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15 pages of 75

Down the Street

Fifteen pages of 75 Sent in for

Admission to

The Humber School for Writers Correspondence Course

May 2010

I was accepted but dropped the course and am now in a yoga teachers training course at Yoga Space to deepen my practice and learn to sit still while going through a divorce. The first 6 pages of Down the Street is being published in Canadian Voices Volume 11

The rest of this story, I will try to edit soon…

By

Cassandra Cronenberg Hunter

Down the street on the street these lyrics can’t be beat, this is my head don’t destroy it, I gotta place to be to be he said, I gotta place to be he said, bouncing along the street as he often did and always did before and forever. This is the way he walks, this is the way she walks, he/she, he, she, he, she, this is where it is, the never ending flow why does there have to be finality why does there have to be a finality can it not keep going can it not keep going. “This is she”. This is a girl’s life. The life of a girl not the life of this hustler this hustler who is on the street doing coke living to the beat coughing and cursing and hurting this is not his life this is hers this is her life now. Can this be it can this be the life she lives from then to now the street is hers she is a musician you can tell from the way she walks but not the irritating kind of woman who continues to sing all the time weather whether she is walking around or not she has the music in her head but she doesn’t need to always show she is a singer and sing at every occasion but yes when she starts she can’t stop she cannot stop she needs to find a guitar player but not to fall in love just to be able to still be married and to have this guitar this age she is now is this where the story begins or is she younger is she younger is this the way “what do you want?” “What do you want?” he said to me once and she crosses her hands in front of her and back out and juts her chin to him and he says I’ll remember that for next time. A fight she wants to fight. No one had ever asked her that before or understood her actions like that or directed her like that before.“What do you want what do you want, so quickly with his chin out with his British toughness and smoothness he says I’ll remember that for next time he says, she loves him then.

This is where she is now they are together and he is her producer. They have breakfast, they read the paper, is she “high or low”, he gives her the thumbs up, they go on vacation together, they have a routine and they record her and he is behind the glass and has to see him all the time totally dependent on what he thinks of her and he leaves her when she has to be alone. “I have to go” If he didn’t she would never get off the couch as it is she can hardly get off. He knows her cycle where she is at ovulating or not he is controlling and sometimes she rebels.  The Irish in her comes out and she breaks free and runs and runs free. When he runs free he used drugs and porn and prostitution when she runs free she is like a wild horse running free why can’t he be? They do coke together some times but in a very polite fashion and grown up not like the bouncing at the reggae club this bouncing and bouncing doesn’t work for her it’s too speedy. This is another guy tony let’s say it’s Tony and he is the coke and porn and speedy Brit they call him the brief kind of guy who comes into town when her and her producer are living their civilized music life with a bit of rock and roll he comes to visit them Tony and he causes trouble his fast ways are attractive to her scary and uncouth they stir up all of this she is ovulating and she ends up in bed with him one night after a few lines of lovely coke she wants him he reminds her of when they first met her and Jeremy when they first met and he was so beautiful and so strong and such a good driver and so on the edge of life and so raw and untouchable. Tony kind of reminds her of how Jeremy once was way too into the London drug and music scene for her coming from Toronto it was a bit dark and fast and expensive but she liked that that is what she liked. She wanted to be stabbed and put in jail it all seemed so romantic. Like her Yugoslavian lover who could not go home because of the war when she travelled in Czechoslovakia as a teen ager and searching about her Jewish identity and her father who is he? That street life, the motorcycles the coke the music the film this was attractive to her of course.

Sitting at her vanity putting on her make up before the show, eye to eye, the line of mascara over the top eye lid, her silk blue dress half price with her fly London shoes, this was in the middle, to this was when she lived above the Italian restaurant on college street her vanity but not the silk dress, this dress is now and Jeremy comes later when she is in her forties and doing large shows larger concerts. The seventies a girl, the eighties becoming a teenager and stepping out trying to learn guitar, trying but it only happens for her later. Is this it? Her life didn’t lend itself to that of a painter. And always in school that dream of a PhD has to go that dream will go can’t focus on too many just get rid of the 31% turn it into an incomplete and then carry on with this faith with no money and put it into child care this is what will happen. Does she have children now or later as a married artist painter and musician and writer this is what she does this is her will she be a teacher too will she get her MA maybe not it is too hard for her to do this now. Let that dream go and carry on with this one thank you Jeremy for helping me this time, the people who help these are the ones to love and to help these reciprocal relationships.

