Let me introduce myself. I’m someone you might have met one day, at a café on Locke Street or James Street North or South, who quite possibly bumped into you with a steaming hot coffee, spilling it all over your sweater sleeve because I had my head down in a book. I might have been at that part in The Dinner(you know, by Herman Koch) when he’s about to lose it in the bicycle shop because the owner called his eight-year-old son a punk. I had to know, steaming coffee or not, if he could manage his rage or if this scene held the key to the story. I had to know and so I walked right into you, scalding your wrist and mine too (so sorry).
Or maybe I said hello to you at the farmer’s market, squeezing December’s clementines side by side on a Saturday morning. You might have been the one who was telling me that you’d found the perfect stocking stuffer for your wife, who was at the gym right then doing Pilates (good for her). She worked with x-rays at St. Joe’s, or with radiation equipment, and you’d got her a pair of kid leather gloves, caramel brown to match her coat, so she’d be warm when she had to work the night shift. I smiled and nodded, but you lost me at St. Joe’s. The image of a hospital, of doctors and nurses in scrubs, and of blood filled my mind. It took me back to the evening some weeks earlier, to my first fire this winter when my brother came over for a whisky sour or three and we listened to Lawrence Hill’s Massey Lectures on the CBC. Blood: The Stuff of Life. Blood red oranges. Clementines.
But maybe we’ve just seen each other in passing. Out on the trails, at a movie, in the new Hamilton Store. If I think about that too long, it seems a pity because I’d really like to meet you. I’d like to sit down and talk to you and ask you about last year. I’d like to listen to your resolutions for this coming year. What will you do in 2014, now that you know better? Eat less, drink less, exercise more? No, tell me your real resolutions and I’ll tell you mine. Here’s a hint, but no more than that for now: it involves Joseph Boyden, fresh air, and a birch tree.
Happy New Year and welcome to the Bibliophile blog.