Wistful rain. Rhythmic and drumming down upon the roof of the thirty year old Datsun I bought.
Pulling up along Madison, the lights of the house faint still in the twilight of the early evening. Blinds down, the front yard and white picket fence sacrosanct, the pretensions clear.
Samantha is leaning at the door edge. Coquettish, a wry look and an almost aggressive curve to the lip. Only when Darryl is not around. As if asking, wondering, we had a child together didn't we?
Darwin, gym bag hoisted over shoulder runs out, smile wide, happy to see me. It has been a few weeks.
Dad...have you heard about this show where...
You know, honestly, when I think back to meeting her, Canada Day '96, I see not Samantha but a much younger and different man. Skinny, no grey hair, chain smoking Marlboros bought off the Kingston black market.
Paul and I were doing shots on the patio of the 129. It was so fucking hot almost all had retreated to the air conditioned sanctuary that was the split room of the Charles St inside.
Sam and Val pulled up in Val's VW, parking half drunk, wheel on the curb, stumbling out. She sat down, PHD student, curves to make a Victorian happy, yelling for the waiter to bring a Rum and Coke...hold the Coke.
I was in love.
Down on the beach that night, corporate sponsored fireworks skyside, idiotic classical music blaring from the loudspeakers for drama, Sam telling me that her Marxist analysis did not preclude the sex we were going to have, and I was so happy.
You know what I mean? When you are just happy?
Well not for long. Never really lasts. Pass me the cigarettes I stopped smoking ten years ago.
The road, winding and very dark, Darwin snoring in the back, Rice Lake and the cottage only a few minutes away.
Passing empty side houses and abandoned farmsteads. Forked lightning illuminating overgrown trees.
I carry Darwin into the cabin. Lay him down in the room I remember from childhood. Sky so black that there are almost no lake lights to imply others. The landscape of Canada. A large and magnificent place with not that much going for it.
The shadows you find here.