On Thursday, January 4, 2018, I did not end up flying to the edge of Newfoundland and embarking on a long westward frigid and impossible walk across Canada in my boots that tend to become damp and cold within seven to 98 minutes of putting them on for the benefit of everyone’s mental health which feels like an emergency and also chronically neglected and in memory of Simon Girard who jumped off the roof of Sherbrooke Street’s le Tadoussac on Sunday, January 4, 2015. Instead, I meditated while balancing Women Who Run with the Wolves on my head, worked my one and two-legged squat, and earned $60 cleaning one of my beloved attractive families' attractive home whose attractive Owl Lamp that once needed to be dusted is now nowhere to be found. Then I ate carrots and tahini butter and sugary trail mix for lunch, napped briefly and trudged to a woman’s singing circle that was supposed to help me get in touch with my inner wild woman.
The Wild Woman’s Singing Circle was at a yoga palace. The Yoga Palace had extra special extra dark mahogany floors that are likely a pain in the ass to keep clean though I could not tell because there was not enough light. Inside the Wild Woman’s Singing Circle lay a drum, a shaker, a digeridoo and a rain stick decorated with turquoise tissue paper and medium-sized heart stickers. A woman with bright and exciting tights and a young, ecstatic face welcomed me.
“Thank you for being here,” she said kindly.
She could play the drum the ukulele and had travelled extensively through South America where she felt extra close to the divine, especially when singing in Spanish, or in Portuguese.
My voice felt muted and self-conscious as we warmed up with unstructured chords and syllables.
“Just follow your intuition,” she urged the group. “Sing what sounds beautiful.”
Probably there were five women with soft open faces and spiritual pants seated on the circle’s varied and various cushions. Out of my mouth, nothing sounded beautiful. A few minutes into the spontaneous vowels and chords, three or four more people walked in. One of them was a man wearing a bright yellow t.shirt with the words LOVE written on it in big black letters.
“This is a women’s circle,” said the woman with the exciting bright tights and the ukulele.
“Oh,” said the dude in the bright yellow love t. shirt. “I didn’t realize that meant just for women. But we’re all one. We’re all love. I can bring my feminine energy.” He also offered to leave, but the woman with the exciting bright tights and the ukelele said that since he was already there, he was welcome, as long as nobody objected. Obviously, none of the women objected. You don’t want to be that woman, but I was tightening and repressing what I actually thought and could sense everyone else doing the same. Almost certainly, the Bright Yellow Love T.Shirt Man qualified as a prototypical SNAG. Everyone knows this stands for Sensitive New Age Guy, and that SNAGS are not my favourite. As soon as this SNAG sat down to sing, he sighed loudly, the kind of sigh that invites everyone to look at you and witness how happy and at peace you are. Happy and at peace, and miraculous.
Probably the sigh also says, look, my cells are undulating and dissolving and this makes me extremely special. And we are all one.
Sometimes my cells feel as though they are undulating and dissolving, and this is quite a comfort though it always passes within very little time. Painfully, the group attempted a song in Portuguese. The octaves were far beyond me and I picked up the rain stick covered in tissue paper and red medium sized heart stickers to try and mask the fact that there was no way I could sing. Not next to the Bright Yellow Love T.shirt SNAG, not in Portuguese, not so high. We tried an easier song about standing on top of a mountain, and God's universal, victorious, empowering and all-redeeming love. Bright Yellow Love T. Shirt SNAG kept moaning and sighing and I kept looking outside and thinking about escaping before twilight and sneaking into Simon’s building le Tadoussac and throwing flowers off the rooftop except that the rooftop would be locked and I didn’t feel like forking over money for flowers with the $60 I’d earned that day if the flowers would only dissolve and perish by the time I got to Sherbrooke Street and Simon would most likely not give a shit, one way or another.
Write your fucking book, Simon would surely have said to me some time in the past year or so, if Simon were still alive and the two of us ended up not being estranged which is not particularly likely.
Dead, dead and more dead, I’d say back.
We started singing sounds according to the vowels of each chakra and I decided I needed to play the card, My ex-ex boyfriend jumped off a building three years ago today and I need to get the fuck out of here. Even though I was not exactly irreparably sad. Only vaguely twitchy, and vaguely teary. Vaguely twitchy and vaguely teary, I played the card, and got the fuck out of there.
