I was 14 years old and in love with Peach Harper, a divinely beautiful blonde with blue eyes and golden skin. I obsessed over how to express my undying love for her and managed to convince her to come to a tiny log cabin I had built. (This is all true.)
I had lied to get her out there, telling her that I secretly wanted to be her, a painfully stupid ruse. I wanted to kiss her, and that was it. And maybe touch her golden skin and float off into Nirvana, if possible. Anyway, she was actually the one who asked me if I wanted to kiss her. I closed my eyes and leaned into her and kissed her…somewhere on the chin.
My mother chose that moment to arrive in her green tattered bathrobe and escort Peach away. I blubbered and gestured stupidly, realizing the glittering moment had passed. I had completely panicked and missed those velvety lips.
Everything went downhill from there. Peach met another boy who she brought to my party and went off into the woods to make out. I offered my hand to her when she came back and pushed her down the hill. I was furious at her betrayal – even if the truth was that she had wanted to kiss me and I had fucked all of that up.
I invested everything in Peach, had written letter after letter over an entire year and even bought her a Hotel California T-shirt on her birthday. And when the moment came, I was an abject failure. I cannot let that die. This might explain my habit to hide in my words and obfuscate my life. I am afraid to expose myself for the loser that I am. Oh, Peach, where are you now?
Okay, I must admit that my Toronto Maple Leafs obsession might have gotten the best of me as of late. Game Four was not a game but a maniacal phantasmagoria in double time that extended for an eternity and then vanished in a haze. Phanuef’s missed hit, the shot under Reimer’s arm, the shot off the post, just wide, the 5-3 power play, the Kadri high stick, the giveaways – oh the giveaways!…it all went around in a rotor until I started to descend into an abyss. What could they have done for a better result? How do they make the puck bounce to the right and not the left? Damn Bruins. Damn undeserving, plodding, bumbling Bruins! I sat mute, inert, unable to think. Nothing.
I couldn’t write the next day. I couldn’t focus on anything and so took my axe and straightened out my pile of wood, split log after log – take that Krejci and Chara! – restructured every piece of the 2,000 into an indomitable wall.Ready for Game Five.
I wrecked my knee while coaching indoor soccer in 1998. (I believe I uttered an expletive or two at that moment.) I had surgery to repair my torn ACL and then did rehab for some weeks to follow. “Use the elliptical,” my physical therapist instructed. “That’s the best thing to do.” I have taken his advice to the extreme. Since then, I have been on that crazy looking machine about 1600 times (an hour or so each time) at eleven different gyms until I finally moved into a building with its own machine. I’ve been on this machine almost every day for the past nine months, averaging 1200 calories per session and getting my resting heart rate down to 49. It’s hard at first, especially in the morning, because my body doesn’t want to start; it knows what’s next. The first few minutes is a warm-up, getting the blood and lungs to work, and then it’s time to establish a more intensive rate, time to turn off the TV – no moreNY1 – and get into the music. (Nothing Is perhaps?) Minute 12 is the first real sign post. “How far am I off my pace? How much do I have to make up?” It is a matter of settling in and focusing on what’s ahead. Thoughts finally begin to move: an email to be written, a facebook message returned, a cheque cashed, schedules checked. And then the real ideas start to come, maybe halfway through: a scene that doesn’t work, stilted dialogue, a character developed, a new direction. Each and everything – the emails and scenes, all of them – must be reviewed, numbered in my head, so that they aren’t lost with all the sweat. The last ten minutes is for recounting the ideas one by one, reviewing the list time and again, and working toward the final numbers: calories burned and ideas logged. Today it was 1208 and 5, the last one of these for this blog.