Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chelsea and Other Worlds

It'd been a while since I'd seen Hannah. Oh, we were both around, busy as ever in the Station. There are no halls in the Station (halls are the worst), but if there were halls, it would be an appropriate thing to say that we passed one another in the hall all the time. But we hadn't sat down, just the two of us and some tea, in ages. This was an issue for two great reasons. First, I only drank tea with Hannah, as a general rule, and I was very much in withdrawal. Second, and more importantly, our souls needed to chat with one another, and while post-it notes and high-fives are great, some things just need to be done in person. So, I finally put my foot down and went a'hunting with bow and arrow for my deer cousin. 


"So, what's new?" I asked, once I'd found her and we were safe in our hovel with tea. 


Hannah gave me a silly smirk and shrug. She sipped her drink and I waited for words. She took her time, not to choose her words wisely, but maybe just to play jumbling games with them in her head before spilling them out. But eventually, she licked her lips and spoke. 


"I have a new friend," she said. 


"Really?" I chimed at the news. "Is she real?"


"Of course she's real," she retorted with the high pitch of playful offense. "I made her up just this morning!"


"Fair enough," I said. "Tell me about her."


"That's only right, I suppose," Hannah agreed, "Because I've told her all about you. Let's see here. Her name is Chelsea, and I think you guys would get along. She has a great sense of humor, like me."


"Well, that's a good start. What kind of accent does she have?"


Hannah wrinkled her nose. "You mean, where is she from? I dunno, ask her yourself!"


Just as I was about to ask where she was, I looked down and found her. Chelsea, it turned out, was climbing out of my tea cup, and doing so without a hitch. My instinct was to drop the cup, but I worried what that would to her, so I held fast until she was out and grounded. She dusted herself off and then gave me a curious glare. 


"Where I'm from is of little or no consequence," she said emphatically. "What matters is where I'm going from here."


She then fell into a dramatic soliloquy about other worlds, other timelines, other dimensions. Places of mystery and intrigue that I'd heard in my heart but never out loud. Chicago, Indianapolis, Columbus, Fort Wayne. As she went on, my jaw slowly dropped and Hannah's eyes widened as best they could. Finally, the monologue slowed and eventually ended, and there was silence. We were in the midst of a wizard. That was certain. 


I girded myself with wit and spoke up at last, asking her if she's seen our lemon jelly park in the catacombs. She was familiar, but she was interested in taking a swim in it. We'd never thought of that. Oh, we'd played in it, waded in it even, but never swam. So we did just that, complete with snorkels and goggles, of course, so we could see. What we found there was beyond our imaginations. Fish and fauna unlike the known world had ever seen. Who knew this could all be just below our floorboards the whole time! We were inspired, then. Inspired to explore further the bowls of our little The Station, and explore the walls and eves and bookshelves alike, to find worlds and timelines galore until tea time came around again. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Best Of All, A Festival!

    One minute I'd been with Kevan wandering the Potato Zoo and then the next I'd found myself in a strange hallway with the path behind me closed off. I could barely hear Kevan's muffled cry.
"KEVAAAAN!!! CAN YOU HEAR ME?" I cupped my hands around my mouth and shouted at the top of my lungs, but my voice just reverberated off the dark walls, bouncing about like a drunken bouncy ball.

I was stuck. 

My eyes gently adjusting to the dimness of the room and I saw a sliver of light to my right so I began to shuffle my feet carefully towards it. A light scent of lemon caressed my sensitive nose as I moved closer. The glow was a vibrant yellow and shimmered as though it was reflecting off some sort of water. I heard a gentle trickle and it tickled my ear with inviting dribbles, drawing me forward for it seemed I had no where to go but onwards and upwards. The light cast a watery shadow as I reached up to push aside a white curtain, eager to be out of the damp darkness. As I pulled it aside I nearly tumbled straight down a monstrous cavern filled with some sort of yellowy sticky substance thrust betwixt by a gigantuous raging waterfall. I dipped my finger into the substance and brought it to my nose. Lemon

"Lemon jelly!" I exclaimed aloud. Just then, across the way, Kevan burst through a corresponding tunnel. 

