Thirty or so years had passed when Jan started waking up in the middle of the night trying to control the incessant shaking from her core as she tried to sleep. Initially she did not realize it but by the end of the first week, Jan's middle of the night episodes would reveal a motive. From a distant memory Jan was transported to the mid to late 80s, when, she had come of age. The bottom of Jan's panties would not stay dry. Such is the age during which many people are forced to abandon that which they have been taught for that which they, now, feel. Surely, not the Oedipus Complex redux.
Jan was brought up in the midtown of a big city, in a cosmopolitan milieu that boasts multi-cultural diasporas embedded in staunchly standardized white Anglo Saxon protestant society. All people out of the norm would remain on the fringe in this culture of false equality. All foreigners remained outliers; all colours other than white were clearly accepted and yet shunned into a psyche of inferiority. While class was never the impetus for outright violence or clashing in the streets, this forced complex of inferiority, and conversely, superiority, was felt by everyone, all the time. It was the unspoken truth.
Jan liked pets. She had always cared for a bunny, hamster or a gerbil as a small child. She moved on to Cats in her early youth and, while she fancied a next level type house pet, her parents made it very clear that their household could and would never support her desire to keep a pet snake in the basement hall closet. The handsome black rat snake at the local pet store would not be Jan's, not until at least Jan had finished school and moved out of her parent’s modest midtown house. Jan was fine with that plan.
Jan was a good student; she learned early in life that success at school was all about a good attitude and accepting the challenges. High school was a test for many people, a life balance test. The amount of work required to be a good student always conflicted with the pleasures of coming of age. Jan stuck to her academic plan and while the forces of nature began knocking on her emotions, Jan felt that she needed more. When the body is ready for gushing, the unstoppable force can fool humans into believing that nothing else matters. Maybe nothing else does matter ... when it comes to pure, body and soul felt lust.
Jan woke up every day one hour before school, punctual and on time, always. Jan was diligent in her lessons and school projects. She always delivered her work early or on time, never late. Jan played in the school band; she had taken piano lessons all her life. Jan was talented, not that she wanted to become a performer, and she liked knowing that she could read music. People who could speak another language or read music were special to Jan, because they could do something out of the norm of her vanilla existence. Jan was not overtly proud; she was capable, and she knew it. Jan played the clarinet.
The nocturnal half-conscious mind often conjures and blends memories with outcomes that never became reality. The 'what if' dreams were back, and for Jan they could not abate. They were diminishing her ability as a Chiropractor, and Jan could not control their repetitive nature.
While the excitement to begin University was growing in her, Jan took on a summer job at the local Music Academy, teaching a summer music camp to young pupils. What Jan did not know was that the position was a co-teach scenario. Jan's partner teacher was a tall, meticulously built, superbly dressed smiling young man named Nigel. Nigel was a graduated Conservatory Guitarist from Mali.
We are born free, we are raised with directed cognition, our beliefs and values are pressed into us from everyone who gives us food, life and love. As we grow, we question all that we have been taught. Not that Jan was told who to fall in love with, it just came to be that her only boyfriends so far were typically white, capable, and certainly nice fellows ... template characters. All three of her previous boyfriends were nice guys by all accounts. Jan had given into the last boyfriends urgings and made the plunge one weekend in Niagara Falls. During Christmas break in her final high school year, Jan took off for three days of sexual experimentation. The boyfriend had chosen a room with many amenities including a heart shaped hot tub, a vibrating bed. If a couple was curious enough, they could pull on a rope in the middle of the room to unfurl a swing of sorts, alas, a sex swing.
The eager couple worked hard that first night; they had fun getting it done, it was payback for all that she had missed so far. Some kids start late, and this had caused subconscious rage in Jan; she had become maniac. After a long first night of soaking and almost gut splitting lovemaking, the boyfriend suggested a breakfast and promenade walk. Jan felt that she could never get enough; she took a hot shower, called room service and pulled on that middle of the room, rope.
When Nigel first appeared in the class, he was wearing a cream coloured linen pant suit with shorts, an almost Bermudian look. Jan was befuddled. Nigel was not just handsome; he was sculpted like a Nubian prince and his clothes simply adorned an already perfectissimo image. It took Jan two full shifts of the summer day camp to lure young Nigel. By Tuesday night, they were fucking their brains out on Hanlan's Point as the sun set, on the city's famous downtown Island escape. Jan rode Nigel like she was on Day four of the Tour-de-France, up and down, up and down ... Jan rode hard through those shadowy valleys of Nigel’s Pyrenean mountain. It was the beginning of a summer of self identification and hardcore fornication, and Jan was ablaze. Not so lucky for Nigel though.