On the steps of the yoga palace lay a stray and saggy, soggy glove and this made me think of when Simon used to warm his hands and mine with the forgotten gloves that people scattered all over Montreal in the dead of winter. Almost all these gloves were chic and black leather, but sometimes you were stuck wearing two right-hand gloves, or two left ones.
As it turns out, when you say no, you disappoint people, and they won’t like you as much. Still, we are all love and we are all one. It says so on so many t. shirts, bright yellow and otherwise.
It’s healthier not to give a fuck, Simon always said, and I’ve considered writing these words on my wall in smelly markers, though I fear I’d become very sick of the words very quickly.
From Apartment Number 814 of the Tadoussac where Simon lived, I walked to the dreary grey stairwell and climbed. Simon’s apartment number 814 added up to 13, and this could have been unlucky for him. Like most apartment buildings, the Tadoussac skips from the 12th to the 14th floor, and I find this sad and hilarious and strange. The sounds of my boots that tend to become damp within seven to 98 minutes of putting them on echoed and I remembered climbing these stairs with Simon in January of 2011. My knees had become sore since at the time, I’d been so obsessed with yoga that my body was far too flexible, and not exactly strong enough. Simon preferred climbing the stairs as opposed to the mountain to ensure he wouldn’t run into to very many people. At the 23rd floor, I came upon a boy, perhaps four or five years old who descended with his father. They’d just gone swimming and their hair was wet.
Est-ce qu’on devrait compter les escaliers en français et en anglais? asked the boy's father. The little boy didn’t think so and they continued to count the stairs in French. Un deux trois, etc. The door to the swimming pool that used to lead to the rooftop was locked. And anyways, likely they locked the rooftop in the winter to protect the other Simons. I walked down the stairwell back to the eighth floor and took the elevator, exiting through the back of the building where Simon had fallen onto the pavement. I’m not sure exactly where.
My calves have been sore ever since, and it could be from the stairs, or from the one-legged and two-legged squats, or from cleaning and walking somewhat excessively, just about every single day. But my legs are strong and my knees don’t hurt.
Rumi says, “The Light Changes. I need more grace then I thought.”
Elizabeth Gilbert says, “Grace says nothing except that I am splendid.” She says this to Oprah on a Super Soul Sunday. I want to be one of those people with an Important Hero’s Quest. Like Oprah and Elizabeth Gilbert.
We are all love.
I’ve thought of drawing my victim wings on my wall in smelly markers. Around the border of the wings I will write, “Grace says nothing except that you are splendid.”
|“Grace says nothing except that you are splendid.”|
Every Friday with vinegar and a magical micro fiber cloth, I clean the door of the same stainless steel fridge. On the fridge hangs a butterfly, decorated according to the kindergarten technique where you dabble a bunch of paint on one half of the picture and then fold the paper in half so that the paint spreads to other side, and you have double the colours and double the art. I remember doing the exact same painting routine in Ms. Strotman’s kindergarten class, and then the evening my parents invited Ms. Strotman for dinner I showed off and did the painting routine again. And I folded the paper like an accordion, and clipped it with a clothespin so that my butterfly was 3-dimensional and the wings were nothing but splendid.
The fridge belongs to a lovely family. Attractive, though without an Owl Lamp, they once owned a self-mutilating parrot whose angst had caused him to pluck out all the feathers around his neck. Apparently this is quite common. Now the self-mutilating parrot is flapping his wings in a bird refuge in Oka, north-east of Montreal. There he can fly freely amongst birds with feathered and un-feathered necks and wings that are nothing but splendid. After he went away to Okay, it took about six weeks before I got rid of all the self-mutilating bird shit on the walls and on the floors. The fridge stayed as shiny as ever, at least every Friday.
|Selfie, with Vinegar|
Outlines of victim wings also look a bit like floppy ears. Floppy ears, a bow tie, and I can’t think of anything else, except perhaps an elephant head, or the shape of certain elbows when someone places their hands squarely on their hips. Or fingerless gloves, their mouths placed side by side.
I like to imagine my victim wings, undulating and then dissolving behind my shoulder blades until they fall to the ground and perish. And I listen for Grace and she says very little, but enough.
Love you always,
Send your letters to Vincent and/or Erica to ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com. Vincent may say very little, but Erica will surely say that you are splendid.
|Simon Girard 1979-2015|
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