“Dreams. Pfft,” she said. “What’s the use of telling me a story I already know?”
She’d thought about yesterday’s dreams all day and still they seemed to have no reason or purpose. “Maybe they’re just filler,” she said to her sister. “Maybe they’re just my brain recalibrating itself somehow while I sleep.”
“It’s strange though,” said Dawn, “that you remember them so clearly and talked about them so much. That you’re so curious about them. Like you were so sure they meant something important.”
“Or maybe I’m just a fool,” Blondi said.
Dawn laughed. “You might be silly sometimes, my girl,” she said, “but a fool, you are not.”
Colourful and intense dreams, and she thinks about them all day.
Blondi’s outside Gran’s house and Gran appears and takes her inside. The interior has been entirely changed. The rooms are all in different places. The walls are painted different colours – one is a pretty blue. Blondi’s amazed that all this has taken place since last time she was here. Clearly she needs to visit more often.
They seem to come from nowhere, which is what is so striking about them. She hasn’t been thinking about Gran in particular. She hasn’t been thinking about Jian Gomeshi, who was charged a year ago and hasn’t been in the public eye lately. His story is just being retold in her dream, with personalizing changes; there’s no new information.
Jian Gomeshi is her lover and a wonderful warm sweet lover he is. It’s heaven. While longing for the moments she’ll be with him again — planned for later today — she sees him riding his bicycle and possibly on his way to visit people she’s not acquainted with. She remembers with a disbelieving shock that he has been charged with beating women so that, as much as it hurts to lose this beautiful love, she can’t be with him and will have to tell him so. One woman says she was his lover and was crazy about him and he dropped her and was very cold to her out of the blue. Blondi wants to talk to someone about all this, and it’s a high school friend she takes aside for a chat. She’s thinking about finding another place to live and it crosses her mind that he might be angry and she might not be safe.
“I feel like shit,” she groans, pouring herself a fresh cup of black coffee. “Why do I do this to myself?”
She’d cracked open the wine after they went upstairs for the evening and one glass turned into two and so on and we all know what happens then. Heartfelt conversation after long apartness brings on a particular thirst, and last night was no different. They’d talked into the wee hours.
Julie’s just hightailed it back to the city and Blondi is about to unlock the front door. Rueben has stomped the snow off his boots and come in through the back.
“Did you two hammer out a path to world peace?” he asks.
“Ha. Laugh it up, funny boy. You might be holding down the fort by yourself for the rest of the morning. ”
It’s a special day in Sandy Lake, one that brings everyone to town and makes Blondi barge down from her lofty retreat and fling the front door open wide.
Once a year Julie drives out from the city to see everyone from her café days, when she was a city girl in a country town. Being the one newcomer that year, everyone soon knew who she was. It was more difficult for her to remember all their names, but it didn’t take long.
Ginny serves coffee and Julie’s birthday cake all day and Blondi busses the tables. “No rest for the wicked!” they tell each other in passing. Blondi manages to chat with everyone who comes in. There’s a nice even flow to it. And if you’re relatively new to town, as Ginny also is (but she’s been here 10 years, so not really), you too are happy to see friends come in.
This is an annual tradition at the café now, one that everyone looks forward to. Julie’s a real cracker and receives her guests with gleeful abandon. You’d think every single one was her long-lost cousin from Antarctica, and feel like a million dollars by the time she releases you from her hug.
For Reuben, who hasn’t worked two Christmases at the café yet, this open house is a first. As an added attraction he’s in the book-lined parlour reading palms. Blondi wondered how this would go over but every single person asks for one. Why not?
CLICK HERE AND READ YOUR PALM
Although hers are wasted with Facebook and television. She chides herself for indulging in these decadent delights on her days off.
“But it’s the things you see on Facebook!” she’s been known to exclaim, displaying this photo:
“What a fun idea!”
As if she’ll ever do it.
When Dawn arrives with her trays of fresh doughnuts and buns and other delights, the smell of baking must waft around town because the door is opening steadily within 15 minutes. Get it before it’s gone! seems to be the mantra.
They complain about the price, but buy anyway. “You get what you pay for,” Blondi tells them when they whine. They don’t dare bitch directly to Dawn. She’d give as good as she got. Better.
“You think I should bake for free, is that it? My time isn’t worth more than a dollar an hour? I bet you wouldn’t work for that kind of wage, would you!” and so on. “Clearly you have no idea that this is highly skilled labour!” she has been heard to say. “If you don’t like my prices, do it yourself!” and once she even spat out “Not that you look like you need one more doughnut.”
You don’t mess with Dawn.
It’s snowing in Saskatchewan, and Blondi is grateful for her cosy building and need to go absolutely nowhere. They come to her! What could be better than that! Inside, the scents of fresh bread and hot coffee saturate the warm air, and when customers come through the door they bring crisp coolness that lasts only a few refreshing moments before it is swallowed up by conversation and laughter. This is a good place to be.
There’s a big world of crazy events going on out there, but in here the only crazy is the unexplainable and the odd customer with a loose bearing in the brain, which can always surprise you. Without these, she thinks, life might get just a little bit dull.
But here in the café, even where so much is repetitive daily activity, there is always some little mystery to ponder. There are the anonymous beneficient notes, never yet traced to their source. There is the magically multiplying money in the cashbox, which, says Gran still, is ridiculous; no one runs a business with the honour system and has this kind of succcess! Gran still doesn’t like the self-serve plan or any of it; she has been the biggest pooh-pooher since the beginning, and waits with what seems like a kind of glee for “the other shoe to drop.” That’s Gran; not the most positive thinker, yet the best of customers. She’s in every afternoon for a cup of tea at the very least, rain or shine or snow.
And there are the little strangenesses that seem to be replays of local history, written on some kind of mystical fifth dimensional canvas. Some consider them spooky when they are told, yet when these things happen to you, they aren’t spooky at all.