smiles for sale
He pauses on me a second. I'm sitting in the corner of the room, using my hand as a microphone, and singing along to Elton John with great enthusiasm.
It's the last night of my Vancouver holiday and I decide to give it my all. I sing, dance, smoke, drink, play a fierce game of scrabble and eat all the chocolate and custard off of my friend's birthday cake.
In the basement apartment I'm surrounded by the people who used to be a part of my daily life. Now they're reserved for the holidays and special occasions. I like these people. I like the quiet conversations that break out in between the drinking and laughing. I like that most of us have known each other since before we hit puberty.
At four in the morning a taxi speeds me over the Lions Gate bridge towards home. "I have a flight at seven in the morning," I tell my cab driver. "I might as well just drive you to the airport," he says. He's right, but I'm not quite done packing.
An hour and a half later I'm climbing inside the car with my mom behind the wheel to drive to the airport. My dad comes along as well, as he'll be flying to New Brunswick to see his mother who just had a heart attack. Life is unpredictable.
Once we're there I check my bags, still smelling of vodka, and find it hard to stop giggling at my sorry state.
As the plane takes off I leave a lot of people I love behind. I leave my old life, and take some of it back with me. I take a handful of good memories and a sense of security.
Getting off at my stop in Toronto, I practically fall over trying to balance my bags, and stumble off of the subway laughing. The conductor sticks his head out of the window and grins at me under his sunglasses.
I walk down the platform smiling as the train flies past me. As messed up as this world is, I've got a lot to be smiling for.