Now the lip liner just a bit around the bottom and fill it in lightly so it will stay and bit of L’Oreal gloss this is her now in front of the mirror seeing the lines by her eyes. She will be forty in three years. Her room is pale yellow the wood furniture is dark and a bit art deco as is she, the jazz singer. The full lips and dark eyes her silk blue dress her brown leather shoes with wood heels she looks like she came out of the war, to the war and Ester and Miles and the street on Crawford. Pilvishik Lithuania. She was an eccentric dresser and played piano for the National Ballet, he wrote for the Globe and Mail and collected stamps, the collection agency came and took all of their furniture away. Lie down with dogs and you get up with flees and they were an eccentric couple so her neighbours parents say now that she had moved south of Bloor with her husband, down where they would have been beaten up if they had lived there before. This is where it is, this is the place where they live. She is also like them, like her and now also like him, they are in her: Her jazz.

Jeremy said thank you or was that Tony when she dressed up for him when they went to see reggae as she had done many times before at Roots Bamboo in Negril Jamaica and at the Bamboo club in Toronto before it closed down on Queen Street, with her ex who just like him, like Jeremy except not addicted to coke of course,  with blond hair and blue eyes just like her and his friend was her friend and they were the couple and now she is with the dark haired one and he the blue eyed one is the friend, opposites now and similar. The shark who cannot stop moving or else it will die, are all people with blue eyes like sharks I wonder, this is how it is, she is now a writer a musician and painter and likes to figure out the body and seeing into the future and where is it they go these will be her friends other people hurt her and they cannot be talked to anymore, it’s only a friend if they don’t hurt you if they can’t hurt you. It’s fine if it keeps going in.

It is just that the father of her children he was an owl and puffed out on occasion and she couldn’t get to having sex with him again, she could never figure out how. Is that how she met Tony? She ended up in bed with him or was that Jeremy? That was how she ended up in bed with him but she had been with men like him before and was that Tony or Jeremy?

When he poured his rum into her glass she loved him of course she said “well I haven’t been drinking that all night “and poured it back into his glass. Then softly she said alright and he poured it back into her glass and she drank it. She drank rum and cokes for years and years with her first love, the blond with blue eyes and they went to Jamaica together and camped on the beach. She lost her virginity to him but he also tormented her with his female friends. Although it’s quite possible she could be tormented or would be tormented by any one of her lover’s female friends.

She wants to smoke always to smoke always back to the cigarette this will make it bad at the end it really will. She tries not to smoke as she has a drag and watches herself in the vanity mirror must really try it would be nice to on occasion have one or two.

She doesn’t want to depend on others she cannot just bum from anyone she needs her own but only for Saturdays only for now not for later what about her daughters and the love can’t happen with smoke in the mouth and on the clothes it’s not good for them. But she has to be realistic. It is realistic. Just for today not for tomorrow or for when she is getting the kids or any of that it is not good for any of that just keep going only for going out if she goes out she can buy a pack otherwise she shouldn’t do it she shouldn’t smoke at all she can’t sing and smoke anyway it’s too painful. The energy comes out for painting this is what she does with that and anger for painting and then for the exercise it is important to exercise as well this she can do sometimes and not others.

She finishes her cigarette and puts it out in the ash tray by the window. She puts her hair up into a butterfly clip and is ready to go. There is nothing there with her husband anymore but she has dressed up for Jeremy and he says thank you and again she loves him. He helped her cut the ties off her shoulders and still and to make the dress new again and still she went upstairs and comes back down after she has put her make up on and sees the swirling pink design on the back of his t-shirt and she sends it to him and he feels it as she walks down the stairs and they are right there together again. This is how her father and step mom are they are together again whenever they are together alone and travelling but for her and her husband it’s not the same really it doesn’t feel like that to her it never was really like that. They just kept going without really having to be together again they never had that what she has with Jeremy but not a fantasy not just a fantasy but one that works for them one that really works for them into his back and her into him and this is what they felt they felt it together into the backs.

