Alexa Andreeff: Orchestras & The Perfect Day

Orchestras (2015)

Orchestras (2015)

The Perfect Day

I would wake up at 6:00am in the morning on a dark winter morning. I would be half asleep as I washed my face and brushed on some foundation. My hair would be just long enough so I could wear a black or yellow velvet beret and I would wear my comfy sorrel boots with my tan duffle coat, but my outfit really doesn’t matter as long as I am warm because I will be going outside. I am all bundled up in my house and the light in the kitchen is the only light that is on. I sip on my black coffee and stir some cinnamon into my oatmeal. I don’t bother turning on the news because I don’t want to hear any of the terrible things, I want to listen to the sound of the refrigerator and the train going by in the background. I head out the door and to my station wagon covered in thin layer of fresh snow, I look up at the street light in front of me and watch it illuminate all the tiny snow flakes as they fall, giving them the only spotlight of their lives. It is silent in the world and dark as ever but there is peace and I get into my car and drive for my second coffee of the day. Before I leave my little town I stop at Mom’s, Grandpa’s and Papa’s grave which are all beside each other, I bring Mom a red rose, Papa a yellow one, and Grandpa a poinsettia. I kiss them all good bye and walk through the darkness back to my car. I drive through the darkness and watch the sky fill with the brilliant warmth of the sun, I smile at God’s creation. I drive in silence for a while then turn on Noah Jones and maybe some gospel, I sing as loud as I want because I am all alone.

I arrive at the Calgary zoo at about 10am. I don’t know if I can go see all of the animals because it is winter but I go and pay my ticket and walk to the penguins first. There is an old man that starts talking to me and he has been volunteering there for many years, he tells me about the penguins and the adventures he has been on. I ask him if anyone can volunteer because apart of me would like to do everything. After we have talked awhile I move on my journey. I don’t know if the zoo is the best place to be but Dad likes it so I go because I don’t know where else to spend the perfect day and the animals surrounding me makes me feel not so alone. I go for a walk around the park, not staying at each place to long because I have a few more stops I would like to make, so I make my final stop at the butterfly sanctuary. In the cold country I live in I feel like I am somewhere else.

I begin to drive to a building I went to with my Mom when I was younger. I don’t remember much about what we did that day except the building, how it felt so strong and professional.  I remember just standing in there and there was a marble floor and the walls had a dark brownish reddish tint with a golden glow. I remember standing there waiting for her or maybe I wasn’t but when I think of this memory it is one I love. I can’t remember if the building is in Calgary or Edmonton, but for the sake of my perfect day the building is in Calgary and I remember where the memory took place. When I get into the building it is rushing with tons of students going into a convention holding starbucks and leather brief cases, this doesn’t feel right. For a minute I pretend I am one of them. The crowd floods into a room and clears the only spot I remember, a ledge, pillar, and marble floors. I stand in that spot and start to cry for the first time in months, because I am waiting for her again. The nostalgia consumes me and I feel like I am a child again, I am in another world, in a different body, a women now with shorter hair, thicker thighs and the memory of her Mom. Things have changed so much except for this spot. I wait for a while not wanting to go. When the tears stop, I go to the little cafe to the right of me and get a coffee cake and caramel macchiato with a spoon for my whip cream. The women at the till is shaped by life, her skin is sunken, her hair is long and grey, she smells like cigarettes and her smile is the most beautiful part that was shaped by life and I just want to hug her because I cannot explain how much joy it brings me. There is a small group of people sitting next to me playing checkers, on my perfect day I can ask them if I can join. I don’t have to be friends with them, or hang out with them for a certain amount of time, I am simply here playing checkers with some people that welcomed me in.

After I am finished at the building I don’t go out the entrance I came in because I don’t want to see that spot until I come back another time so I go out the side door. I walk past my car and begin window shopping downtown. I find myself in a old book store with wood panels for walls and a castle like ceiling. There are wooden planes coming off of the ceiling and ships stuck in green bottles. I stay in here for almost an hour looking at all of the unique stories, I find a book about valentines day that I got when I was a little girl and even though valentines day is three months away I sit there reading it. When I am finished I go and pay for it and ask them if they are hiring. I tell the old man I don’t know a lot about books but I would like to.

It is now beginning to get dark so I walk back to my car. I am not ready to go home yet, I begin to drive to the ocean where they say there are no memories. I think of the sea kelp washed ashore, star fish, and sand dollars.

image and text © Alexa Andreeff 2015
blog: Capturing Alexa


Belinda Broughton: Self as R R Hood

Belinda Broughton self-as-rr-hood
Me at a fancy dress party, age 5. Really. Not the trees, of course. Actually behind me was the wall of the local hall, complete with a picture of the queen. I gave myself these very menacing woods. But this the actual expression is on my face in the photo. I was looking for the ‘birdie’! There were so few cameras around in those days, I thought there must be a cuckoo-clock type of contraption on cameras. As an undiagnosed myopic, I was used to squinting to try see things that other people could see but I couldn’t.

image and text © Belinda Broughton
blog: Belinda Broughton

Jza: A Story of Love and a Burnt Evening

Sometimes I wonder, I wonder a lot. What do we yearn for? What do we miss the most? Is our love for someone else a reflection of our own need for love?

What do I yearn for, what do I want and what do I need? Is it all too different?

When I think, I imagine him sitting there, waiting for me. I imagine walking in after a warm day (the days are always warm in my mind). I walk in, I’m slightly damp from my long walk, my hurry to reach home. Partly because I want to be in the cool shade of my home; mostly because I know he will be waiting.

I want to see him. It’s harder to wait every passing minute. I want to walk right in, slip off my sticky cardigan, I want to tell him the funny and strange things I saw on my way. He is the one who will listen, I know. He will laugh, as I know he did the last time, he always does. We are one mind after all. I know I will gibber back and forth, endlessly, nonsensical things- a dog grinning, a street performer trying his luck, a chance acquaintance and the bag he was carrying from a woman’s store! What could it mean, the mystery, the gossip, the daily things.

The comfort of peeling back my sweater, slipping off my pumps, and looking in the fridge for a cool drink; that’s the comfort I miss. The comfort of the home I shared with someone. The dusky lights of the approaching evening, the slight talk of what to cook. His stomach may grumble and my instincts will drive me to chop some onions and drop some butter in the pan. Soon, the small kitchen will smell like garlic, like the sharp hint of a crispy memory; tangy and bitter but so much needed and so strong.

But then, the visions will change. The garlic will rot. The pan will burn, the water will bubble garishly, gurgling, ferocious. Like steam bursting forth from a cooking pot, the hurt will wash over, paint my home in red, in rust, in darkness. Each word will be like a slice from a knife, cutting through, peel after peel, chopped up in tiny bits until the truth of what was no longer exists. The food will go stale, the trash will sit ignored. And the ignorance will grow, and it will turn into indifference. One night spent on the couch, one night outside, one night in a different place entirely.

Sooner or later, the visions will change. The smell and sight of a happiness gone by, the feeling of being held will be the grip of talons, digging into my skin. And even in the midst of such wholesome pain, the words will hurt the most.

© Jza 2015
blog: Revelations