"Lemon jelly!" He laughed right back. "By Jove we've found a subterranian-lemon-jelly-fall!" I quickly scaled the edge of the cavern to join Kevan on the other side. I quietly grasped his hand and we grinned in silence at the glorious luminescent goodness that poured from some unseen source and both agreed that the Station was a magical place. There are many rooms left undiscovered, nooks and crannies full of adventure, and it was all ours to explore. Kevan turned to me and patted my head and said,

"There are a great many things to be thankful for in life, but this is one of the best and I'm glad to share it with you." I let one small tear escape from the corner of my eye.

The rest of that day was a blur, but let's just say that we celebrated with the first ever annual Station-wide Festival of Lemon Jelly and there was so much laughter and joy that I swear I could hear the windows and doors creaking in wondrous agreement that we were living a fine life indeed. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Focus and Potatoes

"I can't do thiiiiiiis," I wailed, and Hannah heard me from across the Station. 

Within seconds, she flew into the room, courtesy of our newly installed slide system. She landed brilliantly on her feet and struck a pose with fists on hips. I half-expected her to crow next, but she just furrowed her brow and awaited my explanation. 

"I can't focus," I said with a lowered head. 

My beloved cousin hmmmed to herself. She squinted and positioned her hands before her, twisting them as if adjusting a camera lense. After a minute, she paused, shook her head, and tried again. Finally, she gave up and screwed her smile in thought. 

"It's worse than I thought," she said. "What's on your mind?"

I shuffled my feet. She knew the answer already. 

"It's the Woman, isn't it?"

I didn't have to nod to confirm it. That Watson of mine, she knew and she also knew the cure. Find potatoes, mash potatoes, eat potatoes while watching a Jimmy Stewart movie. Everything is gonna be alright. Especially since we had a Potato Zoo in the basement of the Station. 

"To the Zoo," Hannah cried, a common call to adventure in the Station. 

We gathered the troops, prepped the arsenal, and packed PB&J's. Of course, we painted our faces as well, which is a must-do when hunting wild spuds. Hannah drew an arrow across my forehead and I put a to-scale grizzly bear over her left cheek and eye. Our machetes were sharpened by Knack, who was settling nicely into our way of life. Hannah had taken a fancy to him last time he sharpened our blades, so she escaped to another room this time to avoid further such sentiments. Once everything was ready, we set our feet into the basement, into certain danger. 

It was dark, for starters. There was a funny smell, reminiscent of the great lemon pipe burst of last year and that had entailed. There was also a sound, the sound of potatoes, and they sounded ready to take on the world. 

I unsheathed my machete and turned to where I assumed Hannah was, it was so dark. 

"What's on your mind now?" she asked, her sweet voice emerging from the blackness. 

As a potato bumped my foot, I sidestepped it and examined my thoughts. Potatoes, machetes, an army at my back, certain danger before us. What was on my mind?

"The Woman," I confessed. 

"Well, I guess we'll just have to--" came Hannah's voice, then nothing. 

Silence. 

Where was she? Was she alive? Had the potatoes gotten her? 

That Watson of mine, she knew the cure.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Urban Spelunking

