i left Sicamous in the 80s, tired of the small town lack of privacy, tired of gender role expectations. i remember thinking, as i waved my parents goodbye from the window of a greyhound bus, that i was free for the first time in my life. the city provides anonymity and space to discover oneself, to fuck up and learn. i swore i wouldn’t miss home and for a long time i didn’t. i returned begrudgingly, out of obligation, and then out of necessity, to assist my parents who failed, one after the other. but growing older is a different matter and, now that my parents are both dead, i daydream of my hometown, at least an older version of it. in my mind Sicamous is veiled by memories and, like the fading heat of summer, they cast a soft orange glow to the rough edges of an old mill town.
in preparation for a new short story series i’m writing, i went back to my hometown. i wandered around and took some photos. it was eyeopening. the town is poor and, although there’s modernization in the form of numerous condo complexes, there are areas that look as they did when i lived there 30 years ago. there’s the same ‘fuck you’ graffiti on the concrete underneath the train bridge, and the potholes at the public dock are definitely deeper. lukie’s store is decrepit. and the crazy old man on Riverside Road’s crazy son has taken over the title and the mobile home(stead). discarded kitchen appliances line the same faltering fence. mean dogs patrol the perimeter.
to think about home and leaving home, about not going home and no longer feeling able to go home feels like ‘what came after’. i came after. and that’s all right.