Five years ago
I'm at Pratt Coffee Shop on the corner of DeKalb and St James. A pink milkshake and a half-eaten burger are on the table. It snowed last night and there's a line outside, huddled shivering figures trying to get in but too polite to evict us slow eaters. The Russian owner smiles and digs for change while I find the Rupee and Dirham notes cluttered among others on the wall behind him. I step outside and the cold goes through my nostrils to my head. There is homework to do, but all this weather does is make you sleepy.
I'm thinking of Kashmir, a mountain in north India. I find myself there in a cottage, writing happily and without a cell phone. We're having chats outside the bread shop, and at six in the evening, the storekeeper joins us for drinks and we tell stories in the dark. No woman, no cry plays somewhere and I hum with it, singing my favourite parts: Everything's gonna be alright.
But there is a woman. The song is a parody now, sung in bachelor days of the past. My clouds don't have silver linings now, they don't need silver linings. They're whiffs of cloud, feelings of eternal lightness. It's night and I'm on this mountain, thinking of all the times I sat and watched the stars and I remember that each time was significant. Once, on a bus to Goa, and then in a tsunami-swept village in Tamil Nadu; at either end of a relationship.