It’s Always Snowing in Nova Scotia: The Long Road Home

March 11, 2009 at 3:08 am 4 comments

I turn 20 on the car ride home. Danielle, Benji and Jon break out into song. It’s still snowing hard, and Jon’s dad tries his best to ignore us and keep from careening off the road.

After being gone for so long my greetings with everyone were oddly perfunctory. I said hello, people said hello back. Hugs were exchanged. We stood by the luggage belt in silence while Benji and Danielle argued about whether I needed help with my bags. When the four of us finally do start talking, it’s mostly about stuff they want to show me on the internet.

The car ride back comes off like an unending stream of hotlinks; Stephen’s blog, my blog, webcomics I should be reading, videos I should be watching, songs I should hear. I mentioned the Washington video; Danielle suggests Johnny Wander. When we get back to Danielle’s we will watch Metalocylpse until 3AM rather than talk. Before that happens Danielle mentions the only important thing I’ll hear tonight.

“You’ll have to meet Rachel while you’re here,” Danielle tells me.
“Your friend Rachel? I already know her.”
“Oh,” says Dani. “Well, anyway, she’s pregnant.”


Though I haven’t talked to her in years, I’ve actually known Rachel for longer than I’ve known Danielle, Jon or Stephen. I met her back in my first year of high school, when it was just me and Benji and a school full of enemies. I had moved to Amherst two years before and didn’t have many friends. Many of the people I did hang out with were the kinds of kids who only kept you around so they’d have someone to pick on; the kind who would throw things at you in class and try to pants you in public. It was not a particularly happy time in my life.

Benji was significantly better off; having lived here his whole life he had a large group of friends. But they were mostly skaters, and I never really fell in with them. There was no overlapping interest, and to be frank I found them huge and intimidating. Benji was still roughly my size, and a huge enough geek that we could talk about video games and television shows we both liked. It was the closest thing I had to a niche.

Rachel was another friend of Benji’s; not one of the skaters, just a girl he happened to know. I remember her being short and having some kind of medical issue; a surgical chest scar, or a hearing aid. Maybe both. Maybe neither. Though Rachel was around a lot over the next couple of years I never really got close to her or became friends. I think she was sarcastic a lot of the time. She may have had a good sense of humour. And now she was pregnant.

I try to figure out what I’ll say if I see her; “I see you’ve made some bad decisions.” “So, what have you been up to, besides getting pregnant?”. I ask Danielle for advice, and she tells me to act as if I don’t notice anything unusual.


We’ve made it to the house now, and there’s still a few minutes left between when we walk in the door and when we start watching TV because we have nothing to say. Danielle gives me two and a half years worth of birthday and Christmas presents; plastic dinosaurs, sticker books, mix tapes, a DVD copy of “Once Upon a Time in the West”, and three bags of BBQ chips. I give her comics, a ring and a rock I found for her at Stonehenge. Jon gets a beret; Stephen will be getting one too, when he arrives. The two barely take them off over the course of my visit.

At 3AM, when we’re done watching TV, Jon goes home while Danielle and Benji go to bed. I’ll be sleeping on the spare bed they have set up in the living room. Danielle and Benji have an apartment next to a tattoo parlour, and the ceiling leaks in at least five different places. An intricate array of pots and garbage bags keep the floor dry, but the water pours down all night. There’s constant splashing from all corners of the house, in every part of the room.

It’s like sleeping behind a waterfall.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

It’s Always Snowing in Nova Scotia: Prologue It’s Always Snowing in Nova Scotia: “Rattlesnakes”

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dani  |  March 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    Yeah Rach has a chest scar from her 13 (I think, maybe more) open heart surgeries and a hearing aid.
    I’m really sorry about my gradual social retardation. I’ve lost the ability to maintain meaningful conversation. It bothers me a lot actually. I mean I wouldn’t say I was ever a social butterfly, but I used to pass for intellectual.
    These things come with living with Benji I suppose.

  • 2. jon  |  March 12, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    I didnt’t watch Metalocalypse with you guys, cuz I had school the next day….and a midterm which I got 86 percent on BOOYA! I also forbade you people to do anything interesting until I got there from school the next day.

  • 3. Dani  |  March 12, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Which is why we didn’t :D

  • 4. jon  |  April 5, 2009 at 10:38 pm

    dude.its been almost a month.way to keep failing to post


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