Bad News From The Stars

About 16 Years Ago

I stood still underneath the tree as the wind passed, blowing autumn leaves down to my feet. I watched him in silence load the last of his things in the trunk of the car. He shut the car door and started the engine. He came back out and made his way towards me. He leaned in close, shook my hand and said, “Lorenzo. A man should always love a woman more.”

I wiped a tear from my eye and said, “Goodbye dad”.

About 10 months ago

I ran down the stairs and through the turnstiles, hurriedly showing my monthly subway pass to the TTC worker. I tried not to push through people to keep some semblance of civility, but it was a feeble attempt. I almost knocked over an old Jamaican lady carrying several bags of groceries. I apologized. She kissed her teeth at me and in Patois, resentfully cursed my mother's name along with mine. I apologized again, but I hastily kept going down another flight of stairs. I heard the heavy sound of the oncoming train as I made my way down. I briskly rushed for the subway doors. They instinctively closed on me. I sigh loudly but no one is around to hear it. I was going to be late. Again.

The next train arrived several minutes later. I calmly got on and took a seat. There was a copy of the daily “Metro” paper next to me. I picked it up and read it to pass the time during the long ride. After reading the sport's scores and a quick synopsis of the current celebrity gossip, I flipped to the horoscopes. Mine read, “Taurus, make a conscious effort to control your emotions. Don't react to unjustified provocations. The main danger now is that if you go too far you might not be able to turn back.” Bad news from the stars.

I arrived an hour and half late. As I approached the Manulife Center, I saw her standing outside with her arms exasperatedly crossed. She was angry and rightfully so. I was supposed to meet her for the 7 p.m showing of the new James Cameron film and it was now 8:30 p.m. Over the last few weeks she had become increasingly irate with me, starting daily fights over the most trivial of things. I had been tired of defending myself so the last thing I wanted for this night was to be the cause of another fight. I just wanted to enjoy each other's company, argument free. It's been so long since we had a carefree night. We used to have them all the time. We used to never fight. We used to smile and laugh. We used to talk for hours and fall asleep happy. We used to be a lot of things, but that all seems like an eternity ago – in another life.

I made my way towards her with my excuses and reasons. “I'm so sorry I'm late. I just got stuck at work and couldn't get out and then missed the damn train.”

She looked at me with minimal disappointment. “It's fine. All the shows are sold out and there really isn't another movie I want to see anyways. Do you want to grab a bite instead? I've been dying to try that new Japanese place on Queen.”

I agreed to her suggestion. We casually walked back to the subway. We got on the next train and we took a seat beside each other. She barely talked to me. The train made a couple of its routine stops and still, not a word. I decided to break the uncomfortable silence, “I heard this new movie is suppose to redefine the cinematic experience. I'm genuinely sorry we missed it.”

I turned to her and eagerly waited for her to say something back. She looked at me and angrily responded, “I don't care about the movie... I know you've been cheating on me.”

It completely caught me off guard but before I could say anything she continued to berate me further with the same accusation. I attempted to calm her down, but it was without success. A couple sitting across from us looked away and pretended not to overhear our conversation. With each passing subway stop, her accusations became more infuriated and her tone grew louder and louder. Each time I aimed to clarify the situation, she would raise her voice, as if speaking over me would somehow prompt a confession. I grabbed her hand gently but she violently pulled away. She began to yell at me, loud enough that people couldn't help but pay attention to the situation. A different, bag-less old lady judgmentally shook her head at me. I continued to stand there in confused silence. The less I said, the angrier she became. Her accusing attitude eventually turned vindictive. She began to verbally assault my character, arming herself with anything and everything I had ever done wrong.

At first, I didn't understand what brought about her sadness and anger, but as I stood there it became clear to me that she was no longer content with “us”. We used to be so passionate for one another. Then some time passed and “Us” became convenient and boring, but I enjoyed the stability. I've always rejected the idea of low interest mortgages, Sunday morning masses, water cooler discussions, PVRs and 2.5 kids. I hated the concept of monogamy and monotony. I've perpetually lived like everything in life had an expiration date. I've preferred to keep a comfortable distance, because nothing and no one had ever been worth the risk. But with her, Friday night movies and “Cranium” activity dinner parties grew on me. She made me want to tuck my Oxford white shirt into my pants, put on that suit and tie and seek out a corporate career. She made me want forever. She was my exception. But she couldn't see any of that. All she saw was the monotony that “Us” had become. “Us”... “I” was not making her happy anymore.

I pulled her in close, held her for a minute. I could feel her tears running down the side of my face. Just as the train temporarily stationed into the next stop, I pulled away and whispered to her, “Your instincts are right; I did cheat.” I let go of her and took a step out of the train. She looked at me – heartbroken, but relieved. She remained on the train as the doors once again instinctively closed. We shared everything. She was the closest person to me in my life, but literally in a couple of moments, all of that was gone. As I stood still on the subway platform, the train slowly departed from the station and it took everything I knew with it. That was the last time we would see each other.

I didn't want to let her go, but I had to. I wanted to let her know exactly what she meant to me. How much I loved her. How she was everything to me. How I started to read horoscopes because she believed in them. How although I was not the best boyfriend by any stretch, I had never once considered the idea of cheating on her. How she was all I ever needed and wanted. How she saved me from a directionless life of 6 a.m. last calls, pseudo friends and jaded hearts. How I had been occasionally stopping by jewelry stores on my way home from work to look at stupid rings. How although I'm not religious, she was my personal Jesus. How my pursuit of happiness ended with her, but just took some time adjusting to. I wanted to do all of these things, but instead I told her what I knew she wanted to hear. I lied to her. I increasingly saw it on her face over the last few weeks; she had grown tired of the life we built. She had started to miss the excitement of our old lives that had been replaced by stability of this new one. She needed a justifiable reason to leave. So I gave it to her.

We all seek out the love we think we are worth. She had been hurt before. She came from a past that didn't allow her to believe in happiness and forever. She had learned to grow comfortable in the idea of being emotionally numb. I wanted to save her. I wanted to be everything she was to me, but she just couldn't accept what we had. I had to give her a reason to seek out what she felt would make her comfortable. A man should always love a woman more, so I let her go.

Present Day

I stare at the admittance letter of truth I wrote her. I reread every single word. I do this almost every single night. It's my self-inflicted version of a bedtime story gone wrong. Maybe today will be the day I send it. My phone rings. It's my ride. She's outside and I have to go. I guess the letter can wait another day.


  1. This piece is really different from anything I've read of yours so far. I like it. It showcases a really different side of you!

  2. Very nice work, keep it up ROCKY....Didnt know you write, but that is some good work.