Nigel grew infatuated with his dark brown-haired, persimmon breasted, white rose nymph. When August came and the light began to wane early, Jan realized the inevitable outcome of her riding pursuits. She had become pregnant with a missed period and quick drugstore results to prove it. Captured by the taste of his first white vagina, Nigel pleaded that they could become a family. Children were in his books and Jan was a prize he could commit to forever. They decided to keep the baby and when their relationship exploded at Christmas, Jan had some hard decisions to make.
Too much time had passed to have a disposition procedure and Jan had held off on starting University for one year. Jan was under pressure. Nigel was not in the picture any longer and although he spoke of a co-share for raising the child, that was not in the cards for Jan. She needed to break free. In the last month of her pregnancy, Jan made an appointment with an adoption agency. Three days post partum she handed off the three-day old unnamed baby boy.
April and May in the big city are months of newness. The misgivings of winter are cleaned away. Rain brings a healing cleanse. Warm days help to warm cold souls. It took Jan many weeks, even months, to try to push back what she had been through. Life was hard. Nigel was missing ... the baby was gone ... so much had transpired in one long year. Jan would get through it, begin University in the fall and become a well known and highly recommended Chiropractor. Jan was exceptional, hands-on with to touch, she had the gift of fantastic coordination. Jan’s hands did exactly what her brain wished. She was not ambidextrous, both hands worked as one.
So, exactly 30 years later during a similar spring, when Jan could not sleep peacefully, she realized that the newly found anxiety was for the baby she had given away. One night Jan awoke startled, scrambled to find the adoption agency and called early in the morning. They remembered her file. Of course they knew who had the baby boy, and protocol allowed connecting mother and child. First, they needed invitations accepted and permissions granted. Jan had her first full night sleep in over a month on the night before she had planned to meet the boy and his parents. Jan picked Harbourfront; she lived in a condo close by that overlooked the famous Toronto Islands.
The meeting went as Jan had hoped it would, the pedestrian nature of a Starbucks was the perfect setting. Jan was forty-eight but she looked much younger, she was in peak health, vibrant and always glowing. Statistically, she was in the happiest and the most stress-free female demographic on the planet; she was a single middle aged, childless white professional.
Two days after the meeting, she received a call from the boy she had met. The boy she bore, the man boy child with parents who had agreed to opening up a relationship with her so everyone could benefit from closing the black hole vacuum of origin uncertainty. Her son was on the phone and wanted to see her. The agreement with the agency and parents was open ended. If the boy wanted to seek a relationship after the initial meeting it would be permitted. The adoptive couple were good people; they knew that they had instilled enough positive parenting that this young man would always consider them his number one parents.
The heart knows no boundaries. We embrace all that we can, while we can. Time is a rapist, for if we do not make the most of our time, we are abandoned with true solitude, true nothingness.
In the many years leading up to this reminiscent spring, Jan had begun the contemplation of her existence. After her summer of abandon with Nigel that had turned into a year of discontent, Jan found consolation in her educational pursuits, her rise to prominence in her field, and with the choice to never become a parent. Jan could not balance the morality of giving up a perfect baby only to agree to later have another. On that crisp day in May, 30 years prior, when Jan delivered that baby to the agency, she knew that she could never bear that pain of loss again. Jan vowed that for her, motherhood was over.
Jan met the boy at the same Starbucks, down by the water. After an hour or so of strolling, Jan suggested that they take the ferry over to the Islands. It was a twelve minute shuttle over the bay to the dock of the Island Jan picked; there were three she could have chosen to land at. The motors ran loud, the old Detroit diesels stunk up the stern of the hundred-year old ferry boat. The two sat inside almost directly on top of those rumbling, grinding old engines. Jan and the boy could see the full panorama of the city as the sun began to turn down for the day. The twilight was copper and gold and hot pink.
They walked off the boat and the boy instinctively took Jan by the hand. A roasted chestnut concession caught his eye and he chuckled when she mentioned that she had never eaten a chestnut. The path swung right and then left and then the path became forked with separate single-track paths that led to many beach areas, some more private than others. They headed to a beach spot and as they laughed, time and reality disappeared. The boy planned to start University in September; he was planning on becoming a chemist. He wanted to help change the world. Jan had not felt this sense of connectivity since that summer with Nigel, the boy from Mali.
They sat on the sand, in front of a bench with the entire western side of city as their audience. The stage was set and Jan knew it. The boy knew it too, he had longed for this moment, not this exact moment of course … but a similar moment, when he could feel and smell the window of his soul open. The woman before him was spectacular and as she kissed his lips and mounted him, he knew that he was finally home.
FACTOID: Research has shown that female roommates or cohabiters may have closely timed or synchronized menstrual cycles. The theory is that pheromones secreted during the menstrual cycle by one roommate will affect the cycle of the other.