The night before

Tomorrow the trial starts. I don’t know what to say about that, so I won’t say anything.

There is a small spider that lives on my desk. I sit down to work or write and instead I watch it weave back and forth, day after day. The web is invisible and it’s as though the spider is walking through the air. Minutes slip past, the spider spins, I look on.

The fall is like a reset button for the dog. The cool weather makes her almost spritely and puppyish. She makes so many friends when we walk down the street. Tonight I stopped and talked to an old Polish woman in a pink baseball cap who wanted to pet Salome. She was on her way to the statue of the pope to offer up her prayers to thank God for giving her a free lawyer. Yesterday, she told me, she was assaulted by a mentally ill gentleman when she tried to get him to put out his cigarette in an elevator. Or at least I think that’s what happened. She called the police and ended up being charged with unlawful confinement. This was yesterday, she said, and tomorrow I have my free lawyer, but today I am just lonely. But then I stop to talk to you on the street. Why are we talking? I see the people in my life as being there with a purpose. I am talking to you because maybe you can do something for me or maybe I can do something for you. You see, already you have done something. I was lonely and then you were there to talk with me.

She told me about her first profession as a nurse in Poland, about her 14-year-old Eskimo dog named Yukon that she rescued when he was 11, about the black lab she had before Yukon who had to be put down when he was 14, and about the family dog she had that lived to be 19. Mixed dogs are the best, that is what I know. She told me about bribing officials in Ecuador during the 1995 war with Peru and being detained in Miami on the way back. She demonstrated how she was led to the plane by the officers when she was sent back to Canada. She talked about being a journalist and studying electrics and nearly being arrested at Occupy Toronto. She said the police had a file this big on her and held the palms of her hands about four inches apart. She said she probably sounded woo-woo and made the universal crazy sign by drawing circles in the air around her ear with her finger. She talked about how everything has a purpose and is predestined, and how her aunt was once engaged to the dead pope’s brother. I don’t even know if the dead pope had a brother. She stood too close to me at times, but the invasion of personal space was worth it for the conversation. Most people are harmless. I gave her my email address when she asked for it.

The morning glories are in full flower. Heavenly blues. They are the biggest morning glories I’ve ever seen and on clear days they perfectly match the sky.



About Alicia Louise

I'm a writer, editor, fact checker, storyteller, events organizer, chronically busy yet endlessly lazy, mildly neurotic (though I keep the neuroses well-hidden, one hopes) 32-year-old with recurrent ovarian cancer. I like people and good writing and straight talk. I have a hard time feeling sorry for people, including myself, but the people that I love, I love passionately; one may even say creepily. I try to keep that mostly to myself. I'd like to be charming, but I'm usually just a mess. I'm like a gull slamming into your windshield.
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8 Responses to The night before

  1. Amy says:

    Alicia, your writing skills never cease to amaze me! I will hopefully get a chance to see you as I have chemo too…which ward or colour are you in? I have a big doctors appointment as well and my sister will be there too (i think). Keep your chin up: sometimes we focus on things so much that we don’t see the things that are waiting there for us which can be pretty amazing. As Adam once said (before he passed away) ‘we must let go of the life we had planned to have the life that is waiting for us’ and I think more than anything that applies to both of us. We will both never know what life is like without cancer- just the times in between, but if we let go we can open ourselves up to opportunities we never even imagined.

    Lots of Love and Hugs,

    • I don’t know what ward I’ll be in, but I’ll ask where you are when I get to reception and then let you know where they put me. No pre-meds for my first drug, so I can wheel my IV pole over to you if the nurses let me.

  2. onewittykitty says:


  3. I love this, even the spider part.

  4. Connie says:

    Love your story. Sometimes the most unexpected encounters are the best!

  5. Shea says:

    And about her son, who runs a nightclub? And about all the urine in the elevator of her apartment building?

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