"La Vie en Rose"

Jo-Anne Elder

It finally came to me that I could take charge of my own life.

            I’m not sure why this meant that I could not stay where I was.  The proof of my independence seemed to be in getting as far away as possible.  But not as far away as Sydney.

            I did not make my decision in haste, but it was still a risk.  I read the newspaper, and almost decided not to come, but by that time it was too late.  I didn’t know that in time either.  But this wasn’t about timeliness, or being sensible.  And Fredericton was just far enough.  I could still drive to Québec.

            I explained all this to my brother’s friend as we were having a farewell dinner in their apartment.  There were strawberries dipped in chocolate for dessert, I think.  Anyway, I was telling them about the things I had learned from The Daily Gleaner and the telephone book.  I was telling them about how compact the downtown was, and how I could drive up to campus in a few minutes and that I had been told how early to arrive to get a parking space, and that there was a farmers’ market there, and finally about this café I had seen advertised.  I was trying to explain how this meant that it was all possible, it was just possible that I could get it together – even though my friend had just reminded me that was a process, not an event.  To me, it was marked like an item on a list.

            So, he said, what you’re telling me is that you’re moving to Fredericton because they have expresso coffee.

            Maybe that was as close to the truth as I could come, right then.

            A month after I moved there, the expresso machine in La Vie en Rose broke down.  Shortly afterwards, the place was closed.

            So what does this mean?  I asked him.

            But I was there, and that was enough.

Source:  Elder, Jo-Anne.  Postcards from Ex-Lovers.  Broken Jaw Press, 2005.

Many thanks to Broken Jaw Press for the use of this poem.