Woke up this morning at six feeling like an uncoiled and stretched out spring. I turned off the alarm radio and lay in bed dispassionately considering my bent out of shape ambitions. I had to get up and write. And answer some questions, like: so why all this phony-baloney about me being Sheila Heti, Richard Linklater and the whole host of known and unknown personalities that I’ve claimed to be on this blog over the past four months? Well today, the truth. I did it because I can. I did it because I (almost always) like to keep my mind busy in the morning. I did it because I’m not only a filmmaker but also a writer and the web was basically begging for this kind of narrative experiment. In tandem with these stories, I’ve been drawing out a maze that connects the paths of all the plots. In a future film I hope to make use of this maze as a backdrop in a kind of poetic theme park. Imagine a family fun center infused with more Walt Whitman than Disney.

   There are some reasons for you to chew on.

   And now today’s feature presentation…

 

Midwives and Goldfish

 

   Ten days past her due date, Anna’s water broke while she was feeding frozen shrimp to Oscar their plate-sized goldfish. She slumped onto the couch and called the midwife who didn’t answer and then Patrick. “How many seconds apart?” he asked but she dropped the phone onto the couch and shouted for him to get the midwife and get home. The neighbor downstairs banged on the floor and yelled some Quebecois profanity about something in the church. 

      Anna breathed in deep like she was 15 and smoking a joint for the first time (Gary’s observation made in the presence of the Francophone midwife who didn’t smile) and then puffed her cheeks out; Oscar stared back in boredom. This went on too long until finally the door opened. Patrick and the midwife. “Call Vancouver,” she instructed. Patrick looked at his watch: they were seven hours away from his father’s 72nd birthday. Or would that be ten? But his father had been born in Montreal so wouldn’t that be the official one? The phone rang once. 

     “Is it a boy or a girl?” came the hello and Patrick filled them in on all the up to the second details as he followed Anna and the midwife to the bedroom. 

     Five hours later, Patrick called back with the good news. “On your birthday,” he announced. “It’s not my birthday yet.” “It is here and you were born here and you’ve always said your heart is in Montreal,” volleyed out his well-thought out argument. “My heart would be frozen if it were in Montreal. That’s sentimental rubbish. We’re happy for you but he has not been born on my birthday.” 

    This disagreement descended into a fight which was briefly louder than the baby’s cries of life. The phone was hung up at one end of the country.

   Minutes later, Anna called back and talked with her mother-in-law who cooed over the phone for her new grand-daughter, Manon.  

  The midwife wasn’t surprised.

Advertisements