I'm trying to write more consistently this year! I'm making this attempt alongside the following people: https://woah.encours.xyz/posts/writchalinfo My goal is to start and finish the same piece once a week, and for this piece to be inspired by either the established theme or something that's happened in the last week. You can find my other posts by going to my inventory page at https://abramawitz.neocities.org

January 7, 2024: People Jumping

When I am uncomfortable I sometimes pretend to be another person. Often this person has what I need: a plan, a destination, a sociable personality.

I am walking alone in late December, and I become the tourist ambling down St-Catherine, oblivious to the fact that his slowness is annoying everyone. I've bought a scarf and hat with a Canadian flag on it - I hadn't packed for the weather. I'm taking photos of everything. I don't know it, but any photos taken past 4pm will turn out grainy. I'll be slow to delete them. My children are cold, tired, would otherwise be grouchy, but they are on vacation so adrenaline is carrying them through. I am thinking of a million logistics - the hotel tonight, the rolling hunger of the kids, the tour booked tomorrow - beneath it all I am happy.

I am sitting with my back to the entrance behind locked library doors. I have access to the Harvard library because I graduated - no, I still go to - the university. I'm doing a English Law essay. I'm not worried about failing; I've found my calling, in fact. I'm floating in the top ten percent of my class, but I don't care about being number one. I already have a job lined up for this summer. I do charity work in my freetime. I write for the Harvard Crimson, but I avoid the editorial drama. I'm just a reliable news contributor.

And on the train ride home I'm strewn across two states. A neat row of solar panels heats my house. My parents bought the plastic beach chairs. When I married, they gave them to me. We put them right near the train tracks - why? And I falter here - to people-watch. We like to sit real close to the train, so that it feels like we'll fall in and under it, and we feel the rumble underneath us, and then we go home and make a cup of tea and watch the next episode of our favourite TV show.

I live in the house on the hill. Every morning I walk ten minutes to the lake and I swim. I am strong and tanned. One of my cars is in the junkyard. When I was a teenager I would wander the length of it. I would step over the metal sheets. Some of the cars were intact enough for me to sit in them. And then I would pretend to be someone else, driving somewhere. But I don't need to do that anymore.

Twenty minutes before the party I cut my hair. It feels weird to look at myself. I look at the strands of hair. They are all over the floor. It's a bit uneven. I cock my head. I close my eyes. I pretend to be someone else.