For a summer I lived in his large apartment with corner windows that looked onto trees. I drank black coffee and ate green apples. I got a job in a restaurant on Queen St making desserts, but I only did it for a few hours a week. Enough to buy coffee and apples. In the middle of the night my ex-boyfriend would call to tell me he was masturbating. I think I hung up. I hope I hung up.
I didn't know how to get my life back on track again. Was it ever on track? Up until then, I'd stayed in school beause it was easiest.
I spent long hours reading the books on the professor's shelves. Reading was good but it wasn't helping. I longed for music. There was no stereo in the apartment and I didn't have the money to buy one. I had remembered to take my vinyl records and cassette tapes when I left the ex-boyfriend, because when I'd left a previous ex, who'd said I could return for my belongings, he changed his mind and wouldn't let me in the door. I later saw the things he wouldn't let me have at a friend's place. When I pointed out that a recipe book on her kitchen counter was mine, she said, Oh, we're having sex, I hope you don't mind. I didn't mind about the sex. I did mind about my recipe books and cake tins.
I'm older now. I don't know how much I've changed. I don't know that people change essentially, but I believe we can aquire new habits and ways of thinking. An example: I no longer listen to the music that I yearned so deeply to hear in those years. What would it be called? Experimental jazz? Jan Garbarek, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny, Palle Danielsson. When I hear it now, it jangles my nerves.
But that discordance was exactly what I craved when other people were listening to Prince and Linda Ronstadt and AC/DC.
So how did this happen? My father, who never drove to Toronto, showed up at the professor's apartment with a brand-new stereo and turntable. Gifts for no reason was not something that happened in my family. I don't know how he knew. I never talked to him on the phone. It's possible I told my mother that I had no way of listening to music. Or maybe my sister told him. She was more attuned to the possibility that I was depressed than I was.
For the rest of the summer, between books and making desserts on Queen St, I lay on the sofa, looking out the windows at the trees, listening very hard to how Garbarek sound-wove the shrieks and meandering of his tenor sax into a whole of sorts. It helped me feel I could take the discordance in my own head and move forward.
The photo from above was taken some years later. There are none of me from that earlier time.
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