Sitting in my usual café trying to write. The place is full. Very hard to concentrate. i can’t find the right music to pump into my headphones. Needs to inspire without interfering with the flow of words that will soon agitate the three fingers I use to type…two middle fingers and my right hand index.
I try to stare ahead into the anonymous flow of traffic in the street. But It’s hard to avoid the battlefield on the table to my left. Mere inches away, a motorcycle daredevil, a Raptor, and a one inch plastic “TV head” fight for survival in a blasted landscape of leftover crepes, fruit cups and iced teas.
Noah is off from school. First day of eleven. It’s spring break in Montréal.
“Dad, look how cool, when I move this little guy this way he smiles all happy and when I move this way he goes all evil…cool huhn?”
I nod, hoping to discourage further conversation. What an innocent I am !
“Yeah, look, I set up this whole world where they have to fight it out in a post, post, uh, what was that word again dad? You know the one yesterday when you were reading that book and yeah, there was a bomb in Japan that like killed everybody and destroyed everything and then you showed me pictures where there was all white stuff everywhere and you said it was like post-something?”
“Post-apocalyptic.” I ar-ti-cu-late every syl-lab-le so he can re-pro-duce.
“Yeah, apocalyptic and then it looks like this. You see everything is broken and these guys they have to survive. But only one can survive. Cool, hunh?”
Even after a nuclear apocalypse, the few survivors will have learned nothing and will still be killing each other off.
It snowed all day yesterday and throughout the night. Spring snow so it gets soft and dirty almost instantly. The cars, the sidewalks, the buildings are all dusted with sticky gray and dirty white. A landscape of nuclear ash would be much the same. And there is so little light that it feels like the end or shortly after.
I slip off my headphones…can’t find anything useful to listen to. The café speakers are blaring some nameless Euro-pop.
An explosion blows the motorcycle rider off Noah’s table. He spirals through the air, Noah goes, ‘Nooooooo’, and it lands on my three typing fingers before skidding across and crashing in my computer screen.
Noah looks at me with horror, anticipating a nuclear explosion. Some Finnish imitator of Freddie Mercury screams on the speakers. An instant of rage boils up. A flash! I see myself picking up the table, throwing it through the window.
“I’m so sorry dad, really…”
My internal apocalypse abates. I take the motorcycle rider who has gone flying far from his vehicle. I click him back onto his ride and rev the engines, noisily. I see spittle flying from my mouth. The bike shakes in my fingers and I ride it over my keyboard and it goes flying, does a spin in the air, a triple backflip, before landing in a controlled spin before a mesmerized Noah.
“Cool, daddy !!”
Daddy is my favourite word. Followed closely by “son”.
I give him a quick hug which he returns with abandon.
My post-apocalyptic relationship.
Yes, beauty can grow out of devastation.