Tis the Season to Be Jolly [Annick Lefebvre]

Tis the Season to Be Jolly

My translation:
LEFEBVRE, ANNICK. Tis the Season to Be Jolly, Québec Reads, published online on December 7, 2015. Illustration by Vincent Partel.

Original title:
LEFEBVRE, ANNICK. «C’est comme ça que ça se passe (2014)», extrait du recueil Périphéries, Montréal: Dramaturges Éditeurs, 2016. Illustrations de Vincent Partel.

 

Tis the Season to Be Jolly

You’re walking in the winter of December 2014 with your new and sophisticated performance boots. You’re walking in the loose snow of this about-to-lose-your-mind kinda day. You’re walking slowly on the sidewalk all covered in white. You’re walking, letting your eyes hang on to whatever they want: a beautifully illuminated tree, a kid all wrapped up in their winter attire, an itinerant begging for love not money. The time spent outside, you know you can let it stretch. Because you put your wool socks on. Thermal socks in the colours of your favourite hockey team. You’re walking in a “retrospective” mode in the slush of the last days of the year. Your toes are freezing, tingling, and threatening to fall off, but it won’t stop you doing anything. Especially not moving deeper into the cold season. Especially not moving further into your own thoughts. Tis the season my old buddy, my colleague, my family, my love, my friend. Tis the season to be jolly / Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Tis the season when taking stock makes you feel stuck in a corner, like you’ve had your bell rung. Tis the season when taking stock makes you smile like you’re in a toothpaste ad, when it makes you feel all enthusiastic and rejuvenated, and makes you want to pop some champagne to celebrate the fact that you’re still standing. Even though you took the baseball bat of austerity to both knees. Even though you’ve had your social carcass mutilated by cut after cut from the current government. Even though you’ve curled up against the made-in-cancer, made-in-road-accident, or made-in-suicide grave of a loved one. Even though your body’s lost the will to live in front of the internalized grave of the abortion-kid who wanted you to become a premature parent. You walk. You don’t collapse. You stand upright and you walk, my old buddy, my colleague, my family, my love, my friend. You stand upright and you walk. Stubbornly. Tis the season to be jolly / Fa la la la la, la la la la.

You’re walking in the snow like you walked with Idle No More. You’re walking in the winter like you walked with your little thirteen-month-old nephew as he was taking his first steps, somewhere in a park in New Brunswick. You’re walking in the winter like you walked with your ninety-three-year-old grandmother as she was taking her last steps, somewhere in a long-term care centre in Montreal’s Centre-Sud.

You’re walking in the winter like you walked in the fall, summer, and spring. With swirls of maple leaves spinning in your heart, with puddles of mixed emotions in your eyes, with longings for eternal buds, social cohesion, and Christ’s resurrection. With longings for political leaders of superior intelligence, with longings for certified-fair-trade coffee at Tim Hortons, and with longings for a true sense of belonging to a community. You stamped your feet and clenched your fists and signed petitions, wedding contracts, absence slips, autographs, and bad cheques during the fall, summer, and spring of 2014. You longed for a swarming crowd, frivolous dances, a Stanley Cup, the Perseids, and festivals that never end. You’re not a pipeline, you’re not a whale and you’re not at the head of a group of booksellers at odds with their distributors, and who don’t give a shit about their authors. You went through 2014 with a “woah-oh-oh woah” stuck in your head, in your entrails, in your guts. You passed through the year listening to Serena Ryder’s What I Wouldn’t Do to add a little glow, hope, and joy to your greyer days. You chose to go to war with an iPod, not an F-18. You, my old buddy, my colleague, my family, my love, my friend, you’re not faint of heart, yet you break into tears when you learn that one thousand two hundred native women have been reported missing or murdered in Canada over the past thirty years.

Today you’re walking on the main commercial avenue of your town, your suburb, your village. You’re walking in French, you’re walking in English or you’re walking in another language that isn’t one of the two official languages of the country you live in. You’re walking in the language of your flesh, the language of your heart, the language of your impulses. You’re walking to be able to engulf yourself in knowing arms, to be able to rest your head, your frenzy, your disarray, your ambition, and your calm strength on solid shoulders. On exceptional individuals. You’re walking toward a New Year Eve’s party, a dinner, a brunch, a party, a happy hour that flows from five to seven, eight to eleven, or nine to noon. You’re walking toward a tea with friends while your baby has fallen asleep. You’re walking toward a neighbourhood gathering, a non-stop twenty-four-hour drift, a fiesta with a theme, a gargantuan potluck, or a galette des rois on the side. You’re walking toward someone you love, someone who makes you feel better, someone you’ll give a two-minute hug to. Even though he’s got a bad cold. Even though two minutes isn’t to be sniffed at when you’re allowing yourself to pulse in symbiosis with someone else. You’re walking in the winter of December 2014 with your new and sophisticated performance boots. You’re walking in the loose snow of this about-to-lose-your-mind kinda day. You’re walking slowly on the sidewalk all covered in white. Your toes are freezing, tingling, and threatening to fall off, but that won’t stop you doing anything. Especially not moving deeper into the cold season. Especially not moving further into your own thoughts. Because tis the season my old buddy, my colleague, my family, my love, my friend. Tis the season to be jolly / Fa la la la la, la la la la.

 

Tis the Season to Be Jolly

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