In Susan’s dream for her life, she’d live in a lovely little one bedroom apartment in a quirky little neighbourhood in Toronto that would be filled with plants and homemade artwork or textiles inspired by Pinterest. There would be windows, creaky floorboards and bricks. She’d wake up every morning to make a very strong cup of coffee and listen to music while getting ready for work and putting on her makeup. She’d read on her bus route or listen to a sermon or Charles Dickens as an audiobook or do a bible meditation.
She’d work as a receptionist at Keller Williams where she’d help people and tell bad jokes about Manitoba that nobody would laugh at. She wouldn’t be the most natural at administrative tasks but she’d work hard to be competent and the best part of her day would be visiting with people or greeting them on the phone. When she made a mistake, she’d own up to it and she’d learn to take constructive criticism with a soft heart. And occasionally, she’d be rewarded by a smile from one of the five agents she’s crushing on at the time.
Eventually, she’d teach ESL as a night class just like her Aunty Siobhan and her Nana Maeve. She’d be a receptionist by day and a teacher by night. Her class would write simple poetry or mini-prose and play drama games to help with language acquisition.
On nights when she wasn’t teaching, she’d go to Grace Groups with her church and pick up groceries on her way home. Or maybe she’d write on her old laptop while eating rice crackers and salsa or sing to Karen Carpenter and clean the bathroom. Or maybe she’d host board game nights and do people’s nails.
Maybe she’d date boys or maybe she’d just write love stories that made her cry and walk around her apartment picking up post-it note reminders about needing toilet paper, just like Kathleen Turner in “Romancing the Stone.”
And then on Saturdays, her favourite day of the week, she’d go to a studio where she’d meet with other theatre artists. They would find new and interesting ways to tell stories, like making “t.v. shows” in coffee shops and perform a new episode once a week. Even though only ten people would show up to their performances (and maybe only three out of the ten would like what the performers made), it wouldn’t matter because the crew was having fun and getting stronger at their craft.
Sundays would be reserved for sleeping in and laundry, worship practice and church. At night, she’d watch Masterpiece Theatre and BBC crime dramas like her parents used to do. Susan would knit the same ball of yarn she’s been knitting for years. Once she reaches the end, she rips it out and starts all over again. It’s only purpose is to keep her hands busy. Her sister would text her pictures of her rescue dog named Juniper and Susan would text back photos of her special needs cat named Hobbit who would be purring by Susan’s feet.
Once the show was over, she’d make her lunch for Monday and have a long bath. She’d stare at the wall, find the answers to all her writing problems and daydream about becoming a real estate agent so she can create sustainable housing and explore ways to bring the Truth and Reconciliation Act into real estate. And maybe one day, she’ll be able to use her earnings to create more beautiful things onstage and it would allow her to be a stay-at-home foster mom who brings her kids to rehearsals.
After she wrote all her dreams down, she’d get into her favourite pyjamas and fall asleep with wet hair because she likes the way it styles itself when she’s unconscious. Hobbit would stay by her side the whole night and neither of them would snore loud enough to make the other wake up. Right before she fell asleep, she’d pray the deepest thank you she’s ever said to God and even if He took it all away like He did to Job, she’d still be thankful for the moment she had it. Then she’d fall asleep and do it all over again.