September 16th/17th, 2005

September 16th:

Today I saw two things that were of extreme interest to me. One was hilarious, the other heartbreaking:

First of all, this morning there was a well-dressed man at the bus stop with a furtive air about him. He glanced around casually, reached beneath a shrub on a stone wall, and pulled out two oranges, which he then stuffed into his pockets and took away with him. Why did he leave them there? And why come back for them at all? Hmmmm....

On the way back from school this afternoon the bus pulled up next to a telephone pole, to which was pasted a handwritten, photocopied letter. It read something like this:

Dear son,

It has been almost a year that you've been gone. I wonder where you are and how you are doing? I wonder if I would recognize you if you walked by me on the street? We are worried about you, please come home. We are moving and our new phone number is ....
Remember, we are your family and we love you. We can work together and be happy. Please come back to us.

The same sign was posted on every pole for blocks up and down Ossington. Who is this family? What happened to their son? How old is he? What does he look like? I had an almost uncontrollable urge to phone the number written on the paper and ask them these things.

Sept. 17.

Jeff and I headed down to Ricoh Coliseum this afternoon to watch the Maple Leafs play their "Blue and White" game. For those of you who don't know, it's like a preseason warmup, and a chance for people to get to know the newest players and watch their team play for fun. It was a great experience. The Coliseum was packed, about 9000 people. There were children everywhere, everyone was wearing jerseys, and the excitement was tangible--FINALLY, after a huge draught, the NHL is back! Finally, a chance to drink beer and yell and smell the ice! I have never heard such a roar in my life as I heard during the last verses of "Oh Canada," sung by a tiny little girl with a larger-than-life voice who stretched those last notes out to beat the noise of the crowd like a true professional. A close second was the reception when Belfour and Sundin skated onto the ice, and then Lindros! What a great sight.

I was so excited about the game that I went and found myself tickets to the preseason game against the Ottawa Senators tomorrow night at 7.30--this time in the Air Canada Center. I figured that in a few weeks or months I would be too busy to go and enjoy a game, might as well get it over with now.
These past few days I've been needing to keep busy. Not having Emily here, having Jeff gone during the week, and having all of my "school friends" in the 'burbs has made me feel more than a little isolated, to the point where, when Chris told me tonight that he had been invited out by my NH friends, I cried because I missed them so much. It's not that we go out and do crazy things, earthshattering things, it's just that we're together and laughing.
Yesterday afternoon I had an interesting conversation with my friend Stephanie--sitting in the Wayne Gretzky pub on Blue Jays Way. A lot of us (girls in school) have had stressful summers, and we all seem to be dealing with it in the same way--crying a lot over stupid things that shouldn't bother us, needing company and above all, needing to talk about our lives, what's bothering us, why we hurt or feel scared or are just strung out, stretched out, and need to rest. I know others in my life who have been feeling the same way. The amazing thing is, all of us have had the feeling that there is some taboo against talking about these things, against telling people that we cry on a daily basis, against saying the words "I'm scared," "I'm angry," "I'm sad," "I'm hurt." I want to know where that comes from. I want to know why, even with supportive families and friends, society has somehow managed to instill in us the idea that having these feelings is a shameful thing. I talked to a counsellor this summer, he told me that I didn't even have to have a REASON to be sad, or hurt, or angry, that saying "I feel this way and that is okay" would be enough to help me work through it. That advice was the best I got all summer--better than the "you'll be fine"s, better than the "you have lots of support"s. All I needed was for someone to tell me that the way I was feeling was acceptable. I talked to a dear friend who is having an extraordinarily hard year last night, and she was in tears, saying that she is angry, frustrated, sad, exhausted, hurt....and feels like nobody would understand if she told them those things. Again, I wondered--her family is wonderful, more than supportive, she is in a loving relationship, has good friends--where did she get the idea that these feelings aren't okay? I don't know what the answer is. I do want to remind everyone who reads this: at some point in your life you will be faced with a friend, family member, partner, or even acquaintance who will be going through some hurt, some stress, some uncertainty. The best thing you can do for them is to convey that the emotion itself is acceptable and does not necessarily need to be justified. If anyone knows the answers to the questions I've posed above, I'd love to hear them.


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