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  • Writer's pictureWellington Lambert

South of Moosonee 19


-25F/-30F

My brain wants proof that I walked around the park. I did my teeth thing, screwed it up, but when I tried to go to sleep my brain keep saying it needed proof that I walked around the park and not through it. I struck a deal. I will pick up a rock near the sidewalk when I walk around the park. I will hold it while I do my teeth thing, this will prove I walked around the park and not through it.

*

The show is tomorrow night. We had our final rehearsal at St. Pats. Most of the songs are ok.

This is the time when an idea that was exciting from far away becomes scary up close.

*

When I started singing lessons, my singing teacher put Doug, a student from my grade eight class, and I in the duet competition at the festival. We sang a song called Evening Prayer. It had something to do with 14 angels surrounding you while you sleep. It’s kind of creepy.

Doug told me he once tasted a Big Mac, and it was heavenly. That word “heavenly” seemed too old for his mouth.

Doug and I sort of became friends. We were both on the Nancy Green ski team.

In high school Doug went from “heavenly” to being part of the volleyball cult. A lot of attention was given to the volleyball team in high school. They won some shit somewhere and now their shit doesn’t stink.

*

The show at St. Pats went well.

There were a lot of people there.

All that work, and it’s over in a couple of hours.

It’s exciting and depressing.

*

The down is hard, I’m not even interested in getting high.

Once your up, you forget that something is going to come and take all the colour out of everything.

Voices seem further away.

It’s all out of touch and pointless.

*

It’s been a few months since the show.

*

I know there is something else I’m supposed to be feeling.

*

The O.P.P. pulled me over on the highway just before Rabbit Hill. Julie was puking out the passenger side window while Mike and Susan smoked up in the back. Julie pulled her head back in the car and looked like Medusa with her hair sticking straight up. The car smelt like a burnt joint.

I was purposely driving slowly. I was not drunk or stoned. I offered to stay sober for this party at Remi Lake. I was leaving for White Head in a few days and wanted a clear head, or as clear as possible.

It felt like forever for the policeman to get out of his car and come over to mine. I have never had a ticket, so I wasn’t sure how this went.

When he finally came over to the car, he said he stopped me for going too slow, he wanted to know if everything was ok. He looked into the car and saw Julie with her head down, with Susan and Mike in the back looking paranoid and terrified. The smell of puke and pot was strong.

He asked me for my registration and insurance. I didn’t have any of it.

He asked me to come to his car.

I wasn’t scared, I didn’t really care. I was perfectly sober and felt responsible. I was caring for my drunk and stoned cargo. I felt like an adult, but I was good at pretending.

He talked to me in his car and seemed to understand I was in control and taking my friends home safely.

He told me to bring my registration and insurance to the OPP station the next day.

Everyone here drinks and drives, it’s like a high school credit.

*

Once again what feels like a great idea from a distance, gets scary up close.

*

Mrs. Quarter.

Mrs. Quarter was huge. Not fat, just big. She wore dresses with flowers on them, her dresses went down almost to her ankle. After the dress and before the ankle you could see thick nylons that squeezed her legs and made her feet look like sausages trying to escape out of her black one inch heeled matronly shoes she always wore.

We had little wooden desks in grade one. Each desk had a heavy wood lid the was hinged at the top. Every month our desks were inspected to make sure we were tidy. My report card always said that I was in the habit of collecting things and keeping them in my desk…rocks, sticks, any curious and found objects.

One day she slipped when someone spilt glue and marbles on the floor. When she fell, she hit our desks and landed flat on the floor. The force pushed all of us in different directions. I was amazed at how much power her body had and wondered how it felt to be in such a large container.

Every day in grade one, we would have a milk break mid-morning. The milk came in glass bottles. One time someone broke a bottle and glass was all over the floor. Mrs. Quarter told us to stay away till it was cleaned up. But I saw something shiny and sharp to add to my desk collection. I slipped on my way to collect it and put my hand down on something shiny and sharp. It almost took the top digit of my index finger on my right hand off. Blood started to fall on the floor as I held my finger together. Mrs. Quarter called the principal Mr. Raven, and he took me to the office. Mr. Raven was huge, in a fat way, and stinky. He wore a black suit that had a black jacket forced wide open by his large stomach. He never seemed to wash his suit and wore it every day. He smelt like leftovers. He rented a room in the house of the principle of DJPS. My mother played bridge with her once and she complained about his smell, I don’t get the not washing thing. He wasn’t that friendly, but he wasn’t mean. He turned on the tap in his office and told me to run the finger under hot water. I did and every time it would pour more blood. It didn’t seem like a good idea.

Eventually my father picked me up and brought me to the hospital. I remember screaming as they put needles into my finger to freeze it. They sewed it together and put a little net over it. The nurse smiled and said that it was so it wouldn’t run away…even my fingers wanted to leave, they must have known something was coming.

A few weeks later I had the bandages taken off. It made me a bit sad because the bandaged finger gave me special attention. The doctor told me to bend my finger, but I couldn’t, it turned out I had cut my nerves and my tendon. The doctor explained to me that the tendon was like an elastic that went to the tip of finger and allowed it to pull and bend. He told me I would have to have an operation to open up the middle of my finger and reach down, pull the tendon back up and sew it to the top of my finger. I was sitting in the doctors’ office with my doctor, who had a large face with a lot of freckles. He loved to smoke and would later go to our school and tell us that smoking wasn’t bad for you. It was like the cigarettes themselves were talking. That wasn’t the reason he was there, but it made me want to smoke.

I was admitted to the childrens’ ward of the hospital. After the operation, my finger was once again wrapped, but I could see the button they had sewed on top through my fingernail. I remember them bathing me in the sink, the one they used for the babies. One of the babies there was completely yellow and cried constantly. The ward was sad and loud.

Later, when they took the bandages off and pulled the stitches out I could bend the second digit but not the first. Eventually it just sort of fused together. It’s useful to me when I need to confirm which way is left or right. I quickly bend my right fingers into a fist and can feel the the tension of my special finger trying to bend..

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