She entered the coffee shop across from Concordia University. They met here the first time five years ago. Some lectures pushed her buttons. Many fled to Psychology hoping “book smart” would make better therapists, muttering, “Enough of this learning by doing crap!”
“Work out your own shit”, most of her professors said, “Be aware of your red flags! You could do more harm than good.” The same group of mature students met here after each class. Together they formed a community of resources, compassion and knowledge.
she dreaded endings, late arrival was more her style …just couldn’t say goodbye.
The preacher and his wife, had been married fifteen years. Time had become their enemy until finally they were blessed with their first and only child. They were so grateful they named their cherubic daughter, Grace. She was a kind and docile child who sang like a bird. As young as four, she would sit in the garden in their backyard chanting. Sunflowers and daisies had become her audience along with stray cats, squirrels, birds and even insects.
Jonathan sat on the curb and waited for someone to give him enough change to meet his quota so he could finally reach nirvana. The night had been so slow since the snowstorm had started up and “pedestrians were just rushing to get home in their nice dry, cozy homes” he snickered to himself with a bitterness that was not like him.
Nightfall came slowly and the only customers he got were the odd city maintenance men taking a break at MacDonald’s for a hot coffee after plowing the streets of Montreal most of the night. He was shaking and knew he would not be able to tough the night here, so he dragged his shaky twig of a body to an air vent near the Métro Berri…just right to warm up enough and not die of hyperthermia.
Just as the sun was rising over the grey, damp and cold city, he woke up and walked over to rue St-Pierre to stand in line until le Centre du Petit Voyageur, a methadone clinic would open at nine o’clock,
Géraldine rocked in her oak chair looking at the window. Clouds were hiding mountain peaks of Mont Tremblant. She sighed glancing at the photograph on her lap. Papa was in the other room snoring loudly. She found comfort in this sound. It meant she had peace and quiet for a few hours before he would awaken in his unpredictable rages. It spiralled if he’d taken a few swigs of his homemade Caribou. He seemed to take to it more and more these days. He’d heat it over the woodstove.
La maudite poele à bois! He still had not purchased an electric stove. What fool still cooks on such appliances? Bien moi, c’est qui! Her sisters ran off as soon as they could to la grande ville de St-Jérome for Estelle and Marie-Claude met a ski instructor and moved to Montréal. They left her alone to care for Papa. They’d each promised on Maman’s deathbed to take care Papa but only Géraldine kept her promise. “C’est ben trop tard pour moi, à c’heure.” She gave up hoping or caring. She volunteered at Auberge Alys Robi, an old folk’s home and knew that was probably her calling. The staff invited her often to come work for them.
She sighed heavily, at least she had a place to go when Papa was no longer here.
Her rocking chair creaked as she searched for those mountain peaks still hidden in their fog.
Simone went berry picking with her cousin who had been after her for a week. She finally gave in. It had been the first time in five years she had ventured into these woods. Nicole was nattering about mon oncle Ovid and his eccentric ways. Simone half listened, dodging gnats and wishing she were home with a good book. Suddenly she heard Nicole call out to her. “Look there’s a pond here. Viens vite!” Simone got to the other side of the bushes and stopped suddenly noticing the tree by the pond, where she’d lost her son.