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  • Writer's pictureWellington Lambert

South of Moosonee 13


-20F/-38F

After a huge snowfall, trucks with the big fans trim the snowbanks in the square. It is like a huge snow blower that shoots the snow into the center of the park. I climb the fresh cut face cliffs of the snowbanks and go into the center. I lay down and look up. At night with the green sheets of light in the sky, the blue glow of the snow, the way the snow lands after it is blow in off the street by the trimming trucks. It feels like a place I could live, maybe this is what my real home looks like. I see the movie in my head, someone comes to me, takes me home, I find my people.

*

I was looking at the photo album that came with my brother. His foster families, his mother. He is so tiny and fragile, his face is stained orange around his mouth from drinking orange crush.

*

The Kap Inn is a huge old building. Like something you would see in a book about Europe, one of those black and white photos, a castle on a mountain. One time, Queen Elizabeth came and stayed there. The room she stayed in is sealed off, like it now contains special powers, royal powers. Like if you disturb it, all the magic will evaporate.

I would wander the halls and back stairways with a kid from school I briefly knew, his father owned the place. It was exciting to run through such a massive place, all its hidden rooms and hallways. I’m not sure why I’m so interested in empty places. It makes me calm. When people are there, they fill every inch of a room with noise, even if they don’t make a sound.

I think his father was in construction, built houses, stuff. Later I heard that someone was pissed off at him, went to a construction place he was working at and shot him. Not sure if that was him or not, or if that happened.

*


I have to stop the thing with my teeth, it takes forever. When I make a mistake counting wrong or moving my tongue in the wrong direction, I have to do it all over again.

*

I’m going to North Bay next week to audition for the Youth Singers of Ontario. I said I would sing in the musical and Mrs. Peck signed my form.

*

We got our Christmas tree today. We just bought it.

We used to hunt for a Christmas tree. Our family would get into the car with the toboggan and drive out to the forest, which is…everywhere. My Dad would stop when he saw a trail leading into the bush. We would all follow him pulling the toboggan and carrying an axe. At first it was fun but then it became too cold and hard to walk. Eventually it was more about how easy the tree would be to cut rather than how it looked. We would put our tree onto the toboggan and my dad would tie it to the top of the car. It looked full when it was outside and starving when we brought it inside. We would set it up and my mom would attach string to the tree and then to the latches on the windowsill. She did this to try and straighten the tree and so the cats didn’t knock it down when they climbed it.

*

My Parents don’t seem happy.

*

My sisters were in the paper years ago. The norther times. My girl Wednesday. The photographer put my oldest sister near a tree. She was in a dress my mother made for her. She looked Indian. Maybe it’s because my father is part Passamaquoddy.

*

I’m studying for my exams, my father opens my door and says to me that if I don’t know it by now, I’ll never know it. That’s just weird, does he want me to stop studying, just give up? Sometimes the things he does don’t make sense.

*

I want to leave so badly.

*

I got back from North Bay, I think it went well.

I just went into a room at the college there and sang two songs. I sang two songs from my list A and list B grade 9 conservatory test. I remember that test, I remember learning songs in German. I would get someone who speaks German to say the lines into a tape recorder. Then I would memorize them and then learn the melody. Inside my brain, all I see are sounds that I have memorized to the melody, not words, or meaning. It’s weird that language is just a bunch of agreed upon sounds.

I stayed with my sister in North Bay, she took her second year of college there. I stayed with her while I did my audition. She told me that the father of the family she stayed with told her the other girl that boards there gets up at night when she hears him go to the washroom. She waits outside the bathroom door. When he opens the door, he freaks out because he is always nude. I picture this girl, faded worn out pink housecoat, fluffy slippers…waiting.

Then I wondered why he told this to my sister.

*

Back at school.

Did a hundred laps at the pool last night. It feels like my arm pits are torn. It’s a weird feeling when you do something and right away feel soreness in the muscle you were using. Someone told me that means the muscles are repairing, rebuilding. After swimming I went out to my car. The night was clear, my hair a bit wet. By the time it took me to get to my car and open the door, my hair was frozen. I got into the car, started it and lit a cigarette. I stared at the whiteness of my breath and the smoke from the cigarette that filled the car with twists and turns of visible air. I turned on the radio and listened to Video Killed the Radio Star. I see myself singing that song into an old forties microphone.

*

I wish I could stop my teeth ritual. It’s making me so tired. I can hear a voice in my head telling me to not do it. Like it’s trying to make me kill my family. Like it knows that if I don’t do it, I will turn into a werewolf and kill everyone. I know this is stupid, but the relief I get from doing the ritual is greater than my belief that it won’t happen.

*

The choir performed “Where is the mayor?” for the school. My part was so tiny I didn’t go. While we were forced to watch the performance the vice principle came up to me and called me chicken shit for not being in the play. Mrs. Peck probably told him what an asshole I was. He was talking to her just before he said it to me. I think he felt he was scoring some points with her by saying that to me. Who knows what crap goes on with the adults in this school? It’s weird that the vice principal came up to me and said that, I don’t really know him. He was saying it like an insult. I’m always on guard for the next insult, the next attack. I wish I had thick skin...

I feel shitty for being a shit, but not shitty enough to be in that piece of shit.

*

There is this thing inside of me I can’t reach. Something in my head tells me to leave it alone. But if I do, I’m only half finished, less then half.

*

Got my Harmony three music results back. My sister looked at it through the envelop and told me I got 69 but I knew it was 96 because I was already told it was first class honours. My theory teacher told me she would eat her hat if I passed. I went to her the week before the exam when I realized I would probably fail. I wish all my teachers were like her. She treats you like a real person and listens. I think teaching must be a talent few teachers have.

*

Julies' parents hate me, they say things about me in front of me in French, so I won’t understand what they are saying. There’s something sad about them, I don’t know what it is. They hated it when Julie bought me something for my birthday. I kind of understand that though, she works hard for her money.

*

I got into the Youth singers of Ontario, they sent me the song list.

*

This man sat in his car and accidently shot himself in the back. He had a loaded hunting rifle in the back seat, it went off when he sat down behind the steering wheel. They sent him south to a hospital where he died. I remember his son, his house, and his basement. There were stuffed animals everywhere, animals he killed. They were all made to look vicious, ready to attack, when they were probably just running away, trying to save themselves. The last animal he shot was himself.

*

I’m nervous about the choir thing. I’m not afraid of going south and being alone. I’m afraid of being stuck with a group of people I don’t know. It feels like groups of people are like big clumps of stupid. I never know how to make myself fit in. I just end up circling, like a social vulture.

*

When I was about ten, I would cry every time I couldn’t find my mother. I always thought she was dead. There was a blindness to my panic, a dark endless void. My Dad thought the problem was my mom being too close to me, he wanted her to be more distant, but who would I have left? When you try to make someone tough, they become anxious, with a pretend toughness on the outside. That explains a lot of people.

*

Crystal wants to do some music, but I’m not into it. My main worry right now is getting some hash oil, but I don’t have Mark to get my pot from. I should have really expanded my drug dealer portfolio.

*

I want to take some more pictures. I found some cool clothing in this second-hand store near the circle. The circle is downtown. They built a real ugly statue in the centre. The road circles around the statue and the stores are on the outside. People used to hang out there in the summer but now they hang out at the mall. It’s called The Model City mall of the north. I can think of a couple of things wrong with that sentence.

*

My teeth ritual took me two hours last night. I keep screwing it up and have to do it over again.

*

I’m still nervous about the choir thing but I have to go, I need to get out of here.

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