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.