these guys and the days and nights when their music was always enough. I remember being fourteen and listening to their songs for the first time and thinking how I'd never been in love but they made me want to and then I remember falling in love with him and thinking how I finally felt the way these songs had always made me feel.

And today was grey until late afternoon when the sun forced its way through for my walk home and my walk home again and the night was dark and quiet but it was the first night that felt like spring and the hope of summer and that feeling was strange and familiar all at once because it's been so long but I love my city the most at the beginning of spring when everything's still possible and so this night and all those songs were like falling in love with that band and him for the first time all over again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

this city of ghosts

This weekend I ran into the first He that ever mattered and we may have been a We for five years but I haven't seen him for nearly four and isn't it so strange how your once best friend and boyfriend and everything and the person you thought you'd always know, in some capacity or anther, becomes so strange he's suddenly a stranger? We've passed each other before but I've always been too scared or lost for words but this time the night felt like spring and the beer was already inside and I didn't have time to think. I ran over and said his name, first and last because there never was a middle, and the words sounded as happy as I was to say them. There was no strangeness, only familiarity all grown up. His eyes were still as blue as they were when I was fifteen and felt how it feels to lie beside a boy for the first time, and his voice sounded the way it always did coming through the cordless phone I clutched to my ear late at night in my parents' basement. But he was shorter than I remembered, and I realized halfway through the stories I was telling that he didn't know the people in them. Yet even so, I said "it was really good to see you" as we parted. And I really did mean it.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

the first day

This city is still waking and today may just be the most beautiful because the sun is shining and I walked outside for an hour without my ‘muffs and the sky seems the bluest its ever been. A friend said that days like today are just previews for the spring and summer waiting, and this may be true, but I’d still take today’s high of three over months and months of forever blue and temperatures in the twenties. Why? Because a day like today that follows months and months of winter feels like the first day. It catches you off guard and unprepared and it instills hope and happiness and excitement and so much anticipation.

Monday, March 1, 2010

of late

in my bones

This city is waking. The sun’s still out and the snow’s puddling into pools and I can feel the arrival of spring deep in my bones. This transition from grey to blue and green, to early nights to late mornings, always comes fast but it seems even more sudden this time around. Winter kills souls and leaves me out of it instead of in, but this winter was different from the rest.

This city was frozen to its core three years ago. It was submerged under snow the year following. And the city may have been beautiful and forever blue in my memories of it last year, but it was a city always anticipating and never actually delivering. This winter, the city was my one and only. It was not tied to the hope of anyone or anything. It was brighter than it’s ever been. And more beautiful, too. And it was more than enough to carry me through.

Monday, February 22, 2010

you smell like winter

Everything always happens in winter and this time around it’s one winter later and I’m suddenly back where I was the winter before. He is a different he and we talk like old friends because that’s what we’ve become in a year. The words spill fast and easy because I’ve drank too much and my heart is pounding and the room is spinning. The room is always spinning. Sitting close enough to touch but never touching, he hands me books he knows I’ll love because they’re romantic and he knows I’m the most. I’d forgotten what his room smelt like until I stepped foot inside and I think to myself that this is what winter and memory smell like. Always slow to go, I stand across from him on the porch, smoking a cigarette I only took to prolong a goodbye. But this time he seems to be lingering, too, and when I shiver from the cold, he runs his hands along my arms to warm me but stops short. We hug and part as old friends because that’s all we are a winter later, and even though I know all this, the street still spins as I turn the corner home.

Friday, February 19, 2010

on streets

Winters later and we pass on the street and it takes seconds of staring at your face to realize it’s your face and the look on your face says you feel the same. I raise my hand in recognition but do not smile and you do the same and we both keep walking and in seconds you are gone again. We used to dance in your kitchen across dishes and you’d hold me so tight from behind and splatter kisses on my neck to the sound of running water. And water splashed our faces on that ferry ride one summer when you looked at me in a way that made me look away from the way that look made my heart race. But now when we pass each other my heart slows by the time I cross the street and we never even stop to say “hi.”

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

tonight, tonight

Some nights one beer feels like four and every song played is your favourite and all your best friends are there to sing with and dance with and hug and you can't stop smiling because the room is spinning and this city is yours again.

someone's sleeping

Earliest Tuesday morning and I've found this record I forgot you once bought for me and how did I forget an album you insisted you buy because you knew I would love it and how did you know what I would love just because you loved me.

