Part 6: In the following days, you hold up your part of the bargain. For date night, you prepare a meal of fresh local food which you only had to ask four people how to obtain. You go out dancing to traditional songs, beautiful melodies composed from the most romantic of poverty-stricken situations. The two of you sway together. The music and fresh air encourage smiles and you feel warm and safe and loved.
But when you are alone, anxieties fill reservoirs in your mind. Charm can’t fill the oil tank in February. How can you offer stability in this boom or bust life? You recall the restraint in the therapist’s voice: you sound frustrated. Well, no shit doctor obvious.
THE SOUND OF POST-OIL
Jerry Dick, Executive Director of Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, talks about how people in the province used to create homes and communities that responded to local landscapes. He asks how we can create homes and communities for a sustainable future.
And as for the discussion of relationship care, true partnership, and the list of love-renewing activities, everyone knows trust falls only succeed when everyone has a hand in. It’s why they’re team building exercises. Has there ever been a time in your existence when everything went swimmingly for everyone involved? That oil money gave you award winning gourmet restaurants and a spike in opiate use. You got a fancy hockey stadium and abandoned rural communities. A financial incentive for new families and Danny’s Babies in foster care. Trust falls indeed. Where was your foresight back then? Why didn’t you grab the opportunity then to lay down a safety net? Your catch quota has been decreasing for years. There can’t be trust falls with Muskrat Falls. You couldn’t even be sensible with Churchill Falls.
You can still get out of it all. Lower your expectations and eke out an existence as a pit stop. See if you can spark interest as an island landfill like that garbage import proposal back in the 90s. Be a watered-down backwater. Let yourself be molded in the image of true industry – I’m sorry Love, this is what I’m good for. Now, you can pack off to Ontario guilt-free.
Your lover texts you: Thanks for last night. I am never more myself when I’m with you. xo
Your phone screen reflects the smile on your face. What a grinnin’ fool. But that’s what a bit of hope can do. And who are you really if you’re not trying? You love back too hard in spite of everything. You can’t salt the earth just yet.
Read more from the Post-Oil NL project. You can find other fiction and nonfiction stories related to the Post-Oil NL project here.
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All this started with a set of discussion papers organized by Memorial University sociology professor Barb Neis in 2016, called Asking the Big Questions: Reflections on a Sustainable Post Oil-dependent Newfoundland and Labrador. We’ve built a bunch of stories around the issues we read about in the papers: audio stories, flash fiction, opinion, and essays. (We’ll keep dropping new content every two weeks.) I’d like to thank Barb Neis and the authors of the sixteen discussion papers for starting this discussion and for talking to us about their visions (or nightmares) for the future.