Distance – a series of scenes – 17/31 #SOL20

Her full legs stutter as she moves and straighten when she plants her face between her father’s knees. His arms stretch down to meet her head and steady her wobbly strides. The street is blocked for a summer BBQ and many of the neighbours have gathered to connect and build community. She is round faced with untamed luxiourious brown curls above her skeptical eyes. She retreats when foreigners invade and make attempts to engage with her – she keeps her distance.

Scene change:

Shouts and stamping feet echo up the steps to my back door, and out the window I can see a group of five boys on hands and knees clambouring up four foot high snowbanks along the edges of my driveway. Occasional squeals of laughter and commands makes the window vibrate and a motion light comes on. It is midwinter, but they are in short-sleeved shirts. Their boots are unlaced and steam rises from their sweaty heads. They laugh and run for cover continuing this spontaneous game conjured on the walk up the street from the gymnastics club – a short distance.

Scene change:

We walk from the yoga studio to a coffee shop around the corner and spill into a croud shifting to make room for those waiting in line. Conversations fill the space, echoes of plans being made, museums to visit, a cappichinno is ordered, clinks of spoons on cups, and scents of vanilla, toasted cinnamon, and coffee overwhelm me. This time, this pause between events opens a space in me and we share our struggles, challenge and support one another before I walk the short distance home.

Scene change:

He is in his mid-fourties but looks much older, warn by experience. Arriving early to class, he sits centrally, and places his books on the desk with purpose in measured moves of grace and composure. He works the night shift cleaning office towers, then attends classes, sleeps four hours and repeats this five times a week. His dreams are written in his eyes, but his pen will not deliver the words and he hopes that just his physical presence will fill the space. He attends knowing the distance.

Scene change:

Each scene sticks in me, unfinished like a pause, like part of the distance.

Published by Melanie White

I am an English and Media Studies teacher, and Department Head of Fine Arts at Nepean High School in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I am concerned with equity and antiracist practices while recognizing that I am speaking from a position of privilege and continuing to learn.

4 thoughts on “Distance – a series of scenes – 17/31 #SOL20

  1. I feel like I’ll need to come back and read this again and again to get the full picture. A friend of mine joked that she’d be find because she’s been practicing social distancing for a long time. I laughed, but have started to think about how easy it is for me to avoid social situations and spending time with others. Everything looks different from a distance.

    Liked by 1 person

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