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Thread: Pooner Diaries: Seawall Walk

  1. #1

    Post Pooner Diaries: Seawall Walk

    Even on a typical Vancouver winter drizzly and overcast day, a walk along the Seawall never fails to put a smile on my face. A walk along English Bay is like that for me. I wandered among the throngs of other tourists and a few scattered locals. I craned my neck and watched the gulls circle in the air above me and cry out. I squinted at a cormorant perched on a rock some distance off shore, looking optimistically down at the water for his next supper.

    A very fit young woman ran past me. I turned to watch her thick blonde braid flounce behind her. I watched her slim and very pleasing shape outlined in brightly patterned Lycra, until she rounded a corner and disappeared. I smiled, and turned back to my walk.

    I saw a foreign-looking family, speaking in a tongue that completely escaped my identification. But the smiles on their faces and the laughter of their children needed no translation. They looked happy.

    I've walked this path many times through the years. Pretty much every time I've ever been in town. And every time I've done it, I've daydreamed about a life where I would be able to do this every day, if I wanted. I've always wondered what it would be like to live here. Yeah, it would probably be in a teeny tiny and way too expensive condo. But I know it would be a condo with a great view. I've wondered what it would be like, to see that lovely young lady from last night in Yaletown often, instead of every once in a long while. It might just be worth it.

    But in the end, boring old practicality has always taken over. I couldn't afford to live here, at least not on my salary. Or I would have to live so far from the West End that I might as well be still living in my little windswept prairie city.

    And of course, there are other costs other than the financial ones. I would have to completely uproot my life. Leave family and friends behind, my job, my seniority. Take that big scary leap of faith. I tell myself that the traffic here would drive me nuts. I marvel that people here could spend most of their income on living expenses. And not on... well, *living*.

    No, I probably will never live here. But that doesn't prevent me from wondering what might have been, had I made different choices at a different stage in my life.

    Two young women, fashionably dressed, walked by. They were impeccably made up, their eyes hidden behind huge sunglasses in spite of the cloudiness. One of them was pushing a baby carriage, and was sipping from her Starbucks cup. She reminded me of someone from long ago. I was a longtime client of hers, back in the day. I watched her through the years as she finished school, got a good job, moved up the ladder and eventually into a marriage with someone from her work.

    I know she liked me. She would drop the odd hint from time to time, that there could be more if I wanted. But I never seriously considered it. I thought she was much too young for me. Besides, I never felt it would have been right, to trample that boundary between us. All the same, I did dream, every once in a while, about what a life with her would have been like. And I still sometimes dream about that now.

    I got drunk the day she got married. It's to my eternal regret, that I never took what we had seriously, until it was too late. I told myself at the time that I could never afford that shopping habit of hers. That I'd lose the respect of my friends. That her friends would laugh behind her back at her 'old man'. Lots of excuses. Feeble excuses.

    We lost touch, long ago. I wonder if she's happy now. Sometimes I even wonder if she ever thinks of me.

    I haven't seen her in a very long time. But I still sometimes glimpse that twinkle in her eyes, but in other faces. I hear her laugh sometimes when I joke with other ladies. And every once in a long while, I close my eyes, and imagine that she's beneath me, panting, writhing, and moaning. That she's with me, still.

    I've tried to live my life without regrets. How does that saying go? "The best revenge is living well." No, I can't regret not choosing her, any more that I can't regret not moving here as a young man. I like to think I've lived my life well. But I can still dream of the road not taken, and hope for better days ahead.

    I guess it's okay that I don't live in those better days. After all, I can't live there. But I can visit.

  2. #2
    Thanks, Birdboy, I really enjoyed reading this. Coincidentally I happened to be listening to "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." by Simon & Garfunkel, and it set quite a mood!

    Funny what happens to us when we have a few years behind us, eh?

    P.S. I'm from a "little windswept prairie city" as well. I'm just lucky enough to spending a few months in this area, and I head to Stanley Park at least once a week! I get it.

  3. #3
    I second that. Appreciate the thought and reflection of your post, as I too wonder at times what could have been- but never for too long.

  4. #4
    Thanks, guys. I enjoyed writing this story. It felt good to post one of my stories, it's been a long time.

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