S T R E A M # 2 0
When you said, “Canada,” I immediately thought of the river. That garden where you left me. And then I thought of Tom Patterson Island. I thought of the time we stood on the bridge that stretched between Tom Patterson Island and the rest of Stratford, Ontario. We watched the swans and the couples in their paddle boats. We talked about the awful production of Romeo & Juliet we’d just seen. It was the second production of Romeo & Juliet I had seen at the festival inside of ten years, and both were simply dreadful. But they did know how to pull off Chekhov. Their mounting of Uncle Vanya was superb in every way imaginable. The performers truly brought out the play’s dark humor. It was cathartic. Also, their production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona: cathartic, first rate. You cried. I held you. It was wonderful. On that bridge, we kissed. That was where we first kissed. And then you said you were late for work at the Tango Cafe. Do you remember that lavish room upstairs at the Mercer Hall Inn? We snuck into it while you were on a “cigarette break.” Do you remember that? How I had to cup my hand around your mouth for fear of being discovered? And then we were discovered—by that stodgy old fart who was renting it out. And, summarily, you were fired. How could you forget that? But then, you say that, now, you can barely recall my face. You can barely recall the color of my hair. No, that’s right, it’s somewhere between red and brown. And then, depending on the sun, almost orange. That’s right, somehow, naturally orange. You said you’d never made love to a redhead – or, for that matter, to an orangehead. Don’t you remember? You don’t? After you were fired I invited you to join me in Niagara-On-The-Lake. I had reserved a suite at the Prince of Wales Hotel. I had dreams of kissing you in that gazebo on the shores of Lake Ontario at dusk. Whilst vacationing with my mum there years ago, I had surreptitiously watched so many young lovers do the same. But you vanished. You were so ashamed of being caught upstairs at the Mercer Hall Inn. Yes, I remember. You needed that job to pay your college tuition. We had caused something of a scandal. And, if you’ll recall, I offered to pay your college tuition. It was the least I could do. But you ran away. Don’t you remember any of this? No? None of the passion we shared? Wasn’t it passion? Or was it merely lust? Perhaps that’s what I’ve forgotten. The passage of time blurs the meaning of what it was. And perhaps that’s why you don’t remember. Because, perhaps, for you, lust was all it was. And, if anything, lust is cursory. Ephemeral. Transient. But I remember passion. I don’t know why that is. Maybe passion sticks better. That, and I so desperately wanted it to be clean. To be, in a way, Holy. Bottom reached.
12 June 2008