It's a Tuesday morning in February and so it's grey in a familiar sort of way that could make today any day and any day including a February two years ago when we listened to this song and this album together for the first time and you raised your hands in the air and reached out towards me, all the while singing along.

Music is our time capsule and so much time has passed I can listen to this album and forget all the sadness and all the fights that happened at the end and this album is still perfect two years later and without you and so I can now listen to this album and love it for what it is and remember what it felt like to love you.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

love song

It's Valentine's Day so of course I'm paintng my nails red and listening to songs like this one, and oh, this one too because it's me and I still cling hard to the idea of love and old time romance despite any recent fascination I may have developed for dirty boys. But with that being said, the more I listen to Devendra and Daniel sing these songs about love, the more I realize these love songs I always seem to come back to time and time again are less about being in love and more about the idea of, or the yearning for, or the loss of love itself. Devendra tells me to put him in my blue skies, put him in my grey as he sings a song to bring me home, and one night in the summer, I listened to Daniel reassure me that true love will find me in the end for an hour on repeat and I cried the entire time.

And so maybe my definition of a perfect love song isn't one about the actual act of being in love but rather about the yearning and the missing and the hope of it all because isn't love, perfect love, about having someone to miss in the end? Love should consume like these songs and make me cry for hours on an end on an evening in July. This is not to say that I'm bitter and jaded about love. Oh no, I'm quite the opposite (my nails are painted red today, after all). These tears can be happy tears, and this missing carries with it the promise of return and reunion that sends shivers up spines and turns your head and heart all sorts of dizzy.

Friday, February 12, 2010

that love drug thing

As written earlier and forever before that, there is something about dirty boys that turns me obsessed and slightly crazed. I can't put down the drinks or the phone because that boy is out there and the drinks make me want to phone and the silent phone makes me want to drink and suddenly the room is spinning and my heart is racing because maybe he replied or maybe he didn't but maybe he still will and maybe he will even walk through the doors of this very bar at any second or maybe he won't and maybe my phone will remain silent and maybe I'll keep drinking when I get home and pass out alone in bed. But whatever ending I'm met with on any given night is not important because a beer is almost as good a substitute as drunk kisses and spoons that never mean anything in the morning. No. What matters is the maybe. The unpredictability of it all, the rush, the excitement, the almost euphoria or the disappointment. It's why I come back time and time again to boys that are only ever fun and always forever bad. It's a love drug thing. I'm hooked on the possibility of love and companionship and connection presented one night and then so easily forgotten the next.

I know I deserve more than one night and these boys, but things could always be worse. I may be a love junkie for dirty boys but dirty boys are dirty and this love is never real and so dirty boys can never break your heart because they were always dirty to begin with. I'll take the possibility of these nights with dirty boys over real boys and real feelings because I know I'll always walk away whole and intact with my walls still firmly in place.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Last night was as perfect as any birthday could be. A house full of my bests, "Age of Consent" always, birthday cake and crumble and cupcakes, and my crowd surfing dream realized in the form of 24 birthday bumps. The details may be blurred, but I do know that everything was hazy glowy happy and I don't think I stopped smiling once.

Since I turned fifteen, I realize I've only ever spent one other birthday single. And I may have been boyless last night, but I was in no way alone. No, not one bit. The rooms were warm with love and who needs texts when they always come a little too late and they always are just texts and nothing more.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

a love like yours will surely come my way

Everytime I go home, my parents seem older than they were the last time I left. The signs are small but telling. A missed turn. The way my dad holds the wheel a bit tighter than before. The names my mom now forgets. The story that never gets told quite right. And everytime I leave, the panic sets in and I wake with tears streaming down my face and the nightmare of life without them. They are fragile and fading and even though I know they are stronger than I think, time keeps passing and they are becoming more fragile and they are stil fading and their stories aren't being told and so why don't I ask them about these stories sometime? I worry that one day the stories I tell of my parents will only be just that. Mere stories of fragile and fading memories to people who never felt my mom's warmest warmth and my dad's big beautiful heart.

But how do you tell two people who don't see themselves as fragile or fading what you fear and how do you hug these two people you love more than anything in a way that says everything you feel?

Monday, February 1, 2010

summer, come back

Also, as much as I am okay with right now, I feel an aching for sticky days and long nights and to fly through the air on a swing.