Thursday, March 12, 2015

In Honour of a Dear Friend

Today, I got those typical notifications one gets from Facebook telling you which of your friends have Birthdays. Normally I glance at these and then hit delete, but today I paused, re-read the list and took a moment of silence. Just a moment to think, to remember my friend Audrey. Audrey was one of three people I knew who died last year.

I met Audrey at Piper's Frith Writing Retreat. We were in the same group, the fiction group and Audrey could write. She could write wrote horror in a spine chilling style to challenge Stephen King. Her style was unique and refreshing and her spirit brimmed with life. I remember one night, after the evening readings, she and my cabin mate went back to our cabin and stayed up talking and drinking… wine maybe, until 2 in the morning; swapping life stories and birthing a friendship. That night we each gained those glimpses into each other's lives in ways that are only possible in the insane hours of the night when all inhibitions are waved aside, conversation moves from one thing to another, and a kinship is recognized.

I will never forget the absolutely impish, almost frightening sadistic grin which sprung across her face when she was in the thick of eagerly telling one of her chilling stories (which she began by describing the impish evil grin she would get when composing her best pieces).

Audrey always had so many ideas and plans and things on the go and was totally alive when writing. And I will always miss not being able to share in those things with her, hear her excitement, or see her face in any way but through the expressions etched in my memory from our time together. I am grateful for the small time I got to spend with her and I hope my life brightened her as much as knowing her brightened mine.

Looking through the window onto Piper's Frith (just outside of Swift Current Newfoundland). 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Birth of the Coffee House Dog

We met, at the coffee shop. Each morning I would end my run hopping up the steps, two at a time, and order 1 chocolate croissant and a triple latte. There is nothing like the smooth heat sliding down your throat radiating heat through your body on a brisk hot morning.

I slipped outside onto the deck, shirt sleeves wrapped around the steaming cup and inhaled, ah.  Plunking my skinny butt down on the steps I unwrapped the croissant, took a bite, and held the rest out. Bouncer snatched it out of my fingers and sat, bun between her paws, nibbling it away.

Bouncer was my name for her as she bounded everywhere she went, a tail wag a second. I scratched behind her ears, sliding my fingers under her blue collar. Good, there was still room to grow. The bell on her neck jingled as she stretched and sat up. 'Not time yet, girl. I have to finish my coffee.' She pawed my foot, giving my arm a friendly kiss, and walked over to sniff the end of the deck. This also was a tradition.

I took another sip of my coffee and looked around. 'Morning,' a blue toque bobbed through the door. 'Morning, and what are you doing?' 'We got hot chocolate, say, is that your dog?' 'where?' blue toque pointed a blue mitt towards the parking lot. 'There, n - wait, yes! Bouncer, bouncer.' I got up and headed down the steps. Bouncer looked up, but kept following behind the red truck driving towards the  road. 'Bouncer!' coffee splashed down the trail in time with my thudding feet, 'Bouncer, come back.' The truck turned onto the road. The bumper catching her front as it peeled off, tumbling her into the ditch.

'Bouncer,' I ran up, panting. The deck of the coffee shop full of spectators waiting as I carried her back, her front leg limp where it had connected with the truck. I hoped it wasn't broken.