I am one of the loners.
The largest room of the farthest student facility is filled with 1) Asian 2) Indian 3) African kids, some appropriately equipped with a Canada Goose coat, some with cute pen-and-paper kits, the hands steady and callous, all of them with a friend or two. No Tim Hortons cups. The workshop concerns the legal procedures advised to international post-graduate students. As if the millennial statistics weren’t enough, as if the hustle of being less than thirty in the search for proper employment and side hustles to pay an insane student debt weren’t enough, there are papers, taxes, systems to navigate. As if the question Now What wasn’t the shapeshifter that naturally fits under the mattress, in the denim pockets worn thin, in the tense note of parents’ voices – it’s probably just a Skype interference, though. The question is ripe with questions, a multiplicity of investigations, a whole life branching before the eyes like that infamous fig tree. Should I work more than forty hours a week in a meh job so I can afford furniture or should I move to Prague and create detailed, beautifully researched tours for bored, retired westerners that can’t settle down with the idea of being a part of tours with uneducated folk? Should I open a coffee&tea place with rows of drippers, bialettis, turkish coffee pots and brass samovars, or should I start making and selling brazilian treats such as coxinha, empadinha, beijinho, a mortifying list of diminutives inherited from our cherished hairy colonizers? Should I go hide at my mother’s spare bedroom? Maybe move up north and volunteer to save penguins? Fascinating creatures, they are – social bipeds in premium outfits, correctly balancing their center of gravity. Their own center. Should I get pregnant? I see a line-up of bright beads in old friends’ timelines. Perhaps cut all my hair? Piercing cartilages takes from four to twelve months to heal and the process might make you divorce your traditional pillow. Don’t ask me how I know. Should I stop eating meat? Should I donate all my clothes, cancel my credit card, live on social media reports delivered from a bargain-studio in this post-communist remote, decayed country, earning enough money for sauerkraut and chickpea cans? All these dashes and no Emily Dickinson; no harm no foul.
Apparently when I was young, before reaching the very important three-full-feet milestone that meant you were now a big girl, I used to say I’d like to have a horse as a pet. He – of course it’d be a he – would sleep under my bed and we’d go for walks when I got back from school. There is a possibility the idea was born from the neighboring circus – the lights, the colours, the fascination of their arrival, set up, and complete departure in seventy two hours; pink coupon sides and holes left from rusty beams in the dry soil being washed away by rain. Every night the chance of captivating a fresh batch of little heads and cheeks with proficient, perfected tricks, the daily repetition hatching magic, the atmosphere clicking and cracking with the scope of their soft dreams.
Did you know that figs are not even fruit? They are a funny, peculiar kind of flower, called enclosed inflorescence. Basically a flower that is born on the inside. Just like dreams.
— — —
ps1: This started with a rant on meme land, otherwise known as twitter. Come say hi @ capivaracansada
ps2: Alice Munro’s Chance, a short story of an award winning book, is much, much better than this, but I thought I’d dare to take mine. No regrets.