Moving to Regina
by D.A. Pratt

Changing cities after my grade ten year effectively bisected my life as a high school student. I understood this immediately but I only really realized how much it “changed everything” until years later. The move meant more than just changing high schools, more than just surrendering the friendships I began in grade seven for a new and very different set of friendships that would extend into my university years. In retrospect, the following stand out from “when I moved” . . .

First, during grades nine and ten, I regularly talked to girls (often in lengthy and quite creative telephone conversations). I also regularly attended and generally enjoyed school dances. Part of the pleasure from those dances included a bit of a ritual: one of the prettiest girls in our grade (in both years) consented to sharing one dance with me (obviously there’s a story to this). In complete contrast, at my new high school I hardly ever talked to girls: I didn’t know them and a renewed shyness simply took over. Of course, attending school dances was out of the question.

Secondly, listening to music changed for me after the move to Regina. It became a solitary activity. My friends at my first high school were “into music” and it seemed that we discussed music “all the time.” This was not the case at my new high school. Something significant was lost. I discovered the music of Simon and Garfunkel during my university years but what was lost was indeed lost …

Moving had a third “something”: once we were away from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, my mother’s alcoholism had its chance to finally fully flourish and it did … nothing would ever be the same …

IMAGE: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, postcard.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The challenge in creating this piece of prose was the limitation to 300 words … my first draft was longer … not surprisingly … “When I Moved” for most people would lend itself to longer descriptions … the move by my parents from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, to Regina, Saskatchewan, was our second move within the province (the first was just before I started Grade One) … parenthetically, the most significant event of my existence occurred when I was two years old: my parents returned to Saskatchewan after moving away from the province where I was born … I now see this as failing to escape from the place! ¶ Reading the multi-volume “work” entitled My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard has led to some insights about my own life … I now understand that I had no long-term “companions” during my childhood and early youth … I was actually mulling this over yet again when I saw the call for submissions on the “When I Moved” theme …¶ The division of my high school years was something I vowed I would not “do to my children” (and Linda and I didn’t!) … parenthetically, I have not ever attended a reunion for either of my two high schools — curiously, while working on this piece, an invitation to attend a “graduating class reunion” for my first high school arrived in my e-mail … I wonder if anyone would remember me … I will note, frankly and forthrightly, that my mother’s alcoholism was present and apparent before we moved to Regina … its effects on our family of three were ongoing … but, in a certain way, the move to Regina probably ultimately led to her recovery …¶ The creative process for this piece was fairly simple … I opted for the old rule: introduce yourself, make three points and “get out” … the 300-word limit certainly created conciseness … the version that I submitted was this micro-essay’s seventh … one just has to stop revising at some point … cheers!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: D.A. (David) Pratt “continues to continue” in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. By the way, Regina indeed rhymes with “vagina,” as Mick Jagger noted so enthusiastically when the Rolling Stones played two concerts at the football stadium in the city a few years ago. David considers himself an outsider within what he sees as a completely conventional community — this is summed up in his self-portrait poem published by Silver Birch Press in 2014.