He said she should have done what her friend did coming down in an outfit ready for her show one that she made saying here I am and then tada and he says ok but she asked Jeremy to help her cut the ties off and he helped her look up even though she will never ask him if she looks ok or talk to him about her bowels these things are what he has made clear to her on this trip and that is what they have done although he did help her look up instead of down and her bowels are functioning much better thank you for asking I can happily keep that to myself. We must try but there is support and that works to. She just can’t see how the hair flipping rugby player can also be him can also be him who she walked down the stairs to see who was there.

ON the sofa her heart opened to him, her heart chakra I guess this is her too. It is a great thing. When she is three things will be better. Are they really meant to talk alone when they are alone? Her and the father of her children and going to see a therapist together in November actually on the same day they lost their first baby. Why does she feel so separate from him so, so separate? All the time his mother said to her that we are only just a bit better than their generation as far as the relationships and marriage go they both ended in divorce or stayed and involved cheating.

It was like they were on a date he wanted to speak to me and to go out with me let us go out so we can go out he said let him go out with his friend so that we can go out which we did the next night all of us together I just don’t understand. He speaks to her in ways she has never heard and loves him for this but then he is bouncing and on coke and her heart hurts and she feels the reggae and Israel and that is her heart, that is where her heart is.

Her grandfather in Ottawa died this weekend she is sure of it at 95. What about the cottage, the canoe, Trudeau? They might have to move to England. She loves her neighbours the musicians. She loves them and sees the warmth that the UK doesn’t have, the island the attack “it’s too much for her” he says as she squats down speaking to the Israeli about New York and how he can’t get in. It’s too much for her.

Did he fly over for me even though it was his friends fortieth birthday? Did he hear that divorce was eminent and wanting to keep it all in the family he came to her. Is he a bachelor? Most likely but it would be good to talk to him about his children. Why always putting his hands on her hips to say stay skinny that she must stay skinny this is the producer he has become. She is the female Elvis and of course becomes fat and does too many drugs and O.D.’s and then is a spirit that flies around protecting and watching her daughters grow without her.

This makes her sad to see her own future this vision she wants to read people to read her tarot cards to read, her aunt taught her, her mother taught her the vision, her father had visions, how to make them clear to clean them first to read them to read the situation, furrowing her brow instead of just blacking out, it happens all the time and she can’t figure out why. The bartender at the corner coffee bar says it happens to people. She connects it to her Jewishness then but maybe it is because of her separation or because of this art where she goes to write it’s where she goes in her head when she comes in and out of writing. Her fits. She has her fits her writing fits her imagination fits. Her stomach this is a mystery to be figured out some day but not now.

She is a European Jew she needs to look at Lithuania and Pilvishuk she needs to find this out what happened there her cousin went and the town doesn’t exist anymore it’s just a cemetery. Her grandparents on her dads side where both from there but met over here in Toronto although Miles was from Maryland and she Ester was in Toronto but both lived around the corner from each other this does help it really does. She is also Irish and English this Pagenness she is both of these things and German and French too these things too when you are all of these people it can be confusing and certainly you will not be marrying the boy next door and if you do they may turn out to be a Scottish depressive who kills themselves in their 70’s, half upper class British of course. So high up that not only are they related to Bertrand Russell, the Russell’s, but his mother’s granny’s god mother was Queen Victoria and was named after her because her father was a duke of some sort. How could she know that when she was sitting with her favourite eastern European Jewish immigrant grandma at her piano singing the Grand O’Duke of York with Poopy the cat climbing on the back of the light coloured wooden upright at the age of six that her own daughter would be singing the same song with her granny in England on a similar coloured upright.

Her English grandfather many, many, 7 generations Canadian from England always talked about the history and British history, the battle of Hastings is where her daughter’s granny lives.

Her beloved fathers mother Ester, her son came to fame to Toronto to Canada came to this and built and became who he is and became class as the father of my children said before we were married the nouveau riche and made fun of us as I made fun of his incestuous coming from money dangerous family.

Where does the Jamaican thing come from? Where does this come from the trust fund who first told her about that? Oh her friend the couple the women the one who writes music with the dark hair not the blue eyed film maker – what is this about the ruthlessness of the blue eyes. Well it was fair really although she knew he owned his own flat like her old friend m had money left when his dad died and he was best friends with her first love they lived together in the same house. He lived in his house like Jeremy lived in the father of her children’s house. He was a dealer when she met him and so was he a dealer when she met him, they both, the brown hair brown eyes, played music and they, the blue eyes with blond hair sold drugs and worried about the environment and wanted to travel and made big plans but rarely saw them through and were less stable with less money. These pair’s of men, she’s had a few.

