Mulberry

By the time I found the Garage I was too sad to have a good time. Like letting yourself spin off and go and be exactly yourself good time. Sometimes too sad even to think properly. I had purple hair, a crossed out boy-name tattoo and a cesarean scar above my pubic bone. I was tired. I was an alien.

I was downtown chewing my nails, sitting on a park bench reading, when a girl walked by me. She seemed about two feet tall and had thin tufty blond hair, framing a moon face with violety eyes. She stopped, turning to face me.

ÒIÕm Coco.Ó She said. Her voice was three octaves lower than I would have expected.

ÒMulberry.Ó She shook my hand. I held her hand lightly in mine, trying not to crush her tiny bird bones.

ÒI know this is kind of weird,Ó she said, ÒBut my friend is trying to arrange this party thing and you look kind of cool. So anyways, hereÕs the flyer. You can come if you want to.Ó She handed me a piece of folded pink paper out of her silver glittery purse.

ÒSure. Thanks.Ó

She walked off. She hadnÕt smiled. I wasnÕt really sure what to think.

But I was new in Toronto, didnÕt know anyone. IÕd come from Ajax, small city-town full of many things I needed to leave behind. I was staying in my auntÕs condo downtown. She worked 12 hours a day. I was lonely.

My past doesnÕt have much to do with anything that happened at the Garage. But itÕs relevant in that you need to know a bit about it in order to understand me.

IÕd gotten pregnant. HeÕd left. IÕd decided to have her and give her up for adoption. IÕd named her Pandora, when I held her that once. After the Greek myth. Because she was my PandoraÕs box. She was what happened when I made all the wrong split-second choices. But she was absolutely beautiful anyways. All bloody and pink and howling. I was happy I had given her life. Sad I wouldnÕt be able to participate in it.

I thought maybe IÕd come and see her in 10 years and IÕd take her away to live with me somewhere when I could afford it, and weÕd have everything in common. The way some mothers and daughters do. And sheÕd forgive me for leaving her. And weÕd make up for lost time. But the truth was, I would only be able to see her when she was 18. And then only if she ever sought me out. TheyÕd send me pictures on her birthday, they had promised.

But really I had missed out.

But here I was now. In among the trash and fat city pigeons. The sun was hot on my skin. I imagined Pandora as a tiny cherub on my shoulder. She said I should go, be brave for once. So I did.