Swan dive.

19 07 2019

We gathered down at the beach late Friday afternoon, drinks in hand, and sat with the vista of the north end of the lake set before us like freshly painted art, the mountains arced on each side, fading from greenish gray to the far off hues of deep blues. We laughed, visited and caught up with each other, setting the tone for the girls weekend before us.

I admit I was eyeing up the dock long before my sister whispered into my ear. Even though it was on the cooler side, I’m generally not one to miss out an opportunity to plunge into Kootenay Lake. None of us had our suits on, however, but when Kim subtly nudged me and suggested we jump off the dock, swimsuits were not a concern of mine. Winning, however, was.

We ran onto the dock while the girls on the beach hooted and hollered. While I ran, I stripped off my shorts and top, intent on winning the race AND launching myself off the dock in what I hoped would be a graceful, perfectly executed dive into the water. Right down to straight legs and pointed toes.

I stole a quick glance behind me and saw I was clearly in the lead. Full speed, I ran, with the edge of the dock a mere eight feet away, and the cool blue-gray waters of the lake beckoning me like a sweet lover.

That was when my left foot collided with the pointy edge of a metal boat cleat… And I went sprawling, catching my right foot under me with enough instinctual presence to flounder rather than fall. I windmilled in an attempt to prevent a full naked body skid along a very slivery aged dock and instead, launched off the edge in a frenzy of arms and legs, and, also, I daresay, bare bum in the air, and spectacularly bellyflopped into the lake.

I came up, sputtering and coughing to see my sister bent over in absolute hysterics. She managed to ask if I was okay in between bouts of guffaws. I climbed the ladder and stood in all my glory, dripping wet, gave my audience on the beach a loud WOOOOOO-HOOOO and then looked down at my foot. It… well it wasn’t broken, but it was instantly swollen and rather pinkish-red. Not a speck of toe nail polish remained on three of my toes. The polish was, as we discovered the next day, embedded in the boards as three long purple streaks, as if to say “Kris was here… and here… and here…”

It could have ended badly, but I’d rather not think about that. I’d rather think about how I provided a good laugh for my friends and I also that I WON.

 

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Privilege

24 05 2016

A simple standard “Hey, how are you doing?” I asked, when I saw her at the grocery store. I hadn’t seen her in months, maybe over a year?

A perfunctory greeting, a standard blah blah blah. We’re good at those, here in Canada. We ask, but do we really need or want to know the answer? The honest real answer?

She smiled but it just didn’t reach her eyes. Her body and face looked so lost and sad. I stopped myself from pushing my cart onwards and stretched out my arms to her and her eyes filled with tears.

We hugged, there near the dairy aisle, we hugged each other so hard. I felt her break, her shoulders collapse and the tears fall. She cried on my shoulder, there among moms pulling wayward toddlers and employees stocking the butter and cheese.

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m just so tired of telling people that I’m okay when I’m not.”

That hug felt cathartic, it felt like a gift, it felt sweet and loving and so so right.

I kissed her cheek as we drew away from one another, and gently wiped the tear from her cheek. “Never say sorry, don’t be sorry,” I said, “thank you for the privilege of letting me be here for you.”

I can never say I took her pain away that moment, her grief from her loss is too huge and deep. But the sweetness of caring and honest empathy is such a dear heartfelt thing to carry. It’s far too easy to brush away the needs of another in our busy lives. That moment, though, I will treasure forever, because her and I both paused, if only for two to three minutes. We paused, to give and to receive kindness and love and support. In her sadness of her loss she is carrying forever and me, with my coincidence (or fate?) of being there, how we came to share this one quiet moment.

This is what it is to be human.

So thank you for allowing me the privilege of being there for you, if only for a brief moment in time.





I admit it.

18 02 2016

One time, when I was in grade 10, I was asked to join my English teacher in the hallway for a little chat.

I likely rolled my eyes at her, which she might not have actually even seen. You know, because of the blinding glare from my giant 80s glasses, reflecting the fluorescent lights above. My perfectly back-combed hair stood rigid above my brow, and I was wearing my favourite skin-tight pink dress. The same kind of dress that I’d like to think Christina Applegate’s character on Love and Marriage would have worn. What was her name?

Kelly. Kelly Bundy.

Anyways. I don’t really remember exactly why I was in trouble but I do know that I 100% deserved it. Whatever it was. Mouthing off in class, talking, being rude. Just a regular day for me.

I stood in front of her, as she stared up at me, her furious little face pinched in hatred and anger. As I looked down on her, me: 5’8″. Mrs. C:  5’2″ or maybe 5’3″… I remember that I crossed my arms and gave her my absolute best version of the  epic 15 year old bitch-ass teenage girl STARE DOWNS. Oh, you know the kind. The glare.  The pursed lips, the sullen eyes. The sighs. I stared her at her little face with the Dorothy Hammill bob. Oh my god, I hated that hair-do, and I kept staring her down. I knew she probably wanted to haul off and slap my face off my face.

She had had enough and said to me:

“Kristine, you are a little BITCH.”

And I.. I was all… I… she called me a bitch…. I said to myself. I was left open-mouthed in awe of her epic rudeness. How dare she?

After our altercation, I think I left class and went outside, I actually can’t remember what I did.

This memory popped into my mind this week after dealing with an issue about personal accountability with my kid.

I remember being so indignant, that Mrs C was in the wrong and that I was so fucking hard done by and that she was the little bitch, NOT ME… But I do remember a few years later, that I realized… HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS….

I was a LITTLE BITCH.

It opened up dialogue about owning up to our own short-comings in relationships we have with people in our lives. Sometimes, I think about some person who pissed me off and like 99% of the time, I grudgingly admit and silently recognize a part of me that contributed to the situation.. Just like we are part of good laughs among friends, we are equally a part of the negative shit too.

Well, it’s a journey I am no where near mastering, this is for sure. It’s tough as hell to admit when you’ve helped create the bad stuff. To admit what you’ve put into that circumstance. To accept responsibility.

But then you learn from it and move forward.

 





Krisitis. It’s contagious.

27 11 2015

If you don’t already know this mundane fact about me, I work as an MOA (medical office assistant) in a local doctor’s office. I work with a fantastic bunch of peeps, including a nurse Paula, who has quickly become a very sweet and dear friend of mine. She’s lovely, kind, supportive and lots of fun to work with.

The other day, she had a requisition to fax up to the hospital for a patient. As I was busy on the phone, she faxed it and then went to answer the other line when it started ringing.

As I chatted with the patient on the phone, I could hear my fax machine stop ringing and a voice say “Good morning, Kootenay Medical Center. This is Paula. Hello? Hello??” I leaned over and clicked the cancel fax button, as I realized Paula had faxed our office number and then answered her own fax.

I tried my best and failed miserably to not giggle uncontrollably while finishing up my own phone call, when she came back out to my desk, we both looked at each other and collapsed in a fit of guffaws.

After we both caught our breath, I told her she had caught a severe case of Krisitis and as a life-long sufferer, I advised her there was no known cure and she just had to deal with it.

Good times indeed.