Reverb #10 – Day 3 – Moment

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

A summer evening, late enough to be dark. My front door clicked closed against the familiarity of my living room. I was dressed and ready, but it was late and I was tired. I could still change my mind.

I took a few steps down the stairs and stood, uncommitted, and tilted my head to see the sky. At the zenith, a few brave stars escaped from the orange smear of sodium lights and the full-moon glare of the car dealership three kilometers east. They winked at me.

The night exhaled and blew sweet on my cheek, lifting and twining my hair from my face, carrying the soft laughter of a party blocks away. I walked out to the sidewalk, pulling away from the gravity of sleep, dragging my feet away from the heavy singularity that was waking up to another same tomorrow.

By the corner, I’d reached escape velocity. I smiled the secret smile I’d worn a lot at fifteen, when I would go out at night to smoke cigarettes and read sonnets in the park. It was mood lifted by the giddy floating feeling of having slipped anchor. Leaves rustled shadows and light around my shoulders as I walked, a giggling conversation of wood creaks and branch whispers. I agreed with the trees.

I didn’t agree as much with the Skytrain, blue-grey florescent lights painting everyone dead, but I slipped in my headphones and leaned against the window and my fingers dance-drummed on my skirt. The embroidery thread in my clothing danced my fingers back; a braille of bumps and lines under my fingertips, muttering along to the music.

Only leaving the train did the small constriction rise to my throat. News at Eleven: bumbling mother-of-two caught dancing with glossy twenty-somethings. “We never saw it coming,” says a neighbour, “She wears Mom-jeans.”

The constriction grew tighter as I fumbled through the door, paying a bemused ticket taker my $5- fee.  No one was there. It was already twenty after eleven, and no one was there. Except J., setting up to spin. He saw me, gave me a hug that smelled of shampoo. We made small talk and the constriction in my throat grew tighter and bewildered me. I went to find a beer, wander around the space, and look at things carefully.

A giant Humbold squid, made of paper mache and filled with twinkle lights, hovered in the darkness of a room closed behind glass. Beside the bar, a floating forest of jellyfish, made of light and vellum, ran sparkle tentacles down to our knees; I pushed through, leaving a stirring wake that flashed and winked.

The room J. was setting up in suddenly squirted music, and I drained my beer and decided I’d had enough.

It was time to dance or leave.

I would dance.

There is no detail to dance that I can record, only liquid leaving, music filling each fibre and thought, taking over pulse and breath. Eventually, my shoes came off and lay in the corner, one forlornly tipped into another. After that, the twenty-somethings came. I mostly ignored them, except to notice that they all dressed like suburban moms and dads, whereas my clothing looked like the year 2000 and dressed for dancing.

I got another drink. So did everyone else. A glossy twenty something in the line told me a joke and put his arm comfortably on my shoulder, to commiserate on the manners of people cutting in line. We laughed. I went back to dance.

Eventually, the people who dance like cocaine found me and I them, as happens, and dance became a conversation of arms and knees and back-bones sliding and wooo-girl. The boy in feathers and the girl in braids.

Electric, ecstatic, alive.

Hours later, my hips turned back to glass and my feet to pumpkins, and I stumbled out to find a cab to take me home. Bemused ticket taker stood outside, smoking. “You had fun?” he said.

I gave him my secret smile. “I sure as hell did.”


  1. This is fabulous. I love it so.

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