I Miss Pilgrim

Posted: September 20, 2011 in Chawn, The World Needs More Canada

 

 

I am on a train.

 

I have taken my seat across from my good friend Pilgrim, who is sitting on the floor, next to some uncomfortable-looking businessmen. It’s a hot day, and Pilgrim is wearing his customary beanie and anorak.

 

But that’s not why the atmosphere is so tense.

 

I have walked in on a conversation, and conversations on public transport make people feel like Wikus Van De Merwe is trying to buy some fast food. I look above my head and see a sign with a picture of two men talking to each other and a big red line through it. It is clear that this is simply not done. This is forbidden.

 

But this is England! And nobody enforces rules without riot gear on first. I look around the carriage, and see Gregorius, Katie, The Boy Shave, Handsome Jawline, Danosaur. Leah, Tommy, Lydia the English Canadian and Long-Distance Clara. They are scattered about the carriage, watching with a smile as Pilgrim does what he does best.

 

He is having an awkward conversation.

 

With a woman.

 

With a woman on a train.

 

Pilgrim is saying something about choosing where you can sit on a train. Gregorius explains to me subtly that this lady has been flitting between carriages, and Pilgrim went and made a hilarious comment.

 

Which was hilarious!

 

And which she overheard.

 

It shouldn’t be about policy!” says The Mover.

 

Pilgrim makes a Pilgrim expression, and the Chawns all smile.

 

I’m just saying you can sit where you want.” announces Pilgrim diplomatically. The Mover is angry, and going a redder shade of ebony. There is condensation on the window behind her ears as she explains confusingly that there are some really fat people in the front carriage.

 

Pilgrim looks away from her, and scans the carriage for a face that isn’t hiding in The Metro. For support. For encouragement.

 

For me.

 

I am the reinforcements. Pilgrim is visibly reassured by my unwavering and steadfast sitting down.

 

I mean, just look at all the Street Invaders!”

 

Street Invaders is a summer youth activity programme in Canada, and we are all Street Invaders, under the command of Pilgrim.

 

Except that Pilgrim has just spoken looking directly at me. People are now subtly staring at me as they try to hide the fact that they’re watching.

 

Hang on.

 

He has somehow brought me into the conversation! I look around, and don’t see any secret police. But I do see plenty of uncomfortable businessmen sweating, and I believein sweaty businessmen. I decide to ease their suffering, but vow to stay truly faithful to our Calgary Kingpin. I will join the conversation, but pretend to be a random, and say what a random would say, thereby lightening the atmosphere, whilst voicing a transition into agreeing with Pilgrim!

 

It is foolproof.

 

I speak up.

 

Erm, i’m sorry. Street Invaders?

 

The carriage laughs, and I smile.

 

Pilgrim doesn’t smile.

 

I smile. Pilgrim’s such a great actor. He looks genuinely upset with my contribution. He can swallow toothpaste and spit as well as that bloke with the massive mouth out of the Return Of The King extended edition who gets his head chopped off by Irish Aragorn.

 

Yeah, that’s what they call them.”

 

Right.”

 

A smaller ripple of merriment. I am a train hero! I have spared the heat of the conversation, and now I shall loudly side with Pilgrim.

 

Actually that’s a pretty cool name. Who wouldn’t want to be called a Street Invader?”

 

Pilgrim smiles. Until The Mover pipes up again.

 

I intercede.

 

And am dragon-flamed.

 

I start to sweat. And am wondering if a lovely game of chicken goggles might help the situation when I feel the carriage slowing down and pulling up at the bus station outside Savage and Elton’s house.

 

I get out.

 

Onto the classically Saskatchewan Stoughton sandiness.

 

And shout over to Gregorius, who is over by the Esso.

 

Gregorius! Can you ask Pilgrim how many people he can take in his car to Regina?”

 

Gregorius shoves his head into Pilgrim’s 1978 Nissan Sunny and shouts back. “Just one more!”

 

The coach drives off.

 

Oh.

 

We have one too many people. I definitely shouldn’t have got off the coach.

 

We’ll work it out Dan. Somebody else’ll surely be doing the ride over. It’s only like an hour away.”

 

We decide to go to the Esso and get fake slurpees.

 

I smile.

 

And wake up.

 

And sigh.

 

I miss Pilgrim.

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