Though some may commonly confuse urban spelunking with urban exploration for history purposes, it is not to be so. Especially not on this warm spring day, verging on the cusp of the summer-hood that it so longed to become. It sprouted new shoots and early flowers out every avenue, encouraging the world to bloom into what it was meant to be.
Kevan and I sat by our favourite window in The Station, which overlooked the valley below to reveal a lush forest of trees and a cool stream winding away into the east. Steam rose from our teacups and up our curly straws as we sipped carefully, minding the heated liquid as I have burned my tongue a number of times drinking tea with a straw. I can never remember why we started doing it in the first place.
      "Well I suppose we should get ready." Kevan murmured, still focused on the valley below. We were already dressed in our spelunking gear; sturdy khakis, black turtlenecks, and of course our trusty black Chucks. I glanced at my watch.
      "I'll get the car started, you grab the packs." I motioned wildly to the far corner of the kitchen and I started towards the garage. We swiftly boarded the van, fondly named "The Pirate Ship", and headed to the meeting place to pick up the other members of today's crew; Luke, Phillip, & Tom. No three men were as trustworthy to us as they, for our history goes back farther than I care to say. Back when Kevan and I had a life that was not as humanistic as owning a creative cavern; an artists asylum; craftpersons cloister.
Nevertheless we sped away to pick up the gents, pausing only briefly as they threw themselves in the back seats before we raced towards the old factories that lay just on the outskirts of town. Tom stepped out of the van, dust billowing from beneath his feet and wind blowing through his black beard. He squinted his eyes against the sun before strapping Kevan securely on his back. Sweat beaded on my forehead and I felt vomit bubbling at the back of my throat as I quaked beside him. Somehow in two minutes flat we had entered the building and taken the unforgiving cement stairs all the way to the basement of the fortress. Shadows lurked in every corner, tempting me to turn back, but we had a job to do. We had been commissioned to find out what was really living down here. I took a step forward and hissed as cold water seeped into my shoes.
    "We should have gone with the rubber boots!" Kevan quipped from behind me.
    "Inconceivable!" I scoffed.
    "You keep using that word, but I do no think you know what it means." Luke said with skeptical a raise of his brow. I rolled my eyes and continued forward. Just then a giant mass of writhing water snakes leapt up and bit Phillip right in the neck! Naturally we all fled and took Phillip home. It was a good thing Kevan was on good standing with the town doctor and called him right away. It was several days before Phillip awakened. He slowly opened his right eye, and then the other before looking quite confused.
     "Why won't be arms move?" He asked.
     "You've been mostly dead for the past three days." Kevan answered from his side.
     "Alright," Phillip replied as he closed his eyes again and promptly fell asleep.
We never really did find out what was down there. Other than the obvious of course, but we decided that was enough adventure for one week and resigned to drinking our tea and staring out the window once again.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

House-Sitting

"Hey, cous," I began, as I sometimes do.
Hannah looked up from the mop she was dancing with and smiled. "Yes, love?"
"You know how you used to house-sit for folks all the time?"
"Ah," she sighed, "those were the days."
"Do you ever miss it?" I asked carefully, hoping she'd just say no and return to her funny dancing. But Hannah is more thoughtful than that, so she leaned hard on her mop and pondered the question. When she ponders, which is a very particular kind of thinking and not to be taken lightly, this cousin of mine squints her eyes and hums. And eventually, she will give an answer, as she did now.
"Let me preface it by saying," she insisted, "that I haven't drunk real milk in over three years."
"Noted," I noted, and she continued.
"I do miss it in some ways," said my thoughtful dear, "but" - and here, she looked around at our strange abode - "now that we live in The Station, and we have folks coming and going all the time and making themselves at home, I feel like I'm actually house-sitting for the whole world. So, I can't really miss what I'm still doing, right?"
I agreed, so glad to be house-sitting with her in this place of ours-and-everyone-else's. She went back to her dancing with the mop, who had two left feet, and I returned to my whittling. A new arrival came shuffling in from the rain and introduced himself as Knack. We gave him a cup of tea and a pen to sign his name somewhere. Smee popped by to help the newcomer with his bags, but realized upon sight that this was a long-lost nemesis of his. Without anymore warning than was absolutely necessary, swords flashed and bags were utterly forgotten in the tumult of war. I dropped my whittling and Hannah raised her mop high. We were part of this fight now, whether we wanted to be or not. Fortunately, we did.
"Hey cous," Hannah asked me, then, in the throws of battle.
"Yes, love?"
"Do you ever miss... whatever it is you did before?"
"Not at all," I answered swiftly, howling at the top of my lungs, for this was not the time to ponder and I had no mop to lean on, anyway.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Second Valenchristmas

Things have been quiet lately.

