I was somewhat buzzed by the time she called me,
outside on the upper patio at Inn At The Forks
(for a Christmas party that was thrown a month too late.)
When she talked to me, I listened as hard as I could. The wind blew the flames on the narrow outdoor fireplace in a hundred different directions, and the fur from the hood of my coat kept sticking to my lipgloss.
She told me to call her.
If I had any questions about him, she told me to call her.
Earlier that day, when I was procrastinating homework and taking a lavishly long time to prepare for my boyfriend’s company Christmas party (he works for a hotel, more specifically, the beer vendor attached to the hotel–they’re the rowdiest table in the joint by far, so it’s really quite fantastic,) I received a notification on my phone that someone had commented on my online work portfolio.
Though I scrambled to my computer in my bra and tights, half-painted (and partially sculpted) for the evening ahead of me, with high-hopes that a prospective employer was telling me how much they liked my writing, I was instead met with a cryptic message.
I couldn’t breathe when I read it.
He had found me.
I shut the computer and called his last victim.
We set off fireworks in a Tuxedo tennis court a little after midnight on New Year’s Eve.
We took photographs with my yellow camera and sprawled out on the pool table. I fell asleep early with my friend Cailey, but remembered to take off all my makeup beforehand with a dirty, wet face-wipe.
The next morning, John cooked for the mass of hungover New Year’s soldiers.
He’d taken toast and thick-cut strips of bacon and lined individual pots of a glistening muffin tin. Then he cracked an egg in the middle and baked them in the oven.
I drank my weight in pulpy orange juice,
and vomited before noon.
I released my book, Damsel, on March 10th at McNally Robinson Booksellers.
They hung posters with my face around the store. When people went to buy their books at the cash desk, I’d pop up on the screen behind the counter.
By the time I was called up to read to the crowd, I couldn’t feel my fingertips. Not performing for a few years will shrink you in front of an audience.
I remembered singing at the MTS Centre during a hockey game for Folklorama. I remembered how by the last few verses of the National Anthem, I couldn’t even hear myself; all of Winnipeg had joined in with me. The Folklorama llama stood behind me, dancing a little on the ice.
After leaving the arena, I exited through a cement stairwell.
I heard echoed shuffling behind me, like someone was dragging a giant, furry body across the floor.
The llama was struggling for breath and got his neck-hole really close to my face. His voice was deep and raspy. I barely flinched.
“You’re a really good singer.”
My final class of Creative Communications was on Thursday.
It was broadcast journalism, and I had a breakdown because footage on the gopher story my partner and I were working on had somewhat self-destructed.
After stomping and screaming down a cement stairwell like a spoiled brat in the thralls of a grocery store-like tantrum, I smoked an angry cigarette outside Red River College with Tyler and Marc.
“Everything’s just trying to butt-fuck me! Bend me over and just…”
I stuck the cigarette in my mouth and made the appropriate hand gestures.
Tyler and Marc nodded, silent. Over the last 2 years, these people–my friends–in CreComm have recognized that letting me rant is a lot safer than chiming in to calm me down.
Marc and Tyler finished their cigarettes before me.
“Why can’t I catch a break?”
We group hug.
I remembered what Taz the Bug Guy told me during his interview for my gopher story.
He said that if you cut the head off a cockroach, they don’t die because they’ve simply been brutally decapitated.
“They can survive for days without a head–that’s not what kills them.
They just end up getting dehydrated.”
So I’ve decided that I want to be a cockroach.
To be the annoying, scattered, creepy-crawly pest,
infesting homes and thoughts alike,
to be vivacious, quick, and illusive,
curiously disgusting, while somewhat charming,
to have my head cut off
without any consequences.
After a 4 month hiatus because of school, writing, breakdowns, dog-spray, hysterics, and general madness, HelloRousseau will be returning to regular postings.
Keep your eyes peeled for some killer cosmetic coverage,
new body positive interviews,
strange and beautiful stories,
local features + photography,
and a big ol’ dose of making people feel pretty (and some other neat stuff.)