Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Day 220

the dark creeps earlier and earlier on the valley. the ski hill closes by four in the afternoon and, not more than an hour later, thick night slides down the shadowy side of the mountain and across the cold highway with the ever-present arctic exhale. six o'clock feels like midnight. it has also always inversely been the case that midnight feels like six o'clock to me but that's a different story.

friends from all over town frequent our place by this time to watch a movie or play cards or hang out. its good. but tonight i still had a stack of books in my backpack. and there's a secret place i have. maybe not so secret after the next couple paragraphs, but i'm willing to sacrifice this for a raconteur, recreated now from a few, blue ink jots on the back of a scrap of paper.

the organic market and coffee shop is across the small street behind the convenience store of whose internet i am borrowing at the moment. this is only my second time going to this place and i wonder why i usually walk at least ten minutes to go downtown to the tea house or mug shots. the other places know me, i guess.

i don't put a coat on and throw my black backpack across my red flannel shirt and walk across the icy street.

the organic market and coffee home is titled as such because, besides fair trade coffee, they sell organic produce. although i am the only customer currently sitting in the small and homey floor space, there are several people who wander in and out to ask about buying fresh eggs or other certified-organic goods. one dark haired lady walks in and asks for scott. an oval headed, short haired man with an orange t-shirt and white apron comes to the register. the counter seems to be located in the middle of what used to be a front room back when the market used to be just a house. he answers matter-of-factly that since she hadn't ordered this morning, she missed participation on the current bread shipment. i take a sip from my small coffee and they begin to chat merrily.

there are two girls working behind the counter as well. the blonde has bright eyes and an accent that's probably australian. the other one, a brunette, reminds me of an actress because her figure and loud, enunciated speech. there's a red bandana in her hair and i caught her looking at me once when i'd happened to glance left at the counter.

i'm more than halfway through the book travels since beginning it yesterday. the conversation of the three behind the counter interjects reading. i hear the words 'american' and lower my eyes from the pages to listen. 'they're all so bloody opinionated,' the blonde says. the three of them banter about how hot coffee spills draw american lawsuits and the brunette adds that they're always ready to sue the pants off anyone for anything. i don't look over this time, i'm kind of nervous for some reason and pull an old envelope from my backpack and start making notes next to my book with a blue pen.

the blonde girl drawls that they're friendly in their own country, but they also seem to always be looking for a way to make a quick buck. i sigh a little and stare back at the motionless pages of the book. i'm forced to agree and almost catch myself nodding when the actress said that the mountains suddenly disappear after crossing the montana border. i know that route well now. the blonde girl says she wants to go to colorado. so do i. i write 'denver' down on the list on the back of the envelope scrap.

they're conversation wanders and i look around the place, noticing a vintage farmhouse image. muddled narrow floorboards and an exposed border of drywall and building structure add to the atmosphere already contributed by the old, metal coffee maker on a shelf and the artificial milkweed stems propped in a ceramic pot behind my chair. i continue reading about climbing mount kilimanjaro. now i want to climb mount kilimanjaro.

the text adventure is interrupted by a voice, soft and accented, asking if i was hungry. the blonde girl is standing next to the table. apparently they have one serving of cream of mushroom soup left and would rather not freeze the small amount. i accept in short speech, not really concerned about the americanisms earlier but still not interested in being asked where i was from. sometimes people can call it on 'the accent', whatever that means. most can't.

she offers water and routinely comes around to refill the mason jar glass. they gave me a free refill on coffee after i'd asked earlier and her and scott couldn't remember if it was still thirty-five cents or was made a dollar yet. everything in fernie is getting a little more expensive now that the hill is open. still, i decide that i like this place.

after spending a couple hours in the seat at the front window, i leave some dollar coins on the table and return the cups. the walk home takes about thirty seconds but the mental transition takes a little more effort.

still, this life is good. and expanding. tomorrow will be my first night playing piano at the resort in the big, fireplace and window room. this has been day two hundred twenty.

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