The Jamaica connection is funny though but yes back to that it was fair because as much as she knew he owned his own flat, he knew her dad had money and she had money working in film and her own car etc., as did he. In this way it was fair because she didn’t know about the Jamaican trust fund babies and he didn’t know about her film family.

Oh yes there was another pair when she lived on college above the Italian restaurant m and p although his eyes were green but yes they both played music and the dark haired one was more depressed then the other although the green eyed one also had lost his dad too, all of these pairs of opposites with no father’s, where did all the father’s go?

Now the pair now or for the last 10 years 10years by 10 years by 10 years and now the pair who are her musician neighbours with dark and blue male and female though and now she and the father for her children are also blue and brownish green. She remembers her dad talking to her about genetics and drawing it for her in squares on a napkin on the white modern kitchen island in the 80’s with bb and gr and br and that all mixing together would make different colours. Her dad and step mom going to have babies and her being the dark one and he the blond with blue eyes although not really, more black Irish, blue eyes and dark hair.

What about him who she met years ago at the Communist’s Daughter and his crazy half Jewish political alcoholic wife and their son the same age as her first daughter and there first baby even much worse than ours, Solace, he is Irish, dark hair and blue eyes and a drinker, unlike her father who never drank. They wooed her to work with them, she, the wife who was her old friend from Montreal, said she was his first choice and it became sexual of course. She hasn’t learned how to make art with anyone without it being too sexual. Well the two in between seemed to work better, the painter in her studio, 1’st generation Scott and the chemistry was there but no infidelity and the, well seeing the rudeness of men always helps to end the fantasy.  Get off my back; she always feels that way with them, with people, get off my back.

They always say the worst things, men that is, the painter says “You really need to find a better way to get around” meaning she needs to find a way that is not sexual, but what about chemistry and pulling people out not to have sex with them but to connect to the chemistry. Maybe she was too promiscuous in her 20’s. With Jeremy in the house she wanted to have owner ship of him to sleep with him so he would be hers she is so possessive. He is like her dad she wants to possess him. Like the dream with her old roommate and her cousin and her dad all in an old, old room and she is like a prostitute but they are all in bed together in the old house with wood and she spills the tray of beads she throws the tray everywhere. She puts her hand underneath and lifts them into the air FLYING IN RAGE. What were they all doing in bed together – she never gets the bear. She never got any of them. Well her roommate for a bit and he was a bear.

“Nearly there” he says when we are so clearly there, that is what is so annoying, she really hates him she really does hate him. He tries to be like his mother or maybe he just is, nearly there makes her want to smash him over the head and kill him.

They also had many conversations in her childhood family about inni’s and outi’s the belly buttons always, now her daughters one with sandy blond hair, hazel green eyes and olive in her skin and an inni and her younger daughter fairer, with some red in her blond hair and dark blue eyes and an outi.

She is going to quit smoking just to spite him the father of her children who she hates and has been married to for almost 10years, she will quit or buy her own so that he will not have control over her. She hates the control. She hates this. She is scared to be alone and she has no money and they have children and she has realized that it is too hard to be out there and to date and to figure this all out is the only way, is this where Jeremy comes into it?

“You have hit me many times he says.” I see where this is going she thinks to herself, I hate his weakness AND ITS NOT TRUE and just in thoses words she has been turned into a violent women who beats her husband just in those words just before her eyes he is a different person speaking to someone else that is not her, yes she yells but when he said that she new it had to be over this was just an untruth beyond words and then at that moment  she hates him so much. Yes to say let’s have therapy together and she says to him, “I have never been in a relationship like this before where you passively passive aggressively say things and I then becomes incensed with rage and cannot control it so I walk away so that and the children don’t see it and it happens all the time over and over again,” and he then smiles and sees that she cares and she hates him more and wants to hurt him even more and starts to yell and he seems totally mellow and it goes almost unseen then we see this is what happens it’s passive aggressive it’s finally all clear he pushes a button instead of saying what he is feeling then he says “What? I didn’t do anything. I didn’t mean that. You read into it.” And he changes the tone he said it in and then nothing comes of it except she goes ballistic and he acts like the victim and the kids see him and the innocent and her as the crazy screamer and he is left in the clear with the force field around him and never says what he might have meant. Nothing is figured out, he never ever lets her in ever and he never says anything that might be behind it. He always, always says he meant nothing by it: The jab.

