Sunday 11:00 a.m. 20**
The words of Sia’s “Breathe me” faded my thoughts into the background.
Saturday 8:30 p.m. 20**
I knew her. We’d been friends for years. Not close friends or better friends but at the very least, club friends. We’d never really spent any time together outside loud speakers and spilled drinks. It was the night after her birthday party and I had officially asked to take her out for dinner and drinks. I’m not too sure what my intentions were or if I even really liked her. If anything, I was just looking for someone to grab a bite with. She’s not typically the kind of person that I consciously seek out.
We met randomly a couple of years back and occasionally met up at clubs as a form of keeping in touch. I vaguely recollect that night: my homeboy and I were walking back to his car filled with several combinations of vodka and soda water when we spotted two girls dressed clueslessly doing cartwheels on the lawn of Osgoode Hall. So of course it was inevitable that we approached them.
I don’t remember the night we met like it was yesterday. There was nothing in the air nor was it fate. It was just another typical after the club walk on a regular summer late Friday evening/ early Saturday morning. In fact, I distinctly remember thinking her friend was cuter and had a more attractive style. Not good style by any means, just a more appealing version of a pseudo surf chick.
She was wearing flip flops, a blue cut off jean skirt and a gray zip up hoodie over a pink halter top which I’m guessing all came from American Eagle. She had no make-up on, her hair was messy, light brown and not styled in any distinct way. I don’t particularly gravitate towards people who look like they’ve been spending most of their time sitting around camp fires telling ghost stories. She was no exception. Honestly, I never understood girls or people for that matter that lived in a city like Toronto where it’s practically cold ten out of the twelve months of the year who dressed as if the beach was walking distance from their home. I love this city but we do not have white sands. We have dirty city streets that are paved with vomit, urine and disease. If you are at Ashbridges Bay on a sunny summer day then fine, I get it, but the rest of the time, please, put some shoes on.
Tonight was pretty much like the first night we met, nothing special. I didn’t have anything planned. We didn’t meet up at a fancy restaurant. I’m not even really sure why I volunteered to take her out but there we were waiting together to get a patio seat in a quaint little Indian restaurant on Baldwin Street. I like Indian food but it never sits quite right in my stomach. To my surprise, the dinner conversation went well. I guess you really learn more about a person through sober conversations outside bad DJs and smoke machines, go figure. Several pieces of Naan bread and a few cocktails into the evening and she began to tell me about herself. This seemingly ordinary, simple dressed, make-up free, five foot eight, poor man’s version of the “girl-next-door” really began to peak my interest. I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk along Harbour front and continue our conversation. She said she knew the perfect place. We drove towards the shoreline and came upon a dark unlit secluded spot. We sat on the bumpy rocks over looking the city lights across the calm and quiet lake water. We continued uninhibitedly pouring our hearts out to each other and connected as if we had been friends for years.
She told me some things that I could have deducted through personal observation. She grew up in a small town in the country which was obvious by her lack of fashion sense. But as the night went on the small talk turned into sad stories and club friends became consoling hearts. Her mother was a recovering drug addict and her father abandoned her at the age of 15. I learned that she moved to the city not on a whim but for a reason just as unplanned. She, years ago, had purchased a house with a physically abusive ex and one night packed her stuff and left with no plan and no direction. She just had to leave.
I don’t know if it was my digestive system’s disagreement with the Indian food but I emotionally vomited on her as well. On a fate-less, typical, routine summer night sitting on the rocks I saw her for the first time. Some people are just better seen in the dark of night.
After we exchanged life experiences, I felt a feeling of relief. There was a momentarily pause of silence. This girl that felt the constant need to wear flip flops to any and every occasion started to make my heart race and slow down at the same time. I’m not one for Hollywood romances and cheesy punch lines. I’ve never seen myself as anybody’s “Mr. Right”. I’ve always preferred to be “Mr. Right Now”. I didn’t feel anything in the air in the beginning of the night but there was definitely something in the lake water by the rocks. We kissed and I lost myself in it.
I don’t know what romance consist of: Maybe rose petals? Huge public professions of love? European destinations? None of that took place that evening but I didn’t need Paris to know this was something different, something real. We went back to my place and our physical connection matched the emotional one. It was surreal. I woke up the next morning excited but to my failed expectations she was gone. All she left behind was a post-it stuck on my refrigerator with the words that read:
“Thanks for the good time. I’ll see you when I see you.”
Reality always looks a lot clearer in the light of day. She was my overnight heartache. I stared at the piece of paper for awhile not really knowing what to make of it or just exactly how to react. It reminded me of why I am the way I am. Why it’s so easy for everyone in this city to connect physically but so risky to share anything emotional. Like so many people I know, I guess I’m doomed to live love one, one night stand at a time. It was a Paris evening but definitely a Toronto morning.