Too quiet.

Sometimes the lull of February can seem grey and lifeless. Especially when Valentine's Day rolls around. Most of your friends are out on the town with their significant other and you find yourself with a box full of chocolates and your favourite rom com. At least, you would if you didn't live at the Station. At the Station we celebrate the only other holiday so full of happiness and cheer, that it overshadows any thoughts you might have had about some thing that happens on some day some time. Thus Second Christmas was born. Second Christmas is even better than its former competitors in Kevan's humble opinion, for instead of what any other north american family would do at Christmas time, the Station has its own traditions. We took Second Christmas to be a portal back into the 1900's where the trees are real, light was brought to the home by candles, and everyone made their gifts. Especially at the Station. The whole point of us being together in one home is to create something, beautiful or not has nothing to do with it, but just to create. Music, art, musical art; the works. On the night of Second Christmas we were all gathered in the commons, basking in the candlelit glow of our magnificent live tree. A few brave souls had protested at even the thought of cutting down a tree for our own selfish pleasures of enjoying its beauty for a few weeks before it died and was thrown away. A popcorn and cranberry garland was sown, a dark satin tree skirt draped about the trunk. It was magnificent.
Kevan cleared his throat and every voice died down in an instant.
"Dearest friends and family, there are many things from which I might have derived good by which I have not profited, I dare say. Second Christmas is among the rest. I am sure I have always thought of Second-Christmas-time, when it has come round-apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that-as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, friends, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!"
As he finished a huge shout of celebration filled the room, almost blowing out the candles in its vigour. Kevan turned to me, raised his steaming hot mug of hot chocolate and smiled.
"God bless it everyone!" I finished.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wedding

Hannah and I really don't like to leave The Station too often. It just has everything we need - wide open space, hot tea, and a constant flow of interesting folk coming and going. What else is there? I wish we could say we don't leave because the place would fall apart without us, but the truth is, we just don't want to miss the experience when things go wrong. So, we typically stay nearby. But every once in a very blue moon, you know someone across the way who's getting married and you're invited. And if it's one of your favorite people in the world, such as was the case for us, you accept this invitation and go.
It was our dearest cousin Samantha and her union to a Mr. Spencer Adams. So, without a moments hesitation, we walked out our front door and headed toward wedding bells, leaving The Station unlocked and a Swedish pianist named Sk├╝gen in charge.
The ceremony was a glorious occasion, with song and tears galore. The groomsmen wore cardigans, as did I, and Hannah tried her best to sneak me into the processional as one of the party. I would have done so gladly with her on my arm, but the bridesmaids wore peach while Hannah donned a more traditional royal blue. Thusly, we resigned to comply as simple audience members, giving our blessing from the pews. Our attempts did not go unnoticed, however, and we were invited to dine at the King's Table during the reception. We traded veggies when no one was looking, and insisted the water was cherry flavored until everyone had to either play along or be accused of judging an Asian and a cripple. Then came the dancing! For once, Hannah danced to Taylor Swift (her arch rival for my affections), and we even provided a song ourselves - the tax of the bride and groom to see them kiss. It's true, we sang an acapella rendition of Moulin Rouge's "Elephant Love Medley" and scarred many of the elderly for the rest of their lives.
What a wonderful evening of celebrating one of our favorite people (and now we add Spencer to that short list)! Little did we know, the reception hall was magical - we should've guessed, being Sam's wedding and all. It is impossible to explain, as all magic is and especially when it has to do with time, but when we finally returned to The Station, we realized all the world was just slightly different. An hour different, to be exact, and our three hour gap - the bane of our existence - was now only two hours wide.
"Well," sighed Hannah as we sat down for tea, "this is nice."
"Yes," I agreed. "And to think, just two more weddings to go and that pesky gap will be history."
"Or nothing at all," suggested Hannah with a smirk.
I wanted to say how nice that would be but she'd already said something was nice, so I had to find a different response.
"Only time will tell."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Pancakes

