This is an excerpt from a piece that I wrote for my personal narrative class, enjoy.
…A few days later I headed home on a Greyhound bus; I was beginning to learn some life lessons on economy and it just seemed more cost effective. The first leg of the journey was fairly tame. I had Vanna’s ‘The Few and Far Between’ set on repeat and I had bought myself a few tubes of Pringles. Things seemed manageable and delicious. However, after our second stop, things started to get a little strange and I soon learned that, economical or not, people who are normal usually fly and it’s the weirdo’s who take the bus.
I politely refused a gentleman’s offer to enjoy some fine bathroom quality cocaine, a woman’s children kept running up and down the aisle until one took a face plant and wound up crying for an hour and then along came ‘Jeff’. He seemed normal enough when he first sat down beside me and I noticed he was listening to a band that I also enjoyed, so I introduced myself. But not long into our time together, Jeff revealed to me that he wasn’t allowed back into the states due to some rather severe criminal activity he couldn’t discuss. Strangely, once he shared this information, he got really comfortable, because after that the weird floodgates spilled open. After telling me all kinds of things about his past, he suddenly turned to me wide-eyed.
“Wanna see my first tattoo?” he asked, already untucking his shirt.
“Uh.. I guess so…” I replied trying to remain friendly. “What is it?” I was almost afraid to ask.
“I love Dr. Seuss” he gushed while lifting his shirt and exposing an ungodly amount of belly button hair below a massive Dr. Seuss inspired chest piece. Words can’t really do it justice, but I will try. Picture a car, or no, maybe a train, from Whoville. Now picture it drawn by a 5-year-old and then peppered throughout with lots of curly reddish brown hair and punctuated with two nipples. My god.
After that, I diligently focused my attention on listening to music and pretending to be asleep. A few rest stops, one too many vending machine failures and many hours passed and I finally found myself pulling into the station labeled Vancouver at around 3 am. Jeff had left me to my lonesome about three stops back and not many other people remained on the bus. Instead, I now found myself surrounded by the dim lights of an empty bus station and the snake-like hiss of the hydraulic brakes. I quickly scuttled off the bus and snagged my bag . . . and there was my mom, standing in the glow of the stations neon white lights.
I slowly moved forward seeing my mom for the first time since my departure at the airport. I wasn’t really sure what to expect as placed down my bags.
“Hey mama bear,” I lowered my head and ventured a tired smile.
She’s a tiny lady, but somehow, she scooped me into a massive hug and we both cried; her into my shoulder and me onto the top of her head.
Sometimes people ask if you’ve ever had a ‘perfect moment’, and for me, that hug, after all those trials, was a reflection of unending love and grace. Few things have ever hit me so hard and I’ll tell ya – oddly enough, seeing your mom fight tears can be one of best things, especially when you know you’re the cause.
Another excerpt from a piece I did during my time at Douglas College.
…Another poignant memory, that oddly enough warms me now a little, took place one very rainy morning in that basement suite. My mom went in to work long before we had to get up for school, but she always came in to say good-bye and sang me a lullaby before she left. I don’t recall what happened or why she forgot one time, but I remember peering over my covers through the cold morning air, waiting for my goodbye. I listened in the dark as she prepared to leave and then I suddenly heard the front door shut – no lullaby. I ran from my room in nothing but a sleep shirt and my tighty whities. I pushed past our startled sitter through the front door and ran down the driveway, crying in the pouring rain beside her car. Instantly, Mom killed the engine. She ran over, scooped my now sopping wet little body into her arms and carried me inside, tucking me back in with my lullaby. She tells she feels sad when she thinks about that morning, but for me, it’s a warm and comforting memory, knowing how she didn’t hesitate to come to me and make sure I was alright.
Then out of that pit of darkness one day, Sam stumbled into our lives. Sam was a young 20 something kid, working at the same Scotiabank my mom worked at as a customer service rep. He and my mom were friends, so when she took me into the bank one time on her day off, Sam offered to hang out with me for awhile. We went to EB games at Lougheed Mall and played the sample consoles. At that point, he was just a friend who decided to help out a co-worker, by spending time with her young distraught son, but I was always looking for a male figurehead and I remember lying in bed when my mom came in to say goodnight and asking her if she and Sam would ever get married. Sam was significantly younger than my mom, so she just looked at me with a tender, but amused smile and laughed. I guess it didn’t really seem like much of a possibility back then, but jump forward to today and Sam is my step dad; a man that I respect more than anybody and an amazing husband. So, who’s laughing now mom?
After a few years in Burnaby, we ended up moving again. My mom was sick of sleeping on a couch in someone else’s basement and she was determined to move us into a place we could call home, even if it killed her. In the summer of grade four when I headed out to Saskatoon to visit my dad, I knew that when I went back home, I’d be met with another new living space and bedroom to adjust to. When I saw our new place, I remember wondering how long it would be before we’d all be uprooted once again.
Fourteen years later, I sit here now writing this story, finally reflecting on my time in this house. In grade five, I met Derek, my current best friend and the guitarist in my band. He’s the brother I never had. In grade six, Sam became a permanent member of our family filling a hole that I thought could never be filled. In grade eight, I gave my first kiss on the cheek. Grade ten saw me warring my way through math with Sam by my side for every test and every assignment. In grade twelve, I had my first drunken failure, which resulted in a kiss on my forehead from a mom who said she’d always love me and in the years that followed I just lived, but the most important thing about all of it, is that I did it from a place I can call home.