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Aurora Borealis

I: For the sake of irony

The sun held so much joy to most people. The sun represented new beginnings, bright paths ahead, happiness, pleasure. It gave them warmth after every winter, light after every rainfall. It grew their food and fed their bellies. Without any sun, or light, or warmth, what joy would humanity hold? What would anybody have to look forward to if there weren't any chance for fresh starts and clean summer air? For the most part, everybody could agree that the yellow star in the sky was the best tonic. But through all of the noise and business that was typical of the Sunshine State, there was one man who couldn't stand it. A man who despised the sun, who hated the warmth, who had grown so tired of everything that he had ever known. He would be found climbing up the walls, searching for something greater in the world other than the boiling heat of the sun, the blinding light of midday, that stupid fucking ball of fire and death, dangling in the sky, taunting him with its annoying yet necessary presence.

hat man was named Jack Barakat, and his friends were starting to get just as annoyed with his attitude as he himself was at the sun. But Jack couldn't help himself; he was tired of feeling unfulfilled with his life; living the same day, in the same place, eating the same food at the same table, and never ever experiencing the real world. And for Christ sake, who could blame him? A conservative, redneck, reserved town in northern Florida was not the place for a liberal young man. He was the black sheep of his town, and he often found himself being used as a scapegoat. He supposed he was an easy target, due to his cynicism and for the fact that he was such a contrast from everybody else. However, just because he understood why he was cast out didn't mean that he was dismissive about it.

He was expressing his sentiments to his friend Zack, who had been his best mate and most trusted friend since their freshman year of high school. And although he knew that Zack was sympathetic with him, it also was no secret that Zack did not share his feelings. No matter how hard his friend tried, he just couldn't imagine hating the sun of all things. He didn't see any problem with the star. Of course there was the issue of getting burned, but that wasn't anything a little sunscreen couldn't fix. Not knowing how else to comfort his friend, he tried to use humor to make light of Jack's situation.

"What are you gonna do," he said, "run away to the north pole? I hear they have 24 hour darkness there; you'll never have to see the sun again. Live in an igloo just like the Inuit did. Speak whatever weird language they speak over there." He joked offensively, waving his hand at the air with indifference. Albeit, he had only pure intentions.

"I'm just gonna pretend that what you just said wasn't really racist." Jack rolled his eyes, sitting next to his friend on the couch in Jack's living room.

But when Zack left his apartment that evening as the sun had just started to set, he couldn't help but ponder about his friend's witticism. Of course he knew that he was just making a jest, but a part of him wouldn't let himself forget about it. His mind had attached some sort of importance to the idea of 'running away to the north pole' as Zack had put it.
He went into his kitchenette to make himself a cup of coffee, still assessing his friend's words. The more he contemplated it, the more he realized just how ridiculous the idea was.

"Run away to the north pole," he scoffed, mocking his friend when no one was there to hear him "as if. That's so stupid."

But a spark of curiosity ensued in him when he realized he didn't even know a lot about the north. He's never left Florida before, and he realized just how ignorant he really was. What language did they speak? Did people even live there? Did they really live in igloos? When his coffee was finished brewing, he decided to humor himself and search online for answers to his questions. He set his mug down on the coffee table before opening his laptop and situating himself on his couch. The apartment had been completely dark since the sun had set, and now the only light in the room was the blue glow on Jack's face coming from his computer screen. The first question he searched on google was 'Is the north pole a part of Canada?' The answer was a firm no; apparently, no country owned the north pole or the ocean surrounding it. However, Canada did invoke a sector principle to claim sovereignty in 1907, for a sector that stretched from its coasts to the north pole. For some reason, this disappointed Jack. He always imagined that Canada was the north pole.

That night, Jack fell down the rabbit hole of the internet. It started with a little curiosity, then just one simple question, and soon enough he had read every Wikipedia page about each province and territory of Canada. He developed deep and hateful feelings towards John A. MacDonald for his mistreatment of the aboriginal and Inuit people, fell in love with Justin Trudeau and his flimsy socks, and now he was reading an article about how three men in Quebec stole 18 million dollars worth of maple syrup. He was hooked.

By the time it was 4 in the morning, he found himself clicking through tourist websites. He told himself that he wasn't really looking at these websites 'cause he was interested in touring. Rather, he convinced himself he was doing it for the sake of irony. He would tell Zack all about the stupid questions he had, and about the discoveries he made, and then they would have a good laugh about it, neither of them taking it seriously. In the back of his mind, Jack knew that he was being a little more genuine than he would like to admit. Here was his chance to finally leave. Jack was notorious for being cynical. He was cynical about life, about the meaning of the universe (claiming that there was none). He was cynical about money and about society, about who he was and where he came from. From the time he was in middle school, barely 12 years old, he was telling everyone that he swore that he would leave this place the moment he got the chance. Once he graduated high school, he simply kept telling himself that the opportunity hadn't shown itself to him. But the truth was that he had the chance to leave the moment he left high school. He could've gone anywhere he wanted to for university, but he chose to stay in Florida. He could've moved anywhere in the world once he graduated, but instead he chose to live in an apartment that was in his hometown. The hometown he claimed to hate so much, with its burning sun and its brightly coloured flowers.

Suddenly, he was filled with grief. He missed so many openings because of his own choices, and yet here he was blaming everyone and everything else except for himself. But he had some feeling for hope; maybe the window of opportunity was still open. Perhaps, it wasn't too late to break free from the chains of his life and into the uncertainty of adventure. It was now 6 in the morning, his eyes were burning from the radiation of his computer screen, but he couldn't stop now. He was looking at flight tickets, again, he said he was doing it for irony's sake, but he knew he truly wasn't anymore. There was one that was leaving at 2:00pm in Tampa, Florida, and arriving in Iqaluit at 7:00pm. It was a five hour flight, but both Nunavut and Florida used Eastern time for the most part, so he wouldn't have to worry about jet lag. He was about to click the button that said 'book', his finger just hovering over the mouse pad. He was having doubts, second thoughts, reconsideration. He was thinking about everything that could go wrong; the plane could crash, he could under-pack, he could get stranded in Iqaluit, what if he doesn't find a place to stay? What if he never sees his family and friends again?

No, he thought. He wouldn't let the door close on him this time. He was done making excuses, he decided. With just a final click of his mouse pad, he found himself paying for a plane ticket.


Aloha~ this is my new story, I hope ya.ll like it so far. This was kinda inspired by all of the "is Canada even real?" memes. I found them funny considering I am Canadian, and so in honour of all the jokes about Canada, here's a story.

In case you were wondering, there actually were three men that stole 18 million dollars worth of maple syrup in Quebec. It sounds ridiculous, but a liter of the stuff can cost up to 20 dollars CAD. Here's the article Jack was reading: https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2017/01/27/men-convicted-in-quebec-maple-syrup-theft-should-face-stiff-penalties-crown-says.html


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