It was every so often that late in the night Kevan and I would find ourselves still awake. Sometimes you simply cannot sleep, especially if that is what you wish for most in the world. The Station tends to be a little bit of a restless animal some might say. I felt my stomach grumble its bubbly moan and decided to creep out quietly to the kitchen to find something to munch on. I have a horrible weakness for midnight picnics. My bare feet shuffled across the cold cement floor as I made my way over to the fridge and peered inside.
"Care for a walk?" I heard beside me. I cautiously peeked one eye over the refrigerator door and then the other to fully view Kevan already wrapped up tightly in his dark wool overcoat. I shrugged and crammed the remainder of my leftover pancake in my mouth.
"How was that pancake?" Kevan smirked as we slid into the cool night air.
"Alright. There was a bit too much cake, not enough pan." I replied nonchalantly. Kevan chuckled softly in reply. The stars hung in the dark sky as tiny bits of mirror speckled across a dark secret corner. We breathed in the frosty air and walked slowly along, each lost in a world of different thoughts.
"Do you ever worry that you'll meet someone in a book and the more you read, the more you prefer their company to the real world? I know stories tend to end so suddenly, but you can keep them alive just by writing them new ones can't you? I get worried sometimes. That that will happen to me." I burst out suddenly. Kevan paused for a moment and looked out at the sea. He squinted his eyes and wiggled his nose to push his glasses back up on his face, as he so often does.
"Hannah, I wonder that almost as often as you do. I am more easily enticed by a character who is already fabricated to be charming and likeable for all their quirks and differences. I feel that if I look too hard I can fall right in. That is how the greats all did it. I'm convinced. They just fell right in. The characters simply become people and we play narrator to however they choose to live their lives."
"Do you think we're interesting enough to be someone's characters? I did just put an entire pancake in my mouth." I giggled.
"How could we not be? Two people who own an abandoned train station for the sole purpose of cultivating creative freedoms? I'd say we're at least worth a newspaper article or something." Kevan replied while flinging his arms in the air.
"A blog maybe?" I suggested.
"I'd settle for a blog." He replied. Suddenly we'd arrived back at our doorstep again. So we said goodnight and I headed off to bed. My eyelids grew heavy and as I smiled to myself, well I suppose I just decided that it was alright to lean in a little bit. How else could we go on all those impossible adventures?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snow on the Beach

"Snow cones," I asked. "What's your take on them?"

Hannah did that thing with her eyebrow that silently tells me I'm crazy. She gives me that look at least twice a day. But she also follows it up by entertaining my weird questions.

"Sure," she replied, "I'm alright with them, though I'm more of a long-walks-on-the-beach kinda girl."

"Yeah," I sighed, "I guess they're not really the type to do that, are they?"

"No, I suppose not," Hannah said sadly.

"Because they'd melt," I added, "and then someone would be bound to drown."

"Yeah."

A pause. I took a moment to think through this.

"What about the Abominable Snowman?" I asked at last. 

I was onto something. I knew it because Hannah raised her other eyebrow, which silently tells me I'm onto something. But just as she gave that affirming look, there came a knock on the door. That's the lovely thing (one of many, anyway) about The Station. You never have to go looking for Adventure - it always comes to your door. Sure, from there, you might go out for pizza with it, maybe a long walk on the beach or a game of chess in the park, light an abandoned building on fire or save a group of orphans from a sinking ship. But it always begins (at The Station, anyway) with a knock on the door.

I'm sorry to say this is not a continuation of our series on Madness. That will come further on down the road, as Hannah implied. You see, my dear cousin has this ability to see into the future, and she sometimes mixes it up with the present. So she says things in passing, like "Years passed until one day..." and we are all left hanging in the balance until either we reach that point in time naturally or she accidentally slips into that vision again and gives us more to go with. So, all that to say, the story of Madness will continue someday, and I wish I could confidently say when, but the truth is we are all at the mercy of Hannah's little quirk.