Months had come and gone, monotonous, dreary months, no home, no work, no friends. Then suddenly the sun emerged over a surprised and rain soaked city, dancing in light.

When evening came I watched the sun teeter on the mountain backbone of Vancouver Island. On a bench at the edge of time I watched it flare a silent goodbye. Great shards of light lit up the western sky and overhead the first eager stars came winking on.

Giant firs, silent cedars, the gaunt arms of cherry, maple and beech; black silhouettes to a soft undulating ocean of liquid gold. Waves, surprised, hissed their disquiet on a sudden beach. I watched from the heart of silence in the rich wet light.

Someone was coming. An old woman shuffled along the path, approaching slowly; a black stark figure against the golden sea. Bent with age, the crone scraped closer. No more than three feet away, the dark impenetrable silhouette turned. Two brilliant blue eyes held mine. Thrusting a long stemmed flower beneath my nose she said, “smell this.” Startled, I inhaled the delicate fragrance of rose. Her eyes smiled, as did mine. Then just as quickly the rose was taken back, and turning she shuffled away, swallowed in darkness.

Six months later on a cold winter morning I approached the ramp to the Lions Gate Bridge. From the top I saw a freighter heading out to sea. In the bay, ten or more freighters rode anchor on a dark green heaving sea. Leaving the bridge the traffic flowed through the dense forest of Stanley Park. Emerging from the trees the city appeared, bathed in morning light. Gearing down, the bike leaned into the corner the mufflers rumbling quietly, then a sharp right at the lights followed by a left and then another.

Mc Donalds is the early morning haunt for the winos of Denman Street. Each morning they came seeking warmth for cold bodies and if lucky wrap cold hands around hot cups. Coming to a stop I flicked the kick stand out and propped the bike up. Pulling off my gloves I lifted the helmet off and hung it over the mirror.

Looking up I saw a man in front of me. About six feet tall and slim for his height his clothes were worn and dirty. I thought he’d come to beg money for coffee. A pair of pale blue watery eyes peered from an unshaven face beneath a head of matted hair. With an almost toothless smile he asked me about the bike and in brief moments two motorcycle buffs were swapping tales in a black freezing parking lot, laced with sunlight. Time had stopped.

When he left and shambled on his way I knew the talk of motorcycles was a pretext for two beings to share eternity in the heart of time. Then sudden tears like April showers blurred my sight.

Despite your many disguises you still touch my heart.

Colin Mallard. 
April 2007

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