Jeremy was different, he introduced saying “weird” when something weird happens or was said that he thought was weird, then it can be explained and when he yelled at her there was a moment of connection of warmth because she used the term “weird” back to him, a term she had used her whole life, and they figured and him saying she had to be more decisive on the beach was strange when she said to him did he feel badly because her youngest daughter and he wanted to walk and her oldest and her wanted to drive, then things worked out differently and he was in the car yelling that she “needed to get a job” and that she “keeps complaining that she cannot deal” with her two year old and she says she “doesn’t just want any job”. She sees she is hard work too, but fuck are they hard work, Jeremy and Orlando her husband, seriously hard work. She longs for the week when he is not around.

The night is dark and wet and she has her small black umbrella that Jeremy bought her when they went on their date to the Thai Elephant. Orlando, the father of her children, was there too but they still went out a bit, her and Jeremy that is. She see’s now that she can go out with lots of people and it doesn’t mean that sex will be good she doesn’t want sex anyway. When she and Jeremy ended upstairs together that night it wasn’t what she wanted. He had been working out and all but he was just like who she had been with before when she was in her twenties in Edinburgh for the film festival, it was great sex but not something she could live with anyway he found his morals and got to see her so that was all fine. How is she meant to find the way in with her husband when he covers her in sorrow or is a stick insect or is a boy how can it ever work?

It was like they were dating and getting ready for their relationship while they were with her husband because it is too hard to get out there it is too hard.

The thing is they can’t even do coke again, he was so ugly and she can’t have sex like that and it just turns it all into something so ugly and that has to stop, it all has to stop like before the whole reason they moved to Toronto was to get out of the drugs scene in London, if they go back will it still be there, what if they end up together him and his friend Jeremy they end up doing drugs and being together? Not like sexually but Jeremy did keep sticking his ass out and she was like “what are you doing?” That is not right she shook her head and he said “thank you” at the Thai restaurant and yes she wasn’t listening to everything he was saying not because it wasn’t interesting but because she has travelled too, she has been places too, she has things to say too. He looked at her and loved her then, “we went out just then” he said. She is just learning about love.

This is the opium war this is the 1839-1843 opium war the Nanking treaty that lead to Hong Kong going to Britain until 1997. This is the most interesting thing and always has been. Britain had been trading with China for tea but china wanted nothing from Britain so they traded gold. Tea took off in popularity in that it became the national drink and it was something they sent down the mine shafts to the workers, the miners, to show them they cared. When they tried to trade wool etc., for the tea because they were losing so much money China said no. To this Britain went to their colony, the colonized in India, and took opium from there and started trading opium for tea. After years of this and the Chinese becoming addicted to opium the Chinese Government cracked down on it and tried to rid the trade. Britain could not accept this and went to war with China for the tea. They won and took Hong Kong in the treaty of Nanking.

She lived this year when the treaty ended and Hong Kong went back. The rain pelted down hard and the only sound was her wood heels against the cement. She was off tea and back on coffee but she was trading pot and wine for rum and coke just for a little while. She bumped into the musician couple.

“Where are you headed?”

“Singing in the market how about you?”

“I’ll go with you then I need to find my way back to that.”

She tried to kiss Jeremy on the sofa, on the mouth and he said “cheek” which she supposed much, much later could be nice too just one not two like the French or three like the Dutch like she was use to but just one, she was used to kissing her father and sister on the mouth like the Europeans do, this is closeness this is the way. “My sister, my father!” She screamed after swooping in for the kill. She was so angry and swerved up like a bird at the water having missed its fish.

Before, when they were visiting her husband’s mother in England Jeremy had come for a visit she was wet for the first time then and was with him every time after that. He came to tell them about his girlfriend and they almost made out behind the shed. Then he teased her saying “ewww are you wet?” in that cruel way and she ran off down the garden back into the house. That night when he left to go home as he always did and had done many times before in many configurations of women and children, they kissed in the side room to say good bye and there was an explosion beyond anything she had ever felt before, his ex was on the phone and he was leaving to his new girlfriend but they would always have that.

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