Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Evening comes, and again there is this urgent desire to go out. So I set out, bus tickets in hand. Tonight's destination will be in the direction of downtown; whether the stop will be downtown proper is yet to be seen.

Downtown it is, and I sit atop the steps of the War Memorial as I did one year ago. It is chilly, and with regret I remember my warm jacket hanging in my closet at home. Before me is a large triangular bed of foliage and tall ornamental grasses, neon pinks and greens. The sky is utterly black and starless.

Now what?

I do not know what must I do next, other than seek shelter from this blasted chill.

John Bracken, James Booth, Sean Stevenson--my companions from elementary school in Victoria BC--I am wondering where you are now.

It becomes clear as I walk that this excursion downtown has not been to see its picturesque sights nor to taste the delicacies of its fine restaurants, but to look inwards. This I will do.

When I was a schoolboy I remember dividing the class into two groups in my mind: the Blue Team and the Red Team. My classmates did not know it, but I was the leader of the forces of good (the Blue Team), both thwarting and being thwarted by Nathan, my nemesis and (unknowingly) leader of the Red Team.

The greatest magazine at that time was Dragon magazine, concerned with role-playing games. Expensive, and containing exquisite maps.

How I loved to construct scenes for my action figures, miniature landscapes and dioramas in which great battles or rescue missions were conducted. The winding carpet pattern, the undulations of the underbelly of a plastic car--these would be roads, factories, bustling cities in my mind.

Imagination trumped reality. Daring rescues conducted in miniature were far more interesting than homework and school lectures. Fruit candies were preferred to actual fruit.

Back on the bus now, where it is comfortably warmer. My heart emptied for the evening, I open my book, pouring its pages into my mind, numb from the day's business.


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