“Grand huit”

Québec Reads
4 min readFeb 18, 2021

by Ève Landry

Les éditions de la maison en feu, 2020

translated by Natalia Hero

Hi sweetie

My night’s in a bad mood. The world resents me. I slow my pace. I watch my bus take off at the green light. I watch it navigate traffic. My eyes are full of knives. Slash its tires with my irises. I can’t help it. It gets dramatic, it makes the lump in my throat rise. I watch the bus get away from me. Another sign. We reap what we sow. And we wait for the bus like we wait for our lives. With wet feet and lots of hope. It’s long. Life goes by every fifteen minutes. You have to wait for your second chance under the downpour. It’s raining today. Outside, inside, somewhere between the two in the middle of my heart. My eyes are full of rain. It would be such a cliché. I rain tears. When I think of Lou. When I do groceries. When I breathe. I rain nonstop. It would be a cliché and yet, no one’s ever really come up with an official conjugation. How are we to express our pain? We can’t. We just give a bus the finger. And stomp all over our shitty moods.

I walk through the Jarry station entrance with my clothes soaked. I pound on the ground with my feet. To get this feeling out of my system. I’m dripping all over the escalators. Behind me, a trail left by the lakes that have formed in my shoes. The metro car is full. Schools of fish taking public transit. A lot of them don’t have umbrellas. Good. I’m not the only dumbass who thinks she’s safe from the weather. No one is in their element and no one notices how I’ve neglected my personal hygiene. I haven’t brushed my hair. Or covered up my zits. Or filed my nails. Dark circles reign above my cheeks. I haven’t slept in three days. Under my raincoat, I’m still wearing the same shirt I had on when my insomnia began. Thanks, rain. I’m invisible in the crowd. I get off at Berri-UQAM. I switch lines without looking up at the signs. Blind habit. We know which path to take to escape from our mistakes. It’s already dark outside of Joliette station. The rain is coming down just as hard, but the walk isn’t as brutal. We get accustomed to our woes. My heart races in front of my parents’ house. Maybe this wasn’t a good idea. I climb the three little steps. I’m standing still in front of the door. They’re gonna get sick of my episodes. I ring the bell. My mom pulls the curtain back in the window. I forgot to plan my meltdown. Her face searches in the glare of the porch light. Who could it be at this hour?

Even though the sky is grey, my mom’s living room doesn’t skimp on the warm colours. Her house is looking pretty tonight. So is she. Their evening is spoiled right before her eyes. Bad timing, that’s me. She smiles in a naive effort to stave off the bad weather. I apologize and she hugs me and she’s used to my irruptions. Every night, I fill the void by calling my mom really late just to cry into the phone. Every night, she says hi sweetie. I sigh. I try to limit the damage. I’ve split myself in two trying to hold onto happiness. I’m a demigoddess who divides. I break. I mend. I weld. I forge things out of whatever I can find. It’s by forging that we realize we’re neither forged nor any good at forging. At least I’ll have tried something.

“Happiness isn’t easy, is it?”

My mom tilts her head to the side. She doesn’t answer. I dive into her arms.

“I’m tired of chasing after it. I just want somebody else to take care of it for me. I don’t want to die, I just want to offload my existence onto someone else so I can take a long fucking nap. Y’know?”

It just isn’t conceivable to rebuild yourself when the weather’s this wet. First you have to dry your tears, lay the foundations, examine your flesh to remind yourself that you’re more than just nothing at all, than a pile of fuck-all who smokes too much. Her fingers gently wander through my hair.

“What would make you feel better?”

“I don’t know anymore.”

My mom kisses my forehead. She gets up and slips through the entrance to the kitchen.

“Camille is going to stay over tonight.”

Then my dad appears. He takes a seat beside me.

“Are you okay, honey?”

“I’m tired, dad. Really, really tired.”

My parents already have the couch ready. Blankets and pillows and old pyjamas pulled out of the bottom of a box. It’s as quiet here as it is at my place. My parents are sleeping. The kettle is steaming. I watch videos on my phone. I sip my tea. I’ve watched all the videos on my phone. It’s too late to do anything else. I pace around the basement. I stare at the mess of boxes in my old room. My parents really believed in me. This child will never need a refuge again. And I was proud. I’m capable of being okay. My head held high and my chest puffed out and denial coursing through my whole body. We all thought we had put my depression into storage. I’ve finally stopped believing myself. I’ve come up against a tidal wave. It’s made me understand the height of the cliffs I’m clinging to. I had to run. I’m not okay. I lie down under the covers, my head on the armrest. We didn’t see it coming. It’s nobody’s fault. If a woman falls in the woods and no one’s around to hear her, how do we know if she needs saving?



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