Comfort Me With Perogies

It had been a long week, hell, it had been a long month.


Join. Me. At. The. Ukrainian. Festival.
said Gay Retired Schoolteacher (who also happens to be Ukrainian, a very rare combo in my life) in an email. I laughed my head off. How un-postmodern! As if!

And then, for reasons unknown to my conscious self, I went.

Bloor St West, lined with booths for Ukrainian, Italian, Jamaican food. Popcorn, candy apples, pysankas, poppyseed roll. I gulped with anxiety. My heart started beating fast. Couldn’t find my friend, his cellphone turned off.

The sun came out. I noticed flashes of beauty, like three girls strutting their head dresses and embroidered costumes, flowers in a gritty streetscape.

I found my friend. We went straight to the perogy booth and stood in a lineup in the sun. I lamented my packed teaching schedule. My friend’s schedule on the other hand, goes something like this: Go to opera. Have dinner with friends. Attend Italian lessons. Go to Italy. In between these lovely moments is the hardship of caring for elderly parents. All of it anchored by a chosen family of queers mingled with a biological family. They all seem to love one another, and mix regularly at weekly and ritual meals.

I. Envy. Your. Routine. I said.

My friend glanced at me with mild surprise. Your. Teaching. Is. Your. Routine. He said.

We reached the perogy booth, and both of us ordered the perogy and meat platter.

We took our laden paper plates to a beer tent and ate those divine, soft, sensual perogies while a band played Ukrainian songs to a cheezy rock ‘n roll beat.

Much later, I went home, laden with rye bread and a stomach full of dough, potato, sauerkraut, pork. Didn’t really need dinner, after that.

Your. Teaching. Is. Your. Routine.

My daily practice. My dharma.

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