Day 341 - Roxanne (1st person I approached)
December 07, 2014 - I was walking down the street, and I tried to overtake the person in front of me. I tend to be a fairly fast walker. Turns out the person in front of me was also rather fast. Every time I went to overtake her, she would swerve to pass the person in front of her, keeping me in place, a few steps behind her. We both turned to our left and headed for the same entrance into the mall. I strode up beside her, and caught her attention. We laughed as I explained that I felt like I was about to get in her way. I managed to get to the door first and held it open to let her through first. Then I hurried to catch up, explained what I am doing, and asked her if she would chat with me. We found a seat and spent the next ten minutes chatting.
Roxanne was born in Lanigan, a small town in south-central Saskatchewan. Lanigan is home to the richest and purest potash deposits in the world. When Roxanne was still an infant, the car she was travelling in was involved in a serious accident.
“My aunt was holding me in her arms. The car flipped over and my aunt put up her arm to shield me. Her arm, which had been protecting my face, was covered in lacerations,” she told me. There was an affinity with her aunt throughout her childhood.
“My mother was injured in the accident. We lived with my maternal grandparents for most of the the first four years of my life. They helped with my mother’s recuperation, and then subsequently, my mother’s pregnancy with my younger brother. He is just over a year younger than I am. I have another brother who is seven years younger and my youngest sister is twelve years younger. I was closest with my brother who is just a year younger than I am. It was almost like two different families, because of the age difference,” said Roxanne.
“My grandparents lived in the southeast corner of the province (of Saskatchewan). I was very close with my them. When I was almost four, we moved to Regina. My parents, my younger brother and me. I remember clearly not being happy about it. We got to Regina and I remember packing a bag, only with pyjama bottoms, no tops, and heading for the bus stop to go back to my grandparents. I don’t even know how I would know to wait at a bus stop. I just remember wanting to go back and not being happy we had moved,” she recalled.
In elementary school, Roxanne was active in sports.
“My parents wouldn't let us participate in organized sports. Except for basketball. I somehow managed to talk them into letting me play on the basketball team in junior high school. I guess I did that for two years,” she said.
Roxanne and a friend of hers took a trip to Alberta, where she met a young man. He followed her to Regina the following year. They got engaged when Roxanne was seventeen and still in high-school. A year after her graduation, they married.
“We moved to Calgary,” she said.
“I guess looking back, about a month into it I realized that we shouldn’t have done that. We tried to make it work, and were together for six years.”
On a trip to Vancouver with a girlfriend, Roxanne knew it was time to end the relationship.
“I had tried to leave a couple of times before, but it can be difficult in a small town. It’s not easy. I knew that if I was going to get out of it, I had to make a break and move away. My friend and I were in Gastown (Vancouver) and we didn’t know where to go or what to do. There was a guy sitting on a bench across the street from us. I just knew to go and talk to him. Turns out he was a deejay and of course, he knew where to go," she said.
“My girlfriend and I went back home. I tracked down the deejay friend when I was back in Calgary and told him I was moving to Vancouver. I left my husband and moved out here a month later. He and I (the deejay) became really good friends,” she said.
“I felt like I had been a grown-up for so long already, and I was only twenty-five. I spent the next few years just having fun. All the things you’d get out of your system in your late teens and early twenties. It felt so good to be free and have fun. I certainly spent some time making up for feeling like an adult from such an early age,” she said, smiling.
Eventually, Roxanne went to Langara College (Vancouver) and took a bunch of courses.
"I was doing what I had been doing in Calgary. I was working in an office, in finances for oil and gas companies,” she said.
“I met another man, but never got married again. We had been together for a year when I got pregnant. Then I had my daughter. Her father and I separated after six years together,” she said.
“My daughter is fourteen now. We have a great relationship. She lives with her father during the week and most weekends with me.”
I asked Roxanne what she was looking for in the mall. I promised I wouldn’t spoil any Christmas surprises.
“I like to make things. I collect odd items and make stuff out of them. I like thrift store finds, and discovering things at dollar stores and making my own things,” she said. Roxanne was on a mission. Enough said.
“I’ll be spending Christmas with my daughter at her father’s, with his family. I’m going to their house. It’s important that we have a good relationship, especially with a child involved,” said Roxanne.
“We get along very well still.” #notastranger