LETTER THIRTEEN

Dear Henry,

 

I can’t believe you were in Toronto. I found myself asking if I were reading a long lost letter, written in December or something. That’s great though. Last minute travelling has one serious advantage: you can minimize your travelling stress to the day or two before departure. And, you can take people by surprise (guess that’s two advantages, but screw you! Only I’m allowed to break my own rules.). Your fam must’ve been happy to have you back.

This morning I went for a ski. I took the wax out, gave it a whiff. The strong musk of whale blubber filled my nostrils. I heated my flatiron on the stove while I sipped from my coffee. After melting the wax down the ski length, I spread it evenly from tip to tail with the iron. Repeat process for ski #2. I went to the kitchen, prepared a sandwich (sliced onion, two thick slices of bread, wrapped in—you guessed it—wax paper). while the wax cooled. When I came back, I scraped the excess wax off, then brushed it down. I gave it another whiff. Mm. Just the way I like it.

The sun wasn’t up, but the deep-blue predawn lit my way. I glided through the winter freeze. My skis sang against the snow. The pine boughs were weighed down with snow, which had layered over everything. Perfect sound proofing. Way better than two inches of foam. I took out my .22 caliber rifle. I pulled back the bolt, confirming the rifle to be loaded. “Time for breakfast,” I said, under my breath.

Okay, I made all of that up. As far as I know, there is no commercially available whale blubber ski wax, but it made me feel like Ahab to think that there could be. Alternately, you could apply melted paraffin to your skis, as well as to your bike chain, if you ever need a talking point while biking through Brooklyn. Then again, you could just say you were using paraffin, as I just said I went skiing, and it would amount to the same thing. For a bike chain, the advantage of paraffin, is that grit doesn’t collect in its joints (or anywhere else) like it would if you were to apply regular bike oil.

Lies aside, I am planning on going for ski. I’ve also been planning how write to you, after I’ve skied. Finally, I thought, this is absurd, why not just write Henry what it’s going to be like, for reals though, and then go skiing. Maybe the order isn’t what’s important. Besides, if I tell you that it’s fake, then I’m still being kind of autobiographical about my lies, right?

The fact you wrote your last letter in Newark Airport titillates me. I feel excited about the versatility of letter writing, even though, I guess we all just take that for granted. Right now I’m at my mom’s place, a few hours north of Hogtown. Cabin in the woods, that kind of thing. Woodstove, snow, trees, mice (we have about eight peanut butter mouse traps set). Couldn’t sleep. Thought I’d check in with you. Perfect time to write, no? As for the location, this is why I will hopefully be going out for ski after I finish this letter. I need to keep up with my exercise.

Apart from mice, the wildlife has been pretty quiet, according to our neighbours. Except for the humans, of course. Last week or so, a man, grooming one of the snowmobile trails, you know, in one of those big groomers, fell through some ice. Only just escaped through the hatch in his cab as his vehicle sunk to the bottom of a 20 feet pond. Luckily rescued by two snowmobilers, one from Ottawa, the other from Ohio. (This event is one example of how volatile the weather has been this year, again according to our neighbours.) Other than that, things are quiet.

Still, on a stroll in that deep darkness before dawn, there’s something about being surrounded by dark woods that makes you feel like an intruder, who’s being watched, very carefully; especially when you’re exposed in the faint purple glow that snow always seems to emit (It’s a cloudy night, so I still can’t figure where the light’s coming from.) And everything’s quiet.

Then I can’t figure where the mice come from either, but they always find a way. Cracks in the insulation. That’s the theory, anyway. Guess there’s a lesson about life in their somewhere. Damned if I can find it.

Didn’t mean to talk about any of that, but I guess sometimes words have a habit of choosing their own route. I wonder if you could invent an app to google your route from one topic to the next using words?

I’ll write again soon. There’s too much to talk about. Like, here I was, going to talk about my fitness regime, and I ended up talking about mice. It’s just that, there’s this little one I can seeing sniffing at the peanut butter. I even keep my boot close at hand so I can smack it, not that I want to, but, you know, reproduction… and I’m in direct sightline of her (his, its) home.

I’ll confine myself to your house. I love how cynical you’re becoming. Would you say, in keeping with all of our previous conversations about homes-as-substitute-for-romantic-partner (just kidding—homes are better than love), that the honeymoon is over?

Last thing. Any thoughts on the Bronx Bull? Do you see any of his memorabilia around your neighbourhood?

What’s your daily routine like? I know there’s so many more exciting things to talk about, but I genuinely want to know.

 

Simply,

Sal