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list three: tirekicker

1. In this house, it does not feel wrong to play jazz from about two in the afternoon on. It doesn’t even feel wrong to play it through my computer speakers instead of using a full-rigged vinyl setup. This house has history and is not fazed by anything. It’s a survivor. The paint on the baseboards and trim is thick with age and necessity (and probably lead paint) and the echoes of a dozen people in the past hundred years who said don’t worry about it; put another coat of paint on. Maybe more than a dozen. All I know is that here, Myron comes home happier than he has in years, and that sometimes there is frenetic percussion and sometimes a neverending clear note from a trumpet playing when he walks through the door, and for the first time in more than nine months, we have had dinner together for a full week.

2. List-within-a-list of things I should tell you about at some point before I forget them completely: spending time with Aurore and NoShrinkingVi in Toronto, the little apartment where I spent the time in between houses, the people I met on the train, the way it feels to black out from coughing, the books I’ve been reading, the way Myron looked in the lobby of the train station that made me think of that bit from “Love Among the Ruins”—

   When I do come, she will speak not, she will stand,

       Either hand

   On my shoulder, give her eyes the first embrace

       Of my face,

   Ere we rush, ere we extinguish sight and speech

       Each on each.

We did, in front of a tiny elderly gentleman from India that I met on the train who was heading north to see the aurora.

3. It sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?

    3a. Except for that coughing bit. The plague came and stayed with me for almost two weeks, and tales of illness are boring, but my god. And so cold! The temperatures have come up in the past week, but the memory of those days of -22C is not leaving me anytime soon. Winnipeg, you sure know how to welcome a girl.

    3b. Then there’s the carpeting on the second floor that needs to be pulled up and replaced—a beige berber with strands of orange and brown, matted and lumpy and with just enough eau de chien to necessitate replacement. (In Myron’s defense, his nose couldn’t detect the dog smell when he visited the house before buying it, and my nose is much more sensitive than his.) Doesn’t make much sense to fill bookshelves and dressers and closets when you’re just going to have to move it all later, right? We’re craving permanence but must obey the order of operations. So these days, we live out of suitcases and count down the days until mid-March when the lovely replacement carpet will go in. Then we will fix up something else. But first, I want to find the box with all my candles. And my Felix Palma books. And that little jar of yellow curry paste I tucked away somewhere.

    3c. And oh. There’s that part where after all this time on my own, and after all his time living back with his parents, Myron and I had to get used to living with each other again. Kendra warned me it would be like this, and I didn’t doubt her, but the extent of it surprised me at times. It shouldn’t have! It was a long time apart. And the rough times weren’t a death knell for the marriage. But they were less than dreamy, and we are thankfully more in sync these days. We feel like us again.

     3d. The combined effect of these has predictable results on my internet use. Antisocial results. This is going to change.

4. I have not spent much time out in the city, which saddens me. (See 3a, 3b, 3c.) My camera has been largely unused. But there is time for all of this later, and right now is time for nesting. The results are going to be worth it eventually, or so I remind myself. The devil on my shoulder drums its fingers and says whenwhenwhenwhen. Maybe when I unpack my crystal ball, I can answer.

5. It is Scintilla season. A new round of prompts, a new and gorgeous website polished to within an inch of its life by Onyi (I mean, seriously, look at those colors), new people to meet, new stories to tell. Onyi, Dominique, and I have been putting plans in place off and on since late fall, debating what worked and what we could improve. Once again, we are brimming with optimism and anticipation. On March 13, the first prompts will go out.

Around Scintilla time last year was when my life started to wobble like a Jenga game that was ready to come to its natural end. I am almost afraid of spring coming, but in collecting and sorting the prompts this year, I found myself ready to tell stories anyway, and ready to read the stories you want to tell me. I am telling myself, and my shoulder-devil and you and anyone else who may be listening, that I do not have time to be afraid of anniversaries of bad things. I have time for good. I have time for you and your stories. I hope you’ll write them with us this year.

For a while now I’ve been wanting to do a year’s worth of lists a la hula seventy. Let’s see how long I can keep this up.