Pulse Issue 2: 2023

I'll Never Forgive the Dorval Bus Terminal

by: Cameron Atlas Chiovitti

Maybe my past could tell the future. I’ll never know because I lost one of the best years of my life on a bus—frozen moments sleeping within the cracked glass of my iPod Touch. I swear, if I swiped back far enough for long enough, I could mimic the shape of all the laughter that lurked on my lips. Once, my first foamy heart whispered sweet nothings into my hips, and my crush surprised me with a peppermint hot chocolate. I imagine the taste of her tongue swirling in syrup, but I can’t picture the shape of her smile. I’m too young to forget every time I was too young to be happy. Am I still me without the childhood wall decals dimpled into my cheeks? They were butterflies, I think. I don’t remember because I can’t. Any bus headed west in November is never a safe place to lose yourself. I wonder who at this terminal knows me better than I do after snatching my metallic memories from the moldy midnight seat I left them in. I wonder how many potholes my iPod had to brace alone. I wonder if whoever found it learned how to hold my past without letting it slice through their thumbs, or if they were already calloused enough to unlock someone else’s time. Anything etched into code must be decoded by strangers. I’ll call this ‘the law of the lonely.’ Nobody really cares about my joy unless they need some too. I hope someone kept it safe for as long as they could. I hope they exposed my joy onto the love lines of their palms. I hope they painted the stars in my teeth on the bus’ ceiling. Gums and all. Let me at least make a Michelangelo out of sticky fingers. Let the red paint drip onto someone’s suit. Let their suit stain the washing machine. Let the washing machine burst into flames in the night as it absorbs all my longing.

Cameron Atlas Chiovitti is a creative writing student at OCAD University, where they’ve served as the Events & Fundraising Coordinator for the second issue of Pulse Literary Journal and currently host weekly open mics for the student body. Cameron’s own work tackles topics such as mental health and queer identity with curiosity and a playful approach to form. All of their published work, including their debut chapbook, Paint My Skin With Sweetness, can be found here: https://linktr.ee/maskofpoetry .