Angie Abdou's The Bone Cage

by Shaun Hunter


Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers

Students performing in front of the George Norris sculpture (known on campus as The Prairie Chicken) at the University of Calgary in 1977. (Photo: Glenbow Museum)

Students performing in front of the George Norris sculpture (known on campus as The Prairie Chicken) at the University of Calgary in 1977. (Photo: Glenbow Museum)

Swimmer Sadie Jorgenson is training for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She spends her days in the University of Calgary pool, where she “has memorized every line, every crack, every drain, every single wad of gum.” On a March afternoon, Sadie comes up for air. On the lawn in front of the Phys Ed complex, she meets her friend Lucinda.

 

Calgary has started to melt, and the smell of wet soil fills Sadie’s nostrils; a fast chinook wind blows her hair in her eyes. She raised her face into the warm air, breathes deeply, knows it won’t last. It’s not even the end of March. Calgarians will see minus twenty again.

Sadie and Lucinda walk across campus, past the student union building and towards the Phys Ed complex. Undergrads pour out of the buildings into the sun’s warmth, prematurely wearing shorts and pushing their sleeves over their shoulders, splaying their bodies across benches, playing Frisbee on the wet grass, skidding across the patches of snow. Sadie wants to rest in the sunshine too. “Want to stop, Lucinda? Time? I’ve got half an hour before my cage shift.” She slows her pace and points at a green bench were two boys pack books into knapsacks, rushing off to class.

Both boys wear mirrored glasses and have just the slightest hint of sunburn on the tips of their noses. One of them smiles at Sadie and Lucinda, and waves his arm over the abandoned bench as if he’s prepared it just for them. “Enjoy, my ladies.”

In Calgary, everyone is friendlier during a chinook.

 

 

Angie Abdou, The Bone Cage (NeWest Press, 2007)