the muted hues cut through the clouds, glowing embers spreading into violets and blues. she smiles, pressing her hand against the window pane to watch the condensation collect around her fingers in the cold morning light. this is her favourite time of day, when the city has not yet awoken and the only sound is the soothing lullaby of raindrops scattering on glass. she walks away, trailing her left hand as she dances her way across the tiny apartment to make herself a cup of coffee. she chooses a playlist on her ipod and before long, her apartment is filled with swirling spirals of steaming, fragrant sumatra coffee beans being percolated to perfection. she takes it black, with two sugars, and sips out of a pale pink china cup – dainty, except for the smudges of last night’s lipstick dusting the edges. they are crimson like the colour of the petals that litter the floor, remnants of the gerbera daisies that last weekend’s date had brought over before dinner, before wine, before they spent what felt like hours pressed up against the wall that separates the kitchen and the bedroom. stirring her coffee, she wonders if she will decide to call him again, chewing mindlessly on her ragged thumbnail as she thinks. the two second pauses between songs are no longer silent, instead punctuated by the noise of the traffic twenty-six stories below. she finds herself at the window again, staring at the miniature trees, cars and street lamps. she knows that she is tired – tired of this busy place, and tired because she has yet to sleep after work. she takes the one remaining daisy and sits down on the floor, cross-legged, as she reaches for her phone.
I’m currently in Quebec, spending 5 weeks here for a complete French immersion experience. My knowledge of the French language is neither the best nor the worst, but if there’s anything I’ve learned in my lifetime, it’s that there is always going to be room for improvement and that you never stop learning.
I’ve been here for just over 2 weeks, and between the early morning classes, late nights and the activities that the university has jam packed during the day, it’s no surprise at all that many students have succumbed to the cold that’s been circulating – myself included. As Murphy’s predictions so often are correct, the sickness was only intensified by the fact that my asthma inhalers had conveniently run out, leaving me baffled as to how I would be able to battle the wracking coughs that I knew were fast approaching. Continue reading
I strongly believe that making someone a playlist or a mix CD is one of the sweetest and most thoughtful things that you can ever do. In a digital world full of electro-beats and technology, it has become so very easy to simply press ‘play>‘ on 8tracks or Spotify – not that I have anything against either one of those delightful sites – I just can’t get enough of the personal touch that comes with giving somebody a mix CD.
A mixtape speaks worlds from the moment you give it to the other person until you hear the very last bittersweet, quivering note of the last song resounding in the night air. It is a collection of your thoughts, memories and feelings – the ones that you’re essentially sharing with someone else. It’s a rollercoaster ride – you bring them up with some EDM, jack it up with a touch of dubstep, then mellow it back down with a downtempo electrojazz track that reminds you of the time that you baked oatmeal-peanut-butter-white-chocolate-chip-cookies because you couldn’t sleep and this song was playing on repeat, on repeat, on repeat.
A mixtape cannot just be “thrown together”. One does not simply throw a mixtape together – if you do, you’re doing it wrong. It has to be carefully thought out; it has to have a defined start and a finish, with the transitions between each song feeding off of the previous and into the next. These are little breaths, complementing the stories we will share and experience together.
You have to trust the person you’re giving the CD to – really trust them to appreciate the minutes that went by, tick tock, as you lovingly devoted your time and effort into breathing life into the mix CD. They have to understand how it feels for you to part ways with each song because each song has been a part of you, however deeply ingrained, from the first time you heard it.
“Here you go. I made you this. I hope you like it.”
It’s about that time of the year when the temperatures start dropping (thanks, global warming), the days get shorter and we all get a little more sad as summer tapers to its end. Gone are the beach days and drinks on the patio, being replaced instead by 8am lectures and dorm room parties.
I can honestly say that I’m incredibly excited to go back to school, as strange as that may sound. I’m going into my second year of university which means that my courses are much more streamlined and tailored to my future career – hopefully law. This being said, I’m studying Political Science, English and French, and I’m looking forward for the classes I’ve chosen. Even better for me, the classes that I’ve chosen are later in the day, so I get to sleep in more!!
I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that buying back-to-school supplies is one of the best parts of the whole academic experience, no matter what level of learning you’re returning to. There’s just something about buying those fresh new pens and neon highlighters that fills you with a sense of contentment and excitement that isn’t the same anywhere else.
In university, you learn just how much you actually like your friends when you find yourself anticipating the start of the school year just so that you can be in the same city and hang out again. Study sessions over Starbucks and midnight rants to each other about that paper due in the morning? What’s not to like?!
School starts in one week, and the countdown is on!
It’s not exactly uncommon for me to strike up conversations with random people. Some call me a social butterfly; others refer to it as being too friendly. Either way, I’m not one to find things awkward and I am quite skilled at avoiding or fixing any sort of awkwardness that may ensue – that is, until I notice where you’re looking.
It starts out harmlessly and subtly – of course, when you’re talking to someone, you’re not entirely fixated on only their eyes or face and your gaze will wander a little bit. I notice your eyes flicker to my left arm. Maybe it’s because you’ve noticed my Michael Kors watch, (always a staple in my wardrobe; I feel naked without it) but you do a double take. Over the course of the rest of the conversation, your eyes always find their way back to the row of ridges carved into my left arm.
And there it is. Now you’re only half-listening to what I’m saying; you’re spending most of your energy trying to figure out how and why those scars appeared without having to ask me yourself.
“Why did she do it?” “Is she crazy?” “There must be something very wrong with her.” “Is she depressed?” “Maybe she just wants attention. Is she looking for attention? What an attention whore.” “Wow, she’s so fake, she seems so happy.” “Clearly she’s mentally unstable.” “That’s fucking disgusting.”
These are just some of the things I imagine start rushing through your head the moment you see them.
It is at this point that I start to feel awkward and conflicted. I almost want you to ask me. I want to explain myself – I want to prove to you that I’m not crazy. I’m not depressed, and it’s not a cry for attention. I don’t want you to think that it’s disgusting or gross or that it devalues me as a person, because it doesn’t. Don’t you have skeletons in your closet? Things you’re not proud of? Mistakes you’ve made? Exactly. People have to live with the mistakes and decisions they might regret for the rest of their lives – the only difference is that mine are visible to the whole world.
I want to tell you all of this, and I want to prove myself and my sanity to you. But at the same time I don’t, because there is no logical explanation I want to provide for the battlefield that is my arm. So, I’ve become adept at eluding those glances over the past three years. The moment I see your eyes wander to my hand, I will casually tuck my bangs back and in doing so, hide my left arm behind my back. I’ll use anything – a well-integrated giggle or a glance at something else, for example, to redirect your attention and try to make you focus on the conversation once again. It usually works for the time being, but from that moment on, any time you see me again you will try to sneak a peek at my arm to verify that the hash marks are what you think you are and that they are really there. And they are.